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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    The base model a manufacturer made without ANY, or a few cheap options. I drove the wheels of these things back in the day. Now, vehicles have so much content that manufacturers are removing some of it that is seldom used.

    Vehicles, all types with GLASS Headlights that also have easily replaceable LED’s and or high intensity bulbs, something any owner can do themselves. It is beyond ridiculous the high costs just to replace an item that goes out. Glass doesn’t need the same amount of upkeep like all the not so cheap plastic crap on cars today. Many require thousands of dollars just to have a headlight replaced!! Pure B.S.!!’

    Referenced “heaters in beaters” in the beginning of that article. R&H was a common abbreviation in newspaper listings under “cars for sale” meaning it had a radio and heater. Commonly used for many years.

    I miss bench seats for front-seat passengers. With those, you had more legroom up front – especially since you didn’t have a console taking up space between the two seats. The car felt more spacious, and, most importantly, you could get in on the passenger side and slide across to the driver’s seat if you needed to.

    Front crash standards were the final nail in the coffin for bench seats-airbags and shoulder belts were too much work to keep a center passenger position.

    The door vent windows and floor foot vents like in my parents 1977 C10 truck. Pull them open at 55mph and all the dirt on the floor flies all over and in your eyes.

    Open that door vent window (Wing windows, Baby!) at speed, and you better be prepared or there goes the paper map on the dash, along with any drive-thru napkins you put there, and maybe even that pair of “cheap sunglasses” (nod to ZZ Top here) – whoosh. Been there – done that!

    Bought a pristine ’82 AMC Eagle with factory CB/trailer pack from a retired couple. Saved me countless hours on HWY 401 in Toronto.
    Learned a few ‘choice’ words from the trucker guys in English AND French.. .. good days.

    Hidden headlamps, for starters. Pop-ups or valence panels just added flair and fun…when they worked properly. Broad color palettes inside and out. For decades you had options to completely differentiate your car from most of the others in any gathering, right from the factory. Greenhouses you could see out of! Very few current vehicles have open, airy interiors with great visibility and few blind spots.

    I think we lost the side vent windows originally around 1972 to lower manufacturers cost and vehicle weight. I also gives a better seal against wind noise and water leaks when the windows are installed correctly

    1969 full size GM “Astro-Ventilation”. Probably something before that. 1968 C3 comes to mind but not mass-market. 1968 F-bodies?

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