Make no mistake: new cars are better than old ones. Remember when 120 hp was considered pretty decent for a family car? Or when any speed over 150 km / h meant talking about as much aerodynamic lift as in a Cessna?
Not to mention the constant breakdowns, safety in case of accidents and rust in abundance after a certain age.
But that not to say that everything is better in our bright and happy automotive future. That would be like saying that everything is better in our bright and generally happy future.
So let’s get into our snowy jeans, tie up our Air Jordans, Patrick Ewing or Pump, and take a walk on Nostalgia Promenade with the best of all things from the old car world that we miss.
Roulette for the fan, a slider for recirculating and a large button for the A / C
The air conditioner is an invention: choose temperature and drive comfortably. But then you turn a corner and the sun is on your side, so you lower the temperature and your passenger raises it, because it gives him the shade.
And to make the fan run a little louder, you have to decide whether to go into manual mode, messing up the central computer’s planning of how to get it to work. If you have a climate control system with half degrees, you will hit the button and find that you have to press too many times.
And if you have touch controlsWhen you have delved into the correct submenu, it will also have delved into the depths of the nearest ditch and now you will need another submenu: the one with the keyboard to call a crane.
Compare with a car with a few years. Decide how cold you want the air and how strongly. When you were too hot or too cold, you turned the wheel of power. To add or remove a grade, you turned another dial. To defrost the windshield, turn another knob. Truck ahead spewing black smoke? Move the slider with a satisfying “swipe” and breathe easy. Does anyone want to tell us what was wrong with that system?
Steering column gearboxes
To carry more than four passengers these days, the only solution is to buy something that is generally hideous and enormously large with the proportions (and dimensions) of a hippopotamus.
Back in the good old days, traveling in six or even seven people was as easy as filling every inch of available seat space, forgoing seat belts entirely, and sharing personal space in a now-panicking way. after spending a year under the spectrum of COVID-19. And this incredible crush of passengers was made possible by a glorious invention: the box with the control on the column that allowed to put a straight bench in its place.
CD loaders in the trunk
The 10 disc magazine in the trunk fell out of favor. When it first came out, it was the best way to show off your latest Phil Collins CD, remembering that at the time, Phil Collins was great.
Technologically we have come a long way. Now you can play any song through the radio, sorry, the infotainment system, without plugging in a single cable.
Throughout the college race we had the same 10 CDs in the magazine of our three-volume car inherited from our parents. And before thinking that it is not enough, it should be remembered that in 740 minutes you could summarize the musical taste of an entire generation without too much drama (Note for the disgustingly young: the 740 minutes are out of the 74 minutes that each CD allowed) .
It is true that it took experience to nail the mix to CDs, but, when it went well, I said: they could spend years without changes in the charger. Now think about how many jumps you made last time on Spotify.
Small wheels and a lot of profile
Depending on how many sunsets you have seen, you may remember those times when you only the sportiest and most insane cars used to have 17-inch wheels.
Fast forward a few more years: our new, underpowered car came with 19-inch wheels. Or the same you opted for a large SUV with 22 inches. If things continue like this, the cars will look like stagecoaches again in a couple of years.
Before, the size of the wheels grew to accommodate larger brakes, so they became synonymous with high performance. With the advent of the age of appearances, some began to use wheels large enough to fit in a caterpillar from some Central African open air mine regardless of performance or loss of comfort.
Yes, we all know why the A-pillar of any car is so huge: because you need more than just a thin strip of metal to survive a rollover and, more importantly, allow the occupants to survive. And we are not in the habit of arguing against things that save lives. We leave that to the anti-vaccines.
But, What if we made the cars lighter? So since the force equals the mass times the acceleration, there would be less stress on the pillars in the event of a rollover. Which means they could be thinner again.
That would make it possible to popularize that “avoiding traffic is much easier if you can see it”, but it also opened our eyes to how spacious and light the cabin is noticeable …
Real buttons to control things
Buttons. Each with a single function. Give it and one thing happens. Hit it again and it stops happening. Call us pijoteros: if there are so many functions that need to be hidden in the submenus of the touch screen, we are convinced that they are not necessary.
Think about what you really need and really use. Take a look at a Porsche 911 from the eighties if you need a visual example of what we mean …
Real watch box
Since the topic of 911 classicsLet’s talk about the clocks. Putting the lap counter in the center is a great idea given the intentions and the capacity of the 911, but look at the dash again – that dial flanked by speed on the right and oil temp / pressure on the left. The most important information, right there.
Then on the side, a fuel and oil level gauge on the left and a simple analog clock on the right. All the information you need and nothing you don’t need. Maybe a voltmeter would be fine.
Now look at it from a modern point of view. Because most of us don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) how motors work, everything is more visually straightforward.… and colorful. Do you really need a high resolution digital screen with animations every time you want to see the average consumption or represent an ultra-detailed map in that area?
1 DIN size for radio
Do you remember when there was a 1 DIN slot in dashboard in which any car radio fit? If your car were one of the “goodies”, you most likely had a ‘double DIN’ in which to put a huge and expensive audio equipment with equalizer … or a 1 DIN spoke and rubberized hole in which to leave the always mysterious Bic pen that appeared in all old cars.
Now we wish you the best of luck trying to put a better radio than the one that comes standard: surely you will end up breaking half of the dashboard, your trip computer, the steering wheel controls will stop working and who knows what else …
Real sound equalizers
Since we touched on the topic of radios, let’s talk about sound control. How do you explain that we can reproduce any song that we like from the Internet through the sound system but then we have to be confused with a bass that is garbage and a strident treble?
The goal of an equalizer is to be able to tune the sound correctly. Human hearing generally ranges from approximately 30 to 18,000 Hz, depending on how many heavy metal concerts you have attended. The division of 18,000 different frequencies into just three parameters (treble, bass, mid) leaves a lot to be desired in terms of tuning. Or, if you pay too much for a stereo, you get a bunch of generally unintelligible options that blend in with the music, trying to make it sound like it’s being played at the Albert Hall or something.
Good old school stereos offered five-, eight-, and even 10-band EQs to get the most out of their speakers … which by the way, you probably don’t even know where they are anymore.
This article was published on Top Gear by Luis Guisado.