10 Automotive inventions that have come and gone

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 03:52 AM PST

Over the past few decades technology in our vehicles has evolved at an incredibly fast rate, engineering, safety, technology and efficiency have all been dramatically improved over the past years.

New features and options are constantly being introduced and technology that was state of the art a few years ago is now outdated and being replaced to create newer and smarter automobiles.

Here is a list of automotive inventions that have come and gone:

• 8-Track tape Player

The eight-track tape was also known as the Stereo 8, eight-track cartridge, or simply eight-track. It was popular in the United States from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s, but was relatively unknown in many European countries. Stereo 8 was created in 1964 by a consortium led by Bill Lear of Lear Jet Corporation, along with Ampex, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Motorola and RCA Victor Records (RCA).

• Car Phones

The car phone was extremely popular during the late 1970s and 1980s. However, since the mobile phone boom in the 1990s, the car phone has suffered, as most people carry their mobile phone around with them, and the availability of hands free kits installed into many cars allow the driver to talk and listen to a call while driving.

• Headlight Wipers

The headlight wipers were first introduced on the SAAB 99 model in 1970. The electronic headlight wiper and combination washer system were designed and integrated into the model and promoted as a safety feature. Other luxury car manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW also started to install this feature on their cars but then during the 90s and early 2000s companies dropped the headlight wiper from the list of options and just kept the headlight jet washer.

• Landau Roof

The landau roof was a design feature that was popular during the 1960s and it was basically a “fake convertible”. The roofs were made from vinyl and many were fitted with landau bars on the rear quarters. Some used the term “Town Landau”, and this generally meant a wider rear pillar with no rear quarter windows, or a partial vinyl roof that was applied only over the rear seat area.

• T-Tops

An automotive T-top (UK: T-bar) is an automobile roof with removable panels on either side of a rigid bar running from the center of one structural bar between pillars to the center of the next structural bar, the panels of a traditional T-top are usually made of auto grade safety glass.

The 1968 Chevrolet Corvette coupe was the first U.S.-built production automobile to feature a T-top roof. This increased the popularity of the coupe, such that it outsold the convertible and later led to the discontinuation of the Corvette convertible after 1975 until it was revived in 1986.

The T-top became famous because of the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am T-Top that appeared in the movie Smokey & the Bandit.

• Automatic Seat Belts

These were seatbelts that automatically moved into position around a vehicle occupant once the adjacent door is closed and/or the engine was started, they were developed as a countermeasure against low usage rates of manual seat belts, particularly in the United States of America.

The first commercial car to use automatic seat belts was the 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit and in 1977 in the United States, Brock Adams, United States Secretary of Transportation in the Carter Administration, mandated that by 1983 every new car should have either airbags or automatic seat belts. Though more awkward for vehicle occupants, most manufacturers opted to use less expensive automatic belts rather than airbags during this time period.

When driver side airbags became mandatory on all passenger vehicles in model year 1994, most manufacturers stopped equipping cars with automatic seat belts.

• Talking Cars

In the early 1980′s companies like Datsun and Toyota put micro chips in their cars to remind you of certain things. Statements like, “Your door is ajar, Headlights are on” and “Parking Brake is On” will be stuck in motorists heads foreever.

• Hood Mounted Tachometers

The hood mounted Tachometers were introduced during the 1960s and were more commonly seen on muscle cars and when the muscle car era ended we also said goodbye to the hood mounted tachometers.

• Hood Mounted Turn Signals

This feature was a tiny little lens on the left side of the hood which showed you when your indicator was on, this was useful on V8 powered cars which were noisy and drowned out the sound of the indicator being left on.

• Cassette Player

The cassette player had a good run and lasted around 30 years until finally being replaced by the CD. deck. A key element of the cassette’s success was due to the small size of the tape which was significantly more convenient than the competing 8-track cartridge system. Cassette players in cars were often integrated with a radio receiver. In-car cassette players were the first to adopt automatic reverse of the tape direction at each end, allowing a cassette to be played endlessly without manual intervention.

So there you have it, 10 Automotive inventions that have come and gone, some will be sadly missed while others couldn’t have gone soon enough.

If you wish to add another automotive inventions that have come and gone to list then write it in the comments box below.

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Chevrolet to launch limited edition Camaro every 6 months

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 01:53 AM PST

Chevrolet has announced that they will be producing a limited edition Camaro approximately every six months in an effort to increase popularity for the muscle car.

Chevrolet will be bringing names that are common with the Camaro’s historic past.

Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer for the Camaro had this to say:

“Our plan is to keep evolving the Camaro,” “That is the beauty of the Camaro. It has so much of a rich heritage that we can put together the right combination of content. We have a lot of rich names to choose from.”

According to rumors, Chevrolet will be releasing another limited edition 2012 Transformers edition of the Camaro that will be connected with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third part in the movie series.

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Porsche Panamera Hybrid to debut at 2011 Genvea auto Show

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 12:26 AM PST

Porsche has confirmed that they will be unveiling the new Panamera hybrid model at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Porsche has been talking about creating a Panamera Hybrid ever since the original model made its debut 3 years ago and now, finally here it is.

This hybrid sedan will come powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that develops 333 horsepower, it will be able to accelerate up to 62 mph in 6 seconds and have a top speed of 168 mph (270km/h). The electric motor produces 47 hp giving the Porsche Panamera Hybrid a total of 380 horses. An eight-speed automatic gearbox will be installed to control the power.

Power for the electric powerplant is stored in a traditional nickel-metal hydride battery, and a regenerative braking system helps recharge the battery during deceleration. Porsche claims the Panamera hybrid is good for 41.5 mpg combined on the UK cycle, which works out to around 34.5 mpg in the good U.S..

Porsche said this in an earlier a statement.

"The full parallel hybrid system of the Panamera will be configured with the battery unit positioned below the luggage compartment, and hybrid module, comprising of an additional clutch and electric motor, will be between the engine and transmission,".

"Depending on driving conditions, the hybrid module has the ability to disengage either the combustion engine or the electric motor, or to combine both drive systems as one joint power unit. This flexibility results in benefits such as a zero emissions driving mode, fuel savings in both city and highway driving and maximum performance when desired."

Porsche Panamera Hybrid Gallery


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