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Disappearing Automotive Features

Old 12-30-2006, 11:43 PM
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Default Disappearing Automotive Features

These are funny to me because they bring back memories.

Disappearing Automotive Features


By Bill Jackson, Cars.com

You probably remember them maybe fondly, maybe not. The eight-track player. Manual windows. Locks you actually had to lift. As cars get more technically advanced, many of the features we once knew are heading to the dustbin of history.

After reviewing Cars.com's vast data banks and scouring through automaker press kits, we've come up with a list of once-common features now on the way out.

No. 1: Crank windows

A crank window on a 2001 Ford Ranger.
These can still be found in entry-level vehicles, but as soon as you step up from the least-expensive vehicle in an automaker's lineup, they disappear. Holding a button to raise a window is easier and probably safer when you're pulling away from a tollbooth or drive-through window.

No. 2: Cassette-tape decks

Tape decks are still available in some U.S. models.
Yes, you can still find them. Many European carmakers still insist on them, and some people have stuff on tape they can't transfer to a CD for whatever reason. But, really, the car world today is one of CDs and MP3s and that sounds just fine to us.

No. 3: Keys/locks/any mechanical means of getting into your car

Keyholes are used less and less thanks to the prevalence of fobs.
We're a nation of fobs these days. Press the button, unlock the driver's door. Press it again, unlock all the doors. If you're really high-end, you don't even know what a key is because of your fob that talks to the car and unlocks the door as you approach. A start button rids you of the trouble of putting a key in the ignition and turning it.

No. 4: Lap-only seat belts for the center rear seat

Most lap-only seat belts have been replaced by much safer three-point belts.
This one is a marked improvement as far as safety is concerned. Most cars now provide the person sitting in the most uncomfortable seat in the car the same three-point belt the other passengers enjoy. Sure, you could find a car that still offers a lap-only seat belt back there, but why would you want to?

No. 5: Cars priced less than $13,000

The 2007 Chevrolet Aveo is one of few cars that can still be had for less than $13,000.
Yes, everything is getting more expensive; that's just how the world works. If you want all the latest safety features and amenities, it's going to cost you. Go shopping through our Research section and it may appear many automakers offer cars less than $13,000, but it's usually just one stripped-down model.

No. 6: 85-mph speedometers

Speedometers on most new cars now exceed 100 mph.
They say optimism is a virtue, and it shows in the car world. Even econoboxes that could probably only shimmy their way to 100 mph with the help of a hill, a tailwind and a brave driver have speedometers that go to 120. (Sigh.) Just as some drivers should not be allowed to drive, some cars should not be allowed anywhere over the posted speed limit ... in a school zone. Rectangular speedometers that span the entire instrument cluster have also gone away, but you never know; they might still return one day.

No. 7: Motorized antennas

Antennas on new cars are much smaller than their predecessors.
These are so rare you might have to ask your parents about them. In many higher-end cars of the 1970s and '80s, a motor would extend the car's antenna to better receive radio broadcasts, then retract it later. That meant drivers didn't have to either manually extend the antenna or just leave it up. Hmm. This from the generation that walked to school, worked three jobs and taught themselves to read on the back of a shovel. Manually extending an antenna must be tougher than it sounds.

No. 8: Three-speed automatic transmissions

Today's teen drivers will likely never drive a three-speed automatic like this Dodge Neon.
Th
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:24 AM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

I really miss side vent windows![]

If you know or remember what these are, then you're over 40 years of age.

They were great when cruising down the road and you wanted a little bit of ventilation without the full-blown draft of a completely lowered side window. You would just lift up the lever and your triangular side vent window would open up a la 45` angle. You would get a little indirect air blowing around the driver's cockpit.

