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Tape Decks No Longer Available in Cars


Ahhhh, tapes. Glorious, vintage cassette tapes. I remember the transition from tapes to CDs, then desperately trying to figure out songs that didn’t exist on a small, tangible data organizer. (What exactly was I supposed to do with this thumb drive? … What?) My best guy friend in high school made me a “Sunny Seventeen” mix tape for my birthday that year, complete with a hand cover. (Thanks, Terence.) We would record songs off the radio when our favorite songs came on, as if we’d never hear them again, satisfied with missing the first part of the song and losing the second part of the song to station IDs and annoying DJs. But alas — ’tis the end of an era. Tape decks in cars are no more.

According to the New York Times, the last car to be sold with the option of a factory-installed tape deck was the 2010 Lexus SC 430.

No, really — 2010. Just in time for CD players to have their last hurrah, tape decks will finally not be an option only now. I’ll bet you’re a little shocked to see that people have been holding on to this now-antique feature for such a long time, considering how long it’s been since we’ve (sadly and begrudgingly) moved on from using tapes. But here is the autopsy report for the beloved cassette tape:

Although the technologies behind the compact tape cassette, which was invented by Philips, improved through the years — longer play times, better tape quality, Dolby noise reduction — magnetic tapes were subject to wear. They stretched, wound themselves around the innards of the drive mechanism and melted their cases in hot weather.

So, there was that. And CDs are read by lasers, so there is no physical contact causing such wear and tear. But we are now in an era of not carrying numerous bulky things for the sake of entertaining ourselves. (Don’t tell my dad.) This is obviously a huge improvement over our previous attempts at portable music, and as much fun as nostalgia can be, it’s nice to not worry about towers of cases and things scattering about my car when I make a sharp turn. Really.

(New York Times, New York Times Blog, mental_floss)

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