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