Wing Vent Windows

1965 Ambassador wing vent window

Anybody up for a good conspiracy theory? The makers of automobile air conditioners have teamed up and made wing vent windows disappear!

Hey, it’s a little plausible. After all, I remember a dramatic difference in the interior temperature of a big Plymouth when those vent windows were opened to blast wind into your surroundings at 60 MPH.

Wing vents had all sorts of uses. I really miss them.

I don’t miss that whistling noise that would inevitably appear as your vehicle aged, though.

So, what was a vent window good for? I remember watching cigarette smoke miraculously get sucked out of the barely-cracked wing vent as mom would drive down the road. Every trace of smoke went straight for that vent window.

It was also perfect for sticking a seven-year-old foot through on a hot summer day.

And then there’s access to a locked vehicle. My first car was a 1965 Falcon. I remember leaving my keys in the ignition once with the doors locked. No prob. A strategically placed pocket knife blade pried up the vent window’s locking lever and I was able to reach in and grab the keys.

Yeesh. It’s a wonder nobody stole my $29.95 underdash eight-track player.

If your wing vent was unlockable from the outside, it was also the cheapest window to break if all else failed.

Wing vent window on a pickup

There’s no doubt about it, though. The air blast you got from wide open wing vents on a hot summer day when your thrifty Norwegian father was driving down the road with the air conditioner turned off kept you cool. And if another window was open, it also kept the interior of your car completely free of small lightweight objects.

Wing vents disappeared gradually. The 1968 Camaros and Firebirds were released without vent windows. Hey, who needed them when you had Astro Ventilation and 29 cent gas?

See, I told you it was those A/C manufacturers behind all of this! 😉

As the 70’s went on, more and more carmakers did away with the diminutive windows. My 1973 Celica didn’t have them. However, Toyota did put them in pickups until well into the 80’s.

Today, though, there is nary a vent window to be seen. Lock your keys in the car and you’re better of forking over 50 or more bucks to a locksmith than breaking a big window. And it just doesn’t seem as cool inside on a hot summer day with regular windows rolled down.

Curse that A/C manufacturing cartel!

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