Journal: What Are The Most Absurd Options To Ever Grace A Car?

What Are The Most Absurd Options To Ever Grace A Car?

Avatar By Benjamin Shahrabani
May 6, 2014
24 comments

Optional equipment lists have grown exponentially over the years. In 1967 for instance, the extras page for the Porsche 911 range was fairly meager. One could specify a gas heater, alloy wheels, wooden steering wheel, safety belts (!), radio, head rests, tinted glass and sunroof. And that was about it. Now a days, the optional equipment list on a 911 runs several pages, and one can almost double the purchase price of the standard car by specifying some of those extras. Rear view mirror in leather? That will be $675. Painted air vents? $1720, sir. And it’s not like the standard car was lacking in the first place. Today, Rolls Royce offers the Starlight Headliner in their Phantom. $12,000 for 1600 tiny lights in the roof of your car that mimic the night sky. Nissan offers a $50,000 brake upgrade for their GT-R in some markets, and Bugatti will make you a Veyron in carbon fiber if you ask nicely, and hand them $300,000 (in addition to the $2.2 million for the basic SuperSport model). In other words, its all about choice, and the car makers want to give it to you straight from the factory.

All this got me thinking, what are some of most ridiculous, costly, or just special options that were available on the cars of yesteryear? The cars that matter if you read Petrolicious? Some of these are performance oriented—I’m talking about options like Chevrolet’s “L88” 427 engine option of the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette. Extremely rare with only 20 to have believed to have been built, it was a $948 surcharge over the standard 327 and featured aluminum heads, and 12.5:1 compression. It actually was rated at 5 hp less than the less expensive “L71” engine option, but was rumored to secretly have more than 600 hp. Guess which option box more people ticked? Yes, but that makes the L88 extremely rare, cool, and now expensive (one recently sold at auction for $3.2 million). How about an option like the Multi-Luber, a vacuum-operated setup that lubed the front end as you drove. It was available on certain Lincoln models in the 1950s if you ticked the right box. Some more comfort-oriented options could be picked too, like the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham with magnetic shot glasses, or for those who smoke, how about the 1957 Chevrolet “vacuum ashtray?” It would vacuum those pesky ashes and collect them for you.

So, what are the most absurd options out there? And which ones couldn’t you live without?

Image via blog.hemmings.com

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Lorenzo
Lorenzo

An espresso machine in a Fiat 500L

Nick
Nick

Saab’s ‘Nightpanel’ switch on the 9-3 which turned off all the dash lights bar the speedo..although I think it was standard equipment rather than an option.

unh0ly
unh0ly

And it’s actually great for night driving…

Thijs
Thijs

I actually love that, use it a lot!

Name
Name

I always find the paint options in high-end (at least pricewise) cars which cost more than an average compact car a bit ridiculous.

Johannes
Johannes

Parking Assistant – I’m not talking about the beeping thing (I like that), but the self-parking gizmo that many cars now have optional. If you’re unable to parallel park, go back to driving school.

Zack
Zack

The “Designo” line granite trim in place of woodgrain in the soon-to-end Mercedes CL-class. Comes in two flavors, “Labrador Blue Pearl Stone” and “Star Galaxy Stone.” Beautiful, impractical, and certainly unique in today’s automotive market.

Jolly
Jolly

I once saw a BMW 2002 that had a stockpot in the engine bay. The cooling water flowed around it so you could boil sausages or whatever comes to your mind while driving.

Max
Max

In a few cars one can still order a handheld phone thingy, this is especially silly since its illegal to talk on the phone while driving, unless you have a handsfree system, in most countries.

unh0ly
unh0ly

But You of course know, that all modern smartphones do have an integrated handsfree system, right?

@AmirLovesCars

The tent for the Pontiac Aztek immediately comes to mind.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira

The Honda Element offered one too and the CR-V offered a folding picninc table.

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

Millenials love it. Unfortunately it’s 15 years too late

ThePorscheMan
ThePorscheMan

Good gravy ladies… the Nova and Vega had those available 40y ago. The Blazer had it’s own camper available.

Nick
Nick

Heated seats. Couldn’t think of anything worse than driving around with a hot ass.
Cup holders. Don’t get me started on that one……Drive and drink your coffee at home or a caffe.
Cars that park themselves. Honestly, if you can’t park a car, you shouldn’t own one.

Ryan
Ryan

I’m going to assume you don’t live where it’s cold? When it get’s to -30 heated seats are a godsend.

Onno
Onno

You have never driven a convertible with the top off in the winter, otherwise you wouldn’t think it’s useless.

Neil Reddin
Neil Reddin

I always thought heated seats were unnecessary too … until I drove in Norway. Now, even in a British winter i’m often using them.

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

Bad back. I can’t be in a car in the winter without them. The best is a heated steering wheel, I had one in a 98 540i I bought, it was terrific!

ThePorscheMan
ThePorscheMan

Heck, I’ve used the heated seats in the summer. Helps ease my back.

Hal Frost
Hal Frost
Otavio Mattana
Otavio Mattana

I believe that one good is the Ford pres-a-lite. Because no one want to use a lighter in the car

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPS7wPm-ZEA

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

My friends E46 BMW M3 has the optional TV receiver for the screen in the dashboard. I doubt it was ever used originally but is now completely useless as it only picks up the analogue TV signal which was switched off in the UK a couple of years ago.