Hooniverse Asks: What's the Coolest Auto Industry Off-shoot?

As I’m sure you are all aware, Henry Ford had a great influence on our Memorial Day activities. No, it was the Model T bringing mobility to the masses, and hence creating traffic jams, it was the scrap material from the T’s wooden frame construction that Henry used to convert into charcoal briquettes. Kingsford was founded by Old Man Henry and his brother-in-law, E.G. Kingsford, and back-yard barbecues were never the same.
That’s just one example of an auto industry off-shoot. Much like the Space Race or American Idol, the auto industry has spun off a ton of ancillary products and benefits in its more than a century of existence. What we want to know today is what you think is the coolest of those offshots. We know its not charcoal, as that’s the hottest (dad joke), but I’m sure you can think of a lot of others that are.
Image: Pinterest


  1. Thinking about how much mechanical reliability has improved, I’m going with improvements in metallurgy.

    1. I was actually walking down this path and trying to find one great example. There are too many.
      Whether it’s the advancement of weldable alloys, or the continued development of carbon fiber. You can talk about the bonding processes that have now come into play.
      And that’s ignoring the influence in the world of plastics and NVH reduction that has knowledge shared with concert halls and recording studios.
      When we talk of The Bronze Age which covered almost 2000 years, or the Iron age that covered 1500, the advancement of alloys that we have seen in just 50 years is baffling.

      1. I keep thinking of Loctite. The story I always heard was that the whole reason Chrysler was able to offer thier 7 year/ 70,000 mile warranty in the 1980s was that they started using Loctite to put the cars together.

  2. Awesome-O and all of the attendant personal mobility inventions that have been created by Honda based on the same tech.

  3. Drive-In and Drive -Thru establishments. Dinner, a movie, car wash, the bank… a lot of it has gone away, but it was so cool!

    1. There’s still a drive-in in southern Sask somewhere, I’m tempted to go if they get Mad Max in, it seems like the perfect movie for it.

  4. Ironically (for Ford), the wagon in the picture looks like a ’69 Chevelle Concours Estate.

  5. Given that GM owned Frigidaire once, and Kelvinator was a big appliance seller, and International briefly got into the same business, the literally coolest off-shoot would probably be a freezer.

    1. Finally, somebody who can use literally in the correct way!

      To quote Weird Al, when you “‘literally couldn’t couldn’t get out of bed.’ That makes me want to literally smack a crowbar upside your stupid head!”

  6. The Pininfarina-designed Coke machines now populating the higher-end greasetrap establishments could be considered an offshoot, no?

  7. I know air-conditioning was not invented for automobiles, but I can’t help but feel it was advanced by the auto industry. Many big American companies had a refrigeration branch. Nash -> Kelvinator, International -> International, GM -> Frigidaire…..Surely this qualifies as the coolest!

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