Things You Can’t Do in a New Car

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New cars can do all kinds of things – even drive themselves. But there were all kinds of things you could do in the cars of the past that you can’t do in new cars.

Like snuggle up with your sweetheart, for instance.

New cars – even new trucks – have bucket seats and center consoles in between them. It’s very hard to sit close beside someone in a car (or truck) like that. The best you can do is lean into them a little – and even that is hard because of mandatory buckle-up laws (in most states) that make it an offense to snuggle up next to your sweetheart.

Follow a suspect with your car’s lights off.

It was once a staple of cop/detective/mystery shows – and real life – to stealthily approach a “suspect’s” hideout with your car’s lights off, for the obvious reason – to not be seen approaching the “suspect’s” hideout.

And there was another reason to keep your headlights off in the daytime – so that emergency vehicles, motorcycles and funeral processions stood out from the pack. This was safer for everyone.

Then came always-on Daytime Running Lights. They’re not required by law but almost all new cars have them – or at least have parking lights that always stay on unless the car isn’t moving (transmission in Park). Gen X people – who were in high school before DRLs – will remember that it was the mark of a Guido to drive around with headlights or parking lights on in the daytime.

Today, it’s the mark of everyone.

Peg the speedo.

Cars used to come with realistic speedometers; realistic in the sense that it was feasible to wind the thing all the way around – or all the way across the dash – to the highest number, which was usually no more than 120 MPH.

Modern cars routinely have speedometers that read to 160-plus and many of them are fully capable of achieving it, given enough room and nerve. But few people ever see it, for both of these reasons – so the upper reaches are tantalizingly out-of-reach, like a mirage in the desert.

For a handful of years in the late ’70s and into the early ’80s, the federal government fatwa’d that speedometers read no higher than 85 MPH – to discourage speeding. All this did was encourage people to wind the needle around the clock – past 85 ands back to 15 or 20.

Flip the air cleaner lid over.

Why would you want to do that? Well, before car engines became electronically fuel-injected engines they had carburetors – mechanical things that dripped liquid gas into the vortex of the running engine, which also sucked air through the carburetor. It operated like a vacuum cleaner, kind of – and flipping the lid over opened up the vacuum, so you could hear the carburetor sucking air and the vortex howl of the carburetor’s throttle blades opening up.

Back in the carbureted days, different brands of cars had different carburetors – Rochesters and Holleys and Carters – and they each made a distinctive sound, unlike today’s same-sounding fuel injection systems (most of which have common parts made by the same supplier, such as Bosch).

Carburetors were  also the first thing kids curious about cars would fiddle with, because they were pretty simple mechanical  things you could directly touch and see the workings of – something that’s impossible to do with electronic parts. Which probably explains at least in part why today’s kids are less curious about cars.

Sit facing backwards.

There was a time when cars were regarded as fun things rather than dangerous things and part of the fun was to go for a ride facing the opposite direction of travel. New cars – and trucks – came from the factory with rear-facing seats; sometimes, bench seats that folded out and let you sit three across. Big station wagons – which unlike today’s big minivans had V8s and were rear-wheel-drive – like the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser were the venue for great memories of good times enjoyed by kids who grew up before the killjoys took over (in the name of sssssssssssaaaaaaaaafety).

There were also pick-ups that had seats bolted to the bed (e.g., the Subaru Brat) as recently as the ‘80s… but that was a long time ago.

Crack the vent.

Not a drug reference. Air conditioning was a luxury feature within living memory of people over 40. Gather round, Millennials! Many new cars didn’t come with it. Or you had to pay extra for it. A great deal extra. Many didn’t. But everyone wants to stay cool or at least not feel like they’re taking a steam bath on the way to work. So almost all new cars came with manual vent systems, including wing-vent quarter windows for the driver and front seat passenger as well as a system of pull knobs under the dash you could open – or close – to let outside air flow inside the car with the windows shut (helpful in the rain).

At speed, these ventilation systems were surprisingly effective – and they were very cheap.

