I remember my first GPS. It was a Garmin Streetpilot III GPS. These were large units. About the size of an average human foot. Garmin provided an adhesive dash mount which was actually a good mount. I remember when I replaced this GPS with a new Garmin Nuvi 350, I liked the mount so much more than the suction variety, that I used it for the Nuvi as well. That was what I would call an old school Garmin GPS car mount.
Back in the days of my old Garmin Streetpilot III GPS, the only company that made mounts for a Garmin GPS was Garmin themselves. Today, there are dozens of manufacturers, maybe more, that make mounts for a Garmin GPS. It’s fairly straightforward since all of the mounts work the same in that they use a 17mm ball and socket design. Make a mount with a 17mm ball and it’s going to fit a Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive car GPS.
So in this article, we aren’t writing about all the new mounts that will attach to a load of different locations anywhere in your car. Nope. This is an article about the old school Garmin GPS mounts. The mounts that came with the GPS when you purchased it ten years ago. The mounts that never break and lasted forever. While some are hardly ever used, a few are still sold and are used quite heavily even with the current line of Garmin car GPS devices.
The photo that accompanies this article is as old school Garmin as you can get. This is my old Garmin Streetpilot III GPS. The mount is the Garmin GPS Dashboard Mount for Second Vehicle for eMap and StreetPilot GPS Systems. It’s still available today. The mount has a indent where a Garmin 17mm ball or Streetpilot custom cradle attachment fits into. You then lock it in by pushing the lever. The base used to come with temporary and permanent adhesive disk to attach these to your dashboard. I guess the temporary disks didn’t work out too well because now these just include the permanent dash disks.
The next old school Garmin mount is still in use today. The Garmin Suction Cup Mount is your basic 17mm ball attached to a suction cup that has a vacuum lock. It’s an ok mount, not the best, not the worst. This is still what’s provided in the box with a new Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive GPS purchased today. This was first introduced with the old Garmin Streetpilot C510 series GPS devices over ten years ago. That was the only Garmin GPS series that I know of that didn’t need a custom cradle as the 17mm socket was actually molded into the back of the GPS device. While Garmin liked the 17mm ball and socket idea, they may not have been terribly fond of molding into the GPS itself as that was the last time I can remember they ever did that. All Garmin car GPS devices since then have come with a custom cradle that has a 17mm socket molded onto it. You now attach the cradle to the mount and then the cradle to the GPS. If you want to know everything there is to know about these mounts, you can read our product spotlight.
The last old school Garmin mount is the Garmin Portable Friction Mount. This is the old Garmin bean bag dash mount. I still like these. The mount has the 17mm ball and socket design so any Garmin Nuvi, Garmin Drive, Garmin DriveAssist can attach to these. This is one of those mounts that will outlast your GPS. It weighs about 1.5 pounds and the bottom has a non-skid surface so that it stays put under most normal driving conditions. We have a detailed product overview that you read if interested in more information about this old school Garmin mount.
These three mounts have been around for over ten years. In my opinion – two of the mounts, the bean bag dash mount and the adhesive dash mount are two of the most reliable mounts Garmin ever made. I still have a bean bag mount that I use for traveling with my Garmin Nuvi. These are great for car rentals. Just be sure you don’t leave it with the car when you return it!