weather icon Clear

Remember vent windows?

Evolution has a funny way of dictating what stays and what goes.

Aluminum siding went out with the eight-track player and vinyl became the hot commodity along with CDs. White-wall tires hit the scrap heap with chrome bumpers, the landau roof and full-size vans (for some strange reason, plaid interior fabric is still around, though).

Some other good ideas, however, like the proverbial baby thrown out with the bath water, have been discarded for no apparent reason. I don’t mean fuzzy dice, whip antennas, chrome-reverse wheels and curb feelers.

Right about now, on this scorched strip of asphalt where the ambient temperature outside the moving vehicle is 100 F — and even higher inside — I’m speaking of the little triangular vent windows that would normally funnel in the outside air to make life in this nonair-conditioned road-test vehicle a little more bearable.

Do you remember vent windows? Right now, with four little dash vents, each no bigger than the lid of a makeup case, huffing and puffing and melted makeup and hair products drizzling down my face, that’s all I can think of. OK, maybe an ice cream sandwich is on my mind, too.

Like all new high-tech cars, this test vehicle actually has small triangular windows that don’t open or serve any other real purpose. They’re inclusion is a complete mystery.

In a 40-year-old Ford Mustang, they pivot inward at the front once the little latch is, well, unlatched. Voila, instant relief from the sweltering heat.

Why doesn’t this new, efficient, ergonomic and somewhat expensive car I have today come with this basic necessity?

I’ve heard many old-timers call these vent windows “poor-man’s air conditioning.” When vent windows disappeared sometime during the 1980s — along with roll down rear side windows — many people likely wondered if it was a big car-manufacturer conspiracy to force everyone into spending the extra money on air conditioning.

Right this moment, I’m also left wondering.

But, even with air conditioning, there are some days I would much rather funnel in some outside air instead of having the fake stuff from the dash vents blow cold spots on my hands and neck.

Like many things of an evolutionary nature, what stays and what gets left behind is sometimes a total mystery. When the change is so gradual that we don’t really know it’s even happening, all we have is a best guess and anecdotal information.

Some things go out of style, others are replaced with something better, but the little vent window of much cooler days gone by appears to be a complete mystery.

My boss, the editor, says one reason they fell by the wayside is because the vehicles of the day were just too easy to steal. He says that a good push from the outside would open them up, making it easy for your arm to slide through and unlock the door from the inside. How he knows this, we’re not exactly sure. The copy editor thinks that too many accidents were being caused when the vent windows not only funneled in fresh air but every stinging insect with a five-mile radius. Too much time swatting and swerving and not enough time driving.

Most of you probably remember owning a car that had crank-out vent windows while cheaper versions merely pushed out.

They were great and then they were gone, now sorely missed in this uncomfortable four-door sweatbox.

So, help us out. What was the last vehicle you can recall that had vent windows and why do you think they were lost in the shuffle? What else went missing that shouldn’t have? Is my boss, the copy editor or the conspiracy theorists (or none of the above) correct? Send me your thoughts.

Among her numerous accomplishments, Courtney Hansen is the author of the “Garage Girl’s Guide,” the host of Spike TV’s “PowerBlock,” the former host of TLC’s “Overhaulin'” and a writer with Wheelbase Communications. You can e-mail her by logging on to www.wheelbase.ws/mailbag.html.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Susan G. Komen organization announces 30 grants

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, has awarded 30 new grants to researchers at 18 leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The $14 million in grants support the organization’s mission to end breast cancer through funding two key focus areas: research to better detect and treat stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer and research to eliminate disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Mob Month is back at the Clark County Library

For the fifth year the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is making an offer some people find they can’t refuse. Mob Month is coming back to the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, with events Tuesday nights in January.

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]