All modern cars have AC as part of the standard equipment suite and so do not have manual ventilation systems. This means you’re dependent on the AC to keep from shvitzing in the summer sun. Put more finely, you can’t make do without the AC.

Which means you have to pay to get it fixed – if you don’t want to shvitz!

Dim the lights with your feets.

In a new car, if you want to turn the high beams on (or turn them off) you generally pull a stalk, which of course entails taking at least one hand off the wheel. It also entails the risk of inadvertently engaging something else – because it’s common for the stalk that controls the high beam on/off to control other functions, such as windshield wipers. In a few cars, the stalk you think turns the high beams on/off controls which gear the transmission is in. This includes Reverse – and Park. Luckily, the engineers anticipated the problem and the system won’t put the transmission in Reverse or Park if the car is moving forward.

In the past, most cars – at least, most American cars – had a floor-mounted dimmer switch that you engaged with your foot. This kept both hands on the wheel and eliminated any possible operational confusion involving multi-function stalks.

And in those halcyon days of yore, most people turned their brights off faster than today’s automatic high beam systems do; some of these bathe opposing traffic in searing blue-white light for several retina-assaulting seconds before languidly switching off the brights.

Back in the day, of course, drivers were expected to be courteous. Today, drivers are encouraged – by automated systems – to be unconscious.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. As I age, I’m discovering that my younger years were decidedly better than I thought. I kinda miss riding tailgunner….

    And my shirt is usually untucked because I carry, and it’s a very simple way to conceal the firearm.

  2. Agree with all but one thing here. Stalk mounted dimmer is better than the floor.


    If you have your hands at 9-3 (not 10-2) you can operate the stalk with just your middle finger. The same applies to most cars that have their wipers in the right stalk, middle finger can operate that as well without having to move your hands from the steering wheel to perform the operation.

    10-2 is fine if you have a ’55 Buick with no power steering but, today you don’t need that kind of leverage to more the wheel. 9-3 is symmetrical and gives you more control. You can use it in all but the most tight turning situations, e.g. parking lots. Also, notice that in F1 and Indycar the steering wheels are no longer round but, rectangular. 9-3 is the only place to put your hands. If it’s good enough for Lewis Hamilton, it’s good enough for you.

    Also, now that you have mastered 9-3 and using the new method of using only your middle finger to operate your dimmer you have much better car control AND you now have a positive use for that middle finger…it’s not just for your opinions anymore…use this new power for good…not evil.

  3. Nothing like it, cars from the good old days when people used to tuck in their shirts.

    Eric, how come no one tucks in their shirt anymore?

    • They need it to flay out over their gut I guess. Seems like I’m one of the few truckers who has a tucked in shirt, heavily starched and creased Wranglers, a clean hat and old school brown tint Aviators. It’s the opposite look of the convenience store crowd and the tatted cops with 100 rds each of two different calibers. I have my Chevy Orange 3/4″ X 2′ rebar tire thumper so they can see the flash just before it hits.

    • Hi Lost,

      Our civilization is crumbing, that’s why. Beauty and excellence and respect for achievement as well as the quiet dignities are being replaced – have been replaced – by ugliness and mediocrity and least-common-denominatorism. The culture of the underclass is to be emulated rather than eschewed. The Romans of the 4th century would understand; also the people of 1920s Germany and Russia 20 years earlier.

      You can feel it and hear it and even smell it. Death is in the air.

      • eric, death is in the air. I have been watching a YT channel called Geoengineering Watch for a year or so. Those chemtrails are killing the earth, the very reason trees are dying off in forests and bees are dying(Roundup is helping on that score too).

        Working construction I commonly drive all day and of course in the dark too. But daylight driving allows you to see the huge amount of aluminum and other metals being put into the atmosphere.

        Although you may not be able to identify the plane visually, it’s almost always a KC 135 that’s been modified with spray nozzles. If you look around(DDG, not Googuhl), you can find videos of them in action. They hold about 100 tons so counting the chemtrails and multiplying by that is close to what’s been sprayed in that area in a few hours.

