11 Auto Innovations That Were Ahead of Their Time – Where Are They Now?

In the contemporary world, vehicles have many features that contribute to comfort and overall performance. After many challenges, failures, and groundbreaking advancements, these features have come through. Since the beginning of the auto industry, future models have improved many innovations. From safety features to design elements, the list of innovations is long. In this article, we will look at 11 auto innovations that were ahead of their time:

Chrysler Airflow Design

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 The Chrysler Airflow was the first full-size American car to begin production in 1934. It had a radical design which only appealed to a few people. For its age, it had futuristic concepts like a unibody construction to increase passenger safety in collisions and an in-dash radio with automatic volume control based on the vehicle’s speed. Other features of it included fuel efficiency and reduced wind noise. Even though the public did not appreciate it, its model production was stopped in 1937 – it laid down the foundation for future cars.

Tucker Torpedo’s Rear Engine Design:

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 In 1948, the Tucker Torpedo was equipped with a rear engine design that helped with weight distribution and handling. However, that didn’t last. Even today, rear engines are uncommon due to packaging limitations and safety issues. The Torpedo had independent suspension for smooth driving dynamics and a padded dashboard for safety, which was undoubtedly ahead of its time. Despite all these innovations, the company was accused of stock fraud, and eventually, it was discontinued after only producing 51 cars.

Ford Edsel’s Push Button Transmission

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 Edsel’s legacy is marked by its commercial failure, but it has introduced several innovative features in the industry. Launched in 1957, this vehicle paved the way for future cars with its pioneering technology, a push-button auto transmission that replaced the conventional column shifter. It was also equipped with self-adjusting brakes and variable-ratio steering, making handling the vehicle relatively easy at different speeds. However, due to poor sales, it was discontinued in 1960.

Bricklin SV1’s Gull Wing Doors

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 This two-seater sports car came with a quirky innovation. It had gull-wing doors on the roof for upward opening. Gull-winged doors are a distinctive feature today, and the Bricklin SV-1 laid down the foundation for these. The car also boasted a fiberglass body, which was quite rare in 1974 when it was built. Despite its powerful beginning, the lifespan of this vehicle was short, and it was discontinued a year later in 1975.

AMC Pacer’s Rounded Design

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 The AMC Pacer stood out from the other boxy cars because of its unique rounded hatchback design. Its aerodynamic shape assisted in good fuel economy in the 1970s. The Pacer had a spacious interior, prioritizing comfort, making it popular among families. Hatchbacks are popular today, offering ample cargo space and passenger seats. To this date, the Pacer’s design can be seen in some modern hatchbacks that incorporate this rounded design.

Electrolux M60’s Solar Power

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 Electrolux was a Swedish appliance company that laid the early foundation for electric cars. The M60 offered a lightweight design with solar panels on the roof to supplement its battery. While solar panels on car roofs haven’t become mainstream, the concept of self-charging is around the corner. Electrolux made its first public offering in 1928 and pitched itself again at the Stockholm conference in 1930. It is ranked as the second largest appliance maker, and its determination further adds to the revolution towards electric vehicles. 

Citroen SM’s Suspension System

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This vehicle was produced by the French manufacturing company Citroen from 1970-1975. It offered a hydro-pneumatic suspension system, which provided superior ride quality on various surfaces. Such a system can be seen in the Challenger 2, a main battle tank of the British army. This system, first seen in the Citroen SM, is still widely prevalent by some high-end car manufacturers. 

Toyota Prius’s Hybrid Tech

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 This car has been credited with propagating the concept of hybrid electric vehicle technology. With its origin in Japan in 1997, the Prius, in a hybrid style, combined the electric motor with a gasoline engine to reduce emissions and harness fuel efficiency. Hybrid vehicles are well established today and may give tough competition to electric vehicles. The success of the Toyota Prius saw the widespread adoption of hybrid cars.

Nissan Altima

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 Launched in 1992, this car didn’t have any revolutionary contributions but indeed played a prominent role in offering a variety of features for a mid-size sedan. Many modern cars offer continuously variable transmissions (CVT), which adds to a smooth driving experience. The Nissan Altima offered CVT alongside an optional all-wheel drive for better handling. Additionally, it had enough leg space and an ergonomic seating design. Nowadays, these features have become a priority in most of the modern car segments.

General Motors EV1’s Leasing Agreement

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 This visionary electric car was launched in 1996 and was offered via a leasing agreement. This subcompact car was powered by acid lead batteries and ranged from 70-100 miles. There were a few drawbacks and limitations, primarily in the battery technology and its unfavourable seating arrangement for families and kids. This two-seater had a short lifespan as it was discontinued after three years in 1999. As the concerns about emissions grow, electric vehicles are progressing and have established a dominant position in the industry.

Audi Quattro’s Powertrain

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This vehicle, launched in 1980, was the first to capitalise on rally racing and the updated rules that allowed the use of four-wheelers. Equipped with a turbocharged engine, the vehicle had a powertrain of 200 hp and took an impressive 7.1 seconds to reach 600 mph.  Its all-wheel drive (AWD) system gives it better traction and handling on rough surfaces, adding to its superior edge. The base Quattro ended in 1991, but the technology passed down to its future models. 

15 Most Reliable Cars Ever Made — Why They Never Quit

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Some claim that the dependability of autos has decreased. Modern cars have a shorter lifespan than some cars manufactured between the 1970s and the 1990s, but some new and used cars today are good enough to last for at least ten years and up to 500,000 miles. When these vehicles break down, most problems are relatively simple, and many don’t have serious difficulties. Here are 15 of the most reliable cars ever made:

15 Most Reliable Cars Ever Made — Why They Never Quit

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