Facebook is inundated with memes stating that you’re old if you used or remember (fill in the blank.) Technology has brought us amazing things such as laser surgery, cell phones, getting closer to curing cancer, and more. Car features have upgraded in the last 30 years, but driving a car with window cranks dosn’t make you old. Do you remember these old car features?
Ashtrays with built-in lighters
The 90s saw the cessation of indoor smoking, and that included cars as well. Cars were produced with no ashtrays or lighters. The spots for former lighters were now used for power to charge phones, tablets, and laptops. If a driver wanted to smoke, he would have to have a disposable lighter and open the window. In some states, drivers can’t smoke if there is a child in the car. In other states, smokers can’t dispose of their butts out the window; they must have a jar or can in which to dispose of their cigarette butts.
Do you remember needing one key for the door and ignition and another one for the trunk? Today’s cars feature keyless doors, trunk as well as ignition. This certainly makes for more room in our pockets, not to mention making it more difficult to steal our cars.
Foot controlled light dimmers
Parents renting a car for a long trip are dismayed when their learning-to-drive teens have to instruct them where the dimmer switch is located. Stomping on the floor is no longer necessary, as the dimmer arm is on the steering column. This is actually a moment of genius, as the driver is completely in control of the vehicle with his hands.
Towering radio antennas
Parents remember driving cars whose antenna got bent in collisions with low tree branches. Today’s automobiles use metallic lines just beneath the defroster area on the rear window. Sometimes they’re on the windshield. It’s a shame, though, because some drivers attached imaginative things to their antennas, we suspect to help them identify their cars in huge parking lots.
Some drivers carry spares on wheels, but the majority of drivers are stuck with bicycle tires. Also called donut tires, these are one-third the size of a regular tire. You’re only supposed to drive to the tire store for a new tire on them. However, drivers have found that the little guys keep going and going a la the Energizer bunny.
85 MPH limited speedometer
The fuel disaster back in the 70s meant gas lines that people haven’t seen since then. It also meant a 55 mph speed limit to better control fuel consumption. Cars therefore were limited to 85 mph to best suit these purposes. Today’s autos have speedometers topping out at 140 to 160.
Seen only in pictures today, the circular horn did present a problem. If drivers leaned forward to wipe the inside of their windshields, they alerted other drivers that something was going on. Today’s horns are buttons on the steering wheel, which evolved from the centerpiece of the wheel itself being the horn.
Full-sized seats or bench seats were common in the early days of automobiles. They seated three comfortably, and there was even enough room for the family dog or a very small person in the front. When large cars went the way of the T-Rex, bucket seats became the thing. These were easier for the production of protective air bags and seat belts. However, today’s pickup trucks and some SUVs still have full-sized seats complete with air bags and seat belts.
Side vent windows
Side vent windows could either be placed on the driver’s side and passenger side front windows or on the back passenger windows. They allowed for fresh air in cars in which air conditioning hadn’t been invented yet. As time progressed, air conditioning came along. Side vent windows were no longer needed. Additionally, toddlers had to come up with another way to unload the sneakers they disliked or the snacks they didn’t like.