This past week marked the quiet passing of an automotive icon, one that has brought joy and entertainment to millions. (No, not Bob Lutz’s toupee.) Say goodbye to the cassette player, new car shoppers of 2011.
Put away your Go-Gos Vacation “cassingle!” Throw out your trusty iPod adapter! Those looking to cheaply adapt their auxiliary audio sources will have to splurge on one of those fancy-pants FM transmitters and deal with the static.* And those who reminisce about the days of winding magnetic tape, switching to Side B, or prying out melted cassettes in the hot sun with a butter knife will simply have to settle for a mid-90s GM product with a grey-buttoned AC Delco Theftlock head.
The cassette player joins 8-track players, CB radios, trunk-mounted CD changers, vinyl roofs, opera windows, carburetors, wood trim, wire wheels, curb feelers, tail fins, window louvers, bias-ply tires, factory tape stripes, Mercury, slotted mags, leaded gasoline, the Autronic Eye, Hurst shifters, cab-over pickup trucks, hood ornaments capable of skewering pedestrians, NASCAR driver Dick Trickle, and the entire 1973 Oldsmobile lineup as the automotive industry continues its relentless march towards progress.
In addition, the cassette player is survived by satellite radio, Pandora Internet streaming, USB outlets, Ford’s SYNC, the MP3 adapter, and the CD player…for now. It will be missed by—well, me, anyway, and the last owners of the 1996 Chevy Lumina that once comprised my youth, with its shitty aftermarket cassette deck that took our equally shitty dealer a week to install, only to crap out on my parents’ love of Communist-era Chinese folk songs during road trips to the St. Louis Science Center. Please send flowers.
For Car Cassette Decks, Play Time Is Over—New York Times
Image sources: [Flickr (1, 2), Roadtransport.com, The Ancient Continent]
*Alternatively, if anyone in the Hooniverse Commentariat can recommend a good FM transmitter to replace my horrendous Griffin iTrip, I’m all ears. Homie gotta get his podcast on, son.