A few days ago we took a small trip down the road a few miles to Best Buy to look at some of the new televisions that are currently on the market. In the newly redesigned Best Buys, they have added a massive back wall full of screens playing movies, previews, or nature shows, in an effort to show us how good these shows can look in high definition. Every size, make, and model is available and you could stand there for hours watching each one of them. The picture is incredible, but after a while you have to run and hide in the speaker section, just to get away from the intense light and colors.
Sure, these 50-inch LCD machines are very impressive, but they will also cost you a full week’s paycheck. Yet, that is the way things are in today’s market. If you dare ask for a tube television you will be laughed at and thrown out of the store. Probably not, but the chances of finding an old school telly are pretty slim.
The addition of new technology happens every year in the automotive world too. There are certain devices that once graced the interior, or exterior of our cars that are now only found in the history books. The cassette deck, roll-up windows, and bench seats all seem to be making an exit from the modern vehicle. There are even vehicle body styles that have faded from memory.
These are the top ten devices, vehicles, or gizmos that are no longer found in today’s automotive marketplace.
Hit the jump to see the list.
10) Roll-up windows: These window cranks that once were found on the door of all our cars are being replaced by windows that go up magically with the press of a button. Where’s the fun in that? There was something mechanical about reaching down and manually cranking the level to raise a piece of glass. Every single time it would start to rain, every time you had to get your mail, and every time you went to get fast food you would have to crank that handle. Actually...now that we think about it...power windows are so much easier.
9) Three speed automatics: Most new drivers will never be able to understand what it was like to drive an old three-speed gearbox. We probably should mention that four-speeds are on their way out as well. Only a few of the less expensive cars use four-speeds and you would be hard pressed to find a car that only has three gears in its transmission. In the 21st century, five is the new minimum and six is just right. Certain companies are adding eight-speeds to their cars, but that might be overkill. It’s very possible that the CVT transmission is the way of the future.
8) Compact pickup trucks: Who remembers the old Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet S10 ? One of these trucks is still be being built, but we haven’t heard about it in some time. The compact truck segment used to fly off the showroom floor, but those days have come and gone. People loved to lower their S10 trucks and add fancy wheels. Now, those days are gone too. High gas prices and the emergence of the crossover has aided in the decline of the Dodge Dakota , S10, and the Ranger. We can only wonder how long the venerable Ranger will live.
7) Speedometers that mark every 10mph: In the olden days, most cars were lucky to get above 100 miles per hour. So what was the point of adding numbers above 85? With such a low top speed, automakers were able to use every 10mph on the speedometer. Now, these dials increase by the 20, with just a slash in between. What’s the reason for this new design? Well, most cars can hit 110 mph without too much trouble, unless it’s the Chevrolet Aveo in which case 60 mph might be tough. With dials going up to 120 and 140, there isn’t room to add every 10mph, so we now have speedometers that only show us even numbers.
6) Cheap cars: We all know what inflation is and how it affects our way of life. We also know how expensive technology can be. So, if you want safety features, fancy radios, and a decent motor, you’re going to have to pay the price. Go look at the newest vehicles in our car section and you will see that most of them are priced above $13,000. Sure, you can find something less expensive than that, but it’s not going to be the sort of thing you want to be seen in. There aren’t too many bargains left in the automotive marketplace.
5) Normal keys and normal locks on doors: Buy a Mercedes , or a Nissan or even aSuzuki and you will get a fob. What’s a fob? A fob looks like a remote that your key would hang from, but you don’t need a key. The fob uses magic to tell the car that you are present, then with the press of a button on the door the car unlocks. Some cars don’t even have a door button, they just unlock when you are near.
4) Motorized antennas: Most teenagers will never see one of these on a car or be able to witness the metal rod rise up when the radio is turned on. It might be outdated, but it was still really fun to watch. A motor would extend the car’s antenna to get better radio reception and then it would retract it once the radio was turned off. Most new cars have shark fins that do multiple jobs, or they have the antenna somewhere in the car’s glass. It’s very rare to find a car with an antenna still flying high and mighty, and it’s even more rare to find one that extends with the push of a button.
3) Cassette player: There was once a time when you couldn’t buy a car without one of these and now, you can barely find cassette players. It’s not a huge loss, as most music is played through CDs or iPods. Yet, the cassette player still has some use to modern society. Teenagers and young adults use these tape decks as adapters for their iPods. It might not be as glamorous as its previous job of playing music, but it’s better than forgotten.
2) Massive SUVs: Who remembers the economical and financial disaster that was the Ford Excursion? This was a machine for people with some sort of inferiority complex and made the Earth cry when the key was turned to the on position. Who would ever need to be that high up and drive something that huge? At least the Chevrolet Suburban was a bit smaller, albeit not by much. Both of these machines had their time in the sun when gas was cheap, but now, life isn’t so good. The only big SUVs that are still mainstream are the luxury type, and by the looks of the next-generation Cadillac Escalade , that might change too. For Earth’s sake, we hope that it does.
1) Big sedans: Ford killed the Grand Marquis and then it shut down Mercury. Lincoln threw out the Town Car and then replaced it. The Chevy Caprice is gone and so is the Chrysler New Yorker. The only large sedan that is still carrying on the big car legacy is the Ford Crown Victoria and if it wasn’t for the police, these machines would probably be history as well. Most modern car companies are able to give passengers as much space as they would ever need in smaller cars, without the need for a 100-foot long body and a thirsty V8. The crossover has also contributed to the demise of the large sedan, as it did to the monster SUV.
So, there we have it, a look back in the past at the things we used to love about the former years in the automotive industries. Modern cars are changing everyday and we will likely be able to update that list in five years with a bevy of outdated gizmos and vehicles. If we had to guess, we would say that drum brakes, full size spare tires, and manual mirrors will be the next selection to go. Maybe even the plain old terrestrial radio will be gone, as HD radio and satellite radio take over.
Have any ideas of your own? Feel free to comment below with what you think will be leaving modern cars in the next few years.