As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Old Features We’re Happy (Or Maybe Not) to Say Goodbye To

A topic we were talking about the other day was about how the features in the cars we drive today differ from the cars of yesteryear.  It was interesting discussing this subject because it made us more thankful for the newer vehicles that we can drive on the road.  I love classic cars, even cars that were built a couple of decades ago, still believing that there is a place for them on our roads – especially with one or two upgrades that can be carried out on a classic, thus making them fit for today’s purpose.  Here are just a few of the features that were raised:

Cigarette Lighters

A definite feature that we were happy to say goodbye to was the smelly old cigarette lighters, and their companion ash trays which inevitably broke or popped out of their position while travelling.  And what about the burn holes in the seat fabric, the stains, and the stale cigarette smoke smell that got into all the interior fabric of the car?  Saying goodbye to smoking inside cars is a feature that can stay dead and gone in my book.  Vaping isn’t that much healthier either as they add more and more chemicals to the vape.  Just thinking about the health issues that arise with inhaled cigarette smoke in a confined space – let alone for the person who does the lighting up – is enough for me to say “Good riddance”!

Manual Heating and Cooling System

Older cars had simpler manual switches and dials for heating up or cooling down the interior.  I have to say that these work pretty well when combined with a nicely positioned open window and howling fans.  That said, you could only cool the interior down to what temperature the air outside happened to be, so when the temperature soared to over 30°C, at best, this might be what you could cool the cabin down too.  However, old school heating systems still heated up a cold cabin very easily – on most cars anyway –when heat from the engine could be blasted neatly through to the occupants inside the cabin area.  Old systems are usually less expensive and easier to fix if they do go wrong – like when the fan unit wears out or the vents get blocked.  That said, a cold air conditioning system blowing sweet icy-cold air into a cabin on a sweltering hot day is exceptionally nice and hard to beat!


The laws of physics can’t be messed with.  Even a brand new car still has four wheels which can only grip onto the road as much as the pad of rubber that is in contact with the road will allow.  Yes, the fancy ABS and ESC systems are awesome and definitely help save lives, especially in the wet, yet once these systems fail what happens next?

Power steering

Love this one!

Tape deck/CD players

Tapes did have a habit of getting chewed up in the head unit, especially when the favourite songs were played over and over again!  I still like a good CD player.  CD players work really well up until the little laser wears out as or the CD gets far too scratched because it was left on the floor of the car for two months with people accidentally stomping on it, before being rediscovered on car cleaning day.

Alternative Power for Motoring

Electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles, bio-fuelled vehicles, solar-powered vehicles, and they all have their place on the roads.  The thing I like the most about them is that they lower poisonous emissions like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides in a congested city environment.  We all like to breathe clean air.  Introduce them gradually, in a way that’s environmentally and ethically sustainable, and affordable for people to buy.  Batteries still need lots of resources to make them, and cars aren’t the only things consuming precious metal for all the electronics and battery sysems.  The tech for capturing harmful emissions from fossil fuels has also improved massively as well.  Classic cars aren’t that hard to convert over to electric, and this could be encouraged and be much less expensive to do, not to mention sustainable.

Safety Ratings

Car safety ratings have improved out of this world!  Thanks to the ongoing work and input of engineers and research, a modern day car is miles safer than an old one – especially if involved in a major accident.  I’m always going to be thankful for seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, more safety cage rigidity, and crumple zones.  Buy a decent new car today, and it will come fully kitted out with all the latest active accident avoidance technology to keep you (the driver or passenger) safe as well as the other road user(s) around you at the time.

Book Maps

I still love a good paper map in booklet form.  There is something about navigating old school that appeals to the challenge and satisfaction of getting yourself A to B while map-reading.  There is more satisfaction gained by being involved rather than passively letting the GPS do all the work for you.

What have I missed?