Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

A lot of ideas are offered in earnest. Gerber Singles, for instance, I'm sure seemed like a good idea to somebody in some meeting, but it was clearly ridiculous. Same with buying Newsweek. Sometimes, though, those bad ideas find their way into cars. Even though they seemed alright at the time, they sometimes had disastrous consequences.


10.) Automatic Dimming Headlights

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

If another car was coming in the opposite direction, the intent was that these headlights would dim so you wouldn't blind the other person. Great idea, and thoughtful, too, in theory. Until you got to the practice:
I cleaned mine and hooked it up just to see how it would work - they answer was, it dimmed the lights after the oncoming driver would be blinded. Also it would sometimes just flip the high beams on and off when going down lighted streets.

Suggested By: rb1971 - black 1M, black M roadster inka E9 with S38 & 66 conti, Photo Credit: Randy von Liski


9.) Three Wheels, With One In The Front

Sure, they had relatively good fuel economy, but Top Gear really showed the big downside of having only one wheel in the front.

Suggested By: Jayden, Photo Credit:


8.) The Steering Wheel Of Death

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Not actually offered as a factory option, the bullet wheel (AKA the "Steering Wheel of Death") is a nice little way to get impaled during your next fender bender.

EDIT: It turns out the Bullet Wheel was actually offered on the 1954 Cadillac Eldorado, and was a contributing factor in the loss of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s eye (h/t to Pixel).

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Suggested By: Scrape, Photo Credit: Grant Steering Wheels/Wikicommons


7.) Volkswagen Beetle Flower Vase

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Nothing wrong with brightening up your car, right? Except when it's a massive visual obstruction and then you put water in it for your flowers but should you be putting water into a random cubby in your car? Maybe just save it as a conveniently-located cupholder.

Suggested By: twinturbobmw N54 Twin Power Turbo FTW, Photo Credit: Sara


6.) The Digital Dashboard

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

It was the epitome of 80's styling, but that didn't mean it actually worked:

It looked cool when it worked, but it burned out at one point, and the speedo was never accurate. Also, it was annoying to try to figure out how many "bars" of gas I had.

Suggested By: mad.anthony, Photo Credit: Scott Shingler Photography


5.) Pop-Up Headlights

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

This one gets sentimental for a lot of people, so I'll just let thewisedriver01 explain the whole situation:

you shut up, pop headlights are still badass, doesn't matter if they don't work half the time

Suggested By: StewMM, Photo Credit: Jak Sie Masz


4.) Highway Hi-Fi

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

CDs, cassettes, even 8-track players are great in cars. So why not a record player?

Don't forget the Highway Hi-Fi, offered on 1956-1959 Chryslers. Granted, being able to play whatever music you want instead of relying on radio stations is an admirable goal, and given the size of reel to reel tape players in the era, it's not like they had many options, but this really didn't work that well at all.

The records had a fairly short useful life, since the stylus was designed to press down on them hard to prevent skipping, which then wore out the vinyl in short order. Even with that, a good pothole would still cause a skip, and of course, the record design was proprietary, which meant the range of titles offered was always limited.

Suggested By: ranwhenparked, Photo Credit: Chrysler


3.) Automatic Seat Belts

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Getting everyone to wear seat belts is a noble goal, and is to be commended. Doing it by way of late-70's animatronics is not. The belts offered less protection, could potentially fail in an impact that opened the door, flinging occupants out of the vehicle, and were just generally not as good as three-point belts in many, many ways, as friend of Jalopnik Patrick Frawley noted.

Suggested By: Patrick Frawley, Photo Credit: Wikicommons


2.) Dog Sack

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Dogs love sticking their heads out the window, right? So why not let them stick their whole bodies out the window in a Dog Sack? Seriously, Mitt Romney wants to know.

Suggested By: I hoon, therefore I am, Photo Credit: Popular Mechanics, 1935


1.) In-Car Mini Bar

Ten Bad Ideas That Seemed Good At The TimeS

Standard on the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, the shot glasses were magnetized on the bottom so they wouldn't tip over from your inevitably woozy driving. I know this is supposed to be ideas that seemed good but actually weren't, but Cadillac: WHY WAS THIS EVER A GOOD IDEA?

Suggested By: 472CID, Photo Credit: Cadillac

Welcome to Answers of Last Weekend - our weekly Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous week's Question of the Weekend and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

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