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Classic Old-School Car Features That Gen Z Will Never Know

Cameron Eittreim March 15, 2023

Photo Credit: GM

Non-Intermittent Windshield Wipers

Non-intermittent windshield wipers, also known as constant-speed wipers, are a feature in many older cars. These wipers operate at a fixed speed, regardless of how much rain or snow is falling. While they may not be as advanced as the variable-speed wipers found in modern cars, they still g0t the job done. They can be especially helpful during heavy rain or snowfall when you need a steady and reliable wiping motion to maintain visibility (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Hot Rod

Plus, without the need for complex electronic controls, non-intermittent wipers are often more straightforward to repair if they break down. Overall, while they may seem outdated to some, non-intermittent wipers still have their place in the world of car technology.

Photo Credit: State of Speed

Bias-Ply Tires

Bias-ply tires were once a common type of tire used in cars. They were made of layers of rubber and nylon cords that were crisscrossed to form a diagonal pattern. While they provided good traction and durability, they had some drawbacks. One of the main issues with bias-ply tires was that they tended to produce a lot of heat that could cause them to wear out faster. Additionally, they were often noisy and didn’t offer as smooth a ride as more modern radial tires (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: State of Speed

However, some people still prefer bias-ply tires for their vintage cars or classic restoration projects. They offer a unique look and feel that can’t be replicated by more modern tire designs.

Photo Credit: The Drive

Drum Brakes

Drum brakes were the standard braking system used in classic cars before the advent of disc brakes. They were simple in design, consisting of a drum-shaped brake housing and brake shoes that pressed against the drum to slow down the car. While they were effective at stopping the car, they did have some downsides. One of the main issues was that they were prone to overheating and fading during prolonged use, such as during long downhill descents (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: The Drive

Additionally, they required more maintenance than modern disc brakes, with regular adjustments and occasional drum resurfacing needed to keep them working properly. Despite these drawbacks, many classic car enthusiasts still prefer drum brakes for their authenticity and period correctness. They offer a unique driving experience that can’t be replicated by more modern braking systems.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Velour Seats

Velour seats were a popular option in classic cars, especially during the 1970s and ’80s. They were made of a plush fabric that provided a soft and comfortable seating surface. The fabric was often available in a variety of colors, allowing car owners to customize the interior of their vehicle to their liking (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Mecum

While velour seats may not be as durable or stain-resistant as more modern seat materials, they do offer a unique look and feel that many classic car enthusiasts appreciate. Plus, they can add a touch of nostalgia to the driving experience, bringing back memories of cruising around in a classic car during their younger years.

Photo Credit: Hagerty

Sealed-Beam Headlights

Sealed beam headlights were a common type of headlight used in classic cars. They were made up of a single bulb and lens, which were sealed together as a single unit. This made them easy to replace and maintain since you could simply swap out the entire unit rather than having to replace individual components. However, sealed beam headlights weren’t as bright or efficient as more modern headlight designs, such as halogen or LED headlights (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Jeep

Plus, they didn’t offer as much customization or variety in terms of beam patterns or brightness levels. Despite these drawbacks, many classic car enthusiasts still prefer sealed beam headlights for their period correctness and authenticity. They offer a unique look and feel that can’t be replicated by more modern headlight designs.

Photo Credit: Tech Hive

AM Radio

AM radios were the standard radio option in classic cars before the advent of FM radios and digital media players. They provided a way for drivers to listen to music and news while on the road. However, AM radios had some limitations. They were prone to interference and static, especially in areas with poor reception. Additionally, they only offered a limited range of stations, often limited to local or regional stations (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Classic Car

Despite these drawbacks, many classic car enthusiasts still prefer AM radios for their vintage sound and simplicity. They offer a nostalgic and authentic listening experience that can’t be replicated by more modern audio systems. Plus, with the resurgence of vinyl records and cassette tapes, AM radios have once again become a popular way to listen to music in classic cars.

 

Photo Credit: Motorious

Hand Brakes

Hand brakes, also known as emergency brakes, were a standard feature in classic cars. They provided a way for drivers to secure their vehicles when parked on an incline or in an emergency. Hand brakes were often operated by a lever or pedal located on the floor of the car. While they were effective at holding the car in place, they weren’t as reliable as modern parking brakes (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Motorious

They could be prone to rust and wear, which could cause them to fail over time. Additionally, they required more effort to operate than modern parking brakes, which are often operated by a simple button or switch.

Photo Credit: Motorious

Power Antenna

Power antennas were a common option in classic cars, especially in the 1970s and ’80s. They provided a convenient way for drivers to raise and lower their car’s antenna without having to manually crank it up or down. Power antennas were often operated by a switch located on the car’s dashboard or radio. While they were a convenient feature, they did have some drawbacks (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Power antennas were prone to failure over time, especially due to exposure to the elements or damage from car washes. Additionally, they could be expensive to replace or repair compared to manual antennas. Despite these drawbacks, some classic car enthusiasts still prefer power antennas for their period correctness and authenticity.

Photo Credit: Motorious

Track Seat Belts

Track seatbelts, also known as racing seatbelts, were a common feature in classic sports cars and racing vehicles. They provided a way for drivers and passengers to secure themselves in their seats during high-speed driving and racing conditions. Track seatbelts were often made of sturdy material such as nylon or polyester, and featured a harness system that wrapped around the driver’s torso and legs (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Motorious

While they were effective at keeping drivers and passengers safe during extreme driving conditions, they weren’t as comfortable or easy to use as modern seatbelts. They could be cumbersome to put on and take off, and could sometimes feel restrictive during normal driving conditions. Some classic car enthusiasts still prefer track seatbelts for their racing heritage and vintage look.

Photo Credit: Barnfinds

Door Rub Strips

Door rub strips were a common feature in classic cars, especially in the 1960s and ’70s. They were strips of plastic or metal located along the edges of the car doors, designed to protect the car’s paint from scratches and dents caused by opening and closing the doors. Door rub strips were often made in contrasting colors to the car’s body paint, creating a visual accent that added to the car’s overall design (via Car & Driver).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

While they were effective at protecting the car’s paint, door rub strips could be prone to damage and wear over time. They could become dislodged or damaged during rough handling or car washes, which could make them less effective at protecting the car’s doors.

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