Five common car features that are going the way of dinosaurs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 26, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:07 AM, February 28, 2021

Five common car features that are going the way of dinosaurs

Car phones

Before the days of everyone having a phone in their pockets, portable cellular devices were a privilege reserved only for the extremely wealthy. Early mobile phones were not only very bulky, but they also cost as much as an entry-level car. Factory-installed telephones were a popular option in high-end luxury cars from the 1970s to the early '90s, being treated both as a necessity and a status symbol. However, as phones shrunk down in size and cost, they slowly lost their allure. The final death knell for these devices came in the late 2000s when cellular service providers shut off their connection, turning these once ultra-luxury options into decorative pieces.

 

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Full-Size Spare Wheel

Usually, automakers adopt and drop car features based on the market demand and avoid forcing something onto the customers. The space-saver tiers are somewhat of an exception to this rule. As tires grew in size, the automakers found it more and more difficult to fit a full-size spare in the trunk. This, combined with the ever-increasing cost of alloy wheels, it simply became more convenient for them to replace all spare tires with a small diameter substitute wheel, commonly referred to as a "donut" by the car community. Some tried to eliminate the concept of spare wheel entirely, replacing it with run-flat tires and  tire sealant kits, which thankfully didn't catch on. Regardless, the adoption of the donut all but killed the practice of full-sized spare tires, with most carmakers only offering them with proper 4x4's.

CD/disk Players

Although still a common sight on Dhaka roads, head units with dedicated cd players are slowly being phased away from new cars. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the use of CD itself has pretty much fallen on the wayside since the early 2010s, with most people preferring USBs for data transportation. The other reason is the widespread adaptation of mobile phones and music streaming services. It simply does not make any sense for anyone to lug around half a dozen CDs when one can simply have all the songs on their phone. So, as much as some people love their CD racks, they are not making a comeback.

Cigarette lighters

Of all the items on this list, this one is something we are glad is no longer a thing. Before the turn of the millennia, cigarette lighters and ashtrays use to be common on all cars. And people did use them, much to the detriment of both their personal health and car's interior. Modern cars have largely done away with this feature, replacing the lighters with 12-volt sockets or dual USB chargers. Not only this shift has resulted in a positive health impact, for us petrolheads, it also had the added benefit of being able to buy lightly used cars without a grimy, tar covered interior.

Power radio antenna

Cars used to have large metal poles —about 31-inches— sticking out of them. These served as the antennae for the car's radio. The 1/4th wavelength rods were essential for radio reception, and required users to manually stretch them out in order to listen to some music. Luxury cars usually had a motorized collapsible antenna, which automatically extended whenever the occupants turned on the head-unit. Modern cars have traded these impromptu flagpoles for rooftop-mounted "shark fin" and stubby rubber antenna's, which while admittedly more practical, lacks the sheer presence of the old solution.

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