Question of the Week: What’s the weirdest automotive feature you’ve ever seen?

Chrysler for one had the Highway Hi-Fi system in the mid to late 1950’s.


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Maybe not the weirdest but my first car, a 1961
Mercury Comet, had a hot water bottle looking bag attached to the inner drivers side fender with a hose that went into the floorboard mounted rubber foot pump and that was the windshield washer system. You filled that bag with about 2 pints of windshield washer solution, not a gallon like modern cars. The problem was that during the Chicago winters the rubber foot pump would stiffen. You could make the first pump but then it would stay down to the floor.

I’ve been doing that wrong. I use that as a shades donation tray on any rental vehicle with that I encounter.

The fuel filler being on the passenger side of the car is a safety feature. If you run out of gas and pull over to the side of the road you won’t have to stand in the road, cars zipping by you, as you pour a few gallons of gas from the gas can your brother brings you.

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I disagree wholeheartedly! It has been decades since I have run out of gas. It’s real simple, when I get to 1/4 tank, I fill up. If I’m going somewhere that gas might not be available, I fill up. If I do run out of gas, it is usually pretty easy to either get the vehicle into a safe position or get into a parking lot while the vechile is still rolling. Otherwise, I wait until there is a break in traffic to pour in a gallon or less so I can do it quickly, then move to a location where I can pour in the remaining gas in the can. This far outweighs the inconvenience of the filler being incorrectly placed on the passenger side. I will not buy any vehicle that is built with the filler on the passenger side, period.

Phil in TX

You can disagree all you want, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a safety feature. You admit this with your statement “I wait until there is a break in traffic to pour in a gallon or less so I can do it quickly, then move to a location where I can pour in the remaining gas in the can.” You’d do it this way because it’s a dangerous situation.

Personally, I’m not anal enough to care where I need to add gas.

1951 Cadillac that had the spare tire in the trunk mounted to a mechanism which could be deployed down through the bottom of the trunk onto the ground. The proximity of the wheel was perpendicular to the car, allowing extremely tight maneuvering in and out of impossibly tight parking situations. https://youtu.be/vfq7NNYEHcg

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Hey Phil,

Speaking from experience, here’s hoping your gas gauge always reads correct.

Me, myself, am a fan of the filler on the passenger side. However, Rest of World is becoming the market, so more cars nowadays will have it on our Driver’s side.

You can argue whether or not it is a safety feature, but it isn’t a mandated one. Manufacturers still get to choose where these are.

Sidenote: the exhaust pipe (if only single) is usually on the opposite side of the fuel tank filler area.


They were a nightmare ,always coming back to the service area because they were stuck in four cylinder mode.

My 69 AMC Javelin had the foot pump washer too.

Back in the late 80’s, I was refurbishing a 1939 Cadillac Limo. I opened the glove box to clean it out and found a large siringe wrapped up in a napkin. Seems like an odd accessory.

My older brother used to buy interesting foreign cars—MG Magnette and the like. One of his cars: a Saab or an Alpha, had a standard cigarette lighter that not only lit the thing, but started to smoke it: a relatively healthier option, in retrospect. You stuck it in the hole, and it puffed on it.

This is a bit crude, but in my younger days, a girlfriend of mine made her own shifter stick from a rubber vibrator that was molded and looked like a real penis. I thought it was hilarious, and on top of that, no one ever asked to borrow her car!!!