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If You Had the Power, What Would You Make Automakers Bring Back?

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320
edited May 7 in General

Are there features no longer offered that you'd like to see return on modern cars? Are there vehicles you'd like to see back in production? Do you see an actual market for your preferences?

Don't worry about things like emissions or safety regulations--remember, you are all-powerful. Just presume that engineers are smart enough to figure out how to make your 'commands' become reality.

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Comments

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    Choice of sixteen or eighteen exterior colors, and five or six interior colors. Also, bring back coupes to every model line.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,003

    I agree with color choices - along with hardtops, thin pillars and low beltlines, maybe curved/wraparound glass. It'd be cool to see some brand names return, but probably no spot for them in the market, as they've simply been replaced - for example, I think MB might have filled the role of Packard.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,309

    Wing windows, fresh air vents from the floorboard area, and real external rain gutters. Accessible tie down hooks on the front and rear bumpers.

    Oh, and the ability to carry a full size spare in the "trunk".

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    How about the availability of buying single options, instead of stupid groups where to get one thing you want you end up getting two you don't? All the things I miss are a direct result of imports becoming successful here.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320

    Oh yeah, wing windows! I think power wing windows would integrate into modern designs quite well.

    How about those foot operated fender vents like Studebaker used to have?--nice cool air sucked into the driver's kickpad area.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    Two-seat Thunderbirds had those vents too. I've never experienced them though.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,309

    Never saw the foot operated ones, just the pull out knobs low (or under) the dash.

    The '14 Forester has "stationary" wing windows. Nice for visibility but it'd be terrific if they opened.

    One thing I don't miss are those foot operated high beam switches, although I hear that a few folks miss them.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,309

    Heh, another one - how about a normal sized pickup (i.e. small) with the bed low enough to the ground that you don't need built in steps or a step-stool to actually use the bed?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,003

    Wing windows would be cool yeah.

    Single options are available to an extent on some German cars anyway - as in the home market, ala carte options are normal.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,065

    Both of my Darts had little vent boxes in the footwell area. You had to reach down and turn a little lever to open them. Unfortunately, as the cars aged, and the drains to the cowl vents clogged up, they would become a source of water leaks.

    Those vent windows in the doors tend to leak water, and get drafty and noisy as they age, too.

    I guess though, since they tend to build things better these days, those features would be less problematic than back in the day. I really did like the fresh air vents in the Darts, though. Even though more "sophisticated" cars just vented the fresh air through the HVAC ducts, it always felt fresher and cooler coming straight in through those fresh air vents.

    I remember my Granddad's '53 DeSoto had a flap in the cowl, just under the windshield, that would rise up when you pulled a knob (or lever, or something...it's been almost 28 years since we had that car). So I imagine that would actually ram the fresh air through pretty well at cruising speed.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320

    Those cowl vents were great--you could cool an overheated interior (when the car sat in the sun) in seconds with that thing.

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  • omarmanomarman Posts: 715

    Just a few things off hand...

    1) Uplander took my number one wish for more exterior/interor color interior options. I'd also add that better interior textures - just the touch or feel aside from color - could be better too.

    2) Tone down the current hammered stance of all new cars. Low rooflines with gun-port windows are making new cars hard to look at and hard to see out of.

    3) It would be nice to see more cars that look like cars again instead of SUV/Crossover variants. I think the popularity of the retro look Mustang years ago was driven by more than Mustang-specific nostalgia. It looked like, you know, a car.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    Whether you thought the cars back then stunk or not, the feeling of a lot of choice was exhilarating, IMHO. The best example I can think of is full-size Pontiacs from say, 1967. Two wheelbases; models were Catalina, Catalina with Ventura option, 2+2, Executive, Bonneville, Bonneville Brougham, Grand Prix, and the option list was endless. What fun. For instance, one could buy a full-size '67 Pontiac convertible as a Catalina, Ventura, 2+2, Bonneville, Bonneville Brougham, and Grand Prix.

