CC Outtake: Remember Aftermarket Headlight Covers?

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Finding this rare surviving set of aftermarket headlight covers on a Volvo is another “CC-Effect” example, as I was just thinking about them the other day, when I wrote my 1983 T-Bird Turbo Coupe CC. They were popular in the early-mid eighties, as the sleek aero look was already common in Europe, but stupid federal codes kept them off US cars. I haven’t seen any in ages, and these look like they need a good scrubbing. No wonder most have been tossed. 

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It just drove me nuts how the sleek new ’83 aero-Bird looked with those pathetic exposed lights. Headlight covers were outlawed in 1968, when a number of cars lost their beautiful and tapered headlights, including the Jag XK-E, Fiat 850 Spider, VW Beetle, Porsche 911, and a whole lot of other cars, almost all European.

Ford 1983 Tbird TC gray

I found some clear plastic covers (no lines on mine) in an ad in the back of one of the buff books, and ordered a set asap. They attached to little velcro tabs that had adhesive. Seemed a bit iffy, but then the wind is always pushing against them. I thought they made a big difference looks-wise, and probably imagined them making a perceptible difference in its aerodynamics. Kind’a like how your car runs better after washing it.

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Coincidentally, it was Ford that petitioned the Feds in 1981 to toss that rule overboard. Undoubtedly, Ford wanted to make the most of their big push into the aero-look. The feds relented in 1983, too late for the ’83-’84 T-Bird. But the 1984 Lincoln Mark VII was the first car in the US to take advantage of the new rules, and it ushered in the aero-headlight era. Not a minute too soon.