This post is part of our series ranking the top 25 bygone products and trends we'd like to see return.
While riding around with my dad as a youngster, the vent windows in his Jeep were part of the enjoyable experience. I remember using the vent windows not only on summer fishing trips but also during cold winter snow plowing expeditions.
Unfortunately, they have disappeared from cars and trucks for the most part since those days of my youth. This development means that, until I have the luxury of restoring an older vehicle or automakers go far enough retro, I won't be able to enjoy vent windows in a vehicle I own.
My fellow writer Tom Barlow shared a slightly different recollection of vent windows, one which used-car buyers could count on to knock a few bucks off of the purchase price. You see, back in the day, drivers would crack the vent window and roll down the rear windows. After setting out on the road for a few miles the driver would light up a cigarette, flicking his ash out the vent window. Unfortunately, often times this ash would fly back in through the rear window of the car creating small burns which made for many used car discounts. Tom also told me about a friend's brother, a firefighter, whose backseat burst into flames due to his cigarette ash. As Tom recounts, the brother made the mistake of driving his flaming car to his fire station, something he never lived down!
It would be great if vent windows could come back into cars, if only to net me a good deal the next time I go to purchase a used car. Seriously though, vent windows have as pleasant a place in my childhood as my Nintendo.
Maybe I should take the typical Internet route and set up a online petition calling for all automakers to bring back vent windows. I think I will title it, "A Million Strong for Vent Windows." Hopefully I can get 20 signatures by the end of the week. Anyone want to sign?
What memories do you have of traveling by car with the family?