6 Vintage Car Features From the 1980s We’re Glad to Leave in the Past

The 1980s was a decade to forget in the automotive world. Sure, there were some classic cars that we fell in love with during this time, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW M5, and Lexus LS 400. Still, this decade is one most would like to forget. Along with erasing some of the boxy, basic, and boring cars from our memories, the 1980s offered several vintage car features we’re happy to leave behind. Here are six of them.

Impact Bumpers

Classic Porsche with Impact Bumpers
Classic Porsche with Impact Bumpers | Wikimedia Commons

One of the ugliest and worst vintage car features of the 1980s was impact bumpers. These bumpers were mostly gray inserts that were large, bulky, gangly, and unsightly. Unfortunately, design creativity couldn’t do much to cover up these awful items. Thankfully modern technology has moved away from impact bumpers, and we’re all better off.


T-Top Camaro parked at a gas pump
T-Top Camaro | Chevrolet

Blame General Motors; T-Tops became cool in the 1980s and were an iconic part of many now-classic sports cars. This top shape gave the car a bit more structure on the top than a convertible but also offered a cool convertible feeling. Unfortunately, these T-Top roofs were problematic, compromising safety and prone to leaking, but they sure looked cool. Chevy offered this feature in the Camaro until 2002, which meant it survived beyond the 1980s, but it’s gone now.

Velour Seats

Velour Seats in an Vintage Car
Velour Seats in an Vintage Car | Wikimedia Commons

The only positive anyone could say about velour seats is the initial look was incredible. Unfortunately, these seats were hard to clean, made you sweat instantly, and often broke down after only a few years on the road. This made for a serious problem during your time behind the wheel. Velour seats are one of the worst vintage car features, and we’re glad they stayed in the 1980s where they belong.

Power Antennas

Power Antenna in its Retracted Position
Power Antenna in its Retracted Position | Wikimedia Commons

Car antennas were almost as much a target for thieves as the hood ornaments on luxury vehicles. These metal rods sticking up out of the front of a car were typically either stolen or damaged in a car wash. The solution was power antennas, but these were troublesome. Many would stop working after a while and cost quite a bit to repair or replace. Thankfully, antennas are now incorporated into vehicle design, which means you no longer see these items except on classic cars.

Door Rub Strips

Fox Body Mustang with Door Rub Strips
Fox Body Mustang with Door Rub Strips | Ford

Almost every car from the 1980s came with black strips across the lower half of the doors. These strips should have prevented door dings, but they only worked if the car next to yours in the parking lot was the same height. Otherwise, these black strips were ugly and useless. Thankfully, this is one of the vintage car features we can leave behind, much like the overuse of body cladding in the early 2000s.

Front Bench Seats

Front Bench Seat in a Classic Car
Front Bench Seat in a Classic Car | Wikimedia Commons

Nearly every sedan made in the 1970s and 1980s used a front bench seat instead of separated bucket seats according to HotCars. Sure, this gave you up to six seats in a sedan, but that middle seat wasn’t exactly comfortable or safe for the middle passenger. Still, these front bench seats offered a bit more access during a romantic ride on a quiet road, but most consumers preferred having a center console. When center consoles arrived, one of the worst vintage car features disappeared except in classic cars.

Next, check out six useless car features of the past, or enjoy this video with more vintage car features no longer part of the automotive world.


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