Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

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Thread: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

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    Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    http://blog.allstate.com/awesome-or-...ed-to-be-cool/

    Automakers have always strived to put the latest and greatest gadgets in the cars they make. If you’re old enough to remember a tape deck or an eight-track player in your car’s dash, you know that cutting-edge technology doesn’t always stand the test of time. These innovative features may have wowed the public when they were new, but just like the acid-washed jeans in the back of your closet, you see fewer of them on the street today.

    Pop-up Headlights

    The first car that could wink its lights at you was the Cord 810, which was introduced in 1936. Each of the Cord’s headlights had a hand crank on the dash, which had to be turned to pop the lights out of the front fenders.



    In the 1960s, pop-up headlights became increasingly popular on sports cars because they provided unique styling cues, but they also allowed automakers to get around headlight height regulations. The last mass-produced cars with pop-up lights were the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette and 2004 Lotus Esprit, and while retractable headlights could come back into style, the introduction of LED headlamps, which are brighter and smaller in size, means that concealed headlights are no longer necessary to maintain a car’s exterior style.

    Record Player

    Most of us don’t spend much time listening to vinyl anymore, but just like that DJ spinning records in a trendy nightclub, there was a time when you could cue up some 45s in your Chrysler. In 1956, you could get an optional record player in Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge and Plymouth vehicles.



    The system featured a slide-out turntable under the dash, which could be turned on with the flip of a switch. However, as drivers hit potholes or cruised down an imperfect stretch of road, it was likely that the records would skip. In-car record players were a long way from the USB/iPod connections we see in cars today, but they did pave the way for new in-dash entertainment options.

    Third Headlight

    The 1948 Tucker Sedan pushed the boundaries of car tech in its day. And although only 51 cars were ever made, the Tucker’s third headlight pioneered some of the features found on today’s high-end cars. Known as the “Cyclops Eye,” the Tucker Sedan’s third, middle headlight would swivel with the steering wheel to improve visibility around corners.



    While an extra light seems like it would improve safety, at the time it was introduced 17 states had laws against vehicles having more than two headlights. As a result, Tucker made a cover to conceal the center light to keep the sedan legal in those states.

    Hidden Gas Caps

    Years ago, automakers used to hide gas caps in stealthy locations. Cars like the ’56 Chevy Bel Air had the gas cap hidden behind a taillight, which would swivel out of the way, while numerous cars from the 60’s and 70’s had their fuel fillers located behind the license plate.

    Hiding the gas cap in a trick location streamlined the exterior style of these cars, but eventually, it was decided that fuel...

    More at link - link also has video showing each feature working

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Click the link to see the videos - I love the built in record player. Anyone know any other odd features from the past?

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Cassette players?

    Admittedly when I saw "accessories" I thought it would be add-ons, not styling details.

    I guess you can still get pop-up/removable sunroofs installed, but it wasn't long ago it was a factory option. Or hand-crank sunroofs, last car with that AFAIK was the 2001 Focus ZX3.

    I didn't think digital dashes would come back "in," but they did, and then some. Even basic IP displays usually have a digital speedometer in the information center (like the one standard across most of the GM line). And then of course touch-screen displays and controls like the Reatta/Toronado.

    I was just thinking earlier how a lot of different little features or accessories that were common have been replaced. Rear audio controls were in a lot of minivans and SUVs but aren't really around now. MP3 players have taken that over. Ford had the TravelNote memo recorder but you can record memos just as easily on a cell phone now, and not have to write it down later or go out to the car to check it.
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Ha - I had the removable sunroof on my 1989 Chevy Cavalier Z24. You couldn't take off the sunroof in the summer without getting 3rd degree burns. Ford pioneered the DAT cassette player that never really got off the ground.

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Concealed fuel fillers were nice but you understand the concern about safety
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    And I just have to say my 65 Vette just wouldn't have been the same without those pop up headlights.

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    I had a "78" Lincoln 2dr that had the headlight covers that retracted when you turned the light control on and came back out and covered the lights when you turned them off. That car had the longest hood of any car I ever had and with the"Lincoln insignia" on the front of the grill you just "aimed it" down the road....haha
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    I can't imagine a record player in a car. It would be skipping every time it hit a bump. Pop-up headlights at least have an aerodynamic function.

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    Click the link to see the videos - I love the built in record player. Anyone know any other odd features from the past?
    A few I miss are: frameless glass (still around but not as common), pillarless hardtops, chrome bumpers (that needed something more severe than a fa rt to scratch), brand unique engines, brand specific engine color, manual transmissions, well designed crank windows (yes they did exist), color matched interiors (beyond black, tan, and grey of today), column shifters for automatic transmissions, bench seats...

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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    One accessory I was glad to see die-off is the luggage rack on the trunk. Even Corvettes had them. I thought they just ruined the look of a car. They even tried to make them look kinda like spoilers, like on the '88 Cutlass Supreme. I've mentioned this before on the forums, actually I think I started a thread on it many moons ago.
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    When I was a kid I remember seeing these stupid looking vertical bug deflectors on pickups that had this thing that looked like a dude with a big nose hanging over the front. Most likely on a pickup with a front bumper mounted spare tire
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    http://www.abetterpage.com/transisto...Transport.html

    Removable transistor radio in Oldsmobiles.

    More information on the Chrysler record players (original Chrysler press release):

    http://www.imperialclub.com/Repair/A...y/Chrysler.htm

    Some late '60s until late 1970's Chryslers with the 8 track or cassette player had a built in microphone so you could record while driving.
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Metal Sun Shades that bolted over the front windshield, painted to match the color of the car.

    Spot lights, with a side view mirror on the back, sometimes dual spotlights, one on each side.

    Dual radio antenna's, one on each side of the trunk.

    Continental kits, with your spare in it.

    Dual fender mounted spare tires, back in the 30's.
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    Re: Awesome or Atrocious? 4 Bizarre Car Accessories that Used to Be Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Show-Me View Post
    I can't imagine a record player in a car. It would be skipping every time it hit a bump. Pop-up headlights at least have an aerodynamic function.


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