When you’re very young, the smallest things can make a huge impression. You would occasionally assign rather more value or significance to something than it might realistically merit. Such it was when I was growing up. My Dad was a Ford man for much of the ’80s, and I spend the latter portion of that decade cruising in the back of his top-of-the range Sierra Ghia.
I recognised – and felt smug – that it had features that were absent in the lesser cars my friends would trundle around in at the time. It had head rests for rear seat passengers, a true sign of luxury and refinement. There were adjustable map-reading lights in the front, too, and few cars could match the Sierra’s ‘graphic information module’ that warned of low temperatures, unclosed doors and failed bulbs, and looked awesome lit up at night. There was one feature notably absent, though – one that I first spotted in 1987 while perusing a Ford brochure. The Granada Scorpio had red door edge-illuminators.
My little mind was blown.
The Scorpio was a POSH car. I was pretty much unexposed to any of the premium brands at that point, and even if I had been, few had more standard features than the Scorpio, anyway. Little me looked at the specification list with wide eyes – electrically operated front and rear seats. Reading lights for those in the back. Air conditioning! There was nothing more exotic to me, age six, than a Ford Granada Scorpio.
But all these features were in plain sight. Those red door-edge illuminators were hidden away, waiting for their chance to shine. What a thing!
I was reminded of this for the first time in years, upon dropping something underneath my own car when I got out. My ’98 Audi A4, like dozens of other cars out there, have red warning lights that show other road users when a door is wide open (and yeah, check out my strange combination of leather seats and manual rear windows!). I know there are far cleverer types out there – the ’80s Taurus had a lamp that doubled as a puddle-light and a door edge marker, with both clear and red lens sections. A neat solution, but somehow not as awesome as the “now you see it, now you don’t” nature of mine and the Scorpio’s.
Yes, I know it’s weird, but I’ve always thought door edge markers were cool, and six-year old me of the past is delighted that thirty-six year old me of the present has driven a car thus equipped since he was twenty six.
What entirely ordinary piece of humdrum car specification have you always, inexplicably, thought to be awesome?
(Images Chris Haining / Hooniverse)