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The Top 10 of ridiculous in-car features throughout the years

Ian Harvey

Everyone has a hobby, whether it be collecting old items, knitting, gardening, etc. Many people enjoy collecting cars and learning about cars. Avid collectors and hobbyists take a particular interest in the years, the manufacturers, the models, and the specific features in different cars.

Over time, cars have gotten more luxurious and have more incredible features. Who wouldn’t want their own little mini bar in their car?

Here are the top 10 greatest features to ever appear in cars over the years:

  1. The mini bar in the glove compartment

    Mini bar.Source You TUbe

    Mini bar.Source You Tube

Year: 1950s

The people of the 1950s must have had a grand old time; there were parties and booze galore, especially martinis and cocktails. Nowadays, if people were caught having a minibar in their glove compartment, let alone anywhere near the car, they would be surely fined. However, the 1950s were a much different time. This was a time where mini bars were not only legal, but when cars didn’t come equipped with seat belts or airbags, either.   The car manufacturers decided that a mini bar was just what people needed while on the road. An amazing feature that came with the minibar is that the shot glasses had magnets in them, allowing them to stick right in the opened part of the compartment, that way the drivers didn’t have a mess to worry about while drinking and driving.

  1. Iter Avto, otherwise known as the onboard navigation system

Year: 1930s-today

Sure, when someone looks at this being on the top 10, they are probably thinking “What’s the big deal?” Almost every newer car has its own navigation system built right into the car. If the cars don’t have their own GPS system, then people either use their plug-in GPS or their phones. Pretty soon, maps will be completely nonexistent, if they aren’t already. People actually had access in the 1930s to onboard navigation. However, it being the 1930s, it was a bit more excessive and confusing than it is today. The Iter Avto worked like long paper scrolls and would fit into a display and could be pulled by a special cable attached to the speedometer. Because of this, the map would only move as fast as the driver. The major issue it came across was that it could only move up or down. If the driver had stopped, he would have had to replace the scroll with one for the new road he was traveling.

  1. Automatic seat belts

    Automatic seat belt in a Honda Civic Source

    Automatic seat belt in a Honda Civic Source

Year: 1970s

As stated above, seat belts still weren’t invented even in the 1950s. The earliest they appeared was in the 1970s as the government became more aware of the safety of drivers. That is when the seat belt was born. Earlier, before the seat belt came equipped in every car, people had to either request them to be built in or buy luxury cars. Many of the first seat belts had been attached to the door in some way or another. Because of this, the driver or passengers would have to find a way to slide under the belts to get into the seats. By closing the door, the belts were secured automatically and returned to their original position. Because it was so awkward to get into the cars, many people removed them altogether.

  1. Travel record player

    Portable_78_rpm_ Source

    Portable_78_rpm_ Source

Year: 1950s

 

Nowadays, people have plenty of options if they want to listen to music on the drive. How did people listen to music before iPods or CDs? Well, they had in-car phonographs in the Chrysler models. It was a small record player that was put beneath the car’s radio. It connected to the radio and was activated with a switch. There were even special records made for this type of phonograph. The downside with this invention is that the music would skip after every bump or uneven surface.

  1. Automatic headlights

    European (top) and US (bottom) headlamp configurations on a Citroën DS Source

    European (top) and US (bottom) headlamp configurations on a Citroën DS Source

Year: 1960s

All cars, save for a few models, have automatic headlights. In fact, many older cars had them, but they didn’t work the way ours do now. During the 1960s, General Motors made the “Twilight Sentinel”, which had headlights that would turn on in dark areas and a timer which allowed the driver to leave the headlights on even after the person got out so that they could find their way in the dark. Cadillac also had headlights called the Guidematic Headlamp Control. Theirs, though, sometimes didn’t sense the light or dark changes.

  1. Chin alarm

Year: 1930s

We know these alarms as rumble strips. Today, they are placed almost everywhere on major roads and highways. They are found in the middle stripes, the sides of the road, and at sudden stop signs. Of course, they didn’t have rumble strips in the 1930s, but people had come up with a different invention. It was a small metal bell which was attached to the driver under their chin. If the driver had begun to fall asleep, the bell would ring and hopefully wake the driver up.

  1. Skull license plates

Year: 1930s

While we generally associate skulls with pirates or heavy menta;, they had a different meaning in the 1930s.   These special license plates were actually given to the terrible drivers … at least that was the plan. In Memphis, people had come up with the idea of branding certain vehicles with skulls to show other motorists who was a dangerous driver and who wasn’t. The license plates would also have “traffic law violator” written on them.

  1. Dog sacks

Year: 1930s

Once in a while, a person will see another motorist who has a dog in their cage sitting in the back of their pickup truck. While the dog seems to be safe, what about rain and the wind? That dog most likely isn’t protected like their owner in the car. In the 1930s, people knew dogs like to stick their heads out the window; they also realized that the dogs got the cars hairy and muddy. So dog sacks were invented. The Dog Sack was actually put inside the car’s running board, allowing the dog to be put inside to get fresh air through the hole. There was also a cage-like contraption invented that had flaps that could roll down so it would protect the dog from the weather.

  1. Wrist twist steering system

    wrist twist Source

    wrist twist Source

Year: Unspecified

This was supposed to replace the steering wheel completely. The contraption used two 13-centimeter plastic rings which could turn independently. It was supposed to make the dash easier to view and was more comfortable since the driver’s arms didn’t need to move as much.

  1. Horse Head

    Nokota_Horses Source

    Nokota_Horses Source

Year: 1899

The Horsey Horseless was a design made in the late 1800s. It is believed a man named Uriah Smith made the vehicle look like a hollowed replica of a horse so that people could transition from the horse-drawn carriages to vehicles. He even made sure people knew that the head was hollowed out for storage.

Source: http://listverse.com/2013/08/08/10-crazy-features-of-old-cars/