What automotive trends do you most miss?

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Automobiles are more than just transportation. While they may perform daily duties in the manner of an appliance, they do it in a way that enriches our lives. At the same time, the way they change over time reflects the state of technology, the economy, and what customers value. They are a mirror for cultural and societal trends, both lasting and fleeting. Even a winter beater that does little else aside from absorbing abuse can represent a point in time; remember when heaters in said beaters were not even commonplace?

What trends—old or new, tired or fresh—do you notice in the car world? More importantly, are there any that passed us by that you miss? For me, the popularity of Citizens Band radio left us too soon.

chevrolet corvette interior cb radio

I never personally used CB radio, but I was old enough to remember how it percolated into pop culture. My father used it during long road trips: If you had a lot of driving to do, getting on the CB definitely made the time pass for everyone in the car. You didn’t ask, but my Dad’s CB handle was “Holy Cow.” (I found that to be very clever, given my family’s Indian heritage.) A cop on his CB frequency once asked him “Are you a Padre?” He was just an ordinary guy traveling down the interstate, he said.

These days, my father streams music via the Android Auto software built into his Chevy Bolt EUV, browsing selections while the car’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise mode is active. Times have changed!

Dad disagrees with my assertion that CB radios are a lost automotive trend, pointing out that everyone is constantly communicating on the go. A fair point, but I contend that the conversations one had on a CB radio were more like a 2000s-era online chat room than anything else. In a world in which everything is individualized and personalized, this sort of open-access communication feels nostalgic, quaint even.

So tell us, Hagerty Community: What automotive trends do you miss?




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    Can’t say I miss the CB radio much. Other than Smokey and the Bandit.

    But then again they still make the radios and if you want to talk with the truckers you really still can so is it really gone? I expect the trucks like being rid of the car folks that played trucker.

    The one thing I wish would comeback is the floor mounted high beam switch. Granted it is now automatic on my latest car and works well but I never liked the stalk mount.

    I’m sure the loss of vent windows has to do with aerodynamics but I agree with you. I’d love to see them make a comeback.

    Honestly, Sajeev, I think you can create an entire column out of your CB topic. Maybe more than one string to pursue, actually. You once got several articles out of vanity/personalized license plates – how about one on creative CB “handles”? B-T-W, I think “Holy Cow” was brilliant, and your dad just gained all kinds of style points in my book.
    Of course, I started driving semi-trucks in the late ’60s and really put on the miles in the ’70s, right when the CB phase was at its peak (along with cowboy boots) in trucking. And sure, when we piled into the family car to make a trip in those days, the CB came out of the rig and went right along with us. Each of my kids got handles and each took turns calling out to find out where the Smokeys were up ahead. Great fun.
    In my trucking life, the CB was as important as having an empty bottle on board (TMI?), and it saved me more than once. I suppose that most of the truckers today are just using their cell phones for a lot of what we relied on our CBs to do. Auto drivers, too. But honestly, I would still consider digging out the ol’ Cobra 29 and sparking it up if I was driving across the country again!

    Yeah I think you are right, I will add a CB story request to the queue!

    Thanks for your kind words about my father’s CB handle, I get the feeling you two would have fun chattin’ it up on the Interstate.

    10 years ago I bought a used truck that had a CB in it. I made a cross country trip in it and the CB came in very handy. The Interstate was shut down from a bad accident one night and a trucker who happened to be a local guy came on his CB and said, I know away around this if anybody wants to follow me. A bunch of us did and it probably saved us a 2 or 3 hour wait. I didn’t have a handle but I was towing my 1966 Charger on a trailer and they just named me Charger Guy. It stuck all the way across the USA from San Fran to Cincinnati 🙂

    Completely analog vehicles. Even though I swore I wouldn’t, I just went up to #6… a 72 F350. This thing is as analog as it gets, without a microchip or transistor to be found with exception of the aftermarket radio. It performs all the same basic functions as a modern truck, and the only 1s ands 0s going on might be the turn signal flasher

    Yes, I know safety is a factor in the change, but where I live kids these days are not supposed to sit in front seats until they are 13. Some of my fondest childhood memories in the 70’s were sitting ‘shotgun’ while driving with my dad. Just side-by-side chatting, operating the radio or 8-track (!), or rooting around in the glove compartment. I felt like less of a passenger than a ‘co-pilot.’ Not recommended, but I even recall being really small and sitting on the armrest between Mom and Dad during road trips in our big Chrysler Newport!

    It’s surprising that I’m alive. I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn in the front seat on my mother lap in a 1966 GTO. No car seat or seat belt.

    Maybe you might think I was a bad parent buy I let my kids sit in the front seat when they were under 13. I just made sure they had on a seatbelt and the seat was as far back as it could go to keep them far away from the airbag if it ever did deploy. I find adults sitting so close to the steering wheel are far more at danger from an airbag than children far from it.

    Colors. Try to buy any vehicle that isn’t blue, silver, red, black or white.

    Yes, exceptions are out there but for the most part the new vehicle color palette is very monochrome.

    When I was driving long-haul for a big company, they at first had a really distinctive paint job, using the company colors. I used to get hailed on the CB by company name from great distances as other truckers and even regular car drivers knew our “colors”. Then, the manufacturers started making all-white trucks significantly cheaper, so we converted – and blended into the traffic so no one knew who we were. Lots of free advertising out the window, IMO. I still have pictures of some of those “company colors” trucks, but I don’t know of anyone who took or saved a photo of one of those plain white ones.

    Analog gauges. .. Am I the only guy out there who has no interest in driving a computer? I detest the gauges of today, of course I can’t afford to drive one anyway but still.. .

    Why do writers always post pictures in their articles without a description? I see this all the time with interesting pictures. The car interior picture is ????

    Not sure, but the dash and steering wheel look very similar to my 66 Plymouth Satellite but mine didn’t have A/C as this one appears to.

    I miss the simplicity of older cars before the advent of everything “computerized”. Their mechanical feel, sounds, and smells, analog gauges, engine bays where you could actually see the engine and work on it without a digital reader or sensors, unique designs that clearly separated makes from each other, and simple things like vent windows and roll-down windows that don’t require a motor and switch that ultimately goes bad, and costs hundreds/thousands to replace/repair. Finally, I miss having the tactile feel of actual switches/knobs for AC, temp, fan, radio, etc. Touch screens are a distraction that requires the driver take his eyes off the road to find the right “spot” on the screen.

    I agree with everything you said except the power windows. They are a real convenience. In fact my 72 Corvette that I purchased in 73 is finally getting them during the almost complete frame off restoration currently in progress. Not sure about the others, but manual windows in a C3 are a PIA.

    Real buttons, analogue gauges and separate radios & satnav “screens”!

    My passengers used to be able to set the radio or satnav whilst I reversed out of the driveway. Now we only get a single “infotainment” interface, so the reversing camera stops anything else being done. Worst, if a passenger changes the radio station the satnav screen I was using disappears!

    3 on the tree. Trying to speed shift with it. Missing a shift wasn’t fun but it made it fun being a kid in the 60s and eary 70s!!!

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