View Full Version : Best gadget you ever added to your car?

John Hill
6th Jan 2015, 04:13
OK, there was those fluffy dice you had hanging from the mirror in your 100E and of course the nodding dog in the back window of your Velox not forgetting the mattress in the back of your Transit but nowadays what is the best gadget you have added to your car in recent years?

(Yea yes, we know about the auxiliary kick down switch.)

The best gadget I have recently added is a flashing LED light that shows when the doors are locked. Now when I walk away from parking my vehicle I can easily look back and confirm I really did lock the doors!

6th Jan 2015, 05:09
Me (and my wife - added to get to minimum req letters) :ok:

6th Jan 2015, 05:57
A toilet in the back of my Bedford van..
For the missus - who was particularly picky about where she would place her sacred cheeks.

Saved a lot of time and drama, it did.

6th Jan 2015, 07:07
My TomTom ... Not a replacement for a paper map, but invaluable just the same. That is except in Southern Croatia / B&H where the maps are crap.

6th Jan 2015, 07:13
My TomTom ... Not a replacement for a paper map, but invaluable just the same. That is except in Siuthern Croatia / B&H where the maps are crap.
Agreed, and the TomTom has never threatened to divorce me.

6th Jan 2015, 07:14
Screwed a small plastic hook on to the front of the glove box door - useful for hanging the supermarket bag on, so all the stuff doesn't roll around the floor.

Also - a sunglasses holder screwed on the transmission tunnel close to my left knee.

Also - a bumper sticker that says ... I LOVE the noise that aircraft make .... this to counter the Huffy Fluffies that are trying to close down an airfield that I have a passing interest in.

6th Jan 2015, 07:28
Dashboard camera fitted to record video and sound through the front screen.

Very, very useful and allowed me to prove I wasn't at fault in a an accident last year that wrote my car off. The evidence was so good from it that the insurers of the other car involved agreed to pay up within 20 minutes of seeing the video.

Worth every penny, in my view, if only because it probably saved weeks of arguing over who was to blame and allowed me to get a cheque from the insurers within ten days to go and buy a new car.

Solid Rust Twotter
6th Jan 2015, 07:36
Back seats in my car are permanently lowered and basket installed for faithful hound to travel everywhere with me, along with a collection of toys and chews.

6th Jan 2015, 07:44
An Infinitum Battery Desulfator. I've just junked a Supercharge Gold battery out of my old Holden ute, that was 10 years and 5 months old, that had finally failed from old age.
These desulfators aren't gimmicks, they actually work - and the U.S. military has proved it, and they also buy them.

I've got the missus' old Camry for sale because we bought a new one - and the battery died last week.
I bought a 3 yr old Supercharge Gold battery from a scrap metal dealer for $20, that's been hauled out of a scrapped wreck. That battery wouldn't hold charge after a few days, and regularly went flat.
I gave it a workout with the battery charger and desulfator over a couple of days, and the battery now holds charge constantly and performs like a new one.

6th Jan 2015, 07:44
So Hydro, you had/have a missus who considers herself a navigator?
In my experience, most of them are flat out working out which way is up.

onetrack. Agreed. Desulfators really do work - I've used them for years.

6th Jan 2015, 07:47
Stanwell, true.

Or down.

Ancient Mariner
6th Jan 2015, 07:51
A remote controlled tuning chip, you can never have too much power.
Oh, and a 400+ Watt stereo for some Steppenwolf/Deep Purple/Guess Who to keep you on your toes.

6th Jan 2015, 08:37
Not really, but I'd like to.

Cyber Bob
6th Jan 2015, 09:31
Does an additional 80 BHP count!

6th Jan 2015, 09:50
Problem with that device Cape is that instead of frying a carjacker,you'd accidentally fry a copper who's just pulled you over or a member of your family.Would be great for a quick roadside braai though,if you had some kebabs handy.

