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Forget MP3, this baby has a Highway Hi-Fi

   If you think have it made in the shade with the MP3 player, Bluetooth hands-free phone link and heated seats, well, they're tame compared to talking cars and pressure cookers.

   Hagerty Insurance, the collector-car insurance folks, recently compiled a list of some quirky extras over the years. Among them:

   -- Automatic Lit Cigarette Dispenser: As a safety feature, it somehow dispensed a lit smoke to eliminate the distraction of lighting up while driving. Was unveiled in the 1940s, and one of them was attached to the steering wheel. Watch that thumb.

   -- Highway Hi-Fi (LP Player): This brilliant idea, developed in 1955, came from Chrysler. It skipped. No kidding? Would have never guessed.

   -- Electric Shaver: An electric shaver that was powered by a vehicle’s electrical system was developed by aftermarket automotive suppliers in the 1940s, and was an available factory option for a 1957 Chevrolet. 

   -- Swamp Cooler: These were popular from the late 1940s through the 1950s to help cool the interior of cars before air conditioning systems became readily available. It relied on a cool-water reservoir and evaporation. Don't ask. (Hagerty says they're highly collectible, however, at car shows).

   -- Steam pressure cooker: This accessory mounted to the rear bumper to cook food while motoring down the road. It routed exhaust gases through the inner chambers of the cooker to provide the heat to cook the food. Mmmmm.

   -- Whatever happened to swivel Seats? These seats, available on a ’59 Chrysler, would automatically swivel out as the door opened to make it easier to get out.

   What have they missed? Post it if you recall a crazy one.


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