5 Luxury Auto Gadgets We All Get Now

DETROIT (MainStreet) -- Once, automobiles were only for the wealthy.

But as throughout history, as technology marches on the accoutrements of wealth become available to the masses. Once it was the automobile itself. Today, it is gadgets such as iPod-friendly stereos and keyless entry.

"The trend with technology in general and features in cars is that they start out as luxury items when they are first released," says Dave Merline, managing editor of the staff at web2Carz, a Chicago-based auto shopping site. "Then, as they catch on, they get put in more cars and they become cheaper, and as they become cheaper they get put in more cars."

Looking back, Merline says, "if you wanted a car with one of them newfangled rearview mirrors in it, you had to upgrade from your $800 Model T Ford (Stock Quote: F) to a $2,700 Marmon 32." (This was in 1911, by the way.)

Later, in 1951, "if you were tired of getting physically exhausted by the effort it took to turn the steering wheel enough to round corners, you could spend a few extra grand to get a Chrysler Imperial with its easy-as-pie power steering feature," he says.

Recently, Merline and Tim Healey, web2carz senior writer, got together to select today's top five gadgets we all get now but that were once something special for luxury car owners.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order: