10 most ridiculous classic car features everyone forgot


There are many features of classic cars that today’s owners have never even seen, let alone used. Hand-held window cranks, radio antennas, foot-activated light switches and more have graced automobiles in the past. Not to mention the changes to the stereo systems and even the interior materials of the seats which have evolved a lot. Some features are still missing, while others are simply outdated by technology.

Still, in hindsight, a lot of the features of old cars were… well, pretty weird. Some were perhaps too far ahead of their time, while others were far too different to be late at any time. It is remarkable that some of these features have been built and installed in cars, and many have even been in use for years. Here are ten of the most ridiculous features of classic cars once used, and perhaps for the best modern drivers never had to deal with them.

Wrist swivel system

Via Hemmings Motor News

Even in the 1960s, automakers were doing things to stand out. Chevrolet has created this unique new wheel that locks the driver’s wrists into unique brackets with levers to be used for functions such as shifting.

via twitter.com

It has never been used seriously due to the inconvenience of the operator’s hands being unable to move and the levers that are too confusing to use. Perhaps “reinventing the wheel” shouldn’t be taken too literally.

Swivel seats

via Mecum Auctions

It might sound good on paper, but it certainly didn’t work in practice. The idea was simple: a swivel seat that allowed the driver to swing in place rather than getting out of the car. Some models allowed passengers to turn around and converse with the people in the back.


Via: Vintage every day

Aside from the fairly obvious safety concerns that these seats would pose in the event of an accident, the problem was that the seat did not lock properly while driving, which was a distraction, not to mention it was not. “One size fits all”. Fixed seats are pretty much the best way to go.

Water balloon bumper


This one looks like something straight out of a cartoon. In the 1960s, John Rich was commissioned to come up with new safety features for city cars. His idea was giant balloons filled with water that would give a little more bounce in the event of a crash.

Crazy as it sounds, it worked for a while and was popular for New York and San Francisco taxis. What ended up was that replacing those bumpers cost around $ 1,100, which was a steep price for the time.

Related: 5 Classic Car Features We Would Pay To Have In Modern Cars (& 5 We Are Glad We Don’t)

Swivel steering wheel

via Hagerty

From the inception of the cars, it made sense that the steering wheel was always in place for optimal use. In 1961, Ford resisted the trend with a wheel that could be moved to make it easier for drivers to use it. It could even allow the passenger to drive by leaning forward a little.

Via Pinterest

Having that rather than just adjusting the seats seemed off, and there was the problem if the wheel unexpectedly unlocked while driving. That no one has reproduced it since shows that fitting the wheel in place is generally for the best.

Vinyl roofs

via Wikipedia

It’s a sad fact that car manufacturers have a habit of cutting costs and compromising on quality too often. This trend spread into the 1960s and 1970s, as cars, usually convertibles, eschewed regular roofs for vinyl siding. They could be difficult to get on and off, not to mention the pain in harsher weather.

This Cadillac Fleetwood is equipped with a vinyl roof

Via: Wikipedia

They were too prone to damage and easy to tear. Although they have their advocates and are still little used today, the idea of ​​using plastic siding instead of a real roof seems silly to a modern car owner.

Iter Avto

via Lolwot

Long before the advent of GPS, Iter Avto was the first attempt to let drivers know where they were going. Created in 1930, it used a series of old-fashioned charts scrolling a yardstick with stenographers indicating where you would be.


via gislounge

The problem was that there were no satellites at the time, so any change due to an accident or unexpected weather conditions would make it all moot. It also meant having to constantly check the scrolling map, which was a distraction. The Great Depression and the Italian politics of the time ruined it, but it showed how harsh the first attempts at GPS were.

Related: 5 Car Design Features We Wish Them Bring Back (5 We Hope They Were Gone Soon)

Mini-bar glove box

via youtube.com, Mike Freeman channel

Nothing sums up the “style” of luxury cars of the 1950s like this. The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham had a full-size mini-bar in its glove box. It wasn’t just a bottle, but several exquisite glasses, a tray, a small ice cube tray and even magnets to keep the coasters still.

Via: supercars.net

This proves that DUIs were not a major concern at the time. Just try to have it up front if you get pulled over today. Surprisingly, a few Jaguar models today have relaunched this feature despite the difficulty of mixing drinks when you’re on the road.

The ice maker

Toyota Ice Maker

Via: Carcheology

Among Toyota’s biggest flops, the Van died quickly in 1984. Aside from a lame name, it also had a 2.0-liter four-cylinder barely capable of getting 90 hp. To try to convince people, Toyota thought it would be a good idea to give it this… an ice maker. Yes, a full-fledged ice maker in a van that could barely handle a long drive.

via retro rides

Unsurprisingly, it did nothing to attract customers and the Van was quickly put on ice itself.

Related: We Would Buy These Cheap Classic Cars Just For Their Interior

Bolt-on bed seats

via thepetrolshop.com

In 1964, in an unsuccessful attempt to help the struggling American auto industry – a 25% “chicken tax” – was imposed on cars made overseas. Some companies simply moved their factories to the United States, but Subaru was among those that could not afford to do so. Instead, they found a loophole by installing fixed seats in the backs of vans so that they could be sold as “passenger cars”.

via TopWorldAuto

These seats barely had any protection other than what amounted to a ski rack, and while they can be seen from time to time today, it shows what happens when a company tries to skate in line. to regulations.

The lightning rod gear lever

via the Corvette forum

Some shifters can be incredibly cool. It… wasn’t. This Hurst invention was intended to make shifting easier by using three levers, one for different gears and functions. The problem was obvious in that it was too easy for a driver to grab the wrong lever and suddenly park the car rather than shifting to higher gears.

1983-84-Hurst-Olds-Lightning rods (1)

via carswitch

It also looked unappealing and overly intrusive and caused too much of a problem with car computers (already inconspicuous at the time) manipulating three levers doing what one could easily. While it has fans, it proves that sometimes less is more when it comes to car features.

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Changing technology and market trends mean that we will never see many classic car features again, and some of them will be truly missed.

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