My first car, 1961 Volvo 544, had a radiator "blind". Worked well!

Helped the 4-cylinder engine warm up faster.
When parked at a store, I would pull the blind up to retain engine heat.

So did Packard and Duesenberg cars from the 1930s. There are cars that have that feature today… but for reduced aero drag, not as a thermostat.

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Pre-WW II Rolls Royces and Bentleys used vertical shutters on the radiator grill that operated thermostatically, rather than a thermostat inside the engine’s cooling system.

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Older article but clearly shows this is a fairly common thing these days.

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Early cars didn’t use a water pump to circulate the coolant. Used a thermo-siphon effect only. I wonder if they even had a heater? Or if they did, how long you had to wait before you got heat into the passenger compartment?

They were to be used while driving to reduce airflow through the radiator. Did not read the article. As I recall, they worked like a window shade.
I used a pizza box on our pizza delivery cars.
Some people would remove there fan blades.

Yes. The Volvo 544 blind could be pulled all up with a chain through the dash. Chain secures into a slot.

Was wonderful on super-cold nights. Watched the temperature gauge for over heat.

When I attended elementary school in the late 1940s, the school buses were pre World War Ii models. The owner/operators of these buses tied feed sacks over the radiator grills. This was a very simple radiator blind. It worked.
When these buses from the late 1930s were replaced in 1951, I don’t remember seeing feed sacks tied over the grills of these buses. Maybe the engines warmed up more quickly.

Since diesels especially larger ones are notoriously cool running a lot of OTR trucks used and still use thermostatically controlled shutters to keep engine temps up. I’m sure you could make something for your car if you really felt the need.

No, of course they didn’t. Heaters became available–on a limited basis–in the '20s, and did not become fairly common until the late '30s.

The rope-like structure that ran along the back of the front seats was known as a “lap robe holder” because back seat passengers typically used a blanket to cover the lower portions of their bodies, and almost every car had a lap robe holder up through the early '50s. Heaters didn’t even become standard equipment until many years later.

I started ready used car advertisements in the early 60s, ads often state R&H, radio and heater because they were options, not standard.

In the days before most cars had PS, PB, & A/C, the only “bragging points” for a used car were usually R&H.

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…and white sidewall tires.

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