Car video reviews:
Blast From the Past: Retro Car Features We Loved, but No One Misses Anymore
Cars, like tech, have come a long way. A couple of years ago, having satellite navigation or cruise control on your vehicle was a big deal. Today, cars autonomously switch lanes, self-park in tight spots, and even direct you to the nearest fill-up spot – it’s nothing to fuss over. We've gotten so used to new tech features we've forgotten the little things that fascinated us in the past. Here’s to all those awesome retro features we loved but don’t miss.

Blast From the Past: Retro Car Features We Loved, but No One Misses Anymore

1965 Porsche 356 C Coupe1987 Ford Mustang GTBuick Electra 225 LimousineBuick Electra 225 Limousine1987 Ford Mustang GT1978 Porsche 924
Bench Seats

Automobiles were a step up from horse-drawn carriages. And some of the features carried over included the front bench seat. As peculiar as it might sound, the bench seat offered more room at the front for an extra passenger and was a popular spot for kids of the 70s and early 80s. It was later phased off due to safety regulations and to give room for the center console.

Bench seats came standard in most family-sized cars, notably the Chevrolet Impala, many American trucks, and early Crown Victoria models. Pop Up Head Lamps
Many people believe the pop-up headlamp featured in 80s vehicles was a design fad. But the truth is, it was the result of government regulations on automobile headlamp size. To make cars cooler and aerodynamic (while still conforming to government specifics), car designers opted for a roll-up design that kept the headlamp hidden or available as needed. Pop-up headlamps disappeared after regulations on headlamp designs were relaxed.Automatic Seatbelts
In the 80s, many compact cars had an additional safety feature – automatic seat belts. The main idea was to help remind drivers to put on their safety belts before driving off. While the intentions behind this feature were good, they came with additional repair costs when the belt's motors ceased.

Also, the fact that they automatically strapped on didn’t guarantee the driver or passenger would buckle up. Automatic seatbelts were popular on 80s Buicks and 90s Honda and Acura models.Manual Rolling Windows
Believe it or not, power or automatic windows were only reserved for luxury cars, much like massage and heated seats today. Your conventional car came with manual cranking windows, which meant manually rolling the window up and down. Some cars still have those in the rear. CD Changers and Cassette Players
Road trips meant stacking up your car trunk cartridge with CDs of your favorite tunes. Today, you don’t need to worry about CDs or cassette tapes. Modern cars come with many entertainment features that support internal storage, USB ports, Bluetooth, and streaming apps ready to jam your favorite tunes or podcasts on the go. Vented Windows
Vented windows were a gem during hot summer days. These were triangular pieces of corner glass that could be pushed out to let in some fresh air. Today, all cars come with air conditioning as standard, but a couple of decades ago, air conditioning was a luxury feature reserved for top-tier cars.

The 90s Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram featured vented windows as late as their 1996 model years. T-top Roof Design
T-tops were an iconic part of the 70s and 80s roof design. The 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Generation Camaro, 1987 Ford Mustang, and the 1987 Toyota MR2 all featured T-top roofs. While they are believed to have been started by General Motors, the T-top roof design was picked up by many auto manufacturers.

Much like the sunroof, vehicles with T-tops suffered from leakages. They were slowly phased out after designers discovered they compromised the structural safety of a car. CB Radio
Not too long ago, drivers on busy interstate roads used the CB radio for two-way communication. Cell phones were non-existent during this period, and auto manufacturers offered these gadgets as an additional package on their units.

As ancient as it seems, the CB radio still has a cultic following among truck drivers and a few car enthusiasts.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories