We all have our roles at Jalopnik. Raph rolls cars, Travis goes out for a pack of smokes and never comes back, Patrick slaps people, Mike will do anything for $50, and I’m the Guy Who Gives A Shit About Indicator Lights. That’s why I was stunned to find out about the Slo-Lite, which I’ve never heard of before.

The Slo-Lite, which I found in a small article in a May 1951 copy of Popular Science (my dentist really needs to get his shit together) was built by the Twentieth Century Manufacturing Company in LA. It’s a flashing amber light that gets activated (via a manifold vacuum control) whenever you let up off the gas, but before you actually brake. So, it’s like a brake light, in that it warns the drivers to your rear that you’re slowing down, but not slowing down to the degree that you’re actually braking. It’s sort of a coasting warning light.

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I’m trying to decide if this would actually be useful. Assuming it was made some other color than flashing orange (so not to be confused with a turn indicator), would I find this helpful? Maybe. But, coasting doesn’t always mean slowing — on a steep hill, you can sometimes speed up while coasting, especially in a manual, out of gear or with the clutch down.

You’d also think you’d be able to tell that the car is slowing down slightly anyway, by the way you’d be, you know, getting closer to it. I suppose maybe you might think the car is just getting physically larger if you had zero understanding of three-dimensional space, and in that case the blinky light would be handy. Beyond that, I’m not so sure.

What do you think? Would this be useful, or is it forgotten and obscure for good reason?


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.