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited May 8

    Well, I'm sketchy on the Bonneville Brougham convertible in '67, since that's the year there was also a Grand Prix convertible, but I know there were Brougham convertibles in other '60's model years. You get the point. It was fun to pick and choose back then, until probably the mid'80's in my experience.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,065

    I tried to google "1967 Bonneville Brougham Convertible" but it didn't pull up any pics of one. However, it did pull up a '66. Looking at the '67 brochure, I'm inclined to think the Brougham was limited to the hardtop coupe and sedan that year. It shows a pic of both, but then the next page shows a Grand Prix convertible.

    As for picking and choosing options, my '67 Catalina convertible, which was the bottom rung, still had air conditioning and a tilt steering wheel. A tilt wheel was probably rare in most cars below a Cadillac or equivalent, while a/c was still pretty rare in convertibles. In those days, people often bought a convertible because it was cheaper than a/c!. Although by '67, the gap was most likely closing. A Catalina hardtop coupe base priced at $2951, versus $3276 for the convertible. That's a $325 difference. By that time, I think a/c as an option was around $350 or so?

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited May 8

    To me, '67 was the pinnacle of choice in big Pontiacs. There was a lot of choice up until '70 I think, then it got scaled back some. I love their brochures back then, when they looked ridiculously long and wide, always drawn in elegant surroundings.

    Tilt wheel was pretty rare back then in my memory. The '64 supercharged Avanti with 12K miles I drooled over at South Bend last weekend, even in a color I normally am not crazy about, had a tilt wheel, which I knew was available but I'd never seen one. Also had power windows and factory FM radio, both pretty desirable.

    I like how starting in '67, Pontiac really integrated their A/C vents into the instrument panel. A vent went in the upper-center of the panel, and the nameplate designating model would be moved from that spot, onto the glovebox door. The '67 Chevy panel, which I like a lot, still added a lump on top of the dash for the center A/C vent, rather ungraceful. I love, love, love the '65 Grand Prix and Bonneville dash, but would not want A/C as they added the top 'lump' too! ;)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,065

    I think in 1970, Pontiac started cheapening out a bit, and one way they did that was to make a 350 standard in the Catalina, rather than a 400. Also, it looks like inflation was beginning to kick in by this time. The convertible, which had been $3276 in 1967, was now up to $3604. That's a 10% jump in just three years!

    I don't know, however, if there might have been more standard equipment by 1970? On the most basic level, the '70 would have required headrests on the front seats, and side door guard beams, which the '67 wouldn't have had. When were collapsible steering columns mandated? I'm thinking that was 1967?

    I wonder if disc brakes and 15" wheels would have been standard on the 1970? My '67 Catalina had 14" wheels and power drum all around (has 15" Rally 2 wheels on it now, though). My '69 Bonneville had power disc brakes and 15" wheels...but it was also a Bonneville, rather than a Catalina.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320

    I miss those wonderful interior colors in 60s and 70s cars.

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  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 979
    edited May 8

    Put me down for wing windows, but I'd want them manual -- it always takes me 3-4 tries to get my automatic windows open just a crack, but with the little manual push-thing, I'd have better control. And I'd like to have more color choices, with the ability to choose any interior color with any exterior.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,936

    Locally, they used to call them "cozy wings". I had a '67 BMW that opened them by twisting a round knob about 2.5" in diameter. :)

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    Andre, not sure about 15" wheels, but disc brakes were standard for sure on full-size GM's by '70.

    When new, I didn't like the '70 full-size Pontiacs at all. I've grown to like them, mostly because I NEVER see them! I'll take a Ventura 2-door hardtop.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,065
    edited May 9

    If disc brakes were standard on the big cars by '70, would a power assist have been standard, as well, I wonder? I would like to think so, because disc brake cars can be quite a handful to stop without a power assist. At least, from what I've discovered when I've had them stall out...