        I have to wonder if the pilots are really so clueless as to what they’re doing. I imagine they just tell themselves a lie or three.

        • Something like when I was a kid lying on my back looking up in the summer sky seeing puffy white cumulus against a deep blue background and identifying an airplane with real con-trails that lasted such a short while.

  4. Did ALL of the above in at least the 1st 10 cars I owned & drove. Can still do all of the above with my 74 pickup, but that’s about it. Found a good 250 motor that I will hopefully be transplanting into it within the next 12 months. A 400 would be do-able, but I want to keep the six-banger for sentimental reasons, or maybe just “mental” reasons, lol!

  5. I have warm memories of my dad’s Olds Custom Cruiser. It was a 455 powered barge with an electric clam shell back gate and a jump seat behind the passenger’s seat. Blizzard cold R-12 A/C and a pretty good 8 track stereo too- well, good for 1974. My little sister and I used to sit on the tailgate when the rear window was down and hold our heads up over the roof line when dad reached our neighborhood. I suspect the SS would have taken us from our parents had that happened in 2019. Effin’ Nazi do-gooders have really ripped off today’s kids.

    • Was that the “magic” tailgate that would disappear into the body, OR swing down like a regular tail gate? I used to mow lawns for most of the neighbors on our street in Florida (believe me, now I’D pay a 14 y.o. kid to cut the grass in a typical 95° F and 90% humidity Central Florida summer day, broken up only by that 15 minute thunderstorm that comes up like clockwork at 4:30 pm (and an hour later, not a cloud in the sky!) daily.). We had this fairly young family that had one, the woman of the house was in her late 20s with a toddler when they moved in and she popped out two more in the three years until we moved away. The gal drove that Olds “tank”, it was a ’73, I believe, that had that funky tailgate and an Olds 400 under the hood, and with that cream color, BLACK vinyl upholstery that would make her kid scream her fool lungs out when she was plopped on it!

      End of an era…we didn’t drive “cars”, we drove main battle tanks with chrome and hub caps!

  6. Shit! I remember when my pops used to have a rare 1987(?) Ford Taurus MT-5 station wagon with a 5-speed in it. That car also had those rear facing “tailgate” seats that my brother and I used to sit in all the time. That thing sat so low that when all the seats were filled, the rear end would scrape against the curb while coming out of a parking lot. 😅

    Good times.

    • Hi Gooberment,

      Indeed, electric cars are the shit! Which, of course, is why they have to be mandated and subsidized. But for some odd reason these verities pass over the heads of most people, or at least lots of them.

      I wish I knew why!

  7. “And in those halcyon days of yore, most people turned their brights off faster than today’s automatic high beam systems do; some of these bathe opposing traffic in searing blue-white light for several retina-assaulting seconds before languidly switching off the brights.”

    The low beams of today are brighter than the high beams of yore, and don’t get me started on the LEDs that all the Big Rigs seem to run now. Even the tail lights on late model cars burn the retinas.

    • What’s even worse is that not only do LED’s blind oncoming traffic; they are also no more effective than traditional halogen headlamps!

      But hey, we got the technology, so why not?

        • Brent, I agree. Those LED’s are blinders and nobody that has a new pickup in this part of the country seems to realize headlights need to be dimmed in the dark.

      • Glad I found this before I upgraded to LED bulbs on my car. Still considering doing it on the back end for the instant illumination and possible better visibility.

      • Done correctly, they are more effective. But that’s the rub-most people have zero clue how to do LEDs “right”. Best example I can give is that 10 of 10 do not re-adjust their headlights after doing a bulb swap, and you have to, or they’re aimed way too high for the new pattern.

        I’ve swapped out all of my lights for LEDs in my pickup truck. I spent a week getting the headlights right. Of course, I also swapped the old degraded headlight housing for projectors, and that complicated things. But no one flips their lights at me at night.

