Gen Z Is Missing out on these 10 Classic Car Features

Some classic car features would baffle the Gen Z crowd. While younger drivers benefit from the latest tech, they won’t ever know the feeling of using some items from the past. Today’s cars have evolved to offer more automation, technology, safety, and performance. That doesn’t always mean everything is better; it simply evolved. Here are several features new drivers will never get to experience unless they buy a classic car.

 1. Crank Windows – this classic car feature offered a workout

Hand Crank for Windows are a feature we don't see any longer
Hand Crank for Windows | Shutterstock

Windows used to have an arm crank just inside the door requiring the person in the window seat to rotate the crank to raise or lower the window. Car and Driver offers an imaginative look at these crank windows. Can you imagine moving the crank with one hand while holding a smartphone with the other? Which hand is on the steering wheel?

2. Foot Dimmer Switch – Your left foot controlled the high beams

Today, many cars have automatic high beams, and drivers never have to think about whether or not they’re blinding other drivers on the road. Driving Line tells us about the good old days of the foot dimmer switch. This button required a simple push with your foot to turn the high beams on and off.

3. Manual Door Locks – the classic car feature we could use

Manual Door Lock we don't see this classic car feature anymore
Manual Door Lock | Getty Images

Cars used to have manual door locks allowed access to the vehicle with nothing more than a coat hanger. Today, you don’t need your key to unlock doors. If you locked your keys in the car, you could hook the latch with a hanger and open the doors. Today, you can’t lock your keys in the car easily, and you don’t have to reach over to the other side of the car to unlock the door for your passenger.

4. Dual Fuel Tanks – drive farther with two large tanks

No vehicles today offer the benefits of a dual fuel tank. Older model Ford trucks had this feature, and you could quickly go from empty to full with the flip of a switch. This allowed you to drive twice as far but filling up also cost twice as much.

5. Music Players – classic car models didn’t have today’s connectivity

Car Cassette Player you can't buy a car with this feature today
Car Cassette Player | Shutterstock

Car audio systems evolved with new technology from 8-track players to cassette players and finally CD players. Today, you’ve got an infotainment screen and the connection of your playlist on your smartphone. Gone are the days when you had a CD holder with your favorite albums ready to go in the player.

6. Automatic Seat Belts – a quirky device for your safety

Some cars used to offer seatbelts that moved along the A-pillar and roof to lock into position. This belt was the shoulder belt, and you still had to put the lap belt across your body. When the car stopped, and you opened the door, the belt would move to the forward position, giving you plenty of room to get out of the car.

7. Choke and Carburetors – mixing fuel the classic car way

Car Choke Switch was used to limit airflow into the carburetor
Car Choke Switch | Getty Images

Drives knew a lot more about their cars before computers took over. Owners’ manuals included instructions to adjust the carburetor for better fuel flow and mileage. Many older cars also offered a choke. This item restricted airflow to allow the fuel to get things started in the engine.

8. Pop-Up Headlights – cars don’t wink at you anymore

One of the shortest-lived classic car features is pop-up headlights. These lights looked cool and allowed the front of the car to appear complete, but there was a serious problem. Often, one of the headlight motors would ultimately fail, and then the driver only had one light to see by at night.

9. Non-Intermittent Windshield Wipers – the struggle was real

Old Car Without Intermittent Wipers gives us one of the classic car features we don't see today.
Old Car Without Intermittent Wipers | Getty Images

Classic cars had wipers, but they only had two speeds. Either they were on, or they were off. This means you had wipers that ran fast or not at all. Eventually, an added selector allowed slow and fast wiper speeds, but this was before intermittent wipers. Many new drivers will never need to turn on the wipers; the car will do it for them.

10. Hood Ornaments – trophies found on classic cars

Some of the top luxury brands offered cars that featured hood ornaments. These items stood out on the front of the car with the logo adorned like a trophy. This item became a trophy for many who would walk by a car and rip the hood ornament off. Eventually, this item went away.

Can you think of some classic car features the latest generations won’t have the “pleasure” of using in the cars they drive? Vehicles have evolved, which is probably a good thing, but it’s still fun to think about some of these old features that used to be part of our cars.

RELATED: 25 Classic Muscle Cars That Are Easy to Restore