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

Cameron Eittreim March 15, 2023

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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