        I’ve also swapped out the ones in my wife’s now former car, which already had projectors. Still had to adjust them down.

        Not all new tech is bad. Most is just employed poorly by idiots.

        • The biggest barrier to doing headlamps correctly are the USDOT requirements. Namely the requirement for upward light. Then the cutoffs. It is or was possible to design a good compliant headlamp but at difficulty and expense.

    • Part of the glare problem with LEDs is the headlamps are still going to need to be set up to regs that were probably last revised in the 1950s. Regs that were wrong even then. The idea that the bureaucrats have is that light must be deliberately aimed upward to light up over head signs. Of course in europe that’s not required and everyone reads the overhead signs just fine.

  8. The loss of freedom with cars is in line with loss of freedom in other aspects of our lives. I think we’re reaching peak state. We’ve now got a corrupt real estate mogul for president, and his most likely competition is wealthy communists. This won’t end well.

    Eric mentioned high beams, which made me realize, that I’m now constantly accosted by people driving around with them on. One lady parked next to me after blinding me, and I asked her why she has the highs on, and she didn’t realize that she did. Are other as oblivious as her?

    • I started to bring a really bright flashlight with me if they don’t dim them after 2 flashes from me I point it right into their eyes. I think it’s people on the got damned phone. When you’re looking at a bright screen then the road the lights don’t seem so bright.

  9. Now I’m really convinced on selling my Audi for a classic.

    He’s been good to me for years, and have memories with him, but hit the wall with the potential outside an engine swap and it’s time for something different.

    Now is there any classic imports you’d recommend, as I never owned a Jap and never experienced a real BMW outside taking an e36 M3 for a spin around the block

  10. I bought a 1970 Caprice a few years ago, and the very first time I took my wife for a ride after the purchase, I helped her in the passenger side, and when I went around and got into the driver’s side, she was already sitting in the middle of the bench seat with a big smile on her face. She knew. What’s the point of a bench seat if you can’t snuggle up to your sweetheart?

    It’s got the floor mounted dimmer switch, and yes, I’ve flipped the air cleaner lid.

    • Absolutely Mainer. I always used to like my Ford truck with the BW 4 speed. If I put it in reverse it was right on her thigh :). Always appreciated the engineer who designed that feature. Easter egg of the old days.

      • Bin, like in my 55 Chevy pickup. With guys on the outside and two girls on the inside, first and fourth were right down almost touching the seat. I thought well of whoever set them up that way. Never had a girl complain, after all, it was what it was. aha.

    • Back when we were logging we would save gas by buying groceries when I delivered logs to town. The truck had absolutely no bed whatsoever, just the log bunks, so we would stack all our newly gotten grub on the floor and the seat by the passenger door and she would sit in the middle. All the gears were fun 😉

  11. Only one of those things I really miss……the vent windows. So useful in so many ways. Also miss the big, accessible ash trays, and accessible cigarette lighters. (Also so useful back then.)

    Never heard of flipping the air filter lid. Certainly heard of removing the whole air filter, to improve air intake. Didn’t notice much difference, except for the different sound, which led some to think they were going faster.

    And you certainly can peg the speedo on modern cars. All you need is driving skill, and a relatively straight, level, cop scarce, open road. Some of those still exist. But I’ll refrain from naming any.

    • Hi Mike!

      I have found it challenging to peg the speedos in new cars – for two reasons. One, the speedos generally run to at least 140 MPH (160 is typical) and – two – even very powerful cars begin to slow down noticeably around 140 or so. You need a lot of “runway” to get to 160-plus. Straight, clear runway. That is hard to find on the East Coast.

      I’ve only broken 170 a few times…on bikes only!

      • Eric, these new cars, even sports cars, slow down so much after about 130-140 that it’s almost impossible to peg a 160 in the midwest too! You’d have to be in south dakota or kansas or someplace like that. There are a few stretches long and straight enough but usually the cops know or the road isn’t maintained well enough to risk those kind of speeds.

