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Things You'd Like to See Revived In Cars

gkelly3gkelly3 Posts: 38
edited March 2014 in General
I'm a bit retro, but I belive some worthwhile
design features that older cars had, should be
revived:let's hear what you liked about cars of the
past! I like: SPLIT WINDSHIELDS: better
visibility, wifers wipe better on flat surface,
cheaper to replace one side;WING WINDOWS: I don't
like airconditioning, but with wing windows, you
got good airflow through the car-comething you
don't get today-your car stays hot because the air
doesn't circulate;RUNNING BOARDS: I like the look
of them!; FENDER SKIRTS: even on the front wheels!
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Comments

  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Two words: TAIL FINS!
    Oh yeah, wide whitewalls too. Modern car with 50's styling. What more could you aske for?
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Posts: 765
    the price tags - they could bring some of those back!!

    More seriously, I would like to see anything that identifies a car - there are too many boxes around these days, when I was growing up I didn't need to look at the badge to see what it was, I knew just by looking at it.

    I know that I sound like an old fart, but there are very few cars that have character anymore. Persoanlly I am not a fan of white walls and fins, but those cars looked like they were built not stamped out by some computer controlled robot.

    For my car, give me the long hood, the long running boards that extend into wheel arches and wire wheels. Combine it with modern reliability and a great engine and I'll write you a check today.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Yesterday I went for a cruise in my 55 Pontiac Starchief 2dr hardtop. The 2-tone bronze and white paint, the chrome and color inside and out, and the overall look of a 50's car has people looking from their bland plastic robot sedans left and right. Today's cars are way more efficient, handle better, brake better, and all the above-but B-O-R-I-N-G! When I backed my car out of the garage into the street, my neighbor walked over just to tell me how much he liked the sound of that V8 with glasspacks starting up. He put it so well when he described his 91 Honda Accord-"It's a good car, you know, but there's just something missing." Great topic.
  • ls1v8ls1v8 Posts: 34
    How about a Trunk. One where you could , hide three or four bodies...er I mean store a family of 5 or 6's luggage. A backseat and rear windows that roll completely down would be nice too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Bodies in the trunk? Are you from New Jersey?
  • ls1v8ls1v8 Posts: 34
    Parts of my family may be in Jersey. ;)
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    And my personal favorite-bring back massive engines (6+ litres) and power to the rear wheels. Not many cars still offer these features (unless you want a truck).
  • cinemafiacinemafia Posts: 57
    Well the retro styling is in now a days. The VW New Beetle started the ball rolling in the auto market, and it's being continued with the Chrysler PT Cruiser, already out on the streets now. The 50's style is being rehashed in the new Ford Thunderbird, and a Chevrolet pickup based on the '53 Chevy style. So, don't be too surprised if start seeing the 50's, 60's, maybe even 70's remade in the coming ecelctic millenium of new cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't see the new VW as retro, but I think you're right about the others. If you look closely at the VW, it is more accurately a postmodern interpretation of a "classic" design, but there is really not one line or curve on the new bug that replicates the old one. It's really more complex and interesting, I think.

    I LIKE the idea of putting personalit and humor back in cars, which is why I like the new bug and especially the Audi TT, but some retro designs, like the PT, are very unattractive to me...Chrysler is trying to do some very interesting things in design, but god, they simply do not know how to put an attractive nose on any of their cars...they are uniformly clunky in the front end, with the possible exception of the 300M. Nonetheless, I applaud the attempt at some unique styling, even if, in my eyes, they have more or less flopped. Funny, the two Chrysler designs I liked, they dropped! (The Pronto Spyder and ...oh, I forget, an entry level two seater, sort of a 6-clinder Viper). They must be getting even with me.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Speaking of retro, Robert Cumberford, about a year ago in Automobile, suggested that one of the domestic automakers build a full-size sedan based on pickup truck chassis and mechanicals. It would be an affordable rear-drive car for the masses, with V6 and V8 power and even manual shift. I'd buy one in a second. Big engine, 5-speed and soupbowl hubcaps. As they say in the beer ads, "it doesn't get much better than this".

