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Discussion Starter #1
Over the decades there have been an endless number items or accessories pitched to car owners. Some were useless and some were frauds and I think BB members can come up with an interesting list.

One that I heard about decades ago was the "Fish" carburetor that gave fantastic mileage. It was so good that the big oil companies (even evil in the 1930s) kept it off the market. I Googled it and there was one for stock car racing in the 1960s, but the legendary one has a good write up.

A gimmick for night driving was often seen in the 1950s. This was a small light mounted high on the driver's side 'A' pillar. The purple light shining across the view of the driver was thought to improve night vision. People bought and used them.

:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I bought one of those on eBay last year and thought I would use it for an April 1st joke.

Did not get around to that and don't have the skills to put it on the fuel line.

Waste of time all around.

:shifty::shifty:
 

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Way back in the mid-20th century, Greyhound bus lines were said to have determined there were fewer daytime wrecks when driving with headlights on. Someone thought a profit could be made from this concept, so began selling little white lights to be mounted in the center of car grills. These were very popular in Indiana, but were disparaged by some since it was thought that anyone could see a car in the daytime and didn't need a light for identification. Accordingly, the term "Indiana Idiot light" was used around the Midwest. Now we now see lots of DRL's (Daytime running lights). I understand these have been required for a long time in Canada, but are not required in the U.S. even though many cars have these. Rant: DRL's are not to be confused with the contemporary idiots that run around with their bright driving lights lit during the daytime. End of rant...
 

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I had a guy who worked for me and swore up and down by those tornado vortex thingys. Swore by them. Had one in his king Ranch and Malibu. ciao jc
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I had forgotten about the add-on light for daytime.

The issue in Canada is that too many drivers forget to put the real headlights on after dark. That means their tail lights are not on. Even cab drivers.

:thumbdown:
 

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Back in the 80's I lived in Japan and had a Kawasaki 750 for my ride. Bikes in the states were starting to come from the factory with the headlights permanently switched on. My bike, being a Japanese Domestic Model, had a headlight switch; normal condition = headlight off. I figured though that if it was mandatory in the States to ride with your headlight on, it wasn't a bad idea in heavy Tokyo traffic, so I started making a regular habit of it.

Imagine my surprise when one day I was stopped at a traffic light with a police car in front of me, and one of the Cops got out of the car and walked back to tell me to turn my ****ed headlight off.

Well, okay then!

I have been watching the subject ever since and it seems that these days DRL's are considered ineffective for bikes anyhow because they no longer stand out in traffic.


Anyhow my favorite worthless accessory is the Deer Whistle- over two million sold!
Too bad so many deer seem to be deaf these days....

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Products-LLC-0001-Save-A-Deer/dp/B003XNGLJU
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yup--I had those on my Alfetta sedan and coming down from Whistler one night--bang.

Deer leaped across oncoming traffic to my side of the road. The car had to be transported to town.

Department of Highways had the deer.

Stayed in motel where the band was drinking "Jack". I thought it was great until the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
There are some really ludicrous ones to come, but there was one gadget that was practical.

With most highways having only two lanes, passing became an art form. When following closely, one had to edge out to get a glimpse forward. Then pull back if there was traffic coming the other way.

There was an outside mirror that was mounted high on the driver's door. Actually, it was two small mirrors. One was placed looking backwards at another looking forwards. This enable a "peek" around the car in front without having to venture too far into the opposing lane.

I'll check ebay to see if any are around.

It was called a "Passing Eye Mirror".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Speaking about almost useless car gadgets--I just bought one on eBay:

Vintage "Oil-O-Meter" for $14.

About a 3-inch long metal with five thumb-wheels on top to dial in the mileage for your next oil change. Five openings--each one shows the number.

Clips to the visor.

:001_unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
External Sun Visors

Using Ford and Chevrolet as examples up to 1931 car bodies had an external sun visor. This changed in 1932 and 'forever' with the Chrysler "Airflow" in 1934.

Post-War prosperity arrived and external sun visors became a fad.

http://assets.hemmings.com/uimage/18792924-700-0.jpg?rev=1

Most cars by this time had internal visors, but as Mencken observed "You can never go broke underestimating the taste of Americans"

Wind drag must have been impressive.
 

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My other car is has the airscarf system, heat behind your neck for when it's cool and you want the top down. Not very useful but maybe I'm just too short :)
Not an old gimmick though.......
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Auto oddities need not be useless.

In the late 1950 and early 60s, British sports cars such as the Healey 100 had dash lights that were too bright. As most were daily drivers. they were driven after dark. No rheostat to turn them down.

Sports car shops carried a small bottle of green paint that when applied to the bulb would dim the light.

:smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
The one I had in mind for the most absurd accessory doesn't have any "bling". Big bling will be in the next post.

This one was advertised to prevent the rear end of a big American cars from skidding when cornering. Probably needed one for panic braking as the rears would lock up and the car would start to rotate.

Could not find a picture, so imagine:

A heavy steel pipe, some 4 feet long and maybe 5 inches in diameter. This was mounted sideways under the rear bumper and contained:

A massive cast iron cylinder in the center of the pipe with coil springs on either side.

I guess the theory was that the weight of the internal cylinder acting on one spring or the other would counteract..............well you get the idea.

But all that extra mass at the extreme rear would not be good.
 

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That's a "mass damper". Those things were big in Formula 1 about 10 years ago until being banned. Obviously they were mounted differently from the rear-end stabilizer mentioned (they were mounted vertically in the nose) but same apparatus - a heavy weight suspended between two springs intended to smooth out oscillations.

http://www.formula1-dictionary.net/mass_damper.html
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Very interesting article--missed it.

"Mass Damper" is a clear term, and it may have been in the mind of those who developed for the rear of "Detroit Iron", with bad handling.

Where extra weight at the rear may not have helped cornering. Rate of oscillation rather slow.

I think there were advertisements in "Mechanics Illustrated" or "Popular Mechanics" or something like that in the Early 1950s.
 
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