The mainstream automobile has made tremendous avances over the past 50 years in safety, engine technology and comfort. At its core, though, it's remained the same: Four wheels, seats and a steering wheel for the driver.
In 1965, Ford proposed a change that would have revolutionized that fundamental setup.
Check out the video above. The company's engineers eliminated the steering wheel in an experimental Mercury Park Lane, and replaced it with two five-inch metallic rings mounted on a two-pronged stick.
The "Wrist-Twist" control system was supposed to make it easier for drivers to enter and exit the vehicle, and create better visibility of the instrument panel and the road ahead. The wrist-twist controls required far smaller movements to steer.
Ostensibly, the system also intended to make parallel parking easier. With a tinge of sexism, the ad says the female motorist is "as non-technical as they come" and that "most women agree that parking is the most taxing part of driving," and Wrist-Twist promises to ease that stress.
In regard to eliminating the steering wheel, the narrator says, "you can never tell what surprises automakers have just around the corner."