Author Topic: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile  (Read 3645 times)

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Offline franksolich

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most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« on: February 07, 2008, 07:42:44 PM »
When one thinks of it, what is one of the most useful things one has ever found in an automobile, and one of the most irritating things?

I'm not talking about anything major--such as "an engine that runs"--but just assuming the automobile operates okay, no problems.

Demonic Underwear mentioned something that one doesn't see any more, and one wonders why it's not the case.

In the old days, there was a button on the upper-left hand side underneath the dashboard, that one pushed with his left foot whenever he wanted to brighten or dim his headlights. 

Nowadays they put the light-changer on the steering column, and one doesn't know if he's going to do something with the lights, or send the windshield-wipers flipping.

That was a great idea, this button-on-the-floor thing.

On the flip side of the coin, I personally (which means it's something that probably doesn't bother anyone else a whit) get irritated at inside rear-view mirrors, especially since the vehicle has two perfectly-good rear-view mirrors outside, on the two opposite front doors.

In fact, after buying a vehicle, I've always taken the interior rear-view mirror off.
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Offline Lord Undies

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 08:19:47 PM »
Who is this Demonic Underwear of whom you speak?  A ghost from long ago?

Besides the obvious answers (brakes; steering wheel), the best thing to ever happen to modern automobiles was the invention of climate control.   Driving in the south is a real chore without such luxury.   Power locks, power windows, and radios are right behind.

The thing I find the most useless is the lighted vanity mirror.   The things I miss the most are front wing windows and chrome bumpers.

Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2008, 09:17:55 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.
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Offline Atomic Lib Smasher

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2008, 09:28:16 PM »
I miss cars being made of metal. Now it seems like a form of plastic and fiberglass. You get in a collision at 5 mph, the car crumples up like a used up Coke can. Sure, the inside still has the X member frame and all that, but the body shop work is gonna cost ya big time.


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Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2008, 09:28:49 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.

One of my father's friends locked his keys in his truck.  His truck had those wing windows.  Instead of calling a locksmith, he broke the small window to unlock the door. 

That little window cost more than the big one next to it.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2008, 09:30:14 PM »
I miss cars being made of metal. Now it seems like a form of plastic and fiberglass. You get in a collision at 5 mph, the car crumples up like a used up Coke can. Sure, the inside still has the X member frame and all that, but the body shop work is gonna cost ya big time.

But we have to have fuel-efficient cars to protect the environment and conserve gas.   :whatever:
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Offline Atomic Lib Smasher

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2008, 09:33:29 PM »
I miss cars being made of metal. Now it seems like a form of plastic and fiberglass. You get in a collision at 5 mph, the car crumples up like a used up Coke can. Sure, the inside still has the X member frame and all that, but the body shop work is gonna cost ya big time.

But we have to have fuel-efficient cars to protect the environment and conserve gas.   :whatever:

Oh yeah. We'll have cars that can get 50-mpg, but won't be able to go up an anthill. We got that to look forward to also.


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Offline Lord Undies

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2008, 09:44:54 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.

Power windows and locks have been around for over 50 years.  The bugs have been worked out.   I think they're a keeper. 

Offline Lord Undies

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2008, 09:48:54 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.

One of my father's friends locked his keys in his truck.  His truck had those wing windows.  Instead of calling a locksmith, he broke the small window to unlock the door. 

That little window cost more than the big one next to it.

That's the standard penalty for breaking it.  I once had to replace a taillight lense on my Lincoln.  It was $250.00. 

Offline Atomic Lib Smasher

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 10:04:39 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.

One of my father's friends locked his keys in his truck.  His truck had those wing windows.  Instead of calling a locksmith, he broke the small window to unlock the door. 

That little window cost more than the big one next to it.

That's the standard penalty for breaking it.  I once had to replace a taillight lense on my Lincoln.  It was $250.00. 

Two words........... Junk       and Yard. Just saying.  :-)

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Offline Splashdown

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2008, 07:46:43 AM »
Dual climate control. My wife is almost always cold, and I like my surroundings cool. Having the ability to adjust climate control for the passenger/driver has saved many hours of discomfort.
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Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2008, 01:56:12 PM »
This thread brings back some memories.

I agree with frank about the dimmer switch. I much preferred it on the floor. My biggest complaint with it being on the steering column is that there doesn't seem to be an industry standard on where it is located and how it operates. On my Jeep it is one location. On my wife's truck it is in another.

I also had break a wing window once because of locked up keys. Until the glass could be replaced I cut a piece of quarter inch plywood and modified it to fit. It was set afire before it could be replaced though. The truck was set afire. Not the plywood.
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Offline DixieBelle

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2008, 02:07:03 PM »
Best: air conditioning
Worst: some cars have an automatic kill switch if you scrape over something thereby causing you to panic if you aren't aware such a feature exists. Yes, it happened to me in a rental! I waited over an hour for the tow truck from the rental agency only to discover the re-set switch in the trunk as we removed the luggage.
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Offline OkieJohn

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2008, 02:28:14 PM »
My first car was a 1951 Nash Ambassador.  The little car had lots of features cars don’t have today.

The seats laid down and made a big bed.  A great feature for those long boring dates.

It had a choke.

It had a handle on the dash to open the gas port (gas cap).

On the floor were three mechanical devices.
1. A dimmer switch.
2. A rubber bulb which you stomped like heck to wash the windshield.
3. A level which extended below the dash to change the radio station.

I had more fun with that third one then the law should allow.

Every time I had people in the car, I would point at the radio and hit that switch. Soon everyone in the car would be pointing at the radio and trying to change the station.  I would watch in the rearview mirror and every so often hit the switch.  Then I would act like I was mad because someone had changed the station and I liked that song.  I would point at the radio six times, hitting the switch of course, until that song came back on.  I never told anyone about that switch.  Not even my best friend. That little switch was the talk of my HS.

