From the UK desk…Paul Wimsett
Leaving the controversial secret car parts for later, let’s start with the fun ones. Let’s begin, instead with the “not exactly hidden” feature. For instance, the “Curry hook” in a Nissan. This hook, about the height of your seat, allows you hang a bag containing your curry. This will make more sense when if you know that the British “pop out for a curry” the way Americans order in Chinese when they’re going to binge-watch their favourite show on the telly.
Then there is a gear stalk for the Volkswagen Golf in the shape of a golf ball. Again, these are maybe not exactly secret but just hard to spot.
Now for some that are truly not visible. The Murano has a technique which is ideal for the driver either of less than average height or of greater than average height. It’s the ability to move the pedals both nearer to you and further away than you. It’s certainly a plus if you’ve ever got into a car and thought “These pedals are not designed for me.”
The secret vase in a Volkswagen Beetle is quite an attractive addition. Who doesn’t want flowers in their car? Quite a few people, now I think of it…
You might not expect to find sand in a car door but it can be discovered in early Lexus cars. This is used to deaden the sound of the radio, though it is debatable how much sand in a car door would fix this problem. An innovation which seems more complex than the problem, in my mind.
If your hood gets stuck there’s an addition in the E30 which allows you to enter a screwdriver and make sure that the hood is released. This one seems so simple; you should be able to adjust things easily after all.
Not all secret parts are hidden or practical. The Spatz cars have additions which might cause a bit of confusion. Designers found they had room for a number of clocks on the dashboard. But instead of just having clocks they decided to paint on several analogue faces, just for design’s sake I suppose.
All this goes to show that the secret parts might help to sell a car, or alternately, confuse a potential buyer.
Keep a sharp eye out for the part two in this series, because there is a car out there with a secret feature that’s not strictly legal…