6th Jan 2015, 10:14
you'd accidentally fry a copper who's just pulled you over

Probably cheaper than paying the bribe!

Ancient Mariner
6th Jan 2015, 10:26
Cyber Bob:Does an additional 80 BHP count!

Oh yes, it does, it really does.:E
"Oh yes" of course depending whether you are starting out with 60 or 600 horses.

6th Jan 2015, 10:33
The (BMW) E36 model was a fine Automobile!!....perfectly poised, drove beautifully....maybe the tail was a little to eager to 'let go' when pushed..and the boot was perhaps a little limited, a drive in the mountains was pure pleasure.....but I never did find the flame thrower button ;)

6th Jan 2015, 12:16
Little ultrasonic plastic whistles meant to frighten off the deer. Also good against elephants!

John, what about that classy-looking front end mod to your Ford? I thought that would have to be at the top of the list.

"Mummy, mummy! The car that old man is driving looks just like that buzzy toy I found in your night table drawer! Why is that?"


Fat Magpie
6th Jan 2015, 12:26
Sat Nav - Car camera - Ultrasonic reversing sensors for my old Hilux truck

6th Jan 2015, 12:29
As per previous post a Tom Tom which actually tells me which way to turn rather than the mem'sahib who - despite my pleadings - insists on saying at the crucial juncture, "go that way".
Another vote for the recording camera both fore and aft.
What I'd love is a screen with a pre-loaded set of displays that I could select from a pad that would show to the rear.

Lon More
6th Jan 2015, 12:36
chipped, another 40BHP, DSG gearbox remapped, larger ventilated front discs and stiffer shocks, dash cam. Just an alound upgrade to make it the version i really wanted but which wasn't available here.

6th Jan 2015, 13:27
While attending DeVry in the late 60s I build an intermittent controller for the wipers in my Volkswagen Beetle. Raided the IBM CE's parts bin at work for a relay and socket.

6th Jan 2015, 13:28
TomTom, if only for final mile to destination.

Wind-up torch kept in glove locker and a lifesaver twice now for wheel changes on dark, rainy nights, as well as other little emergencies.

12V air pump.

1-ton bottle jack, 7 in high when fully down, bought for desert driving get-you-home-kit in mid 70s, been the difference between waiting for rescue and driving home on innumerable occasions. Latterly used more on boat trailer than car, but still invaluable.

6th Jan 2015, 13:41
I put an aluminium flywheel on my Tiger. Makes the engine much quicker to rev up, and also to reduce rpm.
Great accessory! :ok:

Of course, you have to rebalance the entire engine to fit it, mind...

6th Jan 2015, 14:01
I added an oil pressure gage to my 1974 VW. 'Twas a simple install.

All I had to do was screw in the fitting to where the idiot light actuator was originally installed, and run a little lube line under the carpet and behind the dash. I preferred seeing the pressure.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
6th Jan 2015, 14:12
I added an oil pressure gage to my 1974 VW. 'Twas a simple install.

All I had to do was screw in the fitting to where the idiot light actuator was originally installed, and run a little lube line under the carpet and behind the dash. I preferred seeing the pressure.

I did the same on my 1972 Spitfire 1V. And using a 'T' piece I retained the idiot light as well.

Also fitted an ammeter, which was useful in diagnosing the faulty alternators Joe Lucas (the Prince of Darkness) was selling to BL back then.

6th Jan 2015, 14:42
Not really, but I'd like to.

Can you get it to just spray the fluid, and then ignite it? :E

6th Jan 2015, 15:54

Raided the IBM CE's parts bin at work for a relay and socket.

In the UK there was a widely circulated circuit diagram, of a unit that was built on an SMS card from 1403 controller in the 2821.

