Crazy Retro Dashboards
When you get a new car, the first thing that you want to do is to get it onto the road and have a drive. Then, all of a sudden, it will start to rain – and you will realise that you have no idea where anything on your dashboard is, which lever controls the windscreen wipers and which switch your headlights from dipped beam to full beam. Often, this leads to an amusing few minutes of trying everything that you can get your hands on, with almost every possible feature being activated other than the one that you’re trying to find. However, the majority of cars these days are relatively easy to use (once you get the hang of them) but what about if you were trying to learn how to use a new car back in the 80s? Many of these had what most would call ‘crazy’ dashboard setups, meaning that you would often need an IQ resembling that of a computer scientist in order to work them out. And, because there were hardly any of us who even owned a computer back then, what hope did we have when it came to working these things out?
Take, for example, the 1982 Aston Martin Lagonda. If you closed your eyes and stepped inside, you would be forgiven for thinking that you were being asked to fly a light aircraft, with the dashboard bearing a striking resemblance to that of an aeroplane. With aesthetics of this type, the dashboard design was way ahead of its time – a time that has not yet been reached by all accounts, as we are yet to see anything in mainstream car production that offers a setup similar to what we see here.
Do you like to keep your steering and your controls completely separate? If this is the case for you, then you may have fallen in love with the 1989 Vector W8. Only just an eighties car, this setup involved an impressive looking array of controls surrounding a screen which was positioned to the side of the steering wheel. If you are the type of person who is easily distracted from the road then this would be nothing less than a nightmare for you – you certainly wouldn’t be seeing this type of setup in the modern days of health and safety. If you’re not even allowed to answer a phone at the wheel, setting any of the controls on this would have distracted your attention even further.
If you’re into gaming, then the 1988 Pontiac Banshee Concept may have been right up your street. With a steering wheel that looks like it belongs on the end of a games console control, and dashboard controls that span down your entire side to your gearstick, this type of arrangement is sure to be the dream of every boy racer.
If these look like a nightmare to you, then you should count yourself lucky that things today do tend to be a lot simpler. Even if we do sometimes end up with windscreen wipers instead of headlights at first!