13 Car Features That No Longer Exist

Here are some of the popular car features that you don’t see anymore.
Kashyap Vyas
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The credit to the invention of the automobile goes to many. However, Karl Benz is often credit for this revolutionary invention, essentially because his car was the most practical and qualified as the true automobile.

Ever since the invention, cars have undergone a tremendous transformation over the years.

From changes in car manufacturing and material usage to the type the engines, the modern cars that we see today have tightly embraced latest technologies to become more smart and safe.

We still don’t know how many drastic changes are yet to come in future to change the automobiles that we see today.

But with new features, older ones are required to be phased out. While many new features augment the capabilities of our cars, there are often some of the features that we would definitely love to have back.

Let’s look at such features that no longer exist in modern day cars. Who knows we might get a chance to see the advanced versions of these in future cars? After all, history repeats itself.

1. Floor Mounted Dimmer Switches

The dimmer switch used to control the brightness of lighting of a car was placed on the car floor from the 1920s. Along with the headlights, it was also responsible for the lighting the speedometer, battery, fuel capacity and temperature of the car.

The dimmer switched occupied the floor position for almost 50 years and was later moved to the steering wheel for easy access to the driver.

2. 85 mph Speedometers

85 mph Speedometers
Source: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

Hearing of 85 mph speedometers might sound funny to this generation. But, during the 1970s cars were allowed to reach only a maximum of 55 mph, as a measure of safety and low fuel consumption.

The federal law was passed on this and the cars during that time came with an 85 mph speedometer.

Modern cars now have speedometers up to 160 mph, which is twice of what was allowed in the 70s.

3. Rear Hinged Doors

Rear Hinged Doors
Source: Herranderssvensson/Wikimedia Commons

All the cars that we see today have doors hinged at its front. This was not the case some years back.

The doors were hinged at the rear part and opened in the opposite direction. There were quite some risk hazards to such a design which is why these type of doors were called suicide doors.

Also, the risk of falling out rear-hinged doors was much greater than front-hinged doors if any accidental opening happened.

4. Hardtop Convertibles

Source: Sicnag/Flickr

The hardtop convertibles, also known as “pillarless hardtops” became popular in the 1950s and faded off from the mid-1970s. The hardtop convertibles did not have central roof support and were less rigid.

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It looked like a convertible and was a trend of the 1950’s cars. However, the pillarless look had a fair share of disadvantages that came with it. Without having a proper support at the center, the vehicle lacked protection against side-impact and rollover.

In addition, pillarless hardtops have less weatherstripping, which meant more possibility of leaks. Hardtop convertibles were thus phased out eventually.

The 1978 Chrysler Newport and New Yorker are considered to be the last of true Hardtop convertibles.

5. Full-Size Spare Tires

Full-size Spare Tires
Source: ryan Harvey/Flickr

Until now, cars used to come with a full-size spare tire, a feature that every one of us would definitely want. But most car manufacturers now provide ‘limited use’ spare tires instead of full-size ones.

These limited use tires are also known as a donut, space saver or compact spare tires. Manufacturers claim that these limited use tires help them to reduce the total cost, save space and lower the weight of the vehicle compared to the full-size spare tires.

Surprisingly, spare tires are now replaced by tire inflator kits in a majority of the vehicles, which is capable to handle only specific types of tire damage. A full-size spare tire is indeed a necessary feature that needs to get back in our cars.

6. Horn Rings

Horn Rings
Source: sv1ambo/Flickr

With advancements in technology, car manufacturing underwent several changes as well for the better. One vital change was the removal of horn rings, a feature that was considered as a safety measure.

In older cars, drivers were required to remove one hand from the steering wheel completely to honk the horn button at the center.

To avoid that, a ring was designed that allowed both hands to remain on the steering wheel, and stretching a thumb or a finger would do the job of honking.

With the addition of driver side airbags, the horn ring started fading away and the button was integrated into the steering wheel spokes.

7. Vent Window for Ventilation

Vent Window
Source: CZmarlin/Wikimedia Commons

Vent window is a small glass window beside the main door window of a car. Most of the old cars had this type of small window for ventilation.

Like the main window, these vent windows could also be operated separately, allowing air to circulate inside the cabin and cool the occupants without creating a mess.

But with the introduction of air conditioning, this magnificent triangular piece of glass got extinct.

8. Bench Seats

Bench Seats
Source: CZmarlin/Wikimedia Commons

Unlike the separate and comfortable cushion seats and safety belts in modern day cars, olden day cars had bench seats.


These bench seats were not fitted with any seat belts and could fit three people easily in the front row and could squeeze even the fourth skinny one.

Bench seats were popular in the early history of cars because they were most suitable to accommodate additional car passengers.

However, things changed with the introduction of bucket seats that provided more storage options and a sportier look to the car interior.

Customer preferences soon began to shift towards bucket seats and manufacturers had to drop bench seats in their favor.

Bench seats were also replaced due to safety concerns such as airbags, which can provide better protection to two passengers rather than three.

9. Ashtrays and Lighters

Ashtray and Lighters
Source: Vauxford/Wikimedia Commons

Ashtrays and lighters installed in the dashboard of a car was a common sight during the early days. For non-smokers, this space was often utilized to store coins.

But, manufacturers gradually moved away from providing this feature and replaced these sections with tech-focused installations, such as phone charger ports.

10. Long Radio Antennas

Long Radio Antennas
Source: Zuzu/Wikimedia Commons

In old cars, we could see radio antennas protruding out of the side or middle portion of the cars. It was because the radio was only the source of entertainment in the car at that time.

With the introduction of CD players, USB players and even mini TV’s one hardly listens to the radio today.

Also, modern day cars have replaced the traditionally fixed antenna with mini retractable antennas or with antennas embedded directly within the windshield.

11. Hand Cranked Windows

Crank Windows
Source: Santeri Viinamäki/Wikimedia Commons

Crank windows got replaced with power and electric windows not too long ago. Almost everyone reading this article would have seen cars that feature crank windows.

Instead of using a hand-turned crank handle, passengers can now lower or raise the window of their car with just a press of a button, requiring no effort.

12. Audible Turn Indicator Signals

Audible Turn Indicator Signals
Source: dailyinvention/Flickr

Audible turn signals were a useful feature for some people but were a nuisance for many. A clicking sound may become annoying after some time, but it helps drivers to remind them that they need to turn the signal off after a successful turn.

Useful or not, many modern cars are coming up with silent turn signals these days.

13. Keys to Start the Car

Auto Engine Start/Stop
Source: Johntorcasio/Wikimedia Commons

Modern cars are increasingly utilizing technology to eliminate some of the manual tasks, such as turning the engine on with a key. Most high-end cars have switched to electronic key fobs and start/stop ignitions.

All you need is to get inside the car with the key fob in your pocket and press the button to start the engine. The car also senses when the key fob is nearby and automatically unlocks the door.