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, we fell in love with some of the era’s classic cars, like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW M5, and Lexus LS 400. Still, this decade isn’t a highlight for the auto industry. In addition to bringing boxy, basic, and boring vehicles, the 1980s offered several vintage car features we’re happy to leave behind. Here are six.
Impact bumpers were among the ugliest and worst classic car features of the 1980s. These mostly gray inserts were large, bulky, gangly, and unsightly. Unfortunately, design creativity couldn’t do much to cover up these awful body parts. Thankfully, modern technology has moved away from impact bumpers, and we’re all better off.
Blame General Motors. T-tops became cool in the 1980s and were an iconic part of many now-classic sports cars. This roof shape gave cars more structure than a drop-top but provided a breezy convertible feeling. Unfortunately, T-tops were problematic because they compromised safety and were prone to leaking. But they sure looked cool. Chevy offered this feature in the Camaro until 2002, so it survived beyond the 1980s, but it’s finally gone.
The only positive anyone could say about velour seats is the initial look was incredible. Unfortunately, this fabric was hard to clean, made passengers sweat instantly, and often wore out after only a few years. Velour seats are one of the worst vintage car features, and we’re glad they stayed in the 1980s where they belong.
Car antennas were almost as much a target for thieves as the hood ornaments on luxury vehicles. These metal rods sticking up from the front of a car were often stolen or damaged in automatic carwashes. The solution was power antennas, but they were troublesome. Many would stop working after a while and were costly to repair or replace. Thankfully, antennas are now incorporated into vehicle design, so you no longer see these items except on classic cars.
Door rub strips
Almost every 1980s-era car came with black strips across the lower half of the doors. These strips should have prevented door dings, but they worked only if the adjacent vehicle was the same height. Otherwise, these black strips were ugly and useless car features. 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
Until the 1980s, nearly every sedan had a front bench rather than bucket seats. Sure, that provided seating for six, but the front middle seat wasn’t comfortable or safe. Still, front bench seats offered better access during romantic rides on quiet roads. However, most consumers preferred having a center console. When center consoles arrived, one of the worst vintage car features disappeared except in classic cars, CNBC reports.