Those of us of a certain age may remember riding along in their parents’ car on even the hottest summer days and not feeling especially uncomfortable despite the heat.

Even though that car had no air-conditioning.

The reason we didn’t feel hot, and the reason we even enjoyed a pretty brisk breeze, was that toward the front of the car, just ahead of the front seat windows on both sides, were additional windows:  little, triangular windows that opened, with the assistance of a separate handle – opened not up and down but inside and out. Position it correctly and it would direct warm air out of the car and bring onto the car’s passengers a cool, strong breeze.

The Curmudgeon, who has never been a fan of car air-conditioning, has often thought about those side-vent windows and how they were a poor man’s air-conditioning:  they got the job done and kept you cool without paying for air conditioning or watching your gas mileage suffer (although, to be fair, no one was talking about gas mileage back when gasoline was 30 cents a gallon).

The Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer has a feature called “Roadwise” in which readers submit their car questions and recently, The Curmudgeon learned that he’s not the only person wondering whatever happened to these side-vent windows.

The response, though entirely predictable, was still sad:  those windows increased the cost of making cars, they weren’t very efficient from an aerodynamic perspective, and most of all, they didn’t seem necessary anymore once air-conditioning became more or less standard equipment in cars.

Another part of the response, also predictable:  as far as the columnist knows, no carmakers today are offering side-vent windows, not even as an option.

It’s too bad:  The Curmudgeon would love to have one – if you look at your own car’s front windows today you may see a sealed, separate triangle where the vents used to be – but if there’s a consolation prize, it’s nice at least to know that he’s not the only one who laments the loss of the side-vent window!

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