Modern cars are not as modern as people think. What year were various components introduced?


#1

I want to make a list of the major components of a car, and come up with a general estimate of when that component was introduced into mass production. I want to focus on major systems that are still basically the same as they were from day 1.
So, Xenon lights will not be on the list. But, disc brakes will be.

  1. Cooling system as we still know it today:
    Radiator, water jackets, coolant, water pump impeller, fan belt.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  2. Disc brakes with brake fluid, calpier, rotor, brake pads.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  3. Electrical system: Battery, alternator, fan belt,
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  4. Combustion engine with pistons, rings, spark plugs, cam, crankshaft, etc.

  5. Basic automatic transmission, as we know it.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  6. Basic manual gearbox, as we know it today.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  7. Suspension: control arms, bushings, ball joints, springs, shocks.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  8. Suspension with struts and springs.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  9. Exhaust as we know it:
    exhaust manifold, muffler, etc. (Catalytic would be a 1970s addition)
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  10. Ignition with coil, distributor, rotor, wires, plugs.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  11. Ignition with fuel injection, injectors, etc.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?


#2

Bonus question - what was the first car to have all the controls organized as they are today? (manual shifter, gas, pedals)?


#3

I’m at a loss . . .

What is your point?

Are you being negative?

Or do you really want to know the answers to your 11 questions?


#4

Yes, I just want to know how old some of these subsystems are.


#5

That’s fine

But I must say the title of the thread sounds kind of negative

At least to me


#6

I can only answer a couple of the questions:

#2 Crosley (a small car made in Cincinnatir, OH) had disk brakes with a master cylinder and brake fluid in either 1949 or 1950.
#3 Chrysler equipped all its vehicles with alternators starting in 1960. Other manufacturers picked this up a couple of years later.
#5 The first fully automatic transmission, the GM Hydramatic became an option in the 1940 Oldsmobile.

As an aside, Nash motor company introduced the heater that brought fresh air into the cabin from the outside in the late 1930s. The engineer was Nils Erik Wahlberg who designed the system. He also designed the system that combined air conditioning with the heater. This appeared on the Nash cars in 1954.


#7

Google will be your friend here. But I can say that with the exception of modern materials, radial tires, and computer controls, that a lot of the “high tech” stuff we take for granted on cars was invented in the early 1900s, including turbo and super charging, overhead cams and valves, fuel injection, universal joints, disc brakes, etc. Although it did take better materials, higher octane fuel, and electronics to make some of these things practical.


#8

One comment about #6–the last car I saw with a 3 speed manual transmission with the shift lever on the steering column was the 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle. Does anyone remember a later car with a column shift 3 speed manual. Also, what was the last pickup to offer a 3 speed manual with the shift on the column?


#9

You double posted as well. You’ve also started the exact same conversation in General Discussion. I’m thinking a moderator could merge the two threads?


#10

Did you mean the decade the item was either standard or a popular option on more than 50% of the cars or the first time it appeared on a popular car? For example , Jaguar had disc brakes in the 50s but I have seen a 1909 Stanly Steamer with disc brakes. But I think it was the 70s before more than 50%of the cars were equipped with them.


#11

@Triedaq, I have a friend with a 1981 Ford E150 van, 300 6-cyl and a 3 on the tree.


#12

The 3-on-the-tree configuration had benefits as a teenager as I recall. For drive-in-movie dates anyway.

About the cooling system, I think some of the early day cars didn’t use a water pump. There was coolant and a water jacket of some sort, but the coolant movement was by convection. The cold water would move up from the bottom to the top of the engine and cool it off in the process, getting hot, and the heated water at the top would flow down through the radiator to cool.

The basic internal combustion config with the pistons and cylinders, I think there were gasoline engines like that in the early 1800’s demonstrated, maybe a few were used for farm and industrial machinery.


#13

Your questions are a bit weighty and not something I’ve dwelled on but I believe one of the first viable 4-stroke engines was on a Daimler-Maybach motorcycle; circa 1880s or something like that.

Everything else from fuel injection to disc brakes to front wheel drive has been around in one form or the other for going on a century although limited in use back in the day.


#14

The answers to these questions is available in lots of books on automotive history. Mostly these improvements came over a period of time. GM introduced the 1st starting motors and did so on high end cars such as the Caddy or Buick. I think this happened in the Model T era, since the Ford Model A could be had with a starting motor. So, 1918 ish for the 1st one, and by the end of the 1920’s pretty much on every car sold.


#15

By the 60’s most of the stuff on your list, except the catalytic convertor (1975) had appeared on mainstream cars. There were always first adopter exceptions to most every technology. If the point of the question is to unveil that today’s car is essentially old technology, I’d say you are a bit off the mark. Today’s cars are amazing refinements of all these technologies. Evey one of your list as been refined and updated in the interest of performance, economy and emissions. Engines are a prime example but good 'ol dumb suspensions are now equipped with electronic shocks that read the road and provide smooth ride but get firmed up when handling is needed. Modern computing made so much of this possible. Pick one of the OP’s numbered items and all of them are attached to a computer at some point. That refinement doubled HP, mileage and cleaned up the exhaust.


#16

@UsedEconobox2UsedBMW, none of the components on your list are features that I think make a car “modern.”

What makes a car modern is sequential-port fuel injection or direct fuel injection with computer controls that control the air/fuel mixture. This technology has come a long way since single-port (or throttle body injection) first came out in the 1980s.


#17

While all of those systems are old, many have been updated over the years. Comparing a 1940 Olds auto transmitting to a modern auto trans is misleading. And today’s cars are better in just about every way than cars of 10 or more years ago. Today’s Corvette can run rings around any 1960s Corvette, for instance. And get about twice the gas mileage. Today is the golden age of automobiles.


#18

Related, when did gas/brake/clutch become standardized? Model T, as I recall, was different, at least when it came out.


#19

Yep, Model T had very different controls. The first to combine the 3 expected pedals with a floor shift was a Cadillac:
“The Cadillac Type 53 was the first car to use the same control layout as modern automobiles- with the gear lever and hand brake in the middle of the front two seats, a key started ignition, and three pedals for the clutch, brake and throttle in the modern order. This Cadillac was driven by a 77 horse power V8 engine. The Type 53 remained in production for one year only, in 1916.”


#20

I want to make a list of the major components of a car, and come up with a general estimate of when that component was introduced into mass production. I want to focus on major systems that are still basically the same as they were from day 1.
So, Xenon lights will not be on the list. But, disc brakes will be.

  1. Cooling system as we still know it today:
    Radiator, water jackets, coolant, water pump impeller, fan belt.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  2. Disc brakes with brake fluid, calpier, rotor, brake pads.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  3. Electrical system: Battery, alternator, fan belt,
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  4. Combustion engine with pistons, rings, spark plugs, cam, crankshaft, etc.

  5. Basic automatic transmission, as we know it.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  6. Basic manual gearbox, as we know it today.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  7. Suspension: control arms, bushings, ball joints, springs, shocks.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  8. Suspension with struts and springs.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  9. Exhaust as we know it:
    exhaust manifold, muffler, etc. (Catalytic would be a 1970s addition)
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  10. Ignition with coil, distributor, rotor, wires, plugs.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars?

  11. Ignition with fuel injection, injectors, etc.
    What decade was this first standard popular and mainstream equipment on most cars? - See more at: http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2295172/modern-cars-are-not-as-modern-as-people-think-what-year-were-various-components-introduced#latest