    I think the MoPar two-seater was called the Copperhead. What happened to the four-door Charger?
  • emkayusaemkayusa Posts: 7
    Now that developement costs are coming down (thanks to computers) we are seeing alot more originality, and retro styling in todays and tomorrows cars. I love this trend, the 70's,
    80's, and 90's were hard times for car designs. But now thinks are looking up, we have the Beetle, PT Cruiser ( I saw one on the road for the first time....beautifull, the Prowler, and others. On the way are the T-bird, Nissan's next 240, Chevy's cool truck/roadster,and many others coming.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You think the PT is pretty? Wow...eyes of the beholder I guess...I think it's one mutt of a car myself. Thank god it's small, though...could become kind of a cute runt sort of thing...like the old VW. Chrysler cars need serious nose therapy. Why do American cars have to be so bombastic and styled like they were contracted for a French bordello circa 1900? It really bugs me that we can't put out cars that are simple and lovely, without all these woo-woos and scoops and tortured lines and fat snouts....

    Yeah, Cumberford is great...remember his wooden car?
  • gkelly3gkelly3 Posts: 38
    Why can't we have split windshields? No optical distortion, and much safet (flat safety glass is stronger). Also, you only have to replace one pane. Now if I could just get running boards on my PT Cruiser...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It might help! Actually, that's a great idea for the car...running boards and a split windshield....you should write Chrysler with that one...wish I knew how to manipulate photos, we could try it out on the computer.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    if they'd just get rid of that dumb looking pseudo-37 Ford grill. I mean, if you wanta go with a retro copy of a 30's front end, why that one? It looks ridiculous, and somehow imperfect and out-of-plane. Now if they'd gone with a 38 Chev or 39-40 Ford kind of look, or even the 1941 look of the Cad, Buick and Chev. By the way, in terms of what I'd like to see revived in cars-[I've said it before] why not even a LITTLE bit of chrome trim, stainless and brightwork? Especially if you're gonna go retro, why not a tasteful, 39 Chev front on the PT, done with some fine, restrained brightwork, instead of this stamped out, painted plastic look that is so much a part of new cars today. I just hate all these look alike, bland, monchromatic Camry clones! All new cars are built with the same formula-stamped-out, one piece, monochromatic front and rear, slapped on with pop rivets. Bring back some of the flair and originality from the 50's and 60's.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    Okay, I'm no structural engineer, but I know if you put enough pressure on a flat piece, it breaks, while a curved (domed) piece will withstand more pressure, because it transfers it to the base of the dome. Also, pilots sometimes complain about split windsheilds in general av planes (although I don't think it would bother me.) The real reason carmakers don't do that, however, is that with a split windshield, you have to have two robots to insert the windsheild, where you only need one with a single piece.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yes, but robots NEVER complain!
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    Today it is just about impossible to find a vehicle on a new car dealer's lot that isn't loaded with all the bells and whistles. I was at the Chevy dealership the other Sunday (so I wouldn't be pestered by sales personnel) and it seemed that every full size pickup truck on the lot stickered at $28 grand plus. The only low option vehicles (of any type) he had were some S-10's for about $14 grand and even those still had air, amfm cass and power steering.
    Today it is nearly impossible to get a basic automobile. Wouldn't it be nice to get a full size Chevy that didn't look like a rebadged Caddy?
    30 or 40 years ago you could get a base model Biscayne with manual everything. Do we really need all the junk that is standard equipment even on economy cars today? Simple cars are more reliable simply because there are less things to break. Do I need 4wd, a huge V-8, a killer stereo, cruise control, leather, etc in my wife's grocery getter? REALITY CHECK!!
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    It is a green Ford Contour SVT. The boredom was left out on the assembly line. So was the horn..a good horn - that is...

    I wish they would bring back...or simply BRING..us some nice sounding horns on automobiles. Certainly, with all of today's technology, someone could economically produce some horns that could make interesting sounds.

    Horns don't have to be wimpy or sound blaring. I'm sure a pleasnt sound can be developed.

