When my Mercury Comet was delivered to the original owner back in the summer of 1962, what he received was the most bare-bones model available at the time.
Asthmatic inline six engine? Check.
Thirteen inch wheels? Check.
Three speed on the column? Check.
Air Conditioning? Nope.
Bucket seats? Nope.
Exterior mirrors? Nope.
My favorite aspect from the real bare bones era has to be this:
A full bench seat.
Zac Estrada wrote an article two years ago about the demise of the bench seat in passenger cars via the Chevrolet Impala.
My Mustang rides on the same platform as my Comet, but it was optioned with bucket seats:
This is great and fitting for a sporty, pony car, but for something more practical, I have really been sold by the idea of a solid bench across the transmission tunnel.
Since every car currently comes with bucket seats, you'll notice they also have permanent center consoles full of little compartments to hold all of your iCrap. Now, I do own some iCrap myself, and since there is a seat where the console would be, I picked up one of these:
When I park the Comet somewhere shady and don't want any of my stuff to be stolen, I simply pick up my console and lock it in the trunk. You can't do that with a built-in console, so if someone wants to see what you have in there, they'll break a window and steal your iCrap (or your lipstick, snot rags, parking tickets, whatever). If someone wants inside my car, they can just open the door anyway because I don't lock any of them and leave the windows down unless it's raining or cold no matter where I am. What car thief would know how to drive a three on the tree these days, right?
Seat cover? I don't have to spend $300 on a set of custom bucket seat covers or buy the cheap set from AutoZone that are "universal" and never fit.
Tuck in a $15 Mexican blanket and call it good:
The best part though, isn't known by many in my generation, but it really should be.
It's called the S.O.B. or the "Slide Over, Baby". Try that with a console in the way...
So, being a minimalist type of guy, the bench seat works out perfectly for me and I wish more people would appreciate them.
What piece of old automotive tech/design would you like to see make a comeback?
*Shout out to Renee and Jason for snuggling up in my car so I could take that last picture.