Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!
This week’s question: What was the first passenger car to come with factory “traveling” cup holders?
If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you’re right.
Ever since early man started adorning their caves with artwork, we’ve tried t make our homes our own. The automotive age allowed us to take our particular aesthetic values on the road, as cars became an extension of our homes as a means to express our personalities. Since most of us like to feel at-home in our cars, it’s a natural assumption that we might like to enjoy a tasty beverage every now and then while we’re there.
Why is it then that cup holder technology didn’t really take off until the 1980s, nearly a century after the auto industry got its start? Eating and drinking (even alcohol!) in cars has long been a pastime, gaining favor as drive-ins and drive-thru restaurants sprang up to cater to a hungry and perhaps agoraphobic populace.
At the same time, car design failed to keep up with this new dining and drinking trend. The first nod to the fact that people might like to sip a cup of coffee while sitting in their car came on the 1955 Chevy, which offered a pair of shallow indentations in the back side of the glove box lid. These afforded a flat spot to accommodate a pair of cups, but were useless when the car was in motion.
The aftermarket provided solutions to the parched driving dilemma, but it wasn’t until a certain manufacturer shook up the family hauler category that a fully-realized factory-offered cup holder – one that would safely hold a beverage while the car was in motion – was realized.
From Bon Appétit (emphasis added):
…customers looking for a car with a built-in cup holder were still stuck in the wilderness, or more likely in traffic, trying to turn left and shift into second while balancing their hot mugs of Sanka.
But that all changed in 1983, when Chrysler invented the minivan. The Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager (which were the same car, for the most part) not only saved the company while creating a whole new category of car in the American market, they rolled off the assembly line with two serious cup holders in sunk into the plastic of the dashboard. In the next few years, more and more cars started including cup holders in their interior design—but it would take at least another decade for them to become ubiquitous.
Since that bombshell of a start, cup holder technology has seen both innovation and exasperation as designers seek ever new ways to get beverages secured in the limited space of the dashboard or center console. Today the feature has expanded beyond the dash, and it seems that every seat in the car is assigned at least one, if not two cup holders.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take my cup of french roast for a spin around the block.