        • Hi Mark,

          Yup; I can amen this – from experience. Drag is a . . . drag! The other thing is that above 150, the slightest steering or brake inputs can have huge (and not good) consequences. You want a very straight/smooth stretch of road to make the attempt…

          • eric, I hung out in a town 9 miles away from another town. There was S curves for a RR track halfway. I’d be going fast enough that all I could get out of 4 drum brakes was back to 120. It was a sub 4 minute drive.

  12. Hey Eric,

    “Like snuggle up with your sweetheart, for instance.

    New cars – even new trucks – have bucket seats and center consoles in between them”.

    When I bought my Dakota new in 2002, Dodge offered either a split bench seat or bucket seats. The split bench had a hinged center console that could be pulled back, nestling into an opening in the seat back to make a full bench. This was a requirement for me. All of the sales people were perplexed, “why do you want that”, they said. I thought, what the hell is wrong with these kids?


    • Jeremy,

      “what the hell is wrong with these kids?”

      If I honestly answered that I couldn’t finish the list by the end of the year. So the short answer is that they have been retarded.

      Just as a governor on a mini bike retards the speed (and slows the forward progress), these kids have had their forward progress slowed.

      Maybe even reversed.

      With the proliferation of governors (governing bodies) these kids have entirely missed out on the maturation process that the over 40 crowd experienced.

      I don’t know if you are familiar with the Free Range Kids gal over at Reason, but Lenore (I can’t spell her last name) claims that the current trend results in unhealthy children.

      George Carlin said something about letting a kid play with a fucking stick. This no longer happens.

      Mark Scott – 1270AM – said that “They don’t know, and they don’t know they don’t know.”

      I say the “INTENDED CONSEQUENCES” of sensory deprivation vis a vis car seats has finally come to fruition.

      • Hey Tuanorea,

        Her name’s Lenore Skenazy and she’s amazing. She and Jonathan Haidt are working hard to make it normal again to raise kids “normally”. You know, like we were. They are correct to note that the current safety hysteria is producing emotionally and intellectually crippled children who will likely grow into dysfunctional adults.

        My Dad was a groundbreaking researcher in endocrinology, bone and mineral research and metabolic bone disease. He was instrumental in exposing the physical danger, to children, of modern parenting. The maturing human skeleton responds to stress by increasing bone mass and density, leading to stronger, less brittle and longer lasting bones. This process only happens until late adolescence, after that, no more. So, unless kids play, unsupervised and rambunctiously, like we did, their bones will never develop properly. He told me that it is likely that children raised this way will likely have serious issues, like broken hips due to minor falls, by their mid 50’s.

        Here’s a short note about my Dad’s passing from the ASBMR (American Society for Bone and Mineral Research).

        The situation is even worse than most realize. The obsession with safety is producing emotionally and physically crippled people. I often joke, “safety third, that seems about right.” Thing is, it’s not a joke, safety kills.

        Kind Regards,

        • Jeremy,

          “My Dad was a groundbreaking researcher in endocrinology, bone and mineral research and metabolic bone disease. He was instrumental in exposing the physical danger, to children, of modern parenting.”

          I’m sort of familiar with his work from reading court decisions.

          He or is writings were cited by defense counsel(?)

          Brittle bones or child abuse? Your pops do anything court related?

          I had a thing for a librarian at Wayne State law library and used to cajole my shyster friends into giving me jobs to research there.

          Would have been around the time of the satanic day care cases.

          I can’t remember where, but there was a case that charged the parents with abuse, defense argued the kid simply broke a lot of bones because he was medically predisposed to do so.

          The one thing I remember from that research was that old people don’t fall and break their hip. The hip breaks and then they fall.

          My sister has bone problems. She broke her wrist ironing and her ankle taking the same walk that she’s been doing for 25 years.

          You say your dad, “was instrumental in exposing the physical danger, to children, of modern parenting.” If I remember correctly, the so called abused child my lawyer buddy was involved with was coddled. No contact sports, bike riding, skateboards, or any form of “unsafe” play. I wonder how much that contributed to his medical problems.

