Stuff that should be brought back

Modern cars have more and more equipment as standard, and some of it is darn excellent. Personally I can’t do without a trip computer and cruise control, and integrated Bluetooth is a handy an invention as their ever was. But what about the inverse? Why have some features disappeared over time? Here’s what I think should stage a comeback:

Targa tops
z-LAccording to Wikipedia, targa roofs became popular in the 1960’s and 70’s to sort of circumvent certain laws that might come into effect to ban convertibles, on account of the occupants getting squashed if the car overturned. To be fair, you do get targa tops in select cars today but they’re exclusively for high-end sports cars, and still rare since most people prefer a full blown convertible. I’d love to see them return on affordable cars. Heck, I’d love a targa top-equipped four-door saloon.

Very small and light cars with tiny engines
1955-Alpine-A108What you see here is an Alpine A108, a tiny 3.7m (12’1″) long car, with a titchy 845cc engine (or 998cc, there were various displacements). It weighed in at about 600kg, so the measly 50-odd horsepower it chucked out weren’t just to get it to move. Since the demise of the Smart Roadster, the closest you get to a car like this is a Mazda MX-5, with a 1.8l engine, which though relatively small, is still big for what I’m talking about. There are track cars that are very light, but they’re not good road cars. The upshot of a car like this is that performance freaks would get a light, nimble car and eco-minded people would get a frugal little fuel-sipper.

Wind-down windows
Wind-down windowsAm I the only one? Probably. You’ll find lots of people extolling the virtues of a manual stick-shift, but that’s all they’re willing to do manually. I miss manual windows. They were fun to operate. But as I mentioned, I must be the only weirdo in the world who likes them.

Weird-coloured interiors
Blue CX interiorAh yes, there was a time when you could step inside a car and be engulfed in a strange slice of the visible spectrum. Today it’s all grey/black, unless you have a lot of money to go nuts on options. Then you might have white/cream leather, brown leather or, in rare cases, red leather. And this annoys me to no end. Everyone says brown is a horrible 70’s colour, yet if it’s leather, pas de problème. My dad had a wonderful Citroen CX with a fantastic brown cloth interior, and I’d choose that over a leather version any day. He also had green and blue-swathed interiors in other CX’s. Why don’t we do this any more? A car would be much cooler and vibrant with some extra colour.

Unpainted plastic bumpers
citroen-ax-gti“Ah-ha!” I hear you say. “You can still get unpainted plastic bumpers on some cars!” Yes, you get them on stuff like the Audi Allroad versions of cars, or the Peugeot 508 Outdoor, but now they call it “plastic cladding” and are sold as expensive extras!! This is the exact opposite of what it used to be, where having the bumper the same colour as the body was a paid option (you can hear this on old early 90’s episodes of Top Gear). I think grey bumpers look good and are definitely be cheaper than painted ones (otherwise body colour-painted versions wouldn’t be pricier back in the olden days), so why not bring them back?


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