Behold, the Subaru “Third Eye” Passing Lamp!

Subaru-Leone-GL-1600-wagon-cyclops-passing-light

Subaru has always been a quirky automaker, but the funkiest feature in a pantheon of funkiness has got to be the Passing Lamp. Basically, it’s a third headlight hidden in the center of the car’s grille. When closed, the light’s door looks just like any Subaru constellation logo. Flip a switch on the turn signal stalk and BAM — the door swings up to reveal a glorious beacon of Fuji Heavy radiance commanding the darkness retreat!

274_Subaru Leone GL 1600 wagon cyclops_Subaru BRAT

Offered on 1980-82 GL and BRAT models, it’s sometimes called the Center Headlight, Third Eye or Cyclops (although the mythological Greek monsters had just one eye, if you want to be pedantic about it). Apparently though, it only worked with low beams. The Passing Lamp would automatically shut off if high beams were activated while the door was still open. It might have been a handy feature if you if you sprang for the turbocharged EA81.

Earlier this year we dropped in on our friends at Subaru USA and got a chance to take a 1980 Subaru GL out of the attic. Enjoy the little animation we made. Funky, right? And that’s saying a lot from a company that gave us rear-facing jump seats in a pickup bed, hi-lo 4WD in a passenger car, and a spare tire mounted on the engine.

permalink.
This post is filed under: subaru and
tagged: , , , .

10 Responses to Behold, the Subaru “Third Eye” Passing Lamp!

  1. Ben E said:

    Would be a great car to take the kids out trick-or-treating… That thing would creep anybody out driving slowly up and down the street in the dark letting out tiny ghosts and scary creatures!

  2. Jason said:

    A TRI-clops !

  3. The 1964 Chevrolet Corvair also had the spare tire moved to the rear directly over the engine. It finally had a useable front trunk. This move also gave birth to the “Size 53″ 12 volt battery which is used in only 2 cars. The 1964 Corvair and the Datsun RL411.

  4. Bart said:

    So cool. Car companies just don’t do neat little things like this anymore. I’ve seen a few old GLs around town, I’m gonna hafta take a closer look at one next time and see if I can tell if it has this third eye.

    Bart

  5. Nigel said:

    Is it a “passing light” or is it a scanner…
    (Another reason I wan’t a Subaru Brat).

  6. Steve said:

    Yeah, just another reason to kick myself for not buying a BRAT back in the 1970s…

  7. GEN2TWINCAM said:

    I thought this was uber-cool at the time!

    Two of my friends owned Brats with this feature. I spent some harrowing moments grasping the jumpseat “handlebars” while these guys tried their best to eject me!

    This was when I lived in New Jersey, very close to the Subaru of America facility. I remember the first SVX I ever encountered pulled up beside me at a stoplight. It contained three or four Japanese gentlemen in suits. They were eying-up my Mugen wheels, and I was impressed with their car. We all shared “Thumbs-Up” before parting ways.

  8. Benjamin said:

    Having owned and driven a 1980 GL wagon with an EA71 for a short time, I can say that the passing lamp was the best feature of this car.

  9. Dave said:

    I want that Leone!

Comments are closed.