Just as in fashion, music and cinema, cars tend to see fads come and go – particularly when it comes to accessories. Fortunately, fads don't usually stick around for too long. So, with that in mind, here’s 10 car accessories we’re glad to see the back of.
1. Beaded seat covers
I can understand wanting to keep your car’s upholstery in good condition, but beaded seat covers were neither comfortable nor attractive. One of my earliest memories was being sat on one in my dad’s Ford Sierra Sapphire and being very uncomfortable as the wooden beads dug into my back. You don’t see them in many cars these days, though they are still available to buy!
2. ‘His and hers’ windscreen stickers
We got a lot of things right in the 1980s. There was some pretty decent music and we enjoyed some good films. But then there were terrible fads like his and hers windscreen stickers. Yes, what better way to announce your arrival than with a vinyl sticker across the top of your windscreen which reads “Dave” and “Julie” above your respective seats?
3. Car window flags
I think it was the World Cup in Japan in 2002 when patriotic football fans started adorning their side windows with these flags, and then suddenly they were everywhere. Market stall holders across the country must have done a roaring trade, before the fad quickly died out, probably leaving them with boxes of the things to shift. Still, they were preferable to the vuvuzela craze of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa!
4. Nodding dogs
Big in the seventies and eighties, the nodding dog disappeared for a while before being resurrected by car insurance provider Churchill, which gave away nodding Churchill dogs to its customers.
5. Headlight eyelashes
A relatively recent fad, this one, which gladly seems to have gone away as quickly as it appeared. For me, it begs the question: why stop at eyelashes? There’s plenty of room for eyebrows, lips, facial hair and all manner of other ridiculous accessories.
6. Parcel shelf and window novelties
This seemed to be a big thing in the late eighties and nineties, where car owners adorned their parcel shelves and rear windows with a variety of teddies, toys and semi-offensive novelties. The suction-pad Garfield was a particular favourite, as was the Bart Simpson who would pull down his shorts to moon the driver behind when you squeezed an attached air pump. Charming...
7. ‘Powered by fairydust’ stickers
You still see these window stickers around every now and again, but they tend to be on older cars. I’m not sure if there are any special tax privileges to this particular alternative fuel, or what kind of economy fairydust vehicles get...
8. Olympics wing mirror socks
Another sports-related fad here, as swathes of motorists decided to show their support for Team GB in last year’s Olympic Games with these wing mirror ‘socks’. Much like the legacy of the games themselves, these things are still hanging around a bit.
9. Trapped fingers
Here’s one you don’t see at all anymore. Want to convince other road users you’ve severely injured yourself by slamming your hand in the car door or boot? Well you can with this *ahem* handy accessory.
10. Awful air fresheners
Some of these accessories not only looked rubbish, but also smelled awful. The Feu Orange traffic lights air freshener was a particularly common sight in the eighties and early nineties.