6th Jan 2015, 19:14
I added seat belts to two of my early cars, years before they were made compulsory. Never had to put them to the ultimate test, but of course in the same way that taking a mac and an umbrella always keeps the rain away, they obviously scared off the collision gremlins ... :8

Funny thing, though - when I earnestly drilled through the floor of the first one to install anchor plates, with the aim of making the car safer to drive, I accidentally drilled through the hydraulic brake pipe as well. Thus making my car a brakeless deathtrap ... :eek: Doh!

John Hill
6th Jan 2015, 19:24
One of our tractors had been fitted with a stainless steel hotpot heated by a bypass from the exhaust manifold. Filled with meat and vegetables it produced a slap up hot meal at the end of a day ploughing, or it would if I had ever bothered to use it.

Ancient Mariner
6th Jan 2015, 19:50
First car, '59 Beetle. Not the best on ice and snow. No money for studded winter tires, worked as pump jockey at petrol station. Access to tools for studding tires, drilled and put as many I could fit in each summer tyre, hoping to win the lottery and buy new ones come summer.
Worked well on ice, crap on snow and tarmac, be it wet or dry.
Think I had more kms going backwards than forward. Great fun while it lasted. :eek:

6th Jan 2015, 20:34
The best device I ever fitted was a windscreen washer (pump action) to my 1950's Standard 10. Before that I used a squeegee bottle of soapy water, poked out of the side window, to clean the screen. Dirty and/or smeared windscreens were a very familiar sight on most '50's cars.

6th Jan 2015, 20:47
A couple of paving slabs in boot (?) of Healey 3000 in an effort to discourage the rear end trying to overtake me on corners. Didn't work - had a pendulum effect - made it worse , if that were possible. Fantastic beast despite this.
Not a best gadget then. Disregard this post.

6th Jan 2015, 22:37
The car: 1964 EH Holden - 179 seven bearing crankshaft motor - three on the column - bench seat - drum brakes of course - max speed on test = 104mph!

Mod number 1: A Ferris car radio - diecast case - also usable as a portable. (I still have it)

Mod number 2: A heater - simple device fitted over the fresh air inlet and heated by the engine coolant.

Mod number 3: A cheap 12 vole demister device for the driver.

Mod number 4: Seat belts for driver and navigator.

The radio was the best mod :ok:.

Pinky the pilot
6th Jan 2015, 23:04
Ah yes, the EH. With a lowered and stiffened suspension, really wide chrome rims and Michelin tyres, extractors and a sports exhaust system.:ooh:

Was the dream car of young bucks in the Barossa Valley back in the late 60s/early 70s.:ok:

And if you could afford it; A higher compression cylinder head and a half race camshaft.:eek::ok:

6th Jan 2015, 23:20
Mod number 3: A cheap 12 vole demister device for the driver.

How did that work? Did the voles blow onto the windshield?


6th Jan 2015, 23:32

A circuit to do what?

Takan Inchovit
7th Jan 2015, 00:01
Terry Towelling cover for the front bench seat (slippery vinyl) in my '64 EH station wagon.
Warmer in the winter, cooler in summer and better bum grip all year round.

7th Jan 2015, 00:08
How did that work? Did the voles blow onto the windshield?Oh, for heaven's sake, don't be ridiculous.

The 12 vole demister kit was supplied complete with 12 voles, each trained to run up and down the inside of the windscreen, rubbing its little furry bottom on it to remove the mist. To assist them in this, the kit came with 12 stiff wires that had to be fixed vertically about 1.75cm from the glass, spaced evenly across the screen width, and fastened top and bottom.

Although the result tended to be vertical strips of cleared screen rather than a fully cleared screen, it was good enough to allow forward progress at any speed. The voles were trained to wait at the bottom of their wires until the command "Voles, go to work!" was given, and to stop on the command "Voles, stop!", and resume their positions by the wires. They only needed food and water when the vehicle was stopped, and were trained to move quietly to their box as soon as the engine was switched off, where each had a small saucer of food and a little water cup.