    The Contour's stock horn is embarrassing. So are alot of other mid-priced or low priced vehicles. I put a set of late model LHS horns on my car. My car's horn system sounds alot better now.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    those purple tail lights come back. Seems like alot of 1950 Fords, Olds, Plymouths,and Pontiacs had those.
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    Are you refering to the "blue dot" tail lights? You can buy a lens insert from the aftermarket (i.e. J.C. Whitney) to put into your tail light lens. You just have to drill the appropiate sized round hole in your lens and they just pop right in, but I think that technically they're illegal in most states.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    mmcsw, thanks for the thought. I always wondered how their tail lights got that color.
    Haven't picked up a Whitney catalogue in years! Drilling a hole in your existing tail light lens is scary. Me thinks that I won't do it any time soon. Although, I'm pretty handy with a drill because I used to do machine and die work....
    If you had a PT Cruiser, then installing some of those things on it would be neat.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    I come across a road kill Racoon down here in Georgia/Alabama, there's a strong urge to stop and cut it's tail off. it makes a good antenna ornament! Unfortunately, my antenna is motorized and retracts everytime the radio is turned off......
  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282
    I can't believe you guys haven't brought up this one yet...

    Why don't they bring back the foot-operated, floor-mounted headlight dimmer switch? What was wrong with it in the first place?

    Dave
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    dhoff-I've wondered this for years. My old cars have the foot operated dimmer, and I find them much easier to use than the already overloaded, corporate "stalks" with all those other functions jammed on a flimsy plastic stick! On a two lane road at night, where you have to dim frequently, it's much easier to do it with your foot than to constantly reach for the stock with your hand. Bring back the foot dimmer switch!
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Posts: 414
    I got one. Whatever happened to the antenna in the windshield? I hadn't thought about it in years until I had to spend $200 replacing the power antenna in my car. It was great not having to worry about vandalism, car washes,etc.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    Re: Floor mounted dimmer switch.

    Years ago, over here in West Georgia and East Alabama, the floor mounted dimmer switches had to be legislated back into autos and pickup trucks.
    Why? For Safety! Many operators were getting their feet tangled in the steering wheel.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    those 20 year old chicks wearing short shorts driving with their feet on the steering wheel...
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Posts: 414
    Plus, in Alabama and Georgia, your hands are already occupied - One on the wheel and one holding the beer can.
  • moparmadmoparmad Posts: 197
    I wish they would bring back cars with some brand identity.When you look at old cars a Ford looks like a Ford, a Poncho looks like a Poncho,and it's your fathers Oldsmobile.Now everything looks pretty much alike.And everyone is in a competition to see who can gain that extra ounce of ugly in their knock off of whatever car was most popular last year.Where is the style,where is the personality?Maybe I'm just gettin' old.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    To me, today'scars look like all the stylists/designers meet in the same room and look at pictures of the latest Camry/Lexus clones to see which one's "hot". Then they all throw there housekeys on the table and go home to whatever the key fits. All the sketches go to the factory, where the figure out how to mnufacture one-piece plastic moldings for the front/rear as cheaply as possible. The damn things go down the line, where they get all the plastic snapped in place. The monochrome, bland, no chrome-no-personality-grey interior transportation capsule rolls off at the end of the line, and, what kind of car was that again??? Looks just like every other car on every other assembly line! And conservative, dull colors? Gimme a break. For 25 0r 30 thousand dollars, [or more-MUCH more!] just think of the sweet classic ride[s] you can buy, and have something that will increase in value yet!
  • moparmadmoparmad Posts: 197
    I was reading a magazine article lately and the writer made a very true observation.He noted that when you take apart a car from the '70's nearly every part on the car has the car manufacturer's logo on it,even if it was sourced by an independant contractor.But a modern car of that same make had almost no markings on it's parts.Could it be that even the car manufacturers have lost the pride in thier rides?
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    I'm glad they are not going to bring seats without head rests. That was one great improvement in safety.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,376
    Just for my first thoughts - the ones I really like are the wing windows and the floor dimmer switch.

    And amen to some difference that really identify a car. That's where I give Chrysler credit (yeah, I know about the front ends, Shifty...) - at least they are trying. You know a Chrysler product when you see it on the road. I applaud that!
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    All my cars (3) have wing windows and I agree!
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    Love wind wings ("spreaders" we used to call 'em, as in "crank your spreaders") and absolutely agree about originality in design. Also, the grille opening is finally coming back. To me, the headlights and grille are a car's face, without which it has no personality. Unfotunately, the trend now is to eliminate the center opening and put two openings on each side (like the Vette, Ferrari, Alero, etc.), which looks really ugly to me. Also miss those marvelous chrome dashboards from the 50s!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Yes, particularly the machine-turned(?) dashboards.

