Cars have gone through a number of changes through the decades, including engine work and tyre size. From the earliest days of automotive design in 1807, when Francois Isaac de Rivaz created the first car powered by an internal combustion engine, there have been many innovations that have improved on performance. There’s also been plenty of absurd car features invented, but were too impractical to be popular. Here are six of the most ridiculous inventions that have been proposed for cars.
The Dog Sack first appeared in the June 1935 issue of Popular Mechanics. The article proposed a sack would be attached to the lower part of an open window with hooks and covered with rubber tubing to stop the car from being marked. This would keep the car clean and give the dog some fresh air. To the relief of dogs everywhere, the invention never caught on.
Discs for determining a driver’s identity
Found in the 1931 issue of Popular Mechanics, a method of identifying hit-and-run drivers was suggested. The method involved a special device ejecting identification discs with the car’s license number and name of the driver when a victim was hit. The device would have been attached to the bumper. Although it might have sounded like a noble idea, it never got beyond the idea phase.
In 1965, Ford came up with the idea of replacing the steering wheel with a pair of dials called the wrist-twist set. The dials were locked to twist in union. According to Ford, the wrist-twist had the advantage of being smaller than a wheel and offered increased visibility to the driver. As steering wheels are still used in cars, it’s safe to assume the wrist-twist didn’t take off as Ford imagined it would.
The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was equipped with a luxury minibar in a magnetised glovebox. Four metal shot tumblers could be found inside and were designed to stay put when the car turned a corner. Other glamourous features included a woman’s grooming kit, matching leather notebook and cigarette case. The 1957 Brougham was the most expensive Cadillac on the market and the price made it sell poorly.
In 1961, The Goodyear Tyre Company developed illuminated tyres, intending to produce them in a variety of colours. They were made from a piece of synthetic rubber with bulbs mounted inside the wheel rim. Luckily, someone at Goodyear realised inflatable tubes and glass aren’t a good combination when it comes to road safety.
The 1954 Cadillac Eldorado featured a bizarre steering wheel that had a bullet-shaped spike fitted to the centre. The wheel was responsible for the loss of Sammy Davis Jr’s eye, after he was in a car accident in 1954. Sammy slammed his face into the wheel and his eye was forced out of the socket.