7th Jan 2015, 00:19
A PBR VH44 Remote Power Brake Booster was one of the finest accessories I ever fitted, to all my old drum-braked Holdens of the 1960's!
Utilising engine manifold vacuum, these brake boosters provided a substantial increase in stopping ability over the standard Holden "go-faster" drum brakes.
How we cheered when Holden introduced disc brakes on the HR Holden in 1967. Only a month or two after they were released, I bought a new disc-braked HR Holden sedan. What a pleasure those disc brakes were!

7th Jan 2015, 01:23
Red cellophane inside the interior lights in my EH, just to give it that cool 'bordello' look.

7th Jan 2015, 01:24
Twin Webber carbs to a 1275cc MG Midget. Janspeed manifold.


Pinky the pilot
7th Jan 2015, 02:02
Red cellophane inside the interior lights in my EH, just to give it that cool 'bordello' look.

Did the same in my 1974 TA 22 Toyota Celica. Have no idea if that actually worked but I can say that the passenger seat was occasionally used for certain 'other' purposes!:E

'Tweren't easy though.:ugh:

Loose rivets
7th Jan 2015, 02:13
. . . and then there was the kick-down switch on my XJ6 :p As it happens, John, I also had a similar switch on the clutch. Press it into the carpet to crank the engine. I must have been a getaway driver in a former life.

In't olden days, Morphy Richards made a smoothing iron. It had a nice warning light in the handle which was mauve. Somehow I found myself with a box of these and I strung them in the glove compartment, under the combing etc., etc. This was on my pre war Wolesely. Such a cool dude.

K-L Easyturn. That's top of the list. You can just see it at half past two position.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/59CountrySedan.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/59CountrySedan.jpg.html)

7th Jan 2015, 02:22
I find it unusual that wheel spinner knobs are common in the U.S. - but mostly only on Fords.
Is that due to the Ford predisposition of having 5 or 6 turns lock-to-lock, where GM products only used 3 or 4?
The only wheel spinner knobs you see in Australia are on forklifts, where rapid transit from lock to lock is required.

7th Jan 2015, 02:47
It's interesting that you've posted a pic of "The Tank" to illustrate the 'Easyturn'.

I've operated old fishing-boats in heavy seas over which I'd had more control than one of those - other than on a straight and very level, highway.
Ah, the memories; some good, others not so.

Loose rivets
7th Jan 2015, 03:20
Next year's offering was rather more slick.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Cars/RobGscars-1.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Cars/RobGscars-1.jpg.html)

Loose rivets
7th Jan 2015, 03:25
why are two threads so similar? I'm not sure what thread I'm on . . . things will improve with the dawn - which is getting progressively nearer. As opposed to progressively further back in time.:ugh: Go to bed.:bored:

7th Jan 2015, 04:21
A hitch and then an Airstream trailer. :)

It can still be about the journey.......


7th Jan 2015, 04:49
Sheepskin car seat covers.
Especially good when you consider the summer Australian heat on black vinyl.

With regard to the steering wheel spinning knob, I did that to my Escort in the UK. Didn't last long as they are dangerous in a lot of situations. Can snap your thumb in an instant in the right circumstances.

7th Jan 2015, 05:06
Running boards on the Landrover Discovery.
The kind of car that says "I've got the dawgs in the back, now naff orf..."

Ascend Charlie
7th Jan 2015, 06:57
A "Camping body" or lay-back bench seats for my FC and then EK Holdens. made for some very pleasant interludes on the bayside in Melbourne in the 60s.

But it gave my future mother-in-law a bit of a surprise when I was giving her a lift to the shops and it flopped back on a right turn, she rolled into the back seat and I was hanging onto the steering wheel with no other support! She didn't trust me much after that when I said i was taking Daughter Dear to the drive-in.:\

Solid Rust Twotter
7th Jan 2015, 07:22
We were taught to keep fingers and thumbs out of the steering wheel arc when driving mineproof vehicles. The kick if you hit something could destroy your digits and wrists.

