Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Power front and manual rear windows

Welcome back to Encyclopedia Hoonatica, where we, specifically you, explore general useless automotive obscurities. Today we look at one of the cheap features of so-called premium vehicles.

The E34 is one of my favorite BMWs of all time. It’s not about its style or performance but rather ownership satisfaction. My ’91 535i with manual transmission was one of the best vehicles I’ve owned. Tough, well made, easy to work on, great driving, and cheap to own. That’s almost an anomaly in BMW world. Others knew this, as I still sold for good money with 240,000 miles an on the clock and solid 18 months of NYC abuse.

Browsing used European used car classifieds, as one does on an early Monday morning, I noticed something that I was kind of aware of but never really seen before. The used E34 bimmers, the less optioned models, had power front windows but crank rear windows. I knew vehicles like that existed in other parts of the world but have never really seen it before. Personally, it makes me wonder if designing a power and a manual window elements, producing the parts, and manufacturing them makes financial sense, but what do I know.

Today we ask you for other examples of automobiles that had mix and match of power and manual windows in one vehicle. There are many, so this won’t be too hard.

The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • One vehicle must have some power and some crank windows.
  • Triangular vent windows do not count as manual windows.
  • Vehicles that had all manual (base models) or all power windows (high models) don’t count.
  • Targa tops or t-tops don’t count.
  • Likewise, a sunroof or a moonroof is a not a window.
  • Hatch pop-up windows don’t count but a tailgate window with a crank does count!
  • Removable hardtop vehicles such as Broncos, Blazers, and various Jeeps don’t count but consideration will be given if something wacky is specified.
  • Any kind of opening windshield will be judged on case-by-case basis.

Difficulty: 6 out of 10, easier if pushing a button.
How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.

Inspired by autoblog.pl and its links to otomoto.pl. 

47 Comments

  1. On the even cheaper end of the spectrum, my old 2011 Silverado extened cab Work Truck had crank front windows and fixed rear windows. Not sure what you got if you ordered power windows with the work truck. The higher end versions had rear windows that lowered, powered of course.

  2. I’m going to speculate that there were some GM clamshell wagons with manual door windows and an electric rear window.

    1. My ’83 Wagoneer had that combo – keyed, power rear window, manual windows on all 4 doors. (And the esteemed vent wings up front!).

    1. Does that imply that you could buy the car in 1983 with no rear seat belts? Or just that they were scraping the barrel for things to note in the brochure.

        1. Seems to vary hugely by country, eg Sweden 1970, France/Germany 78-79, UK 1987, Netherlands 1990. Law requiring wearing of seatbelts (front and rear, where fitted for older cars) went national in Australia in 1972.

      1. Rear seat belts were indeed optional in the UK at the time. My ’83 Maestro has them but my ’82 Allegro does not, nor did my former ’82 Metro, although in all of these vehicles rear belts were available both as factory and as dealer options. The mounting points are present. My UK-market ’75 and ’76 Volvos both have rear belts but I’d have to dig through the literature to determine whether Volvo considered them optional or just decided to stick them in everything regardless of whether they were required by local law.

        My French-market ’78 and ’80 KVs were made without any seat belts at all, nor have I seen any indication of them having been available as options. I assume French law was different for voitures sans permis, as it’s not like a seat belt is going to have much of an effect on the overall level of deathiness for these things anyway.

        1. Yes Volvo had a different attitude to safety; not optional. Proper cars in France would have had to needed seatbelts by then so must be a voitures sans permis thing.

          Looking back it is bizarre that the UK mandated front belts in 1967 but took until 1987 for the rear. Or that Austin would have been fitting rear belts to export cars but wanting to cut the price of local cars by effectively an imperceptible amount.

          Maybe the rear seatbelt fitting job at Longbridge or Cowley was so prized because you didn’t have to work most of the time

          1. Haha I was referring to when they weren’t on strike! Oh wait…

            (just jokes people!)

  3. 1968-72 Corvette coupes came with pop-out (manually) rear windows. Any Corvette coupes in those years with power door windows would fit the category.

    For that matter, many convertibles, from a variety of manufacturers, have zippered rear windows, and sometimes power door windows.

    My own vintage convertible has a power top and manual door windows. Does that count?

    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IKwJxbfNQWs/XBWBK5xRSeI/AAAAAAACvfE/YqP2BE5gMHAsLTXTx7XW4Wp15wXO50HtACLcBGAs/s1600/1968_corvette_rear_window_ad.jpg

    1. I knew there would be one of you with something like this.
      That said, how come we don’t have power windows in our homes yet?

