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Cars > vegavairbob’s Garage > Blog > 10 Most Outrageous Factory Options Ever


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M –58


10 Most Outrageous Factory Options Ever

By vegavairbob

There are really only a few important features in a car: brakes, drivetrain, seats, steering, suspension and wheels. Early vehicles were little more than these six elements. However, as customers got pickier and vehicles got fancier, the factory option was born. While some of these technological wonders evolved into standard equipment for modern automobiles, such as car radios and air-conditioning, not every option is destined for ubiquity. Some are good ideas that are too specialized for anyone outside of a niche audience. Others are nothing more than expensive engineering gimmicks aimed at amusing the very wealthy customers, and some options were just dumb ideas that never had a chance.

Here are some of the most outrageous factory-installed options.

1- Highway Hi-Fi (mini records) - '56 Dodge/DeSoto
2- Steering Wheel Self-Winding Watches - '51 Oldsmobile
3- Auto Tents - Chevy Vega & Nova Hatchbacks, '75 El Camino
4- Electric Shaver - '57 Ford
5- Makeup Tray - '39 Chevrolet
6- Swing-Away Steering Wheel - '61 Ford (& offered a few years)
7- Granite Trim - '09 Maybach (the car is $1.3 mil)
8- Airscarf (Headrest warmer) - '04 Mercedes-Benxa SLK
9- Starlight Headliner - Rolls Royce ($8.4k option)
10- Aroma Diffuser - Toyota (Japan)

Taken from Sam Foley's article - he is a Connecticut-based automotive journalist who has written for GQ, Forbes, USA Today, the New York Post and various other publications.

Image: Chevy Vega GT Hatchback with "Tent Go-Camp"

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Read comments on this blog post 1 – 8 of 8

CorvairJim’s Profile Photo
Sep 23, 2010 at 2:52 am
The car alwaysakid referred to with the make-up kit was the 1955-56 Dodge Coronet La Femme. It was finished in shades of pink and clearly marketed squarely toward women. Here's a link to a website dealing with the car:
twhotrod1968’s Profile Photo
Sep 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm
the tent option good for the submerine races
musclecar_freak’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 11:53 am




take a look at this, there you see a ford escort mk1
musclecar_freak’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
looks cool
1971’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 9:36 am
RancheroBoy’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 9:01 am
There is a very nice black Cosworth Twin Cam Vega here in San Diego that displays the tent option at shows. Pretty cool. I would like to find one of those electric shaver options for my 57 Ford.
revhard’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 7:52 am
I must be getting really old I remember when they came out with these options
CorvairJim’s Profile Photo
Sep 21, 2010 at 2:19 am
The Auto Tent was also available for the 1973-4 Nova hatchback, and Ford had it's own takeoff on the idea available for the Pinto hatchback.

How about lighted hood ornaments? (Now you can let Cheif Pontiac's glowin' noggin lead the way through the night!) Or the three-lever Hurst "Lightning Rods" automatic shifter used in the 1980's Hurst/Olds?

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Cars > vegavairbob’s Garage > Blog > 10 Most Outrageous Factory Options Ever

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