Whats up everyone. For the past century or so, automotive engineers have consistently developed new and exciting car features and designs, some which we grew to like very much. However, it seems that these days in the relentless quest for safety and political correctness, many cars today have lost some of the quirks and charms that made cars of old so unique. On the other hand, you could argue that this made them safer and better cars in general, but it would be hard to deny that many have become less interesting. That said, lets get started.

1. Pop up Headlights

First seen in the late `60s, pop up headlights were one of the coolest features of the sports car genre spanning until the late `90s, when they began to be abandoned by manufacturers. There is nothing cooler than flipping the switch and seeing the headlights rise from the bonnet of your sports car. Some of the most popular poster cars from the period like the Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari Testarossa wouldn’t be so iconic if they had regular headlights.

During the `90s, pop up mania spread all over the world from the Honda NSX and Ferrari F355 to Chevrolet Corvette and Lotus Esprit. But with rising concerns about pedestrian safety and the fact that pop up headlights just aren’t that aerodynamically efficient, this feature was pretty much abandoned.

Credit – Riley CC-BY

2. Black Cars

Wait. What!? Black cars are still available and legal all over the world, right? Well, yes, at least in most countries around the globe but believe it or not, in Turkmenistan, black cars are actually illegal! This one is bizarre but strangrly its true. Back in 2015, the Turkmenistan government banned their citizens from owning a black vehicle and even ordered the owners of black cars to repaint it white or another light color immediately or else the car would be impounded and destroyed.

The reason for such a strange (and slightly crazy decision) is that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (yes, it is a real name) is a very superstitious person. White is a symbol of good luck and happiness in many cultures, so the bad luck bringing black cars just had to go.

3. Pointy or Very flat front ends

Pedestrian safety is a very serious matter, and over the years, car designers and engineers have tried their best to make cars safer in that aspect. The engine blocks have been moved lower in the engine bay, so that in the case of a pedestrian hitting the hood of the car; they wouldn’t hit their head on the engine directly below the bonnet. One of the main drawbacks of this for designers was the appearance of the front of the car. You might have noticed that there are no really pointy or flat slab front ends these days. For good reason.

The research showed that sharp and low sloped front ends would hurt pedestrian`s legs and knees really bad even at slow speeds. Of course, pedestrian safety shouldn’t be compromised on, but I have to admit, its not done many designs any favours. Sharp designs like the classic E21 BMW 3-Series or the elegant E24 BMW 6-Series, both with pointy fronts ends just wouldn’t cut it these days (pun intended) BMWs seem to be quite badly affected by this change. The new 3 series actually looks a bit odd if you stare at it too long!

4. Bench Seats

The bench-type of seating is reserved for rear seats, right? But for decades all the way till the late `90s, American passenger sedans had front bench seats, which were a cool way of accommodating three passengers upfront instead of standard two passenger layout. Bench seats were comfortable, large and cushy and its hard to imagine classic American sedans without them. It was also a logical way of using all the interior space big American sedans had to offer. However, since the middle passenger in this configuration was left without a proper three-point safety belt, engineers decided to abandon this solution in passenger vehicles.

Today, you can only get front bench seats in some pickups or cargo vans but cars like the new landrover defender are also bringing the 3 front seat configuration back into fashion.

5. Thin A-pillars

If you want to build a safe car, the first thing you need to worry about is having a robust skeletal construction of the car, with special care dedicated to pillars that hold the roof up. Modern crash testing and safety agencies demand extremely strong roofs that will not collapse during a roll-over crash. This meant that manufacturers were legislated to make solid, bulky, and thick pillars to comply with regulations. Many cars can now hold multiple times there own weight when upside down, which is a great achievement.

On the flipside, this adds to overall weight, and more crucially can often impair visibility from the car. Most modern vehicles have big and wide A-pillars which not only look ugly but can sometimes be problematic in city driving since they blocks your view. The first thing people often say when they go in a classic car for the first time is how light and airy they are. Whilst the tank like construction of todays cars is largely a benefit, it has meant that proximity sensors, cameras and even lasers are needed to even judge where you’re going.


On the flipside, this adds to overall weight, and more crucially can often impair visibility from the car. Most modern vehicles have big and wide A-pillars which not only look ugly but can sometimes be problematic in city driving since they blocks your view. The first thing people often say when they go in a classic car for the first time is how light and airy they are. Whilst the tank like construction of todays cars is largely a benefit, it has meant that proximity sensors, cameras and even lasers are needed to even judge where you’re going.

6. High revving naturally-aspirated engines

You’ve probably noticed that the industry has been moving towards turbocharged engines with smaller displacement and fewer cylinders lately. Although most petrol heads will never accept this, it was done largely due to the tightening of environmental standards and the relentless quest for better fuel economy. This means that the glorious 5-liter V10 from e60 BMW M5 or the 6.2-liter V8 from the C63 AMG will probably never return.

There are only a handful of truely naturally-aspirated engines on the market at the moment, like the 5.2-liter flat-plane V8 from the Shelby GT350 or Audi`s sublime 5.2-liter V10. In just a few year’s time, all those fantastic non-turbo or supercharged engines will be gone. Ferrari or McLaren have already based their engine lineups on turbocharged engines and/or hybrids and this will likely be the future of motoring.

So there you are. Which features did I miss? Let me know in the comments.