The theory behind the ‘his-and-hers’ shifter was women wouldn’t want to be bothered by changing gears while driving!”     

Highway Hi-Fi Record Player
‘His and Hers’ Shifter
Lightning Rods Shifter
Rim Blow Steering Wheel
Swivel Seats

by Matt Lewis

Anyone who has purchased a car has faced an overwhelming list of features on the window sticker.

Over the years, there have been some imaginative features offered right from the dealership. Here are five of the more ‘interesting” examples.

Lightning Rods Shifter – 1984 Oldsmobile Hurst

The perfect option for any automotive enthusiast who just can’t get enough levers, the Lightning Rods shifter walks a very strange line between a typical automatic and a full ratchet shifter. As goofy as it may look, Lightning Rods have no problem putting the power to the ground.

Swivel Seats – 1975 Chevrolet Laguna S3

It’s a wonder that more cars weren’t offered with swivelling seats, seeing as those troublesome stationary seats are always such a bother to get in and out of. While the swivel seat was designed for easy egress, an added benefit is that your vinyl won’t wear out nearly as quickly.

Highway Hi-Fi record player – 1957 Chrysler 300

The Highway Hi-Fi did its best to stop the needle scratching your precious 45s. Not only is there a generous amount of suspension built into the record player, but the pressure placed on the needle was known to prematurely wear records out.

Rim Blow Steering Wheel – 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429

In a time before road rage, Ford, AMC, Chrysler, and GM all thought it would be much better to get rid of the pesky horn button and just have drivers squeeze the wheel. One major defect of the Rim Blow was shrinkage, which caused the horn to sound all the time!

‘His-and-Hers’ Shifter (Hurst Dual/Gate) – 1969 Oldsmobile Hurst 442

One of the more sexist options to be offered on a car (to date), the Hurst Dual/Gate shifter was branded as the “His and Hers” shifter. The theory behind the ‘his-and-hers’ shifter was women wouldn’t want to be bothered by changing gears while driving! This option allowed the driver to kick the stick over and access all three gears “manually.”

*Matt Lewis writes for Hagerty Insurance. Hagerty is the world’s leading specialist provider of classic car and boat insurance. Learn more at hagerty.ca and you can email rsass [at] hagerty [dot] com

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