Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 21st September 2017

As impressive as classic cars are, it’s easy to overlook the individual parts that make them so spectacular. Every car is made up of various components, from the dashboard, to the boot. Each component forms a crucial part of the car and allows it to function. Many components have an interesting history, and here are six of the most important.


The dashboard gets its name from when horse and buggies were the most popular form of transportation. In those days, horses had a habit of kicking mud up into the faces of people riding behind them because of poorly maintained roads. To address the problem, carriage builders put up horizontal boards across the front of buggies to block anything that was kicked up by horses in full dash. The ‘dashboard’ name stuck and it’s been in use ever since.


Gloveboxes were developed so drivers wouldn’t have to leave their gloves on the seat. Before steering wheels were covered properly, they were made from wood and metal. They often became very hot in summer and freezing in winter, forcing drivers to wear gloves to protect their hands. Eventually, gloveboxes were created so people could store their gloves rather than leave them out in the open.


The name ‘boot’ was first used to describe a seat outside the doors on each side of a coach in which passengers sat facing the direction of travel. At the start of the nineteenth century, the boots had been moved to the end of coaches and used as storage areas. Eventually, this design was used for cars as well.


Before windscreens were created, cars were open to the elements. Drivers tended to wear goggles to keep the weather out of their eyes. Windscreens were fitted in the 1900s and they were made out of sheets of plate glass. Laminated glass was invented in 1923 and proved to be a safer alternative for windscreen.


The concept of the airbag goes back to the 1950s, with early designs from a German man named Walter Linderer and an American called John Hedrik. Both had patents on different designs, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the airbag was introduced. General Motors tested airbags in a 1973 Chevrolet and they offered an option to the public for driver side airbags in later models.


The earliest known car radiator was invented in 1885 by Karl Benz. The first generation of combustion engines ran hot, so Benz found a way to cool them by running water through the engine block.