Snazzy lights can be one of the best styling elements of modern cars, automotive manufacturers have come a long way since the good old days of pop-up headlights and halogen bulbs. It seems each year the bar keeps being raised slightly, we've seen BMW's rather un-adventurously named "BMW Concept M4 Iconic Lights" back in 2015 at CES Las Vegas, which demonstrated their advancement in laser lighting technology. However - this was only a concept car, the first ever production car available on the market with laser lights was the futuristic BMW i8, but it was Mercedes-Benz that brought laser lighting to models that are a touch more accessible to consumers, such as the CLS. Throughout this blog we're going to take a look back at some of the most stylish and memorable lights that have gracefully illuminated our roads!
Taking a step back in time, in 1999 Lexus released the IS200 Saloon, rocking some rear lights with a very unique style. These lights sparked an unlikely trend among aftermarket manufacturers, creating Lexus-style rear lights for other models. If you're a car person these can be quite easy to spot on models that the lights don't belong to, however if you want to keep your eye out, the lights are characterised by their clear outer case with red lenses, seen in the image below.
Speaking of JDM designs, upon release the Nissan Skyline R34 GTR (AKA Godzilla) featured circular red lights much like the Lexus, however these lights have been featured on every 'GTR' model that Nissan have produced over the years. The original R34 Skyline was one of the most iconic cars featured in the 'Fast & The Furious' film series and was a common sight to see on bedroom posters.
Another car that has seen its rear-light design evolve over generations is the Lamborghini Reventon. Infact, the Reventon sparked alot of inspiration for Lamborghini, with its fighter-plane style exterior styling being developed and eventually leading to the creation of the Aventador, one of the most popular of flagship models.
Now for one of Britain's finest exports, the Aston Martin Vulcan is one of the ultimate track-toys out there, however there is a road-legal option which covers the lollipop stick style rear LED lights with a plastic cover in order to meet regulations. Probably makes them much easier to clean too! Aston Martin have also adopted the lollipop design on their latest 'Valkyrie' project model.
Over recent years, Audi have vastly improved the style of the light setup on their models. Back in 2013 when the R8 received a face-lift, it was the first ever production car to include ALL-LED rear lights with a progressively wiping turn signal (Also known as sequential). These days, even models in the lower-end of the Audi range such as the A3 are available with sequential lights, some of which use their rather complex 'Matrix' technology, which you can read about here.
Probably the wackiest of lights on this list - the Mazda Furai was a concept car built to use renewable fuels, it was originally supposed to run on 100% ethanol fuel however the project was short-lived after a fire started in the cars engine bay during a photo-shoot with Top Gear, trying to photograph the blue flames coming from the exhaust upon downshifting. For five years, the death of the Mazda Furai was a closely kept secret amongst Mazda & Top Gear until it was finally revealed in their 20th Anniversary issue.
How much knowledge do you think you have when it comes to rear lights? Test your skills by giving our quiz a go! We've chosen some of the best headlights along with some that are more obscure.