Modern cars are pretty amazing. They are certainly a far cry from the vehicles of our parents and grandparents. The features are seemingly endless; heated and cooled seats, 360-degree cameras, GPS, self-parking. Imagine telling Henry Ford that one day you’d be able to use your phone to not only start, but locate, heat/cool, and diagnose your car. Of course, you’d also have to explain how you can carry a working phone around in your pocket, but that’s another story.
While we definitely enjoy a lot of cool features in today’s vehicles, there are a few weird and unique features from Classic Cars of the past we’d love to see reintroduced in 2023. These 10 features would add convenience and cachet to any car.
No, not for the reason you might be thinking. Sure, most cars have glove boxes, cupholders, center console storage, and maybe even bins in the doors that will hold a magazine or water bottles. But what about trash?
Resurrect the ashtray, but make it a little bigger, and removable. Lift the lid to deposit trash, and when it gets full, it pops out for easy emptying. No more cupholders littered with gum wrappers, straw wrappers, and drive-thru receipts, or hanging a grocery bag from your gearshift.
9/10 Tail Fins
The 1950s to 1960s was considered America’s “golden age” of automotive design. Tail fins were a classic feature of the post-war era that really should make a comeback. In a world obsessed with going to space, carmakers saw an opportunity to profit off the hysteria.
While they served no actual purpose, and may even have hampered visibility, they were super stylish and futuristic. With our collective excitement over a possible future on Mars, it’s the perfect time for our cars to have a more galactic look, albeit a more subtle one.
8/10 Talking Cars
It all began in 1981, when the Datsun Maxima — yes, Datsun — became the first vehicle in the US with a voice warning system. A pleasant, feminine voice would alert you to “please turn off the lights.” Over the years, the technology was expanded, and some cars even said “thank you,” when you complied with their demand.
These voice alerts had basically phased out by the 1990s. Now, we give the vocal commands. But, wouldn’t it be fun to feel like Knight Rider, driving around with a car that tells you what’s going on?
7/10 Window Cranks
Back in the days before power windows were standard, one had to physically raise and lower the window by turning the crank handle. While it might seem like only a caveman would want to return to those days, there is a practical reason to have them.
If you’ve never gotten mildly frustrated because you accidentally opened the car door before remembering to roll up a window, have you even driven a car in the last 10 years? Imagine if there was a hidden crank you could pop out to roll up the window, and avoid having to turn the car back on. Sounds good, right?
6/10 Spare Tires
So many carmakers are foregoing the spare tire, instead offering a tire repair kit, or roadside assistance. This seems like a great way to free up cargo space, but what happens if your tire blows when you are miles from nowhere?
Even a donut is better than nothing if it otherwise means having to wait for hours for a tow. Spare tires should make a comeback in 2023, particularly in areas where you might very well be stuck in harsh weather for long periods of time waiting for help to arrive.
Technology has come a long way since the invention of the automobile. It wasn’t even until 1949 that ignition keys were used to start the car. Buying a car today means you get a fob with buttons, and probably start the engine by pushing a button, or using your phone.
Of course, if your fob dies, breaks, or gets lost, what do you do? You might still be able to unlock the doors with an app, but how do you drive? Carmakers should bring back the ignition key, so we can at least drive to get a new fob.
4/10 Toyota Van Ice Maker
In the 80s, some models of the Toyota Van (real original name, Toyota) were equipped with an ice maker. It was located in the center console, between the shifter and the dash. The compartment was cooled with refrigerant, and came with ice trays.
While an actual ice maker might not be the most practical feature, it would sure come in handy on road trips. Being able to keep drinks and snacks nice and cold would certainly make long treks much more pleasant.
3/10 Swivel Seats
Way back in the 1950s, the designers at Chrysler had a genius idea: seats that swivel to make entry and exit easier. This idea was expanded upon, and some vehicles even had front seats that could turn 180 degrees, creating a little conversation pit when the car was parked.
Reintroducing this feature into modern vehicles would make life more convenient for everyone. Taking into consideration the different levels of mobility of the driving public, it seems like a no-brainer to bring back the swivel seat in 2023.
2/10 The Dodge La Femme Features
There is no denying that the 1955 Dodge La Femme was patronizingly sexist. With a white and pink exterior, and an interior covered in a pink rosebud tapestry material, it was designed to appeal to “Her Majesty…the American Woman.” However, some of the features are incredibly useful.
Each car came with a matching purse that fit perfectly into its own special compartment. The purse came packed with all the accessories one might need on the go. There was also a compartment on the back of the driver’s seat, holding a raincoat, rain hat, and umbrella. Whatever your gender, these built-in conveniences sound pretty appealing.
1/10 Fun Interiors
The inside of your car is probably bathed in varying shades of either brown or gray; the upholstery is likely either a simple cloth, or real/faux leather. It’s definitely uninspired and very, very boring. The bland landscape inside makes driving less appealing. It was a different story several decades ago, when car interiors were much more colorful, upholstered in a variety of materials, colors, and patterns.
Picture this: it’s a gloomy day, and you have to run errands. You slide into your car (via swivel seat?), and are greeted by bright orange plaid. Your day is automatically brighter. Let’s put a little personality back into interiors!