    One memory that just popped into mind...I remember one year, when I had both my '67 Catalina and '67 Bonneville, I tried to swap the wheels. The Bonneville's 15" wheels would fit the Catalina, but the Catalina's 14" wouldn't fit the Bonneville, because the disc brake setup was too big. So, if discs were standard in '70, I'd guess 15" wheels were, too? Unless the Catalina may have used smaller discs?

    I'll occasionally see a big '70 Pontiac at a car show. I didn't like them when I was younger too, but have grown to appreciate them more, as I've aged. I think they look great in profile, but I'm just not a fan of the too-narrow grille, and the horn ports that give the car sort of a "6-headlight" look. I think that '70 might have been an early adopter of the "retro" look, although in those days it was called "neoclassic".

    I had a '69 Bonneville 4-door hardtop for a few years, from 1992-1996. It was a fast, good-handling car...when it ran. I can't blame GM for it though, as it was an old car when I bought it. And I bought it from my cousin, who was rough on cars. Oh, and it had been struck by lightning. :s Sometimes I wish I had held onto it, but I had to cut it loose when I was on the verge of a bad divorce, and had to cut my losses anywhere I could. With the exception of my 2012 Ram, I think that Bonneville might have been the biggest car I ever owned. 225" long and 125.5" wb IIRC. But, for its massive size, that sucker was impressive in the way it handled.

    Using newer cars such as my grandmother's '85 LeSabre, my '82 Cutlass, and Mom's '86 Monte Carlo, that Bonneville seemed closer in handling and feel to one of those, than it did to my '67 Catalina. Whatever GM did to improve those cars in just two years, they should get some kind of award.

  • trontron floridaPosts: 4

    Rumble seats

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,309
    edited May 9

    @tron, Subaru Brat. :)

    Not really interested in a front windshield shade either, although I guess they make them for pickups.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,936

    @tron said: Rumble seats

    I don't know... a friend of mine used to pickup my son in a '30s Buick with a rumble seat.. as they drove away, all I could see were dental bills, if they ever stopped short... :(

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320

    Rumble Seats---apparently, the most fun back in the day was watching girls try to get in and out of them.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693

    Can't BELIEVE I didn't see hydraulic power steering here! Better yet, MANUAL steering without power boost.

    It is a crying shame what electric steering has done to road feel or any sense of connection with the front tires. Not to mention resistance off-center should climb because of g-forces, not because it is artificially programmed into some computer to do so.

    And I will put in a vote for one I saw above: windows wider than gun slits. I like low sills, really dislike the new trend towards these tiny greenhouses on cars.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,065

    I haven't had a car yet with electric steering, so thankfully I don't know what I"m missing. I remember the first one I drove though, a 2004 or 2005 Equinox at a GM test drive event, felt so disconnected to the test course that it was downright disturbing. It felt like trying to push a miled-up early 70's mastodon with bad shocks and a worn suspension through the slalom. I had a friend with me, and even as a passenger, he could feel how unstable it felt. He actually hollered at me "please don't roll us over!"

    However, they also had a Saturn Vue, the sporty model called the Red Line or whatever, and it was a world of difference. I don't know if it had electric steering or not, but it handled very well. And oddly, I also took a Suburban out for a spin, and even that thing felt nimble and sure-footed compared to the Equinox!

    I also remembered driving a Malibu Maxx, which had electric steering. It wasn't as bad as the Equinox, but I still didn't care for it.

    In more recent times, I've driven a few Ford, Mopar, or GM cars at the events at Carlisle PA where they offer test drives. I don't remember if any of them had electric steering, but they also don't really let you drive very fast, or far at those events, so it's not really enough to get a truly good feel for the cars. There was one year though, at the GM show where they let you take the cars off the fairgrounds and onto the street...that was pretty cool. Probably a big liability, though.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,320

    If cars were light enough, you could ditch power steering altogether--especially if you ditched extra-wide tires as well.

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,936

    If cars were that light, they wouldn't have any trouble making the MPG goals, and wouldn't have to resort to stop/start and electric power steering...

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