A Quick and Comprehensive History of Cupholders: Your Favorite Feature

A Quick and Comprehensive History of Cupholders: Your Favorite Feature

Your cupholder is an essential part of the American dream. It holds your coffee, soda, or other beverage of choice diligently while you carpool, commute, and off-road to your heart’s content. It keeps your phone snuggled safely away from your curious hands while you abide by the no texting while driving laws. It holds snacks and dreams. It’s a part of the driving experience that you can’t live without. It might shock you to know, however, that these epitomes of luxury were not always part of the automotive blueprint. In fact, both European and early American vehicles didn’t include them. What changed? 


It’s unsurprising that the first cars were not engineered for comfort per se; automakers were still getting the hang of creating safe cars to peruse the rough roads. In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t have cupholders in those vehicles—can you imagine the spillage? Donut Media’s Nolan Sykes tells us that this all changed in the 1950s with the emergence of the drive-in diner. Because people tended to consume their food more quickly than their drinks, they had nowhere to put their drinks upon departure. Early resolutions to this crisis included snack trays, beverage trays attached to the glovebox, and holding on for dear life. 


It was our own 1984 Dodge Caravan that had recognizable cupholders as we know them today. Though it’s not 100 percent clear which manufacturer had the first official ones, it’s a clear trend in American models beginning in the 1980s. European models, however, did not embrace the trend, since they view driving as its own separate activity as opposed to a combination of snacking and transportation. Nolan also explains that they have shorter distances and commutes than American drivers, therefore don’t have as much of a need for onboard snacking.


Automakers have since embraced our need and love of cupholders. The Dodge and RAM vehicles we’re proud to represent have their fair share of these little treasures, ready to handle your latte, Diet Coke, or bottled water in the Arizona heat. You’re always welcome to stop by our dealership on Bell Road to count the amount in your dream car. Cheers to safety and convenience!

Categories: Parts, Social
Tags: dodge, ram
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