Automakers have always strived to put the latest and greatest gadgets in the cars they make. If youíre old enough to remember a tape deck or an eight-track player in your carís dash, you know that cutting-edge technology doesnít 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.
The first car that could wink its lights at you was the Cord 810, which was introduced in 1936. Each of the Cordís 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 carís exterior style.
Most of us donít 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.
The 1948 Tucker Sedan pushed the boundaries of car tech in its day. And although only 51 cars were ever made, the Tuckerís third headlight pioneered some of the features found on todayís high-end cars. Known as the ďCyclops Eye,Ē the Tucker Sedanís 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 í56 Chevy Bel Air had the gas cap hidden behind a taillight, which would swivel out of the way, while numerous cars from the 60ís and 70ís 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...
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