Oh, how we love to be pampered. From hot tubs and massages to great food and amazing travel, we want it all. Of course, it’s all relative, isn’t it? One person’s can of beans is another’s caviar. The same goes for cars and what we consider essential or optional.
We asked our Facebook community, “What’s the one automotive luxury you can’t live without?” We might as well have asked if you prefer oxygen, water or food. It was clearly difficult for some of you to choose only one. So you didn’t.
But first things first. You wanted to establish the ground rules. Were we referring to classic cars or modern cars? And what exactly defines a luxury item anyway? We left that up to you.
“For gadgets — distance-sensing cruise control,” Shawn Barnhart wrote. “Heated seats, good stereo and air conditioning are no longer luxuries. They’re baseline minimums.”
Not everyone agreed. In fact, a few of you chose items that haven’t been considered options for decades. Charles Malone must be the proud owner of an electric- or steam-powered vehicle since he considers gasoline a luxury. And Ken Brown checked the box next to “brakes.” They are handy little devils, indeed. Luke Chennell harkened back to the days when windshields were all the rage, noting that “winter isn’t a hell of a lot fun when you drive an early car.” And what’s a windshield without wipers? Gerald Wroblusky certainly wouldn’t be caught without the “automatic windshield wipers on my old Jag.”
Kyle Smith and Paul Owens chose luxuries that were once standard but are now optional or even impossible to get on new vehicles. Kyle likes a manual transmission; Paul can’t do without vented windows.
Troy Nihlator and Wayne Pence might make good travel partners, since Troy thinks a cigarette lighter is essential and Wayne insists on having an ash tray. Other surprising can’t-live-without nominations were remote starter, head-up display and cup holders. David Lord went with the cup holders, although he admitted it wasn’t exactly his first choice: “All my other ones were taken.” Erik Haveman also took the long way home. “After owning my ’73 AMX Javelin (and still rocking the AM 8-track), I just like the sound of the V-8. So I’m just going to say, our gas card?”
Many of you insisted that power is a luxury you can’t live without, whether it’s under the hood, inside the car or overhead. Abraham Valadez went with power windows, Steven Frankel chose a power top, and David D. Aunchman Jr. just knows he’d be miserable without his power sunroof. For Jim Larson, owner of a 4,000-pound 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix, it’s all about power steering.
You also made plenty of noise about horsepower and torque. Gary Hall shouted, “My Hemi!” Robert Love picked horsepower — enough to “inhale the rear tires at the tap of the pedal” — and he got no argument from Rick Collett, who added, “Load me up, baby.” Terry W. Davis can’t live without torque, “the only automotive luxury that matters.”
The most popular nominations, however, involved climate control. Lovers of heat (heaters, heated seats, heated steering wheels and defrosters) logically spoke from their experience living in cold-weather states. “Heat! Michigan would be a bad place to be without it,” Brian Cooper wrote. Bill Swiss chose heated seats because “old guys get cold easily.” On the other side of the coin, air-conditioning was a popular answer from those living in warmer climates. “A/C,” Joseph Storer wrote. “I live in Louisiana. It’s not just the heat, but, oh, the humidity!” No A/C? Louie Garcia suggested a “2/55 — two windows rolled down at 55 mph.”
Then there are those of you who simply wouldn’t survive if you couldn’t have music. Take Triumph TR7 owner Alton Gorda, for example: “Tunes! I gotta have a great sound system.” And Shirley White: “Music, all day long.” Troy Nihlator, who previously mentioned a cigarette lighter, used what we believe is sound-system slang to nominate his second can’t-live-without luxury: “Subs bumpin’!” Then again, maybe he’s referring to a couple of foot-long sandwiches in a dash-mounted microwave. Now there’s an automotive luxury no one should be without.