Carmakers have often come up with exciting ideas over the history of automobiles. Some of these innovations were soon to get widely adopted, whereas others were lost in the oblivion. Here is a look at 10 unique car features you may have not heard of -
Tidying up a car interior isn't the easiest of the jobs. Unluckily, however, kids and friends who often eat in the car tend to drop bits and pieces of food, which can ultimately invite pests and rodents. To make the rather Herculean task of cleaning the interior a wee bit easier, the US-spec 2018 Honda Odyssey came equipped with the HondaVAC vacuum cleaner to make the life of the owners a lot easier. The mini vacuum cleaner was placed in the cargo area of the Odyssey and was powered by the car.
1999 TVR Tuscan - Door 'handle' under ORVM
In case you like the rear door handles of the new Maruti Swift and the Chevrolet Beat, you'll totally love the unique and creative door buttons of the TVR Tuscan. The designers of the 1999 Tuscan had placed the door buttons under the outside rearview mirrors. This was done in the interest of a clean and sleek side profile without a conventional door handle spoiling the flow of the lines.
We often drop things in the car and have a tough time finding the object in the darkness. In such scenarios, even the cabin lights aren't of much use as their throw is limited and doesn't penetrate into the floor space and the low-lying crevices. This is precisely where a torch light comes handy. BMW realised this back in the 1990s when no mobile phones came with the torch function. Hence, they provided a sleek torch that was housed in the glove box of models like the E36 3-Series. The device used to stay charged by drawing power from the battery and could be just taken out of its housing when the need arose.
Rolls Royce Wraith - GPS-based Transmission
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe is equipped with a GPS-guided transmission that ensures a smooth ride. The coupe's 8-speed automatic transmission is linked to a GPS receiver. Using constant inputs from a satellite, the electronics determine the condition of the tarmac ahead and use the data to anticipate a gearshift. As per the carmaker, the Satellite Aided Transmission allows the car to “see into the future."
The Volkswagen Beetle has been one of the most iconic and cutesy cars around. Several models of the original VW Beetle and even the second generation Beetle featured an aircon vent-mounted flower vase. The simple arrangement allowed the user to carry a flower when driving around. Some drivers also used it to store pens and knick-knacks.
1997 Honda CR-V - Rear-mounted shower
While most of you would argue that the SUVs have got a lot tamer and 'softer' in the current times, there's simply no denying that they've even become a lot more practical for urban usage. The roots of the SUVs can be traced back to the times when the rugged and highly-capable vehicles were frequently used off the road. They were preferred by the adventurous lot, who would use these vehicles for their cross-country trips and jungle safaris, among others. While the Honda CR-V is often heralded as the world's first 'soft-roader', the first-gen SUV came with many features that made it a practical vehicle for venturing far away from home. One such feature was the optional powered shower attachment that comprised a water jug, hose, showerhead and a 12-volt pump that was powered by the car.
The Fiat 500L ensures that you don't need to step out of the car to grab a cup of coffee. Buyers of the 500L can opt for a coffee maker that sits snugly in the cup holder between the front seats. The Lavazza 500 Espresso Machine can help the driver save some time by avoiding a detour to the coffee shop.
2009 MINI Convertible - Openometer
The 2000 MINI Convertible came with an 'Openometer', which is a gauge mounted near the tachometer to tell you the time he has driven with the car's top down. In most probability, it was provided to encourage the drivers to experience open top motoring as much as possible.
The 1984 Toyota Van not only helped you keep the beverages cold on a lengthy road trip but also provided cubes of ice to make your drinks even colder. The ice maker was located near the dashboard and was chilled by the air-conditioner refrigerant lines. While we wonder how long it took the icemaker to be ready with the cubes, it's really a fantastic feature on long trips.
Nissan Cube - Shag dash topper
The Nissan Cube was available with a $255 Interior Designer Kit that came with a 'shag dash topper', which, like the VW Beetle's bud vase, is used for dashboard ornamentation. The only issue with it was that it didn't serve any function. No one seemed to really know what the quirky accessory was for.
Image sources - 3, 5, 6, 9