8 Forgotten Classic Car Features That Were Actually Cool

In 1938, Buick introduced what is considered to be the first concept car. Since then, automotive enthusiasts have dreamed of what the future may hold. People have been dazzled by the newest features and options and how they might make their lives better, or at least more interesting. Ideas like redesigned body styles, engines, safety features, and exciting new gizmos have captured the imagination and excited car buyers about innovations that will become available to them.
Today, many people look back at the past as a simpler time. Old movies and TV shows are returning as reboots with a vengeance. Still, no one wants to feel left behind when it comes to technology. The same is true in the auto industry, but as new tech is introduced, other features are disappearing. This means letting go of features and options buyers may not even know they’ll miss. Automation can simplify things, and standardization makes things easier for car production, but it can also rob a lot of the fun and swagger from the driving experience. Perhaps these forgotten classic car features are due for a reboot as well.

8 Gated Gear Shifters

One of the features being lost is the gated shifter. Many new drivers never learn how to drive manual cars, and those that have learned to drive automatics are reluctant to start for several reasons.

Part of the reason for the removal of gated shifters is the advancement in manual transmissions and the added difficulty of the gated shifter over modern shifters. However, there is still a desire for them in exotic cars like Ferraris, where drivers want to feel an extra connection to their car and the road. Plus, they have an enhanced visual appearance. The modern gated shifter is a cool feature that went extinct with the 2014 Lamborghini Gallardo.

7 Mechanical Handbrakes

Traditional handbrakes are disappearing in favor of electronic parking brake systems. While they are easier for drivers to use, they also eliminate a sense of security that only a handbrake can provide. Established drivers still look to pull the lever in case of emergency, and a button on the dashboard can’t duplicate that feeling. Anyone who has ever used one knows that parking brakes are prone to failure for several reasons, and that’s not what you want if an accident seems inevitable.

There is also the element of fun they help provide. Drifting is still popular as a sport and something many enthusiasts love doing, but the lack of a mechanical brake not only makes it harder to kick the tail out and drift but also further separates the driver from the mechanics of the car.

6 Full-Sized Spare Tire

Blowing out a tire is one of the inevitabilities of driving a car. In the past, drivers have had the security of knowing that if that happened, they had a replacement on board to help them efficiently solve the problem.

As time went on, full-sized spared were replaced with lighter and less effective donuts, and now it’s a miracle if a car even has one of those. What could be worse than getting a flat and thinking you had a replacement only to find that there isn’t one? Luckily today’s drivers have cell phones to call for help, but that’s hardly a substitute for a spare in your trunk.
Related: Spare Tires In New Cars: What You Need To Know

5 T-Tops

In a time when all cars essentially look like breadboxes on wheels, there is a desire to look different and differentiate yourself from the crowd. In the past, vehicles had unique styling, and one of the options for buyers had been the T-Top. Cars that featured T-tops include the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Daytona, and the car most associated with the T-Top, the Pontiac Firebird.

Over time, these styles started to look dated, but there’s no doubt that modern designers would incorporate them into their plans if there could prove to be a desire for them. Many drivers would love to cruise down the road getting the second looks and stares at a unique classic feature on a modern car.

4 Hood Ornaments

Nothing used to say luxury and class like a hood ornament. It’s hard to imagine a Rolls-Royce without the Spirit of Ecstasy, but there were plenty of other eye-catching finishing touches. Memorable examples include Jaguars leaping cat, Mercedes Three-Pointed Star, and the Bentley Flying B.

You could also find them on more affordable cars, such as the Chrysler Pentastar, the Lincoln Gun Sight, and the Dodge ram, to name a few.
Related: 10 Most Iconic Hood Ornaments

3 Taillight Fins

The Tail Fin was a common sight on many cars from the 1940s to the 1960s, peaking in popularity in 1955. The flared whale-tails were ubiquitous on many of the most collectible cars of that time. With their chrome bodies and red bullet taillights, these design features evoked the concept of rockets and jet engines, technological advancements of their day.

They also served as a way for car companies to sell more vehicles as buyers wanted the latest styles to help them keep up with the Jones. Eventually, they disappeared as buyers’ tastes changed, but they will always make many models instantly recognizable.
Related: Ranking The Greatest Automotive Tail Fins Ever Designed

2 Ute Beds

Buyers today choose from a few basic designs: the sedan, the coupe, the SUV, and the pickup truck, but there was a time when you could have a city car with a pickup truck bed behind it. Combining the practicality of a sedan with the function and versatility of a pickup, the ute was a style that lasted only a short while in North America but is still wildly popular in Australia.

Once a body style with utility and practicality, utes are no longer an option in North America. They began to feel dated, and modern pickup trucks offered more comfort and contemporary style than they previously did. The stylish SUV has also made a serious dent in the need for a vehicle that could haul your family and cargo.
It isn’t hard to imagine that with a slight modernization there wouldn’t be a desire for a smaller, easier to park vehicle that could also provide increased usefulness, not to mention a reduction in weight that would increase gas mileage.
Related: Why The UTE Should Make A Comeback In North America

1 Gullwing Doors

When it comes to design elegance, the Gullwing door is near the top of the list. Associated most strongly with the Mercedes 300SL, the Gullwing makes a vehicle feel special and sporty. Not something every car can afford to offer, the Gullwing could be incorporated to add another level of prestige and boldness to sports cars that would set them apart from the competition.

Today there are a few vehicles left with Gullwings including the Mercedes SLS and the even newer Tesla Model X, but they have also given them a sense of excitement lacking from traditionally hinged doors and garnered attention and fascination.



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