Like every other type of technology, cars have evolved to reflect the innovations of today’s world. But, with new products comes the discontinuation of others. While more often than not these changes are for the better, there are some instances when older features still compete with what’s available today. There are a number of car-oriented products that would still work great in today’s marketplace, whether they are purely stylistic or actually serve a practical purpose. But, some older car features simply can’t compete with contemporary upgrades: Here are some classic car features and how they compete with the original versions:
- Double-Din Stereos
Double-din (Duetch Industri Normen) stereos have been used since the 1980s. Initially, they were only used in German-made cars like VW, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes. Since their inception, they have become the industry standard and many major changes have been made to the devices. Now, they are one of the prime ways to customize your vehicle’s radio. Because of tech advancements, they now act as navigational systems as well. More advanced models also give you extended entertainment options, DVD functionality, Bluetooth, and file-playing capabilities. So while the original double-din stereos pioneered today’s double-din stereos, the older models cannot compete with what’s available now. You’ll never know what the best double din car stereo with navigation is like until you’ve tried it yourself!
- Turn Signals
Turn signals, which are now the standard, weren’t always a feature that cars had. Before there were turn signals built into your car, you had to stick your arm outside of your window. Percy Douglas-Hamilton applied for a patent in 1907 for a device that “indicated the intended movement of vehicles.” These signaling lights were shaped like hands to mimic the gestures that drivers were used to. Some of the original turn signals include hand-made versions from the Smithsonian and semaphore indicators that extended outwards horizontally, made by Europeans. Buick was the first car brand in the United States to offer flashing turn signals that were built-in. It wasn’t until later that these flashing signals were extended to the front lights as opposed to just the rear lights. While signaling with your hands works just fine, flashing signals revolutionized driving for those with impairments and for all drivers in general.
- Power Antenna
Power antennas are used for radio reception, satellite reception, and GPS reception if your car has a navigational system. These antennas are usually separate. A long and obvious whip antenna used to be present in every car sold with a radio. The reason power antennas became popular is because people used to snap antennas off of vehicles and use them as weapons. Until they stopped being made in the 90s, power antennas worked using a motor inside of the fender and a collapsing mast that folded in on itself to be more discreet. Because of our aerodynamic advancements, antennas are sleeker and ever. Now, they are either embedded in glass or mounted on your car’s service. While the functionality hasn’t changed much, the capabilities are much stronger and they are less visible on cars.
Rear Fuel Fillers
Up until the 1980s, fuel fillers were located in the center of the car’s rear valence, or tucked away behind the license plate. This changed because fuel tanks were more vulnerable to fire if the car was rear-ended. One interesting byproduct of this change is everyone’s inability to remember which side of the car the fuel tank is on. While this is inconvenient, the change was an important safety innovation that revolutionized the way modern cars work.