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Which Accessories are Useful?

Is this an urban legend? I heard that a Pontiac from the 1950s had an option which spread sand on the ground in front of the rear wheels for winter traction in case you got stuck? Rocketman

I bought a '64 Chrysler LeBaron in the 70s and that car had everything you could imagine. The power seats were like elevators . . the air conditioning was a marvel . . . it had auto high beam dimming . . . you could put 10 people in it. Rocketman

That sounds more like an aftermarket accessory that someone installed on their Pontiac. But, then again, you never know. Locomotives used to have this feature, so it is possible that GM did have it as an option on Pontiacs of that era.

rocketman, I have been reading car specs sheets since the late 1940s. I do not recall any Pontiac sales brochure even hinting at such a thing. The Canadian heavy duty model had “Northern Equipment” which consisted of HD springs, shocks, battery and a few other elecctrical things such as a block heater. There may have been a military spec for Alaska that had this.

Do you mean an Imperial LeBaron? (The LeBaron name was not put on an “ordinary” Chrysler until many years later)

My uncle had one of those Imperial LeBaron behemoths, and they were really incredible cars–at least for the time. One of the most surprising things was the relatively good handling–far superior to the Caddys and Lincolns of that era.

I like fuel injection,espically the type that works. I like not having to adjust timing,valves,idle mixture,idle speed,breaker points and I like not having to add water to the battery (espically removing the back seat to get to it) Coils over the plugs are neat.I want to see secondary ignition wires go away. And I like OBD2 and better systems.I don’t like OBD1

“I don’t really like power mirrors because I think for something that I only actually adjust every few months, it adds an enormous amount of complexity versus just the reach-out-and-move-em type.”

You’re OK for a one-driver vehicle, but I have three different size drivers rotating among three cars. And I sometimes like to change my driving position. The power mirrors have been a boon. I do worry about the complexity, but the only one that has failed got hit (replaced it myself, from a junkyard), and another one that got hit hard enough to distort the window frame and break the window did not fail.

I had a 99 S-10 and drove an '01 S-10 at work for 5 years and they had driving lights which was just the headlights. ( I am not sure about the dash lights) However as it got dark, all lights came on. A friend of ours drove her 97 Buick in a funeral peosession and got angry when people passed her. I had to tell her that tho her headlights were on, the tail lights were not on.

Chrysler?? Imperial?? Either way it was a Chrysler.

People Either Seem To Love It Or Hate It, But …

… I love cruise control. I consider it to be a safety feature out on the open highway, for two reasons, and a money saver for another reason.

It keeps the car’s speed from accidently creeping up into dangerous too fast territory. (Those of us with really quiet, comfortable cars could have that happen.) That leads to the money saving part - no speeding tickets.

Cruise control also lets the driver focus attention on the road where it belongs and not monitoring the speedometer. Buttons on the steering wheel allow its use without even looking at it once it’s set.

I know some won’t agree with this. I know people who never use it or hate using it. I don’t understand this, but hey!, whatever floats your boat.

My wife’s Subaru has heated cloth seats. The other feature I really like is a defogger built into the side mirrors. Nothing worse than scrapping snow or ice off a side mirror.

The last feature I really like is auotmatic climate control. You set the temperature and forget about it. That one though seems like good potential for a pricey repair bill.

Technically, yes.

However, back in those days, the Imperial was far bigger than other Chrysler products, was built on its own unique chassis, and had totally different styling than the Chrysler products that carried the Chrysler badge rather than the Imperial badge. The transmissions were identical to those in other Chrysler products and the same engine could be had in top-of-the-line Chryslers, but essentially no other parts were shared between the Imperial and other Chrysler products.

The Imperial was “a Chrysler” in the same sense that a Cadillac is “a GM”, but being a Chrysler product should not be confused in this case with the car being “a Chrysler”.

When I submitted the original post, I sort of took Air Conditioning for granted, since most cars have it now. I would agree that it reduces driving fatigue (no wind noise), keeps the car smelling better, and, as Tom McCahill once said, it does not make you feel like a “wilted chocolate bar at the end of your trip”.

When a student, I drove a Buick Riviera from Detroit to California to get free transportation. This great car did not have A/C and driving in July across the Bonnevill Salt Flats is no picnic without A/C. At that time I decided that every car should have air.

