Categories History, 4 Wheels

13 Obsolete Car Features That Today’s Kids Won’t Get To Enjoy

Do you remember rolling down the windows manually with a good ol’ crank? How about fiddling with a cassette tape until the magnetic strip unraveled?

If these memories bring a nostalgic smile, prepare for a trip down automotive memory lane. From T-tops to pop-up headlights, we’re looking at some of the coolest—and most obsolete—car features that today’s drivers are missing out on. Buckle up and prepare for a dose of automotive nostalgia!

T-Top Cars

1980 trans am with t-tops
mybaitshop / Depositphotos

T-tops were a cool car feature that we really wish were still around. Nothing was better than removing those roof panels to feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair when driving down the highway. The first U.S. production car with t-tops was the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette coupe and 2002 was the last time they were seen. 

Vent Windows

vent window on front door of car

Sometimes also called quarter glass, these windows would sit on the side of the car at the front or back of the front window. They would be on a hinge, and the triangular-shaped window would open to allow ventilation or to flick those cigarette butts out.

Cassette Player

cassette player for car

After dealing with gigantic eight-track tapes, cassette tapes were a welcome change. Due to their smaller size and ability to make custom playlists, cassette players became the audio option of choice in cars. Most 1980s teens can remember sitting at the boombox with a cassette tape copying music from the radio.

Vinyl Roof

vinyl roof on 1979 volvo

Vinyl roofs, popular in the 1960s and 1970s, were made to emulate the look of a convertible on fixed-roof cars. Some manufacturers, like Chrysler, even produced floral and paisley-patterned roofs called “Mod Tops.” As car manufacturers began creating more sleek car designs, the use of vinyl began to decline. It is still possible to add a vinyl roof as an aftermarket customization.

Foot Switch High Beam

foot high beam switch

In older cars, near the driver’s left foot, there would be a switch the driver could step on to turn on a car’s high beams. Some prefer this, noting that the left foot rarely does anything while driving, but the driver’s hands are busy. Others say the risk of the switch getting dirty from boots and things makes it a bad idea. A hand switch would later activate the high beams.

Actual Keys

Kids today may not realize that at one time, we opened our cars with a key. The key would lock and unlock the doors and trunk, and drivers would use it to start the vehicle.

Velour Seats

man sitting on plush velour seats

Velour seats were a popular design trend that took cars by storm in the 1970s and 1980s. They screamed upscale and luxury but could not handle wear and tear. They often faded and were hard to clean. And we won’t mention the sweat from sitting in them on long road trips in the summer.

Opera Windows

1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car opera window
Mr.choppers / Wikipedia

Coupes in the 1970s and 80s sometimes had a small window on the latter part of the roof. These tiny round openings were called opera windows. The original use was to help minimize blind spots, but thankfully, visibility in cars is much better these days.

Bench Seats

1967 amc ambassador bench seats
CZmarlin / Wikipedia

Before bucket seats and consoles, front seats in cars featured one long seat called a bench seat. Column-mounted shifters and cheaper production costs made them popular options for car manufacturers. The last reported American car with a bench seat was the Chevrolet Impala, and they stopped production of them in 2014.

Pop-up Headlights

pop up headlights on a plymouth laser
Distancerunner15 / Wikimedia

From sports cars to family sedans, pop-up headlights were a popular feature many car enthusiasts still miss. The last car to offer pop-up headlights was the Chevy Corvette C5 in 2004. Unfortunately, European regulations made producing cars with this feature more difficult and expensive.

Manual Door Mirrors

door mirror on old car
woj231 / Depositphotos

Before electronics came onto the scene, we had to adjust our side view mirrors manually. Parents across the country would ask the kids to roll down the passenger window and move the mirror up, down, left, right, back up, and then back down. This would go on for minutes until the mirror was positioned just right. We miss those days.

Manual Steering

ford mustang steering wheel

Car buffs often miss manual steering and the feeling of the car responding to every input. There was just something satisfying about muscling that wheel through a tight turn and feeling the tires grip the road. Today, drive-by-wire and lane-keeping systems make driving less fun – but it is safer.

Manual Handbrakes

female driver pulling on handbrake
Shtak3t / Depositphotos

Handbrakes were the unsung heroes of automotive fun! Being able to yank that bad boy up and execute a perfect handbrake turn was heaven for a teenage boy. Sliding that rear end around a corner with a cheeky little drift was the best feeling. Nowadays, with electronic parking brakes, it’s just different. You can’t get that same split-second release and weight transfer for some delightful oversteer shenanigans. While some cars do still offer them, they are on a continuing decline.

Cars From 1950s We Wish Were A Thing

From bubble cars to jet-inspired cruisers, the 1950s saw a parade of peculiar and fascinating automobiles that challenged the very definition of what a car could be. Take a tour of some of weirdest cars from the 1950s, where imagination knew no bounds and the road less traveled was the only path worth exploring.

While some of these cars had small production runs, others were prototypes and never produced. But all are unique, and some seem to be ahead of their time with innovations.

Unique 1950s Cars Most Have Not Seen

11 Limousines That Are Completely Unexpected

boeing 727 jet limousine
VACA Limousines / Facebook

Limousines are definitely not boring anymore. Move over Chrysler and Lincoln, there are more exciting limousines out there! From sleek sedans to extravagant stretch limousines, the world of car transformations has been taking some creative turns over the years. Buckle up as we take a thrilling ride through the most unique and jaw-dropping vehicle to limo conversions that are sure to leave you in awe.

11 Vehicle Transformations That Make Amazing Limousines

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