I think I'll call Bob and tell him.

Offline Lord Undies

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2008, 08:11:41 PM »
My first car was a 1951 Nash Ambassador.  The little car had lots of features cars don’t have today.

The seats laid down and made a big bed.  A great feature for those long boring dates.

It had a choke.

It had a handle on the dash to open the gas port (gas cap).

On the floor were three mechanical devices.
1. A dimmer switch.
2. A rubber bulb which you stomped like heck to wash the windshield.
3. A level which extended below the dash to change the radio station.

I had more fun with that third one then the law should allow.

Every time I had people in the car, I would point at the radio and hit that switch. Soon everyone in the car would be pointing at the radio and trying to change the station.  I would watch in the rearview mirror and every so often hit the switch.  Then I would act like I was mad because someone had changed the station and I liked that song.  I would point at the radio six times, hitting the switch of course, until that song came back on.  I never told anyone about that switch.  Not even my best friend. That little switch was the talk of my HS.

I think I'll call Bob and tell him.

That's a great story!   :rotf:

Offline Taxman

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 08:47:13 PM »
My newest car has the keyless fob.  There is no key...well an emergency one exists. You push a button to start/stop the engine.  As you approach the car it turns the interior lights on and unlocks the doors.  You cannot lock the keys in the car.  Cool feature.  Most useless is the plethora of cupholders.  One per occupant is fine but I was in a pickup that had four in the front.

Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2008, 08:58:23 PM »
My car has cupholders molded into the door compartments.  They're nice, but you're not going to fit anything larger than a medium into one of them.  It also has the ignition/door lock thing. 
If you want to worship an orange pile of garbage with a reckless disregard for everything, get on down to Arbys & try our loaded curly fries.

Offline Lord Undies

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2008, 09:08:02 PM »
I miss the wing windows...I still worry about electric windows and locks.
The best, most common sense design change was expanded cabs on pick ups. I couldn't imagine having a single bench cab now.

One of my father's friends locked his keys in his truck.  His truck had those wing windows.  Instead of calling a locksmith, he broke the small window to unlock the door. 

That little window cost more than the big one next to it.

That's the standard penalty for breaking it.  I once had to replace a taillight lense on my Lincoln.  It was $250.00. 

Two words........... Junk       and Yard. Just saying.  :-)

When one is driving a car with FOUR cigarette lighters on board, one does not think in terms of a "junkyard".   :)

Offline vftb

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2008, 09:17:01 PM »
What I can't understand is that they have annoying buzzers for seat belts, if you leave your keys in the car, if you leave your lights on, etc. etc., but they don't have annoying buzzers for the important stuff for folks that don't watch their gauges or idiot lights (I'd say women, but I'd get slammed  :uhsure: :uhsure:).  On top of the annoying buzzer list should be loss of oil pressure, overheating, low fluid in transmission; get my drift  :confused: :confused:  In my big trucks, you not only get buzzers and lights for the aforementioned, but the truck will give you 30 seconds to pull over before it dies; if you're in a difficult situation, they will restart and run for 30 seconds more until you can get yourself out of traffic.  Saves destroying an engine or transmission. 
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Offline Lacarnut

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2008, 12:31:16 AM »
My first car was a 1951 Nash Ambassador.  The little car had lots of features cars don’t have today.

The seats laid down and made a big bed.  A great feature for those long boring dates.

It had a choke.

It had a handle on the dash to open the gas port (gas cap).

On the floor were three mechanical devices.
1. A dimmer switch.
2. A rubber bulb which you stomped like heck to wash the windshield.
3. A level which extended below the dash to change the radio station.

I had more fun with that third one then the law should allow.

Every time I had people in the car, I would point at the radio and hit that switch. Soon everyone in the car would be pointing at the radio and trying to change the station.  I would watch in the rearview mirror and every so often hit the switch.  Then I would act like I was mad because someone had changed the station and I liked that song.  I would point at the radio six times, hitting the switch of course, until that song came back on.  I never told anyone about that switch.  Not even my best friend. That little switch was the talk of my HS.

I think I'll call Bob and tell him.

You are an old fart like me. I rode in a 50ish Nash Rambler from Shreveport LA to Albuquerque NM to play in the National Jaycee Golf Tournament. Our sponsor drove us there; 5 of us in that tiny car with no AC in the middle of the summer. We were sandwiched in like sardines. Good thing all of us were skinny.

Offline OkieJohn

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2008, 09:17:36 AM »
.
[/quote]

You are an old fart like me. I rode in a 50ish Nash Rambler from Shreveport LA to Albuquerque NM to play in the National Jaycee Golf Tournament. Our sponsor drove us there; 5 of us in that tiny car with no AC in the middle of the summer. We were sandwiched in like sardines. Good thing all of us were skinny.
[/quote]

Nothing wrong with being an old fart Frank.  As long as you bath regularly to keep the smell down.

I had no trouble getting 8 kids in the car. 4 in the back and 4 in the front. One would reside between me and the drivers door.

Nash was a very popular car in those days.  Many police departments used them.  The 51 had two nicknames, the turtle and the bathtub.

You can walk down memory lane here.

http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/AmericanMotors/Nash1946-1959.html


Offline Chris_

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Re: most useful and least useful thing in an automobile
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2008, 09:44:53 AM »
Quote
Most useless is the plethora of cupholders.  One per occupant is fine but I was in a pickup that had four in the front.
Room for three front bench seat occupants drinks and one shared spit cup.  :-)
If you want to worship an orange pile of garbage with a reckless disregard for everything, get on down to Arbys & try our loaded curly fries.