As technological advancements make modern life more convenient, automobiles are changing rapidly. Certain features that used to be commonplace are now obsolete or are quickly being transitioned out for more efficient solutions. Cars are becoming more advanced, and with those advancements, vehicle designers and manufacturers are looking for ways to allow more space for drivers and passengers. Certain internal features have been retired to make car interiors more comfortable.
Here at Classic Auto, we love automobiles, and we aim to provide robust and affordable insurance on vintage, luxury, collector, and classic cars, but we also recognize that vehicles are changing rapidly. That’s why we’re listing 13 classic car features that you may never see again while on the road.
Front Bench Seats
Front bench seats were incredibly popular in the 1980s, and they continued to be used through the early 2000s. Although front bench seats were cozy and also provided drivers with more space, so long as no one was sitting in the middle, they became out of fashion for safety reasons. It’s critical for driver and passenger safety for airbags to deploy in front of them, and with front bench seats, the person seated in the middle seat didn’t have access to a proper airbag. They likely only had a radio in front of them.
CD and Cassette Players
Do you remember taking long road trips while singing along to some of your favorite tracks on CD or cassette? You can still sing along to your favorite tracks, but most music is played through streaming and satellite radio. Vehicles now usually come with Bluetooth capabilities and USB ports rather than CD and cassette players.
Rear-hinged doors were an incredibly popular feature for luxury cars in the 1960s. They enabled passengers sitting in the back to enter and exit the vehicle in a stylish fashion, but the doors also posed a significant safety risk. In urban areas with less space, the rear-hinged doors would often open in the direction of oncoming traffic, which could result in a serious accident. Because of this danger, rear-hinged doors became known as “suicide doors.”
Power windows used to be considered a luxury that dealerships would advertise, but now they’re the norm. Wind-up windows have become a thing of the past, and a significant reason is that it’s less expensive for manufacturers to equip vehicles with one type of window rather than offering options. Car sellers used to offer both power windows and wind-up windows, but now it’s more efficient for workers to install only one type of window.
Cigarette Lighters and Ashtrays
Cars used to accommodate the needs of the public when it came to cigarette usage, but now people are more health-conscious about the detrimental effects of smoking. Over time, fewer and fewer cars offered push-button lighters on cigarette lighter outlets. Instead, they’re now used as 12-volt outlets for a variety of electronic purposes. People can still obtain vehicles that come with a “smokers’ package” featuring ashtrays and cigarette lighters, but they’re becoming increasingly rare.
Flat tires aren’t as significant of a problem as they used to be thanks to run-flat tires and roadside assistance services. Run-flat tires enable drivers to continue driving without air for several miles so that people can get tires replaced without changing them on the shoulder of the road. Spare tires are also not fuel-efficient because of the added weight.
Plenty of vehicles still use keys, but they’re becoming less common. In the future, more and more people will likely use proximity keys that enable people to unlock, start, and drive vehicles without inserting a physical key. Proximity keys use radio signals to access car features, and most new cars now come with a proximity key option.
Emergency Brake Levers
Emergency brake levers, which are also referred to as parking brake handles, are becoming out of fashion because of electronic parking brakes. Electronic brakes are initiated with a button rather than a handle, and by retiring the brake handles, vehicles now have more room for cupholders and the center console.
Power antennas were notorious for breaking, especially in colder climates. They used to be necessary for listening to radio stations, but with modern broadcasting and satellite radio, vehicles now use small plastic antennas on the car roofs or a wire in the windshield glass. These new improvements have further increased vehicle aerodynamics and improved radio signals.
Pop-up headlamps used to be incredibly popular because of government regulations and increased efficiency. The United States government issued regulations about the sizes and shapes of headlamps. Additionally, engineers aimed to improve the aerodynamics of the front end of vehicles. Headlamps were hidden until nighttime to meet regulations and aerodynamic standards. In the 1990s, the government began relaxing mandates, and there were also advancements in smaller bulb technology, which made pop-up headlamps obsolete.
Before practically every vehicle was equipped with AC, vehicles used vent windows to cool down occupants in the summer. Many cars came equipped with a second window near side mirrors that could open so that cool air would hit the driver and front-seat passenger. Vent windows are now largely obsolete because of air conditioning.
Hood ornaments were once a common fashion feature on luxury vehicles, but safety regulations have cut down on their use. Protruding symbols on the front of cars pose a safety risk for pedestrians and cyclists. Some contemporary hood ornaments come with a feature that retracts the ornament when the vehicle senses impact to avoid safety hazards for pedestrians and cyclists.
Ford started the trend of vehicles no longer coming with gas caps. They introduced their Easy Fuel in 2011, which is capless and comes with a special inhibitor to prevent people from siphoning your gas. Additionally, you have the added benefits of not needing to unscrew your cap, which can be helpful for colder climates.
Save on Car Insurance with Classic Auto
Even though there are exciting advancements in vehicle technology, we know that you also value classic cars. Protect your classic, vintage, collectors, or luxury automobile with Classic Auto Insurance. We provide our clients with cost-effective coverage to protect their prized vehicles. Call us at 888-901-1338 to speak with our car experts or click here for an instant quote.