Seeing Keith Thelen’s Dodge Monaco recently, and how it was equipped with a six-cylinder engine, made me start thinking of unusually equipped cars. But it hardly stops there, at least for this era of Dodge.
One could obtain their ’77 and ’78 Dodge Monaco with a three-speed, column shifted manual transmission. Maybe this in and of itself shouldn’t be a surprise. What did capture my intrigue is that the top trim level Monaco Brougham was available with said column shift – there was no transmission upgrade accompanying the upgraded trim. This doesn’t exactly mesh with the perception that anything “Brougham” was automatically loaded to the gills with equipment.
Chevrolet did have a three-speed as standard equipment on 250 cid powered Chevelle’s in 1977; Ford had automatics only on their LTD II that year.
Did Chrysler build any this way? Who knows. However, it did prompt me to think larger, thus our question. In whatever combination of equipment, what was the most oddly equipped car you have seen?
My ’65 Dart 170 Wagon has a base 170 slant six, three speed on the column, and air conditioning. Almost nothing is left from the air conditioning system, but you can tell it was an air car.
A friend of mine has an 80’s fwd turbo Chrysler (I forget the model) with a 4 cylinder, automatic trans, A/C, sunroof, cloth interior but oddly no cruise control. Seems like an odd omission to me unless the original owner specifically ordered the car without it.
I had such a vehicle and it did not have cruise, I think the reason being that with the A/C on and cruise control if you were to hit a slight grade that little engine would explode
The Merkur XR4Ti was not available with cruise on any trim level. The dealer’s explanation was the cruise was not a common option in Europe, so this was part of its German authenticity.
The 85 had dealer installed cruise control. From 86-89 cruise control was an option. My 86 and my 88 both had cruise control, the first being a 5-speed manual, the second being an awful 3 speed automatic.
Oddly. there was only a manual crank moonroof even though the European Sierra had an electric one.
@Ottomobill That’s funny and probably true! @c5karl that’s funny too, makes ya wonder eh? 🙂
My mom ordered a 72 Valiant sedan with the 318, Torqueflite, air and the taxi cab interior and exterior, including blackwalls and dog dish hubcaps. She drove taht car for 16 years. It was quite peppy!.
I worked at a Dodge dealership for a while in the 90’s. I remember one salesman was in charge of ordering new stock for exactly one round of ordering. Instead of ordering the usual shipment of forest green Grand Caravans with tan interiors and burgundy extended cab Dakotas and Rams, he hauled off and ordered lime green Neons, regular cab 4×4 Dakotas, and cars with sticks. Then, he goofed up and ordered three or four fully-loaded 4×4 V8 extended cab Dakotas (not the SLT’s – whatever was one trim level down . . . ) w/o air conditioning. Whoops. He also managed to order a Dakota with a metric instrument panel. Not sure how he pulled that off.
His “specials” were on the lot for a while. I loved them, but they really didn’t sell – management was pissed about the whole thing.
I can’t believe he wasn’t fired for this. Weird colours and manual transmissions have a way of sitting at the back fence until the Fall Blowout, Lose Your Shirt.
When I bought an ’01 Cougar, the salesman tried talking me into buying one with an aftermarket “ground effects” package that included all sorts of odd snouts & gills. They were willing to sell it for the same price as I had negotiated for a car that lacked the extra flair.
They were desperate to unload it. Why did they have it? Well, someone asked them to add the package to a car he bought there. It sat on the lot for a few days before the buyer picked it up. For those few days, they claimed it got admiring looks and questions from envious shoppers. So they kitted another one out thinking it would sell quickly. They thought wrong, and they were stuck with a car they couldn’t even sell at a loss.
Back in the early 1980’s at a small Ford dealership near Cleveland, OH, they had ordered these Mary Kay pink Ford Granadas with white and red interiors. I don’t know the circumstances surrounding them, but I do vividly remember the salesmen offering the cars at massive discounts in order to get them off the lot. They would literally run after you as you drove across the parking lot.
