Featured: 9 Unexpectedly Awesome Options We’ll Never See Again

9 Unexpectedly Awesome Options We’ll Never See Again

By Michael Banovsky
October 27, 2015

History has taught us that people will put just about anything inside their cars, be it to go more quickly through the scenery or perhaps make the journey more enjoyable. The options a vehicle is offered with can sometimes define it, but these strange ideas for optional extras never really caught on, which is sort of a shame.

Because who doesn’t want a car with a fold-up scooter in its trunk?

1991 Ferrari F40: This is the one with leather

Connolly Leather in a Ferrari F40? That’s not strange, unless you remember that the F40 is Ferrari’s track day, open road supercar, built when weight was saved everywhere—even the paint was applied as sparsely as possible. But if you ask the right people nicely enough, as this car shows, one customer was able to specify Connolly leather, creating the most luxurious F40 in the process.

H/T to jalopnik.com

1969 Jensen Interceptor: Typing down the road

Before cell phones, Bluetooth, conference calling, voice dictation, and other incredible features packed into today’s smartphones, it’s amazing to consider how ridiculous replicating it all in analogue form would look. You’d need a secretary, typewriter, small desk…do you think she’d take notes during a track day? This is British Pathé footage of a wild setup from the late ’60s, where a businessman-on-the-go could presumably buy this ultimate productivity tool. Epic.

1978 Cadillac Techniques d’Avant Garde Function Car by Sbarro: Your Office

Almost 10 years later, the Jensen was reimagined, in a sense, as the ultimate mobile office. With a second rear axle and room for more than just a secretary, it was commissioned by Techniques d’Avant Garde, otherwise known as TAG, now more famously TAG-Heuer. The mobile office could seat a few people, was decked out with television and (surely) a place to keep a few bottles of bubbly chilled…just in case the team closes the big account, of course…

1961 Goodyear concept tires: Let there be light

Surely, the ultimate gee-whiz effect in 1961 would have been light-up tires. These illuminated tires were developed by the Goodyear Tire Company, made from a single piece of synthetic rubber, and were lit by bulbs that had been mounted inside the wheel rim and intended to be produced in a variety of colors.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham: Shot glasses in Cadillac

In the late-’50s, America was a place so vastly different as to allow—or at least not to restrict—the now-rare magnetic mini bar option on high-end Cadillacs.

1988 Giocattolo Group B: Drinking in a mid-engined supercar

You’re looking at an Alfa Romeo Sprint that’s been turned into a mid-engined car, thanks to the fitment of a warmed-up Holden V8 behind the front seats. The entire story on the car is fascinating, but the package was less than 2,400 lbs. and had more than 300 horsepower, giving it the cojones to keep up with the Porsche 911 Turbo and Lamborghini Countach LP500S. Did you catch the “Holden V8” part? Yeah, this beast is Australian.

The Group B is a very good idea, indeed, but even better is knowing its toolkit includes a bottle of rum. After all, if something this exotic breaks down, the builders know you’re going to call a tow truck.

1980 Mercedes-Benz 280TE by Zender: Home stereo away from home

I can’t say for certain if cars like this Zender-tuned Mercedes-Benz are the reason even econoboxes now sport impressive stereos, but in the early ’80s, having a serious stereo in a car was just—pardon the pun—unheard of. Here, the integration is less than stealthy and certainly not tasteful, but a part of me wishes car stereos were more like this and less like the touchscreen slabs they’ve become.

H/T to 1000sel.com

1986 Porsche 911 Turbo Mirage by Gemballa: TV on the Autobahn

Tuning legend Uwe Gemballa would sell you a 911 capable of nearly 200 mph—thanks to serious body modifications and an engine from Alois Ruf—easily making it the most extreme tuner cars of the mid-‘80s. That its roof is chopped and it sports lots of horsepower isn’t too surprising, but the door-mounted rearview cameras are. Inside, a small TV screen was placed in the centre of the dashboard, presumably so that its driver could watch Kraftwerk music videos while on the way to work.

H/T to 1000sel.com

Image sources: 1000sel.com, jalopnik.com, banovsky.com, LIFE Archive by Douglas Miller, thecarconnection.com, hemmings.com, xooimage.comwallpaperup.com

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Mark AitkenPeter J SmithGeorge MillwoodFinny430Walter Pucci Recent comment authors
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Mark Aitken
Mark Aitken

I’m just hoping that the Volume control on the Sender Merc goes to 11 (ala Spinal Tap!)

Peter J Smith
Peter J Smith

It’s not a factory option, but, there is one company that customizes Range Rovers. They’ll put a sliding cabinet in the back, with BEAUTIFUL custom Holland & Holland rifles, as well as, a full liquor cabinet, with custom glass ware. Because, if there’s anything that mixes better than drinking & driving, it’s drinking & shooting!


Screen in the dash shows a lady bending over another car. Exactly what rear view cameras should be used for haha

Walter Pucci
Walter Pucci

If I recall correctly TAG became part of the Post Bruce McLaren, Ron Dennis led McLaren group back in the 80s. The first “modern” McLaren cars were powered by a TAG Porsche engine….. fast forward a couple of decades and I believe Red Bull now runs TAG Renault engines.


In the 1988 Giocattolo Group B toolkit, that bottle of rum is a bottle of Bundaberg. That is only technically defined as rum. It is not truly a drinkable rum, it would be more like something that represented rum at one time. I would suggest that the bottle of Bundaberg is included with the toolkit so that the driver may clean his or her hands of oil after repairing whatever needed their attention. That has to be the reason. Why? Because it tastes HORRIBLE!

George Millwood
George Millwood

Rubbish! Bundy is a great rum, made from Queensland sugar.

Leon Prinsloo
Leon Prinsloo

Interesting how the screen in the centre cluster in front of the driver has made acomeback in recent years.

Scott Hawk
Scott Hawk

Looks like Chrysler beat Jensen to the mobile office concept by at least a year…introducing the 1967 Chrysler Imperial Mobile Director option. The ultimate in productivity.