RAC Cars News


Car Accessory Nostalgia

By raccars Published

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Do you remember when it felt hi tech to have an automatic choke on a car and get misty eyed when you consider the much missed spare wheel? If so, you may want to consider embarking on a course of IT lessons before you buy your next car, as the following features have all been consigned to the mists of time, in favour of complex technology.

Spare wheel

If you're lucky, you'll find a tyre repair kit under the boot floor. On the plus side, its absence leaves more cargo space. Most manufacturers will still supply a spare wheel as an optional extra, if you can't bear to be without and are prepared to pay for it.


The under thirties probably think a choke is what happens if you swallow too large a lump of sushi, but it used to mean a little stick that was pulled to make sure the engine got plenty of juice to help it start, particularly on a cold morning. As carburettors have mostly been replaced by fuel injectors, lost is the art of accurately manipulating the choke every winter morning.

Wing mirrors

What are often still called wing mirrors today are more accurately called door mirrors. However way back when, they were mounted far forward, perched on the front wheel arch and just behind the headlights. The Pagani Huayra is a notable exception.

Cigarette lighter and ashtray

These are still found in most cars but are now known as the charging socket and parking change tray, and are rarely used for their original purpose.

Mud flaps

Used to protect the car's bodywork from mud and stone chips, these very practical little devices were once, believe it or not, very fashionable. If you see a car wearing them these days, you can pretty much guarantee its owner will be over 60.

CD changer

One of those cases where size really did matter, the more CDs you could fit into your Escort, the cooler you were - even if you only ever really listened to two of them, and those were Simply Red and the Pet Shop Boys. Nowadays, it's all about MP3 or even streaming.

Tool kit

At one time, every car came supplied with not only the kit you needed to put the spare on should you suffer a flat, but with a complete tool kit, including a nifty set of spanners to allow all kinds of home maintenance. Then manufacturers realised they were missing a trick and, instead, decided to force you to take your car to the garage for work, so they could charge you for it.

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