Retro Car Features: BMW's Customizable Wiper Speeds of the 80s and 90s

by AutoExpert   |  5 June, 2024

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Let's face it, these days every car under the sun has those fancy "auto" wipers that come on whenever the raindrops throw a tiny tantrum. But back in the good ol' days (read: the 80s and 90s), some BMWs (looking at you, classic 7 Series) let you, the driver, be the boss of your windshield real estate.

Imagine this: you're cruising down the highway, a light sprinkle graces your windshield, and those wiper blades are going a little overboard. In a modern car, you're stuck with their automated rhythm. But in these vintage Beemers? You could program the delay between swipes!

Retro Car Features

A recent Instagram post (prepare for some serious car-guy jargon) reminded us of this forgotten feature. Basically, you'd flick the wiper lever to "intermittent," then back to "off" for however long you wanted the pause to be. Then, switch it back to "intermittent," and voila! Your wipers would follow your personalized rhythm until you decided to change it up again.

Retro Car Features

Now, we're not sure exactly when BMW ditched this feature (or if any of their newer models still have it). But a quick internet search revealed that some Volkswagen and Lexus models offered similar setups back in the day, and there are even aftermarket parts you can get to give your car this blast-from-the-past functionality.

Was it a game-changer? Not exactly. But it's a cool reminder that German automakers were pushing the boundaries back then. While American cars were busy spoiling you with plush leather seats and fancy antennas, some BMWs were offering cutting-edge safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and, of course, those totally customizable wipers.

Retro Car Features

So, any car enthusiasts out there with a vintage BMW with programmable wipers? Let us know in the comments – we'd love to see it in action!

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