1986: The Buick Riviera introduces the touchscreen

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  1. Carnage

    Carnage SRT Hellcat Supercharged Moderator Staff Member Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member HCC Charter Member

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    1986: The Buick Riviera introduces the touchscreen

    Touchscreen displays are common in modern cars today, but many add frustration instead of easing it. The default explanation is that the technology is "new" (some of it is), but the first touchscreen system available in a production car dates back to the 1986 Buick Riviera's Graphic Control Center:

    Unlike contemporary LCD screens with high-resolution graphics and colors, the GCC was a cathode-ray tube with a green-and-black screen reminiscent of an old ATM. The 3" x 4" display allowed the driver to control electronic settings such as the trip computer, radio, and climate with just a touch.

    While the GCC was undeniably ahead of its time and spread to the Reatta, Buick dropped the system in 1990 after owners found it onerous and distracting.

    When Popular Mechanics reviewed the 1986 Riviera T Type (an '88 model is shown above) and its touchscreen display, they were impressed with the technology but found that it "violates the First Commandment of ergonomics—you must take your eyes off the road to make any adjustments."

    Gee, sound familiar?
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