QOTD: What Defunct Automotive Feature Would You Like to See Return?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what defunct automotive feature would you like to see return

Most of us are slaves to convenience, but there’s a good number of motorists who long to relive a nostalgic chapter from their younger days; back when cars were less sterile (externally, anyways), and less overburdened with all-thinking, all-knowing technology.

“Those were good days,” they think, their minds drifting back to a warm, hazy period washed clean of all the bad things they’d prefer not to remember. “Cigarettes were ten cents a pack. I didn’t have the government choking things up between my carburetor and tailpipe.”

There’s no going back to the days before seatbelts and airbags, nor would anyone want a return of car bodies that fold like wet cardboard during a crash, but there are some extinct features we’d like to see again — even if it’s just to satisfy a tiny, memory-filled recess of our overburdened brains.

Maybe it’s front vent windows, designed to suck the fragrant emissions of a carload of Winston and Camel smokers into the great beyond. Rear vent windows — like those found on 1980s Oldsmobile Cutlass four-doors — didn’t do much to cool down rear seat occupants, but it kept your kids from tossing popsicle sticks at other motorists.

Simmer down back there, and fasten your lap belt!

Hey, maybe you’d like to see a return of an actual cigarette lighter and ashtray, rather than hunt high and low for the increasingly elusive optional smoker’s package. The Pall Mall Package, perhaps.

It could be your vehicle’s wide and commodious console that’s got you annoyed. Look at all that wasted space! A nice front bench seat would not only allow for easy egress if your door is pinned against an obstacle (or if the thought of dooring a cyclist keeps you up at night), it would also make the front seat a chummier place. Of course, such a setup could also spell the return of the column shifter — a satisfying and calorie-burning way to wrestle that automatic into gear.

Perhaps you’d like an external spotlight, but don’t feel like buying a mothballed cop car. Sure, your phone’s GPS or your car’s navigation system will take you right to your date, but having a multi-directional high beam attached to your A-pillar is simply cool. Full stop.

For others, the returning feature might lie in the trim category. Modern cloth and leather seats are nice, but why the lack of velour? Why no pillowed option? Some of us like having a foot or more of foam padding behind our backs. And what bureaucrat took away our deep pile carpeting?

The list of defunct interior and exterior features is a lengthy one, so we’ll let you take over. Let us know: which would you like to see return on your next vehicle?

[Image: Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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2 of 340 comments
  • Salzigtal Salzigtal on May 01, 2017

    Bring back lighted semaphore turn signals in the B-pillar of all new BMWs. Updated with TRPPRR® (Teutonic Radar Pedestrian Protection Radar Retraction) (all one word in German). Maybe, they'd use them until the novelty wears off. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafficators

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on May 01, 2017

    Rain gutters, so I can have my windows down in a light rain (or use my windshield washers) without the wipers throwing water into the cabin. And I loved the way my Volvo 850 had an extra vent that would pull a bit of fresh air into the center vents regardless of temp settings.

  • MaintenanceCosts This class of car competes hard with Chargers/Challengers and modded diesel pickups for the douchey-driving crown.
  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!