Car Interiors

Hi, not sure if I should be posting this here or in ‘design research’, anyway. I’m doing a project at Uni on Design Futures and I’ve decided to look into car interiors. We have been asked to research the history of our chosen subject dating from the 1950’s to the present. Does anybody know where I can research this? I’ve used ebay so far but older interiors tend to be worn and obviously theres no information on when airbags/curtains, dvd players, cruise control etc were introduced. Some kind of automotive interior timeline would be perfect.


I would start by checking out some automotive history books from your library. They will give you a basic understanding of interior functions, and some info on the improvements over the years.

A great history book in my opinion is “Drive On!” by LJK Setright. If you have time, he lays out many of the lesser documented advances in automobiles out in his book.

Another idea would be to look for enthusiast clubs. There is one for almost every automobile, and their websites typically have good photos of restored interiors. Also, contact some of them, I’m sure every member has a library of good photos of their cars.

man, there is this great book for you in our design library, if I remember on monday I’ll check on the name, but it is something like “Dash Boards” and it is a photo historical journey into classic automobile contole panels.

Luckily, there are a lot of people in the world that spend untold amounts of money maintaining and restoring ‘classic’ automobiles. A great many of them show off their vehicles on personal or club websites, so just pick out some models and start searching the 'net. If you are looking for some obscure or rare models and manufacturers, you will probaly have to hit the libraries to look in archives of period automotive magazines.

Another avenue might be to get ahold of as many copies of classic car magazines as possible to see photos of restored and original interior. My favorites are Classic & Sports Car and Thouroubred & Classic Car, both printed in the UK. There are several others along the same vein being printed in the USA.