My son has this neat feature on his 1974 Fiat Spider Convertible.
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Old 01-02-2007, 12:39 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

Good article! Thanks for posting.. I'm not old at all (27[8D]) but I remember trunk release buttons in the glove box.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:41 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

I remember the headlight dimmer switch on cars my parents had when I was younger. My truck has the manual mirrors. Major pain. now that I am used to motorized ones. My 04 dodge neon had the truck release in the glove compartment. Now I wish I still had that in the mustang. It is irritating. The new Mustangs don't have any truck release buttons. You either have to use the FOB or the key. There are times when I am in the garage and want to get in the trunk. I have to go back to the house and get the keys.[:@] We have a detached garage.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:03 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features


ORIGINAL: TechmanBD

I remember the headlight dimmer switch on cars my parents had when I was younger. My truck has the manual mirrors. Major pain. now that I am used to motorized ones. My 04 dodge neon had the truck release in the glove compartment. Now I wish I still had that in the mustang. It is irritating. The new Mustangs don't have any truck release buttons. You either have to use the FOB or the key. There are times when I am in the garage and want to get in the trunk. I have to go back to the house and get the keys.[:@] We have a detached garage.
Detached isn't that bad. In my old house in TX that my wife and I bought, our garage was in front of the master bedroom. I worked nights and my wife's "alarm-clock" was hearing the garage door open.[&:]

[IMG]local://upfiles/21/B08792C08EB0475CABCD770A3CAF1E13.jpg[/IMG]
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:29 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

It really isn't that bad, except one thing. Only a 2 car garage[8D]
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:44 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

i am only 18 and i know what side vent windows are

most people in my generation would have no idea however

another thing disappearing:
body on frame trucks/SUVs
what is up with that????
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Old 01-09-2007, 04:03 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

This really makes my family look very outdated. I know of at least one family member who has each of these dying out features. My previous car didn't have power windows and I can tell you, I don't miss them one bit.

I don't like that cassette players are now becoming difficult to find in modern cars. The cassette-tape decks being dropped doesn't matter to me since I never keep my old cassettes in the deck anyways, just on the passenger side floor.

I'm disturbed that they are getting rid of mechincal ways of unlocking the car doors. What if the battery goes dead? I don't like this because some of my doors do not automatically unlock anymore. What are you supposed to do when those go out.

I'm glad to see that lap-only seat belts are going away. They were annoying.

Cars under $13,000 just represents that cars are becoming larger and more luxurious all the time. It doesn't bother me.

I will miss the 85 mph speedometers. There is nothing more comical than to see a car bury a speedometer.

Motorized anntenans were nothing more than a gimmick that would brake as time went on. I'm glad their gone.

The last vehicle we had that had a 3-speed automatic was our 1991 Dodge Caravan. It's amazing to think that in the last 20 years, transmission offer double the gear ratios available in a mainstream vehicle.

I'm glad to see true compact pickups disappear. I hate my brothers S-10. It has all the undesirable features about a truck. Awful fuel mileage, poor ride quality, no cabin room, no power (his only has a 2.8L V6 which was the only option at that time), and it has none of the advantages of a full-sized or mid-sized pickup truck. It can't haul anything significant, it has no power (again the 2.8L V6), etc.

I really don't have much of an opinion about the body-on frame cars. I'm glad to see bench seats go. I like bucket seats way better.

I believe they moved the truck button to the more convient location, below and to the left of the steering wheel. I like full-sized spares so I miss seeing those (in fact, compact spares are starting to disappear in some models, a big mistake). I actually liked the floor-mounted headlight dimmer switch, I'm sorry to see those go. I hated the manual mirrors on my old car; therefore, I'm happy to see those go. The problem is it is difficult and annoying to adjust the passenger side mirror.

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Old 01-09-2007, 10:34 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

yeah, the 2.8 has no power

the 4.3l that was put in was nice, i had it in a blazer
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:53 PM
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Default RE: Disappearing Automotive Features

Unfortuneatley, the year of truck my brother had (1987) didn't have the 4.3L as an option. The 4.3L from what I have read and heard powered the S-10/Blazer quite well; however, you still can't necessarily haul many things you can with a Dakota regardless if the S-10 has a 4.3L in it. I really wish they wouldn't have dropped the 4.3L out of their smaller trucks. I wonder what they were thinking when they made the Colorado/Canyon (why would anyone want a I5 for the top engine instead of a V6).
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