We sat down with the Sales team at www.jaguarofnaperville.com, and they told us about all kinds of features that were found in old cars. From this conversation, we compiled a list of some interesting items. We would like to present you with names of those items, and what purposes they served for the car’s driver and/or passengers. We hope that you enjoy this super interesting article:


  • Phonograph Player

In 1956, all Chrysler Corporation vehicles made available a feature called “Highway Hi-Fi.” Built by Columbia Special Products, Highway Hi-Fi was an integrated record player, which hung beneath the dash.  Highway Hi-Fi used special 45rpm anti-skip records. Occasionally you can find these units for sale on eBay where antique car enthusiasts hang out quite frequently.

  • Automatic Seatbelts

In the early 1980s, Toyota became the first car manufacturer to make seatbelts “automatic”. The seat belts were attached to the door, meaning that you slid under the belt when entering the vehicle. It seemed like a good idea at the time but feedback from customers was not strong.  After all, there was no law on the books that said you needed to wear seatbelts. 

3)      Mini-Bar in the Dash

The Cadillac Brougham in 1957 came with a mini-bar in the glovebox. We are serious, and trust us; we’re not making it up! This really happened but it doesn’t sound possible–what state would allow such a thing? You have to remember that this was over sixty years ago and in most States there were not any Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws.


4)      Rim Blow Steering Wheel

In the early 1970s, Ford and some other manufacturers thought that it would be a great idea to replace the horn-button in the steering wheel’s middle with a squeezable rim that would trigger the horn. While this sounded like a good idea, it had one major defect: as the rim shrank over time, the horn activation would happen at random times.

  • Illuminated Tires

Yes, this really happened, Goodyear made illuminated tires. This was back in 1961. The tires were made of a special translucent rubber and had electric lightbulbs mounted inside the rims. They were slick-looking and illuminated the road when it was dark out. Goodyear decided not to mass-produce them so they never made it into production automobiles.

6)      Wrist-Twist Steering System

Is the steering wheel the best technology automakers can use to steer a vehicle? Well, Ford tried out another method in the 1960s. In 1965, Ford tried to make the driving experience safer and overall better by introducing the unusual  “Wrist-Twist” steering system. Made just for Ford’s Mercury Park Lane models, it featured two rotating wheels fastened to a central steering stalk.  Google it and you’ll see a picture.  The concept behind the “Wrist-Twist” was that the driver would have a better view of the road and thus it was seen as a safety feature. Due to poor feedback, the design never arrived at a mass-production stage.