Here are Drive Facts we often focus on the improvements made to new models of cars. Whether that means an improved engine, suspension, or some other aspect of the car’s performance that has been upgraded. Yet some of the most significant upgrades to cars are not related to performance at all. Today we want to take a closer look at the upgrades that have happened in the interior of the car. Things that if you weren’t driving in the 90s you may not even be aware have now become obsolete. Let’s take a closer look.
The manual window
To be fair, there are still some cars on the road today that have manual windows but they will soon leave the streets and never be seen again. If you have a fairly new car then it is very unlikely that you still have roll-up windows. Power windows appeared on the market as early as 1993 and the last car I can find that states having roll-up windows is the 2008 Audi RS4.
Roll-up windows were not tough to use but they were a hassle. I can remember the countless times when a flash shower happened and I had to quickly roll up the windows and usually got soaked in the process. Today we can simply get our windows to close with the push of a button.
The cassette player
This is really an innovation of music playing not car driving but it had a significant impact on our car behavior. We are all aware of the movement from records to tapes to minidisc to CD and now to a device. This has had a parallel impact on what was in our cars however as cars last a long time we have seen a serious delay in the upgrades. I remember the first car I owned had a tape player even though I had an iPod in my pocket. I had to buy a weird auxiliary cable that was attached to a cassette. You put the cassette into the tape deck and were able to play your iPod songs. This soon gave way to a tuner which allowed you to tune the radio to static where you could then play your iPod.
These were crazy times. Today most cars come with a Bluetooth player that finds your music device and allows you to play music with ease and even take phone conversations. Ideal.
The ashtray and lighter
Today people still smoke but it is far less prominent compared to 15 years ago. Back then all cars came with a lighter and ashtray. Consider how important smoking was for it to have such an impact on car design. Both the lighter and ashtray were given pride of place in the car and now they are gone. Today the spot is used for bottle holders or more compartments for storage.
Steering wheel locks
Steering wheel locks are still a thing but in the 90s every car had one. Today it is rare to see a car still use one as most offer good security already. However, there are certain models that thieves know are still easy to break into and as such, some people still have a need for the bright defender.
It appears that the design of our car interior is actually a commentary on the world that we live in. In the 90s it was a car designed for smokers with accessories to offer additional safety and lacking in the technologies that would come to fruition in the bold new world. Today everything is electronically controlled, smoking is prohibited and we can only imagine what crazy inventions will be added next.