It is often considered rude or impolite in some cultures for one or more of several people sitting around a table to have their car keys out on the actual table surface itself, as if to show everybody what nice a choice of vehicle they made.
This makes feel some insecure types feel inadequate, but not all find it offensive, though, and one does get to see a diverse selection of ignition keys, cards (some Renault models) or Emotional Control Units (for newer Aston Martins) in this way.
Cars have evolved from requiring you to dislocate your shoulder every time you’d crank up their engine in order to start it, to simply allowing you to walk up to one, get in, press a pedal, and off you go - like in the Tesla Model S. This means that even the idea of having such a key must have been seen as a luxury in the early days of motoring, so the wide assortment of shapes and styles of keys we have today would have really baffled our recent car-faring ancestors as to their use, aside from firing up the motor.
Viewed from another perspective, these new smart keys are evidence of progress. Those of expensive cars are real works of craftsmanship, and show excellent design, except for the one used for the Rolls Royce Ghost, which looks remarkably like a BMW key fob with a different badge and no silver trim, whereas the flagship Phantom gets its own bespoke design.
I have a sneaking suspicion that like analog dials, which will go extinct sooner than we think, keys as we know them could have their days numbered, as well. This is why we have gathered photos of some of the more interesting modern car keys we could find, and made the gallery you see below – for posterity, probably… This will go along well with our collection of cool steering wheels.
The following gallery is just a small sample, and we more than welcome your own images of key fobs in the comments section below (you'll find the upload button inside the comments box, in the lower left corner – see screenshot on the right).
By Andrei Nedelea