Too bad I was going to the parts department…
The dealer rep should have also been fired or banished to audit for not picking up on the divergent options list for those cars. Someone pushed the buttons to make these actual cars. In early 1960, my Father bought 11 damaged-in-transit Rambler Americans. We went to pick them up and found they were Hawaii-bound and without any options whatsoever – including a heater. We spent a week in Hammond, Indiana where the salvage of Kenosha Auto Transport was sold, extracting Ramco valves, cores, ducting and controls from totaled wrecks. Took us a month to equip them all for sale in northern Idaho. Never take anything automotive for granted.
Was it Colerain Dodge in Cincinnati? Someone there ordered a half dozen of those lime green Neon sport coupes all at once. Years later, they still had a couple of them sitting on the back lot. Supposedly, the party responsible was fired for the act.
Don’t know if it’s true or not (the turnover rate at car dealerships is pretty high, involuntary or not), but someone at the dealership made the decision to get those absurdly colored cars.
My 64 C20 has a 3 on the tree. I think this is weird for a 3/4 ton to not have a granny low.
Wow – one of my COAL cars makes a second appearance! I’m flattered.
What was the goofiest set of options I’ve ever seen on a car? Well, there’s something like a ten-way tie (at least) for second. But there can only be one winner.
This. Hands down.
My Missouri built 03 Caravan SE has crank windows and manual locks which is not too surprising. However, it also has a non-adjustable steering wheel, no cruise control, only one light on the tailgate, and a little “ashtray” on just the driver’s side sliding door. I say “ashtray because it is not meant to be removed and is the perfect size to hold used gum wrappers. Another odd feature are the round slots for various coins located at the bottom of the center console which are pretty useless because anyone looking into the vehicle can see them and smash your window to steal those coins. Having the front cup holders (which are great) and an”ashtray” in one unit can be annoying because coins fly out and rattle around when all you want is a place to set your road soda. You could also say that having only six cupholders in a Minivan and none for the second row is an odd feature. If I lived in Eastern Nebraska 150 HP to motivate 3,700 Lbs would be pretty good, but I live in Western Oregon and sometimes I get passed by VW Vanagons. Mercedes Benz really screwed the pooch when they bought Chrysler.
Many 91-93 and some 94-95 Chrysler Minivans I see at junkyards look horribly dated especially compared to their Japanese counterparts. One airbag, straight lines on the dashboard, weird interior colors, various disclaimers about airbags, loaded with every option, but power windows, or the only option is power mirrors. Lacking Overdrive is fine, those TorqueFlites are iffy as is. Looking at the other comments seems to me that Chrysler is the odd ball of the Detroit Three.
This would probably be more under the heading of “unequipped”, but at car shows i am always a bit surprised when I come across a car that not only had a radio delete, but also has a heater delete. A 56 Dodge Coronet at the local Mopar show this past summer was unequipped this way.
Temperatures, aside I would think foggy windows would be a problem with a car full of people.
Back in the fifties lots of cars, especially bottom-line models like the Coronet, did not include a heater, much less a radio, as standard. Even if most cars were built with heaters, it kept the list price down.
I had an 84 FSO 125p manual with a rather crude but working cruise control.A few years ago I found a 66 Fairlane 2 door loaded with air con,electric windows power steering etc and next to it a 66 Mercury Comet misers special.Not sure if they were original features on the Ford but it puzzled me for a long time wondering if the Ford would cost more than it’s posh relation
When I was a kid, a friend’s older brother drove a 1968 or 1969 Camaro that was a six cylinder three speed column shift car with bench seat and radio delete. I remember hearing his mom ordered it that way new to commute to her job as a nurse.
The other oddball was our next door neighbors car. They had a 1975 Dodge Dart Custom sedan, yellow with white top and interior. It had a 318 with A/C and three speed on the floor.
