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5 Things You Don’t Find in Cars Anymore – See If You Remember These!

5 things you don't find on American cars anymore
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Some folks aren’t old enough to remember some of these,  others will surprise you.

We came across an interesting list of what were once standard features in cars and trucks, but now have completely faded away – many of them due to technology,  others to lifestyle and public opinion changes.  put together the list, which actually contained 15 items, but some were, in our opinion, uninteresting and nobody would have really remembered them.  So here goes OUR edited version, in no particular order:

  • Front Bench Seats – When was the last time you climbed into a vehicle and saw a complete bench seat in the front?  According to automotive data, the last mass-production American made vehicle to offer this feature was the Chevrolet Impala.  Part of the reason they were replaced by bucket seats (and eventually a center console) is that front seat belts did not become mandatory equipment in cars until January 1st, 1968.
  • Vent Windows – You see them most commonly in older 1960’s and 70’s trucks around the Columbia Basin.   They’re the long triangle shaped window in front of the main window in the front driver and passenger doors.  Some older cars had them in the back.  These were included in the days before most vehicles came with AC.  They would stream a blast of air almost anywhere in the car you wanted – it just wasn’t cold.
  • Ashtrays – Without delving into a multi-page dissertation about smoking,  due to pressure from health advocates, The Surgeon General and a number of other reasons, U.S. automakers stopped putting them in cars at least by the end of the 1990’s.  While we couldn’t find data for some makers, we do know, for example, Chrysler stopped the practice after 1996.    The same goes for cigarette lighters.
  • Floor Mounted Dimmer Switch –  At first glance, you might be saying “what?”  But in most older cars, the way you flicked on the bright lights when nobody was coming in the other direction was with a silver button located on the floor of the vehicle, usually to the far left next to the wall.   Sometimes while driving an unfamiliar car, you would spend a few minutes stomping around the upper left corner of the floorpan trying to find it.    U.S. manufacturers began to copy European designers who started putting the dimmer switch on the “stalk” or turn signal-type switch on the steering column.  The old floor switches were known for wearing out quickly, rusting, and becoming inoperable – especially in heavy use, dirty vehicles like trucks.  But they were cheaper than the column-mounted switch.  Most U.S. automakers had to do a complete redesign of the steering column in the 1970’s to add this feature.
Floor mounted dimmer switch
Floor mounted dimmer switch –
  • A Full-Size spare tire –   Unless you drive a pickup,  virtually ALL passenger cars, mini-vans and SUV’s now come with that infuriating “donut” – especially if you drive anything small.   In the past, the spare was simply a 5th tire added to the vehicle, and usually stowed in that circular depression in the trunk.   Now,  you can actually get a ticket if an officer sees you driving around on that “temporary” ring of hard rubber.


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