So much has gone

 Columnist, Nick Wolochatiuk
So much has gone
(Photo : Seaway News)

          In the column of several weeks ago (Jan. 10), I got as far as the dashboard of the fifties. If I had gone as far back as the thirties, the instruments on the dashboard were actually mounted on a board.

          These days, the boards have been replaced by plastic and metal instrument panels and video displays. Let’s continue our exploration of cars that have “Gone With The Wind” (the 1939 movie starring Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland and Clark Gable).

The seats of the fifties and forties were bench-style. Today it’s buckets. No more affectionately snuggling over to be closer to the driver. A stick shift, or a complex utility console act as a physical barrier to such a driver distraction.

The bench seats of that era were as inert up and down and forward and backward as the pyramids of Egypt. Three in the front was commonplace. Headrests and seat belts were only in combat aircraft, not been thought of for the 1955 Chevy Bel Aire or the Desoto or the Studebaker Lark.

The back of the front seat provided a place for ash trays. Head room was generous, not yet eliminated by the demands of today’s fuel-saving aerodynamically svelte car profiles. The VW ‘Bug’ even had a space behind the bag seat that could accommodate one or two playful or dozing toddlers, plus their cuddly pup. Safety be damned.

In the pre-WW II there were open-air ‘rumble seats’. I have absolutely no idea how anyone other than an acrobat could manage to get into them.

When’s the last time you’ve seen a car equipped with a spare tire snuggling against the trunk or resting ahead of the running board? “What’s a running board?” you ask. Gone, gone! When’s the last time your car has had a flat tire? Did you know that the Tesla isn’t even equipped with a spare tire, not even the ‘donut’ kind? That’s one way of dealing with the space and weight penalty of the Tesla’s batteries.

Oh how cars have changed! So much has gone!

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