Pop-Up Headlights and active aerodynamics

A short story of the active spoilers.

2y ago

Today i was walking in the city centre and saw a Porsche 944 and this put me in some thoughts. The 944 is a relatively old car built between 1981 and 1991. In both '80s and 90s the Pop Up Headlights defined the automotive industry in their own unique way. Some people loved them and some hated them. But that's not what i would like to discuss. Looking at the Porsche i realised although that that type of headlights were in trend a few decades ago, the active spoilers, which are a mechanicaly moving part too, became a thing mainly after 2000 and only recently found their way to the rear(or front) ends of more "conventional" cars. While the first Pop-Up Headlights appeared in 1936 at the Cord 810, the first active spoilers are reported to be introduced in the late '80s with the VW Corrado .

About at the same time the Lancia Thema 8.32 also had a semi-active wing(and a Ferrari V8 engine), while a year later Porsche offered the much loved 964, which also had an active rear spoiler.

At the same period of time , the Pop-Up Headlights were at their peak. During the '90s they were still popular, although at that time they had almost no reason of existance. All of the companies could already fit the headlights in the front of the car, without destroying the look or the aerodynamics of the car ,while the active wings were rarely seen and mostly on sporty cars like the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4. To be honest, i always liked the Pop-Up Headlights, although i find it unnecessary, but in the end they ended up working the same way, the air brake works in modern cars with active spoilers.

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Only lately the active wings are becoming more widespread and can be found on subtle, common cars like the much hated BMW 3 Series GT and many others, which makes me wonder why the appearance of this technology in the market delayed that much.

What do you thing is the reason for this?

Were aerodynamics of minor importance during the '90s?

Was this technology(more or less the same tech with the Pop Up Headlights) too expensive back then?

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