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What Car Part Is Seriously Over-Engineered?

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  • February 11, 2024

Image for article titled What Car Part Is Seriously Over-Engineered?

Image: Intechdude300 YouTube

When you’re a true car enthusiast, you learn to appreciate every part of a vehicle. From the window switches to the seatbelts, sometimes the best things are in the small details. But when you’re looking over these small details on a car, sometimes you come across things that seem to have been unnecessarily designed by a whole engineering team.

2002 VW Phaeton V8

Image: Volkswagen

Take the Volkswagen Phaeton. The whole car was engineered to insane standards — standards that had never been seen before, which was the point. Ferdinand Piëch wanted the Phaeton (and Touraeg) to be a world-class car from the last palace you would expect it: VW. Aside from insane standards for situations no owner would ever encounter, like requiring the Phaeton to maintain an interior temp of 72 degrees in 122-degree weather while going 150 mph, so many of the small components on the Phaeton itself were over engineered. Take the trunk hinges.

Image for article titled What Car Part Is Seriously Over-Engineered?

Image: Volkswagen

At first glance, it looks like some sort of mechanical work of art, and in a sense, it was. VW commissioned Italian bike company Campagnolo to make the Phaeton’s hinges. This is a company that makes racing bicycles costing thousands of dollars. The hinge itself consisted of a gas strut along with two other components, all made of wonderful-looking brushed aluminum.

It’s rumored though that not all Phaetons came with the hinges; they were part of a specific option package. But they were over engineered, and 20 years on, getting one replaced by a dealer has to be an expensive headache. The trunk hinge is just one of those components that you really don’t need to overthink, but VW gave it way too much thought.

Now we ask you Jalopnik reader, what’s the most over-engineered car part you know of? It can be on any car, cheap or expensive. Let us know in the comments.

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