Tuesday, May 24

What Old Car Feature Do You Wish Would Make A Comeback?

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Photo: José Rodriguez Jr.

Today’s Question Of The Day comes from the hotbed of ideas, the cradle of innovation that is the Jalopnik Slack. The very place where queries we’ve all mulled over before, like whether Abraham Lincoln or Isaac Newton would defecate themselves first in an automobile, germinate. The venue where Mercedes Streeter announces the latest deathtrap she’s set her sights on. She always asks us if she should bid or buy, but there’s no use answering because chances are she already has.

Anyway, last week we were reminiscing about vent windows — you know, those quarter windows right behind the side mirrors that old cars used to have until the mid-’90s when air conditioning became ubiquitous. You could pivot these windows inward, directing cool air — or maybe just air — into your face, which was better than nothing before the advent of on-the-go refrigerant. Ever the advocate of simpler motoring, Raphael Orlove shared his belief that the theory of vent windows harming aerodynamic efficiency was nothing more than “a long con by Big Air Conditioning.”

The last cars to feature front vent windows supposedly belonged to the 1997 model year and included vans and trucks from Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet. (Rear vent windows, like the one on José’s lovely 318ti up there, lasted much longer.)

This all got us thinking: What feature, interior or otherwise, do you miss from cars of yore and would like to see make a comeback? Modern cars have shed many little ideas we all used to take for granted, something you’re usually only reminded of when you sit in a vehicle that’s truly ancient. And just because technology’s come a long way doesn’t mean those ingenious ideas still wouldn’t be useful today. Let us know in the comments, and you can expect a roundup of the answers that caught our attention in the Answer of The Day tomorrow.


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