          The broken bones continued to happen when he was in DCFS/foster care.

          For all I know, that boy might have been a patient of your father or one of his colleagues.

          • Tuanorea,

            Yes, my Dad testified in a lot of these cases. The prosecutors always tried to get him disqualified as an expert witness, I think they succeeded a couple of times. Once, the A/V equipment he was supposed to use was “misplaced”. My Dad was appalled and surprised that the State didn’t care about the truth, just another conviction. I, of course, was not surprised. The depth of cruelty displayed by these people is truly sickening. The parents are already going through hell and then they’re accused of child abuse. I know those fuckers knew it wasn’t abuse. My Dad was very careful and thoroughly examined the child and the evidence. He was, quite literally, the leading expert in the world on this stuff.

            Before he died, he willed money to an organization that defends parents falsely accused of child abuse and asked that anyone considering flowers or other gifts at his death, donate to this cause instead. He got a lot of shit for his support of these parents and children.

            I stayed with him for the last three months of his life. He was sharp until the end and we talked for hours. I never quite convinced him that his faith in the possibility of good government was misplaced, but I did change his mind on climate change, the SPLC and convinced him that the hysterical racist, sexist, etc.. narrative being pushed was designed to cause conflict. He was a brilliant and good man, I miss him very much.

            Kind Regards,

            • Tuanorea,

              “For all I know, that boy might have been a patient of your father or one of his colleagues”.

              He could have been. My dad treated patients throughout his career, but not a lot. His primary focus was research.


      • Jeremy, they’d been retarded in many ways, not the least of which is the food they eat and vaccinations.

        I’d bet there aren’t many here who recall automobile swamp coolers. They were damned effective in west Texas where we commonly have 0% humidity. In some ways they were superior to freon a/c’s.

  13. I do miss the floor mounted high beam switch.
    Is it me or it seems a lot more people are just leaving their highbeams on today? It’s dangerous for sure.
    I still turn mine off before the approaching car is visible, cause you can easily see their lights before you see the actual car.

    • It gets worse…
      NHTSA is proposing that new cars have their high beams ON all of the time, using technology to switch to low beams when oncoming traffic is detected…

        • I think that we are headed towards a time where roads will simply be closed when there is bad weather. Even weather we don’t consider all that bad now. We see it by the fear hype for the slightest storm.

          The automated cars simply won’t work in many weather conditions. For instance, you tell me what sensors would work when the weather causes this:

          Yes, that’s my car after an interstate drive in light snow. Only the low beam headlights were warm enough to keep the coating of snow/ice away. And of course if they were LED they would be coated over too.

    • Since I drive MT cars the foot mounted highbeam switch is a pain. The clutch pedal is in the way and I can’t be doing anything that requires the clutch at the same time as turning it on or off.

      And yes, the automatic high beams and the general morons who drive with them on all the time or because they are too cheap to replace the bulbs when the low beams burn out.

      As to fog, the idiots use high beams in the fog too.

      • The 60-66 Chevy pickups worked fine with a clutch and dimmer switch, but somehow in the 1973++ they couldn’t figure out how to NOT put the dimmer switch right under the clutch pedal // roll eyes

        • Brent is a crybaby. Many cars including Studebaker had the start switch activated by a tab on the clutch pedal. The dimmer was far enough to the left to be easily used.

  14. Hey Eric,

    I’ll add two more.

    Perform precision e-brake slides around corners on dirt roads.

    Practice winter accident avoidance technique* by performing donuts, controlled cornering slides, repeated s-pattern slides, etc… on a freshly snow covered, empty parking lot. Of course, you can still screw around on snow in a new car, but it isn’t the same in an FWD vehicle. With RWD, you could really learn how to manipulate throttle and steering to keep the car in control while sliding.