    What I'd like to see is an affordable full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan, built on a truck chassis, with the truck V8s and manual trannies available. Not that I'm in love with pick-ups, but it would be a way to keep costs down.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    Not. On pickups? Maybe.
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    Is that considered cross-dressing???
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    Don't know, Dennis....

    Hey, how about some rear windows that roll down, like all the way....I miss them dearly on my vehicles....
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    Like the '62 Merc? They were kinda cool, but the back-slant looked weird. They tried that same treatment in the 80s Cougars with similar lack of success (and the windows didn't roll down either!). They'd be cool in a Lotus Europa or Ferrari Dino, though.........
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    in rear doors that roll all the way down-and rear side windows in 2door cars that roll down. Look at all those rear door and side windows now that don't roll down. They eliminated these and the front vent wings to cut costs-and boost profit. Same ol crap-charge more and give less.
  • gkelly3gkelly3 Posts: 38
    Remember the early 1960's GM cars (forget the models) that had the trannys in the rear end?
    I always wondered why this design never worked out-was there too much stress on the drive shafts?
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    carnut4: I believe the reason rear windows don't roll all the way down is to prevent kids from leaning out of the windows (at least that's what I was told many years ago.......). But I agree -- if you're sittin in the back seat, you want them DOWN. That was the whole idea behind the "hardtop convertible" (sedans without B-pillars) concept of the 50s. Looked good, too.

    gkelly3: I think the original Skylark and Tempest had the trannies in the rear, for weight distribution. GM was trying to make cars that could compete with the Europeans in style and handling (this is when they built the aluminum Buick small-block), and had a lot of neat ideas that didn't work out too well. Maybe it was the linkages, I dunno......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The Pontiac Tempest had the rear differential/trans unit, but not the Special. The Tempest engine was a 4 cylinder (a 396 Pontiac V-8 cut in half, so it was a BIG four!), and while plenty powerful it was a rough and nasty unit. The Tempest had a "rope drive", which was a long, thin steel bar enclosed within a tube and running on bearings. This arrangement gave a somewhat flatter floor pan and with the trans in the rear, made the Tempest less nose heavy than the Buick Special.

    Coupled with a swing-axle, the whole setup was not all that well engineered and caused lots of customer dissatisfaction, as did the small Buick aluminum V-8. Just about all of GMs attempts at technological innovation in the early 1960s were failures or highly problematical, (Corvair, Tempest, Vega, Cogsworth Vega, air suspension, fuel injection, turbocharging) but they had some styling successes (Sting Ray, Riviera) and produced very good V-8 engines.
  • dgraves1dgraves1 Posts: 414
    I don't the rear windows not rolling down all the way has anything to do with safety. That's what I thought when I first saw it. I could be wrong but the first car I noticed it on was a Chrysler K-car . On most cars, in order for the window to roll all the way down, the rear glass would have to be separated into a moving portion and a fixed portion because there isn't room in the door or a full width window due to the cutout for the rear wheel well. Having a single piece of glass looks much cleaner.
  • denniswadedenniswade Posts: 362
    But my Alfa Berlina's rear windows only rolled halfway down, and there appeared to be nothing to stop them from rolling down all the way. Maybe the Italians are different......
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    One minor correction: the Tempest 4-banger was half a 389. Also, the aluminum V8 was available in the Tempest, but accounted for only about two percent of sales.

    Saw what's under the hood of a Ford Lighting--a blown 5.4 SOHC--and am repeating my request: an affordable full-size rear-wheel-drive car built on pick-up truck chassis. Rear wheel drive for the masses, just like the old days.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 584
    Went to get me some white walls and they don't have none. Got to special order.... What's this world comming to?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    They're trying to tell you something. :)

    No, Shiftright, I don't think I've ever seen an aluminum-block Tempest. The V8 was a lot more expensive than the 4-barrel four-banger, and only available with automatic--the cruiser option. The 4-barrel 194 was cheap, maybe $100, and you could have a four-speed. I've seen a few of those, and a friend had one in high school. The LeMans was nicely styled and trimmed, with a lot of neat hi-perf options, much like the GTO a few years later. Did have an unusual exhaust note.
This discussion has been closed.