7th Jan 2015, 08:39
Ascend - legend :E
The shaggin' wagon...

7th Jan 2015, 09:09
A circuit to do what? Err..... the intermittent wiper control that you invented.

7th Jan 2015, 09:47
Red cellophane inside the interior lights in my EH, just to give it that cool 'bordello' look.

Ha ha Hydromet!...That's reminded me of....

The old Canary Yellow Chrysler Sigma I had....the owners manual of which had a silouhette of a 747 and a flight crew....BTW....

The lining had come away from the roof paneling.....being a young broke....there was no way I was going to have it re-upholstered, so instead I tore all the lining away, painted the panelling black....and stuck glow in the dark stars all over it.....

.....I guess at night time it was a 'claytons convertible' :p

7th Jan 2015, 09:51
...gave the girl something to look up at over your shoulder while she was laying back.... :E

7th Jan 2015, 09:56
Pretty much 'JW' ... :E :}

7th Jan 2015, 10:21
Made cardboard inserts to fit all the back windows of my XB Falcon wagon, painted chalkboard black of course.
Kept many a prying eye out whilst "resting" in the fully flat 6'5" luggage area.
A Panel van would have been much better, but more inappropriate.


7th Jan 2015, 13:05
as a powerful torch shone into the car.

Oh aye !

Engaged in some powerful petting with my girlfriend outside her house, I had a feeling we - in the car - were being spied on. Turned on light, vivid green eyes staring in the windscreen. it was her cat, Fluff, sitting on the bonnet, looking at us.

7th Jan 2015, 13:09
henry I preferred Brockley Combe ( I lived in Backwell )

9th Jan 2015, 14:19
This christmas my mother inlaw reminded her son about how simple pleasures He (We) used to be satisfied with, by mention that the best present at his 18. Christmas was a plug-in interval switch for the vipers on his well used Opel Kadett :-)

Ancient Observer
9th Jan 2015, 16:40

"Twin Webber carbs to a 1275cc MG Midget. Janspeed manifold."

Do you mean 40s/45s, or downdrafts?

I tried twin 40s on the 1275 with a stage 3 head which I had squeezed in to a '54 Moggie, (long story) but just could not get them to work. Also tried a pair of small Strombergs, but the power from them was no better than 1 x 1.5 Stromberg, so that stayed on it.
It was all too powerful for the diff, tho', so memory says that the man at the scrapyard knew me well.

Ancient Observer
9th Jan 2015, 16:45
Best gadget.

The various girl friends.

Of things mechanical, the screen wash fitted to the 54 Moggie. As it went quite well, seeing where one was going appeared to be an improvement.

9th Jan 2015, 17:20
On a Fiesta, two resistors costing pence, soldered in parallel (IIRC) with the engine coolant temperature sensor. They made it think the engine was warmer than it really was, thus leaning out the single point fuel injector. It went from a pig to start and a sod to get through the MOT to a delight to start and drive (as much as it can be with a Fiesta, anyway), with a hydrocarbon reading that was almost zero.

My brother added a rheostat to his Maestro to convert the automatic choke into an electric manual one. It worked perfectly.

9th Jan 2015, 19:13
I fitted an oil pressure gauge and an ammeter in a little panel under the dash of my 1970 Triumph Spitfire Mk3.

Second time out after fitting them, I was in my new trousers going to a posh restaurant with the missus.

I suddenly felt a bit "hot and bothered" down below. I then noticed the oil pressure warning light come on. Then I felt much hotter and much more bothered! I pulled over quickly and saw that the nylon capillary pipe to the back of the oil gauge had snapped clean off, and was spraying my lower legs and gentleman's department with very hot, and very black sump oil.

I survived but my new trousers didn't.

10th Jan 2015, 00:27
Ancient Observer

Hard to recall after all this time but I remember them as being 40 DCOE. Had to cut a hole in the bonnet to enable the fitting.
No problem with the diff but the new engine did not last long!