    * When I was a teenager, there was a perfect parking lot for this. It was not huge, maybe 220 feet by 80 feet. But, at one end there was an island with a through opening on each side that led to a smaller lot. You could drive into one of the openings and perform a controlled, sliding 180 degree turn through the back parking lot and out the other side, then throw the car into a flurry of 360’s upon exit. Damn that was fun.

    Anyway, one perfect Michigan morning after a fresh 8″ snowfall, I woke up early and drove to that sacred lot (it was a church parking lot), in the hope that it was empty. Sure enough, it was. I settled in for some glorious fun. After about 20 minutes, a cop pulled in with lights a blazin’. I stopped, windows down (it was fun to let the snow waft around the inside of the car) and the cop came up to me, totally pissed. He said, “what the hell do you think you’re doing”. I responded, with a completely straight face, “I’m practicing my winter accident avoidance technique, sir”. His face changed and I could see he was struggling to hold back a laugh. He told me, “that’s the best excuse I’ve ever heard” and told me to go home. Of course, that’s not why I was there, but doing that as a teenager did teach me how to control my car and got me out of quite a few situations where I would have crashed if I freaked out and slammed on the brakes. It became instinctual, I just did the right thing with no thought. They sure don’t make cops like him anymore.


    • “Perform precision e-brake slides around corners on dirt roads.”

      But what about bicycles and pedestrians? They have a right to use those roads too! You’re using up too much road width and risking their safety!

      (Of course, on a loose surface oncoming cars become a concern too).

      On a more serious note, I used to do that a lot more than I do now and it was genuinely helpful a couple of times. I still do it once in a while just to prove that I haven’t completely given in to the zeitgeist of sharing and safety yet.

      • Hey Chuck,

        Touche. Anyway, many of the dirt roads in New Mexico are probably a little different than you’re used to, no dense forest, just open scrub land with low, scraggly plant life. You can usually see through the corner before you get there.


    • We used to get hoods off old cars and pickups and tie them to the bumper of a vehicle and have a ball. You had to be careful of the driver of the pulling vehicle though. Of course we had huge open places we could do it although we did it a lot on the main highways since nobody was out.

      I loved the cars back then where you could put your beer to the side of the radiator in wells that were there and have ice-cold beer.

  15. Replace the radio with an aftermarket.
    More and more cars use what used to be just the radio as a complete management system so if you were to remove it, you can’t manage vehicle settings, you can’t set the heat/cooling, etc…

  16. Dad’s 92′ F150 had the window vent and A/C!

    And in the 90’s us grandkids would ride in the back of a station wagon around town and try and lock each other into the hidden compartment in the back.

  17. I’ll add one: stretch out your legs. Due again to the center console and enbiggened child seats we all have to sit in. On a long trip it was pretty nice to set the cruise control, lean against the door and stretch out your legs diagonally toward the middle of the vehicle. Or play “footsie” with your passenger. Who might prop her legs up on your lap, but that usually led to another thing you can’t do in a modern vehicle…

  18. Wow Eric – remember all this. Including playing in the back of a station wagon. Damn getting old. Remember once my dad being pulled over for us playing in the back and not being bucking up (it was on a long drive, though I cant recall where, the law was different in that state and we were not allowed to play in the back). didnt give us a ticket but for the rest of the ride we were annoyed that we had to be buckled up in seats…..

    I think its going to get worse – i mean imagine going forward kids wont even know what a clutch is, or how to put in and turn a key….

    • In Houston, in the poorer areas. Kids as young as 2 or 3 ride with no seat belt or car seat because many “people” cannot afford even the base model. Oh yeah they could be strapped in to a seat belt too, but many don’t pay attention to their kids that much to bother. Not my problem nor care though, their kids, their responsibility. I’m sure some people try to call in cops to arrest them for child endangerment but it’s not a big deal to me.

    • uhhh they ALREADY don’t know what a clutch is and if you hand them a key they look at you funny like the car must be a century old. No need to wait. My little sisters are in high school and them and their friends have no idea what a clutch is *except* that a few might know that cars have them.


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