Haven’t we already been through this? How many times are you going to rehash old arguments? We both know I expect to keep my cars longer than you expect to keep yours.

I wonder, do you even have electricity in your home?? How about natural gas? Why pay for elect. and gas when you could live without it??

I am growing tired of your trite sarcasm. How do I make it stop?

I simply stated what I like and don’t like. I didn’t try to force it on anyone else.

I love cruise control too. My Civic doesn’t have it and the last time I took a 680 mile trip I really missed it when my right leg started cramping up.

Greasyjack, That speed alerter used to get my brothers into trouble. They would drive our 65 leSabre (family car) and turn it up to 90. Then they would forget to set it back to 60. Dad would get in the car later and see that it was moved. BUSTED!

Cars used to be available totally bare-bones. Then you could add all the options you wanted. In 1954 Popular Mechanics magazine had an article on this. They bought a stripper Dodge 6 sedan for under $3000 I believe. Then they priced a top of the line Dodge Royal V8 with every option in the book. The price nearly doubled. It demonstrates that pricing options individually gets expensive if you want a lot of them. The expensive Dodge had no more extras than my 2007 Toyota, except for the power seat. In those days, variable speed wipers, windshield washers and other basic items were options, as many of you will recall.

The happy medium seems to be to offer a 1)barebones model, 2)one with the most popular options and 3)one with nearly everything. I would stilll want a choice of engines and transmissions, regardless of trim and accessories. My pet peeve is Japanese manufacturers who make you buy a sliding roof if you want such things as cruise control and tilt wheel.

I remember the article. I agree tht I don’t like options packaged together. In the old days, many people bought cars with the engine and transmisson combination that they wanted, and then had after-market accessories installed. Our neighbor would buy a new Chevrolet without the radio and then go to a Firestone store for a radio. Outside rear view mirrors were popular accessories. My first car, a 1947 Pontiac, didn’t have turning signals. I ordered a kit from Montgomery Ward and installed it. I put a windshield washer on my 1955 Pontiac from an aftermarket kit. In the 1960’s, the Mitchell company marketed the Mark IV air conditioner that was a popular add-on accessory.

My parents had strippo cars when I was growing up. Long after I was out on my own, my Dad bought a used 1963 Buick LaSabre that had almost every available accessory. That was the end of stripped down cars for him. My brother bought a used 1963 LaSabre that had no power accessories and even had a standard transmission. On a 350 mile trip where they were traveling together in both cars, the loaded Buick averaged 19.8 mpg for the trip and the stripped Buick averaged only 19.2. My brother’s only bragging point was that he didn’t have to buy premium gas. Of course, he suffered along with no air conditioning.

I used to believe that added accessories caused added headaches. However, it didn’t seem to work out that way for me. I’ve never had a power window fail, but I have had window cranks come off and had to replace the clips. On my standard shift Rambler, I had the transmission out twice in 100,000 miles for a failed synchronizer (no, I wasn’t speedshifting). I’ve never had that problem with an automatic. I’ve had two cars with automatic temperature control–a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 and a 2003 4Runner. The HVAC systems on these cars have performed flawlessly.

I had a 1990 Ford Aerostar Eddie Bauer with every possible accessory. I thought that the mirror that automatically changed from day to night setting was rather annoying. I didn’t like the built-in computer, but that was because my son, who was in his late teens, could always rack up better gasoline mileage than the old man and he would let me know it. Besides, I know how to divide distance traveled by amount of fuel consumed.

I lived in North Dakota for a while, now in WI. Our last 3 cars, 2 new and 1 used had a block heater. The salesperson in all 3 cases was not aware there was one. I asked at the dealer about getting one installed and they suggested having a local shop do it. Imagine my great joy in finding there was one. I use them at 15 deg and below as I have heard 60% of engine wear occurs within 60 seconds of starting your car, and figure at cold temps the wear is even worse. If you keep your cars longer than 5 years and go 10 to 20 as I do my advice would be to use it. It is probably the most beneficial least used accessory for us cold weather climate people out there. Second is the lights that automatically turn on and off when you turn the car off. No dead battery woes due to headlights left on. The third would be the keypad on the door for unlock, I have enjoyed that more than I thought possible. You can lock your keys somewhere in the car and not worry about loosing them when going boating, windsurfing shopping etc.