There’s something so personal about cars that it’s hard not to get nostalgic when thinking back to the vehicles we’ve owned over our lifetimes. Cars are connected to so many of life’s biggest moments from being ferried around in your parents’ sedan to getting your first rust bucket and eventually upgrading to your own family car for your young brood, each car seems to have a special place in our hearts no matter how fancy or tragic it was.
Remember those days when everyone piled into the bench seat of the car in a desperate scramble to avoid being squished in the middle seat? The concept of the bench seat was probably not the safest part of old cars as it didn’t quite work with airbags and seat belts weren’t exactly necessary, which is most likely why they don’t exist today.
However, they were definitely useful when it came to snuggling up with a significant other or sliding across the seat when the driver turned a corner in a serious game of trying to push your sibling against the door as hard as possible.
In the days when it was rare to meet someone who didn’t regularly light up a cigarette, almost every car was fitted with a handy cigarette lighter and ash tray. The famous “automatic” lighter that many of us remember today actually had its start in the 60s. All you had to do was push it in and wait for it to pop back out once it was nice and hot.
The feature was only recently discontinued in new models although many cars on the road today still have them. If your car still has a lighter port but you don’t smoke, it can actually still be used to plug in phone chargers or even adapters to play music from your device.
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One of the best features that was added to cars in the late 60s was cassette players. The exciting addition meant people could now listen to their favourite songs no matter where they travelled to. While it was still being perfected in the 60s, by the 70s, the popularity of cassette players started the trend of mix tapes, which was a musical past time that is still loved today. This also ignited the trend in adding CD players and now AUX chords to cars to easily listen to music while you cruise around town.
In a step towards safer driving, many cars had their headlight high-beam switches located on the floor, so drivers could control the lights without taking their hands off the wheel. It wasn’t long until this feature was then moved to the turn signal stalk for easier access. Some cars even tried adding the horn function to the turn signal stalk but quickly realised that was fairly impractical.
Having the gear stick on the steering wheel came hand in hand with having a bench seat. Many of these were three-speed or four-speed manuals which is hard to think about with majority of modern day cars now at six-speed manuals. It was a bit harder to drive but the column shifter is still known as one of the most iconic and nostalgic features of old cars.