      1. We do, they’re called skylights. You can also get regular windows that are powered, mostly of the casement variety.

      2. Power windows make sense in a car. How often do you go through a drive through, or pay a parking attendant, or visit your crack dealer? You put the window down each time.

        How often do you open the windows at home? At, say, $700 per window (guesstimate of parts, labor, and retrofitting house wiring to get electricity to the windows), how long before the novelty wears off?

        1. Or, how much to fix when it breaks…

          Mind you these days they would be connected via wifi and you could operate them remotely. This is available for roller blinds, not sure about window openers.

        2. Or, how much to fix when it breaks…

          Mind you these days they would be connected via wifi and you could operate them remotely. This is available for roller blinds, not sure about window openers.

        3. Or, how much to fix when it breaks…

          Mind you these days they would be connected via wifi and you could operate them remotely. This is available for roller blinds, not sure about window openers.

        4. Or, how much to fix when it breaks…

          Mind you these days they would be connected via wifi and you could operate them remotely. This is available for roller blinds, not sure about window openers.

  4. My Mk1 Focus with option set Futura 2 was like that, but I don’t know about the base and top model options. I’ve optioned it to immobile driver side window for a while…I liked the car, and miss the good chassis in my daily driver.

    1. My Mk2 Focus (base model, but with the “Comfort” pack) had power front and manual back windows as well. Higher models had all power windows (front and back).

  5. Extended cab pickups used to commonly have manual pop-out rear side windows even if the front door windows were powered. Manual center slider windows also were common on both regular and extended-cab pickups.

    I seem to remember one of the newer semis back home on the farm (either my dad’s Peterbilt 389 or my grandpa’s Kenworth T800) having a manual driver window & power passenger-side window.

  6. The 1984 Audi 4000 Quattro had crank windows in the back, I’m not sure if the 85 and 86 models did since that was a mild facelift.

  7. The Brazilian VW Up! In Europe the Up! rear windows don’t roll down, but the Brazilian version does. And is also a bit longer (people here want they city cars doing all kinds of stuff, including travel with luggage), is homologated to carry 3 in the back seat (now in 2020 headrest and 3 point belts are mandated to all passenger, so VW removed the third seatbelt and homologated the car to carry 4 passenger) and we had the Up with turbocharged engine before the Europeans.
    In the top trim the Up has power front windows, but at the rear it only came with cranks. VW says a electric motor don’t fit at the rear doors, but the aftermarket covered that and offer power rear windows to the Up.
    https://www.infinitamotors.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/9-4.jpeg
    Here’s one of the aftermarket conversion, there are a lot of different kits, with all sorts of buttons locations
    https://www.revistaautomotivo.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/vidro-tragial-up.jpg

    1. I’d argue that the rears in your former compact are powered just like mine, wind powered granted, and only at speeds above 70.

  8. A huge number of midrange Euro cars of the ’80s and ’90s were configured thus. Dad’s old Ford Sierra Ghia, a top-line car, had power fronts only; rear was optional at extra cost.

    Rear power windahs were frequently the reserve of the options list, particularly on cars likely to end up shuttling a lone sales rep around, with the rear seats rarely occupied. Fleet managers hate paying for stuff that won’t be used.

  9. I’ve seen many cars with power front/manual rear windows in base trim form in the 1995-2005 range, after which must be the point when it became cheaper just to spec power windows for the rear too. When cars have only one occupant most of the time it makes sense.

    Even to the current day there are cases where the rear door trim panel is much simpler & doesn’t have insert strips etc to give that economy-class ambience.

  10. A huge number of midrange Euro cars of the ’80s and ’90s were configured thus. Dad’s old Ford Sierra Ghia, a top-line car, had power fronts only; rear was optional at extra cost.

    Rear power windahs were frequently the reserve of the options list, particularly on cars likely to end up shuttling a lone sales rep around, with the rear seats rarely occupied. Fleet managers hate paying for stuff that won’t be used.

  11. The recently departed Focus S had this set up. Also 3 cupholders instead of an armrest in the center.

  12. The 1st and 2nd gen Neons only ever had manual windows for the rear doors no matter how high of a trim level you got, even the SRT4 is like this.

  13. The new Dacia Sandero and Sandero Stepway basically has got electric in the front and manual in the rear.

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