Forgotten features on old cars


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I remember all the things mentioned about old cars. My dads car when I was young was a Morris 8 and that had trafficators. I still remember the ‘plop’ they made when retracting. They were easy to remove and he used to keep a small bowel and old paint brush to wash them in parraffin when they got sticky. My first car had a foot operated dip switch and a little button on the dash that squirted a drop of water on the windscreen for screen wash. It had been converted to flashing indicators which we always called winkers. My Ford Escourt Mk2 had the rubber bulb and switch on the floor for screen wash. My early cars did not have seat belts but I had a Triumph Spitfire with non inertia seat belts that weren’t used as the floor mount points had rotted away so dangled loose where they lay. None had a time clock, windup or electric.

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You can still get them in modern cars Ben as optional extras but they can be expensive.

So now you know Mary, here endeth your first lesson in "Obsolete Functions On A Post War Car". I trust you will much richer in your education of the motoring industry. My thanks go to our generous ben

Not if the street or road speed limit is 30mph or less

What about old cars that use to attack you with the starting handle.  If you forgot to hold it correctly it could give you a painful wrist.

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  • Cliff Ton changed the title to Forgotten features on old cars
7 hours ago, Brew said:

Not if the street or road speed limit is 30mph or less

Thanks Brew, Can you still park on any side of the road? Here in Oz you can only park in the direction of traffic flow and South Australian law says you must have your front and rear parking lights turned on any time you’re parked on the road at night (or when visibility is poor) and are more than 200m away from a visible street light or lamp.

Strange as I have never ever seen a car parked with its lights on.

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Hi Oz, another thought regarding night parking. I remember when my dad had a 1938 Ford 8, this was back in the mid 50s. He, along with other motorists, used to put a paraffin hurrican lamp at the side of his car, with the flame on low. Quite often it would have a bloody great chain so it could be locked to the front or rear wheel, otherwise it could be nicked.

Can anyone remember the little parking lights you bought from motoring shops, which was like a little plastic box with a single low watt bulb inside. It was clear one side and red on the other. You clipped it on the door window and wound it back up to secure it. It normally came with two crocodile clips, to attach it to the battery.

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Those totally useless vacuum operated windscreen wipers.

I had a Ford Pilot, as fitted, which required decelerating to operate the wipers at sufficient speed to clean the screen.

Otherwise under normal throttle use the wipers would lazily sweep over the screen with hardly any effect.

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On 7/21/2021 at 10:26 PM, Beekay said:

Mary, those little 'orange things' as you call them were indicators, like little semaphore arms. Prior to their fitting,  the hapless driver simply stuck his arm out if turning right and did a circling motion when turning left, (it used to be in the Highway code). Don't suppose young drivers would have any idea if you did it nowadays.

 

I used to teach my pupils to do hand signals, (1980's/90's) they'd say why? & I'd say "in case the flashers go 'phut' & you have to drive to the garage to get them fixed. Also they were in the highway code so could get a question on them on the test." (This was before the theory test came in) Maybe they could buy a vintage car not fitted with flashers, then it'd be hand signals...

 

My ex girlfriend would forget to put the choke back in all the time & wonder why it used a lot of petrol. She'd also only put ESSO petrol in, she swore blind SHELL, TEXACO, JET etc were no good. When I used it & filled up I'd bung owt in & tell her it was EESO, lol... 

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Telescopic radio aerial on the front wing.  You could splash out a bit more and get an electrically operated one.

 

I suppose a full size spare wheel is now a feature mostly found on old cars.

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A lot of new cars don't come with a spare wheel at all !! - just a pressurised cartridge to put some pressure in the punctured wheel to get you home.

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1 hour ago, The Engineer said:

Telescopic radio aerial on the front wing.  You could splash out a bit more and get an electrically operated one.

The great thing about wing telescopic is they could be superceded with a wire coat hanger, after some oik had broken the original.

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I remember the early versions of rear window heaters/de-misters.

 

You bought them as a separate item and stuck them on the inside of the window. The combination of the heating element and the adhesive part added up to quite a large area. The view out the back was like looking through venetian blinds.

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On 7/22/2021 at 10:52 AM, Beekay said:

So now you know Mary, here endeth your first lesson in "Obsolete Functions On A Post War Car". I trust you will much richer in your education of the motoring industry. My thanks go to our generous benefactors for their enlightening contributions.

Hi Beekay yes i was joking about thoes orange things, I learnt to drive in a small Toyota truck and belive or not it was in South Africa You did a written test and you had to do reverse parking in between two cars,  this was well before it came into forse in the UK. The truck also was column change, I passed my test, on return to the UK my licence was not accepted, I had to take 6 driving lessons before i could apply for my test (Chelfont Drive) and the UK test include hand signals, 

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Hi phlilmayfield  worst car we ever had the nice looking MG Sports Convertible. Going back home one night, snowing like hell, road we were on was a hill, going down the hill car was sliding sideways could not control it. (just like the Ford Capri weight all at the front)  master went for the grass verg this save us having an accident. The fowling  week I was on my own, going to Alfreton indoor bowls, first speed clock stopped woring, then wipers stopped working (it was ???? down) then it's doors decided to self lock need i say more. After parking safely managed to get out the doors. Then waited for a bus home. I am still here but not the MG. 

It was even worse when I found out what MG stood for,   MORRIS GARAGES realy  ans it was also a bone shaker.

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When did the chrome horn ring on the steering wheel disappear?

I seem to remember the indicator switch being on the top of the steering wheel hub on some cars.

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I seem to remeber a car, (Standard?) with inbuilt jacks. You jacked the car up using the starting handle on a nut under the carpets... could be wrong... it's me age you know...

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Cross ply tyres and inner tubes - the days when you could repair punctures or change your own tyres with a couple of tyre levers.

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Lovely lady in the Passenger seat........wearing 'Thigh Boots and Mini Skirt''...........:)

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1 hour ago, The Pianoman said:

Nobody has yet mentioned opening windscreens.

In my dads  Morris 8 the windscreen could be opened having a hinged top edge with a small winding handle on the bottom. It also had a small tab on the centre of the steering wheel above the horn press for the trafficators. I also recall it had a roller blind in the rear window made a yellow cellophane type material that was operated by a pull cord above the drivers door that you could open to reduce rear dazzle.

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