Your grandpa may find Snapchat flummoxing and Instagram stories confusing to check. But these elders got to enjoy the evolution of motor cars and experience the joy of manual windows, cassette players, or manual locking doors. Most young car enthusiasts are only familiar with ultra-modern cars and consider vintage features in classic cars odd and outright weird.
Cars were unimaginable without hand window cranks, manual door mirrors, and foot-activated light switches. There was nothing quite like cruising the boulevard with the front quarter mirror pointing in your face with a cassette player cranked to 11. With modernized cars taking over features such as AC and internet connectivity taking over, these features that were once the craze slid into oblivion, and no one talks about them anymore. Buckle up as we discover ten ridiculous classic car features that no longer exist anywhere.
10/10 Swivel Seats
This idea is one of those that sounds fantastic on paper but does not turn out to be great in practice. Imagine not having to go through the trouble of climbing into squeezed cabins. The was real potential in having a seat that swivels and allows the passengers to get in and out of tight spaces.
However, these seats did not lock properly, leading to safety concerns. While stationary seats are the way to go, for now, we wouldn’t mind seeing these classic features come back.
9/10 Iter Avto
Pre-GPS era, Iter Avto was the only solution that resembled the GPS we know today. These rather old-school inventions consisted of a series of maps scrolling through a meter with stenographs marking your position.
Satellites didn’t exist then, meaning any changes due to inclement weather or an accident would make the whole system moot. You had to constantly check and scroll the map, which was a distraction. We’re glad modern communication came and took over.
8/10 Swing-A-Way Steering Wheel
Since the inception of cars, it only made sense that steering wheels should stay in place for the best use case. Ford attempted to break the norm in 1961 by introducing a wheel that could shift to the right and give way to the driver to give more room to fit or exit the car.
A passenger could even use it to steer the car in its offset position. Nightmares such as the wheel unlocking unexpectedly could lead to various safety problems.
7/10 Water Balloon Bumpers
To think that this ridiculous feature that sounds like something that came out of a cartoon almost caught on is unsettling. An assignee of a task to develop new safety features for city cars imagined water-filled bumpers thought they would act as shock absorbers in case of a collision.
Even though crazy and weird, this invention worked for some time, and taxicabs in major cities used them. However, they were expensive to replace, and people abandoned them.
6/10 Wrist Twist Swivel System
One thing is certain about car manufacturers; they will do anything to stand out from the competition. Chevy attempted to reinvent the wheel with this gadget. It would lock the driver’s wrists in a holder on either side with levers for shifting gears.
It never got any practical use as there were several disadvantages to limiting the driver’s hand movements. Furthermore, many people found this idea too confusing and preferred the traditional wheel.
5/10 The Lightning Rod Shifter
Some cars have cool shifters, but this example isn’t one of them. Hurst tried to change the game by introducing two levers to the shifting equation. It was easy to notice that the driver could easily grab the unintended shifter.
Moreover, this design was too obstructive and unattractive. This system asked a lot from the computers of the time. Here is one example of classic car features that proves less is more.
4/10 Vent Windows
Until the 1980s, this ventilation system was highly popular, and no one thought it was possible not to include it in a car. This is how it worked: You would spin a front quarter window on a vertical axis and angle it, directing air into the cockpit as the car was in motion.
A skilled smoker could flick the cigarette butt out the small window without checking. If you didn’t have a convertible car, this was the easiest way to get airflow into the cabin without spending additional energy to run the AC unit.
3/10 Power Antenna
These antennas had a motorized mechanism that would retract when you turned on and off the radio to enhance signal reception. We’d love to see this cool quirk again, but at the time, the motors lasted only a few years before they failed.
If you left your radio on going into an automated carwash, the brushes would do a rough job and bend the antenna, making it impossible to retract.
2/10 Automatic Seat Belts
Here is another idea that sounds better on paper than in practice. The idea was to stop you from forgetting to strap on your seatbelt. It forces everyone to buckle up and ensures everyone’s safety.
However, this is one of those classic car features we’re glad no longer exists, as the automatic belt also needed some of the driver’s work. Ironically, it also resulted in injuries if you ignored the last part of buckling the lap part.
1/10 Fender Mirrors
Fender mirrors were a great design that looked cool but fell out of use for various reasons. Fender mirrors were common, but in real-world use, they are garbage. They should help the driver check their blind spot without taking their eyes off the road.
However, they are too far, and unless you have Superman’s supervision, it’s unrealistic to see a small mirror from that far. Most drivers would take longer to determine if the space is open as they squint into the mirror, unlike the door mirrors we know today.