We can't think of any new car sold today that doesn't offer an intermittent wiper setting. Many are rain-sensitive, turning themselves on whenever the computer thinks you need to see. The grumpy gentleman shown above in a classic 7 Series doesn't like such things. He comes from an era where—at least in the BMW world—the driver decided when the wipers come on and exactly how long it should be before the next swipe.

We're reminded of this fascinating feature thanks to a recent Instagram post from Bimmertips. If you can handle a heaping load of mansplaining, this short post runs through the procedure to program the intermittent wipers in your 1980s BMW. Flip the lever to intermittent, then back to off. Leave it there however long you want the gap to be, then go back to intermittent. The wipers will then sweep at the user-defined interval until you decide to do it all over again. Ah, the 1980s.


In the spirit of transparency, we aren't sure exactly how long this was a thing with BMWs, or even if it's still offered on some models. A quick internet search uncovered owners discussing the feature well into the 1990s, and we also found some Volkswagens with programmable wipers. Lexus has adjustable settings too, and there are aftermarket relays you can plug in to give you programmable delays. If we're missing anything, jump into the comments and let us know.

Is it a groundbreaking revelation? Not remotely. But it reminds us that German automakers were thinking a bit wider versus the American brands back then. Slide into a 1987 Lincoln Town Car and you'll find snazzy leather seats with a power-operated radio antenna. Meanwhile in an E32 7 Series, you had a driver airbag, anti-lock brakes, a stereo with a built-in weather band, and the aforementioned programmable wipers.

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