Ten Bygone Car Features and Why They DiedYeah, cars used to come with ashtrays, and it didn't seem weird at all because so many people used them, for change if not for cigarettes. They were phased out due to lack of demand, and people who smoke in their cars can get an aftermarket accessory pretty easily. But some of the things that automakers thought the public would clamor for just fizzled out because they didn't make any sense even when they were new. Vinyl record players were just a bad idea, was quickly surpassed by cassette and CD players. Pop-up headlights were cool, but only until they quit working, and then it was just another piece of a car that could break and cost a lot of money to fix. It's pretty neat to learn about Landau bars, which survive today to denote that a vehicle is hearse. Some of these features, like ashtrays, weren't really flops; they were just a car part that eventually went away when the world changed.
The Strikingly Disastrous Debut of the Aitekx Robotruck at the LA Auto Show A startup called Aitekx brought the prototype of their new electric vehicle to the Los Angeles Auto Show, and the guys from Autopian wondered why. The Robotruck 1T is an obvious knockoff of Tesla's Cybertruck, although the company representatives denied that the design had anything to do with the Cybertruck. In the article accompanying this video, the Autopian goes further into comparisons between the two electric trucks and a deep dive into the company's website. But even when you give Aitekx the benefit of a doubt in the Robotruck's design, the prototype they brought to the auto show is just... bad. A company representative named Ed agreed that it was not ready, and shouldn't have been displayed. How bad could it be? Gaps in the body work, parts of a Toyota underneath the panels, headlights and taillights that are just LED strips pasted on, yeah, that bad. So bad that one of the reps at the show tried to stop the video from being posted, while the other wanted video evidence to show his boss that he was right aboutthis being a bad idea.  -via reddit 
What It's Like to Drive the Las Vegas F1 Grand Prix TrackThe first Las Vegas Grand Prix has just wrapped up for the year, after thrilling those who came to see it, and annoying those who came to see anything else in Vegas and the locals just trying to get to work. Its success means that the event will return for the next few years, setting up a temporary track on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. Matt Farah of Road & Track took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive that track. He was one of only three amateur drivers to do so, with a sponsorship from Aston Martin. His vehicle was the Aston Martin DBX 707, a 700-horsepower SUV worth $350,000. Farah is not really a F1 race fan, and in fact he left Las Vegas before the Grand Prix concluded. But he is a driving enthusiast, and was eager to find out what the track was really like. He tried it on a simulator, then rode it with another driver, and finally took the course himself, with six internal cameras and some external cameras capturing his every move. Read what Farah has to say about the experience in a minute-by-minute recap at Road & Track.(Image credit: Calreyn88)
After Woman Loses Car to Fire, The Stanley Mug Company Offers to Replace ItSince 1913, Stanley International has been manufacturing insulated mugs and jugs to keep drinks hot or cold under the most brutal of conditions. The brand recently received an unintentional endorsement when TikTok user @danimarielettering lost her car to a fire. The interior is thoroughly destroyed, but her Stanley insulated mug, which rested in the center cupholder, was still intact and, in fact, had ice inside.
Why It's So Easy to Total a Car NowMy daughter's car was hit in the side a couple of years ago. She was fine, the car was drivable, but was a bit dented. When I was her age, I would live with the dents even when someone else's insurance company paid for the damage. That was the case here, and within days the company declared her car totaled. She got enough payout to buy a slightly newer car with money left over. Since then, we can be sure that someone else got a 2013 Scion with a salvage title at a bargain price. Why are cars written off as a total loss with such small damage? An anonymous mechanic-turned-insurance adjuster explains the process.The formula is simple: Get the value for the car, write a damage estimate, add 30% for potential supplementary repairs, get a bid on the salvage selling price and then do the math. If the value is higher than those three combined, it gets repaired.The crucial factor is that "those three combined" can be very high, largely due to the hi-tech components of a 21st century vehicle. Replacement parts are expensive. And because replacement parts are expensive, salvage yards are paying higher amounts for damaged cars because the remaining parts can be sold at a premium. At the same time, the value of the car is determined by mysterious algorithms used by insurance companies, and are often strangely low. For many people, the experience of having their car totaled out isn't as easy as my daughter's. Read what really goes on at the insurance company after you've had a car wreck at The Autopian. Then if you dare, read more than a hundred personal accounts in the comments.-via Metafilter​(Image credit: Schekinov Alexey Victorovich) 
The Very First Porsche Isn't What You Would Imagine ​Ferdinand Porsche is a seminal figure in automotive history. He founded the company Porsche AG in 1931. He designed a car for the German government that became known as the Volkswagen. He also created the first gasoline-electric hybrid car. But the very first car Porsche built was way back in 1898. It was named the “Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model,” and as you can see, it looks nothing like the Porsches of today. What is fascinating about this important piece of history is that it was lost for so long. It was stored in a shed in Austria in 1902, and only rediscovered in 2014! The vehicle was in surprisingly good shape, considering being parked for 112 years. Some of the body parts were missing, as well as the batteries and seats, but the motor still worked. The car was taken to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, where it was lovingly restored, with transparent parts added to show what was once there. You can read about this car and see more pictures at Vintage Everyday. -via Strange Company(Image credit: Alexander Migl)