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Cool, Forgotten Features That We No Longer Get on Modern Cars
There's no denying that automobiles have gotten increasingly better with each decade. Modern cars are more comfortable than ever, they pack loads of cool tech, while supercars come with ludicrous power and speed. Still, some say they don't make them like they used to.

Cool, Forgotten Features That We No Longer Get on Modern Cars

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While some drivers argue that cars were more reliable in the past, some claim that modern vehicles are "soulless" appliances on wheels. While I'm a big fan of classic cars, I can't agree entirely with these statements. But I do think that automobiles came with a bunch of really cool features back in the day. And yes, I made a list of them.

Swiveling seats - Google "rotating, swiveling seats" today, and you'll get pages after pages of results about modern child seats. But there was a time when automakers offered swiveling seats for adults too.

It started in the 1950s when some Chrysler designers felt that cars were not well-designed for getting in and out of.

The option became available across the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth ranges before General Motors and Ford responded with similar features. I don't know why swiveling seats are no longer a thing (perhaps safety?), but they should definitely make a comeback.

Hidden fuel caps - Concealed gas gaps appeared on cars in the 1940s via Cadillac, but eventually, most American carmakers joined in on the fun. In the 1950s, most passenger cars had hidden gas fillers. Chrysler and Oldsmobile hid them behind taillight bezels, while Chevrolet stashed them in tail-fin trims.

Most Fords had their fuel fillers behind the rear license plate, while Pontiac fitted them in the rear-fender decoration, just near the taillight. Needless to say, these cool features became obsolete as safety regulations became stricter.

Windshield visors - Granted, modern cars also come with visors, but I'm not talking about the hinged flaps that are mounted inside the cabin. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, some cars used to come with exterior visors. They looked like shields and were usually attached to the A-pillars.

Some carmakers offered them as factory options, but they were also available as aftermarket upgrades. How useful were these exterior visors, you ask? Well, a 1949 ad from Fulton Shields claimed that such a visor reduced the light intensity inside the cabin by 50% while also making the cockpit 11 degrees cooler.

But you know what, I don't care if this was true or not! I just love visors on 1950s cars, especially Studebakers and Kaisers.

Continental kits - Also made popular in the 1950s, the continental kit was pretty much a covered spare tire mounted in a "tray" behind the rear bumper. It's a bit of a controversial feature design-wise, but I think it looks really cool on classics like the Chevrolet Impala, Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, and the Lincoln Premiere.

You won't see a continental kit on a modern car because, you know, it's unsafe to have an extremely long bumper behind your car.

Hood ornaments - Yes, hood ornaments haven't disappeared just yet. You can still get them on luxury cars from Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Mercedes-Benz. But they're not as popular as they used to be. Back in the day, many cars had not only their hoods but also their upper front fenders loaded with chrome trim.

From human and animal figures to airplanes and spears, hood ornaments added a ton of class to any vehicle, no matter how affordable and mundane. Unfortunately, like most cool features from the past, they've been rendered unsafe.

Rumble seats - Also called a mother-in-law seat, the rumble seat is an upholstered exterior seat that folded into the rear section of a car. This feature first appeared on coaches and carriages, but it became popular in automobiles in the early 20th century. Usually offered on roadsters and coupes, they doubled as storage compartments when not in use.

But because rumble-seat passengers were exposed to the elements and received next to no protection from rain and cold weather, they were discontinued in the late 1930s. Yes, they're pretty much useless outside the sunny season and far from safe to ride in, but they're as cool as obsolete car features go.

What's your favorite automobile gizmo that you can't get on modern cars? Let me know in the comments section below.

 
 
 
 
 

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