Past Car Trends That Would Be Awesome Today

Avatar Tunde Oyeyode | May 28, 2020 58 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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Car trends have come and gone over the years, with some major bangers in the 60s. Some trends managed to stay with us to this day (the good, bad, and ridiculous) so long as they were economically viable for the automaker and modern governing rules didn’t frown upon them.

A red 1960 Ford Thunderbird with trees in the background.
1960 Ford Thunderbird – Source – Mecum Auctions.

Modern-day car trends aside, as disappointing as most of them might be, some of the best car trends came from the 50s, 60s, and 70s when car designers were allowed to go wild and there were no restrictions.

Before I dive into a deep rant on how car designs and features have gotten a bit too bland over the years, here are some nostalgic trendy car features that I feel would be great on our modern-day cars.

Panoramic Windshields.

brown 1957 Chevrolet Corvette packed on a gravel road with trees in the background.
1957 Chevrolet Corvette – Source – Fast Lane Classic cars

Also, know as wrap-around windshields, these were all the rage in the 50s and 60s as American automakers scrambled to adopt more futuristic features on their cars. This was the space age era, as man just made his first steps on the moon – this really ushered a new era not just in cars but in business, with bubble top cars ( mimicking flying saucers) and McDonald’s with their futuristic looking outlets….life was good-ish.

McDonald's outlet in the 60s with cars parked outside in the evening.
McDonald’s in the 60s – Source – Minnie Muse

The Panoramic windshield was the realistic production version of the bubble top cars, as they (bubble tops) were very expensive to produce and also a major safety hazard in vehicle accidents, plus imagine a bubble top car on a hot Monday afternoon in traffic!

black and white image of a Ford Plexiglass Bubble top car with four people in it.
Ford Plexiglass Bubble top car – Source – theoldmotor.com

The panoramic windshield made the cars stand out and they offered better visibility compared to the conventional windscreens we have. Most vehicle manufacturers stopped using them in the 70s due to safety reasons with weak ‘A’ pillars and a certain book called “Unsafe At Any Speed” by Ralph Nader that put major emphasis on vehicle safety.

A few modern-day supercars still make use of the Panoramic windshield for better visibility when driving on race tracks, plus the have modern safety features, better building materials, and techniques.

white Koenigsegg Agera RS parked on the road side.
Koenigsegg Agera RS with a Panoramic windshield – Source – Autogespot.

Panaramic windshields could easily make a comeback.

TailFins.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible  in a showroom.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible with massive tail fins.

Another prominent design feature from the 50s and 60s. They’re the equivalent of quad exhausts and massive diffusers on our modern day cars.

yellow Audi R8 at the annual Autofest in Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Audi R8 with a low level spoiler and diffuser – Photo taken by Tunde Oyeyode (malik_bto)

Flamboyant to say the least, Tailfins really showed how laid back and obnoxiously creative car designers were back then.

black W111 Mercedes Benz Fintail at a car event.
W111 Mercedes Benz Fintail

Sadly they got discontinued due to safety reasons and also, the world seemed to mature, opting for more buttoned-down cars with less flamboyant styling.

Thankfully, Tailfins are still being adopted on some modern-day cars like the Chrysler 300.

red 2016 Chrysler 300C parked on the road with trees in the background.
2016 Chrysler 300C with subtle tail fins – Source – Autoguide.

…in a subtle manner of course.

Fender Side Mirrors.

yellow 1969 Toyota Celica
Fender mounted mirrors on this 1969 Toyota Celica – Source – Influx

These were very popular back in the 70s and early 80s especially on Japanese cars due to the Government mandating them. On paper, fender side mirrors are way better than the conventional mirrors we’re used to.

Fender side mirrors provide a wider field of view from the front doors all the way to the back of the car…no blindspots!

Fender side mirror on a 1978 Honda Civic.
Fender side mirror on a 1978 Honda Civic.

Why aren’t they in use? At the time, the technology for automatically adjusting mirrors were too expensive to put on regular mainstream cars and they weren’t all the rage in Europe and North America, car owners preferred the standard ‘A’ pillar mounted mirrors.

A few modern-day supercars still make use of Fender side mirrors, like the Enzo Ferrari.

Pop up Headlamps.

Silver Lamborghini Countach.
Pop up headlamps on the Lamborghini Countach.

All the cool cars had them! Beautiful shape-shifting sports coupes like the Mitsubishi 3000GT, Mazda RX-7, and Acura NSX.

These cars were able to achieve new levels of aerodynamics thanks to the pop-up headlamp feature, headlamp cases back in the 80s and 90s were too big, unlike the smaller Xenon bulbs we’re used to today.

red 1999 Acura NSX Zanardi edition.
Acura NSX Zanardi Edition – Source – Motor1

To accomodate those humongous lamps (the low beams and high beams) automakers decided to tuck them inside the front bumpers instead and this proved to be a huge hit! until the late 90s with new safety restrictions which made them a major safety hazard…imagine being hit by a car with pop up headlamps?! double ouch!

But its 2020, sensors can always detect an oncoming collision meters away and quickly tuck those lamps in. With that said, Xenon lamps have gotten really small, so small they can fit almost anywhere without distorting the car’s shape.

green Aston Martin Vulcan at its official unveiling.
Aston Martin Vulcan with LED Projector headlamps.

Still, pop up headlamps can work and will look super cool today!

We’re entering a new era of car design again as most car companies try to adopt electrification and hybridization, we’re sure some new design cues might begin to surface like massive grilles on flagship cars and lightbars going mainstream.

What awesome car feature will go mainstream again? Let us know in the comments.

Also, check out these awesome cars made in Africa here

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Written by Tunde Oyeyode


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