Back in the late 70’s, my father bought my stepsister a Hugger Orange 1969 Camaro base coupe that was ordered with the 350-4 engine, column-shifted Powerglide (barf!), standard black interior, A/C, power steering, power drum brakes, U69 AM/FM radio, rear speaker, rear defogger, and wire wheelcovers.
It was a strange & stupid combination, especially the column-shift/bucket seat part.
My sister special ordered a 1973 Cutlass Supreme with bucket seats and that’s what she got, bucket seats no console, shift on the column. No one told her that the console was a separate option. She had that car 10 years with nothing between the seats
GM required the optional center console on early Camaros and Firebirds in order to get the automatic on the floor. It was also not unusual to see A-Body cars (Chevelle, Cutlass, Skylark & LeMans) with buckets and a column shift automatic when the buckets were ordered without the console.
My grandfathers’ ’64 Skylark had red vinyl buckets front,
no console, and shift on the column. I’ve seen similar
Skylarks with column shift, with and without the console.
Never gave such configurations much thought.
What might make me look twice is bucket seats in a 4-DOOR
GM of that same era – although Corvairs shipped that
way on a regular basis.
My Grandmother had from 1976-1981 a ’76 Ford Granada sedan, 302-2bbl, power steering, brakes, whitewalls, but a 3 speed on the floor and the standard all vinyl bench seats.
Base engine. Automatic. Yellow exterior with green interior (Packers fan?). Power windows, A/C, tilt/telescope wheel, deluxe wheels, factory alarm, and a factory vinyl hardtop (code C08).
I have a 1971 Plymouth Satellite sedan that’s a bit of an oddball. Its a 318 car but it has a HD A727 transmission, an 8 3/4 Sure-Grip rear with 3.23 gears, and 11″ HD drum brakes and its not a trailer package car or has any other HD options. Normally, a 318 car would come with an A904, 8 1/4, and 10″ brakes so its kind of like a 4 door Road Runner Lite. The closer ratios of the 727 and the deeper gears really give the 318 some guts. It also has a strange 7 fixed blade fan that sounds like a propeller; normally AC cars have clutch or flex fans. Its has a late build date and its a sales bank car so Im assuming the factory was just using left over parts.
Sounds like a prime candidate for a stroked small block transplant. A 360 stroked out to 408cid should drop right in. 🙂
Don’t put ideas like that in my head 🙂
Not a car, but a truck my youngest brother once owned. A 1997 F150 XL Supercab 4×4, 4.6L V8, 5 speed manual trans, vinyl bench seat, rear seat delete (why have a Supercab without a back seat???), and A/C delete. Weird.
The space where a rear bench seat could go is a useful space. You can mount a tool chest in there, a locking cabinet, or something else all within the secured confines of the cab. I use the rear bench out of a 2008 F-Super Duty as a sofa because the truck’s owners put in a locking gun case in the back.
Even stranger, you used to be able to delete the front passenger seat on GM full size vans.
I’m not sure why you would think that would be strange as many times vans are used for delivery service so no passenger seat makes it easier to grab the item out of the back and exit on the curb side. Or it makes a good place to put a platform to stage your items.
Now the Vega passenger seat delete on the panel wagon that is a little unusual but using it to stage your next deliveries isn’t a bad idea.
It was still strange, we accidentally ordered one, it was a tough sell.
On Vauxhall Viva wagons in NZ the entire seating set could be deleted except for the drivers seat and the cars were sold as vans and qualified for commercial rate finance much cheaper, of course the seats could then be refitted as accessories and suddenly its a family wagon again. Ford did the same with Escort wagons as a method of circumventing restrictive finance laws of the 70s
When ordering cab and chassis model trucks for commercial accounts, we had to take the time to cobble together both a drivers seat and rear bumper with flaps to satisfy Alberta transportation laws. The delivery mileage was usually minimal, but the prospect of a ticket for each truck on a 200 unit order relying on fleet subsidy to show any profit made us conscious of every penny. Milk cartons and 2×4’s with old rubber floor mats were our raw material. Only got the one ticket, and $90 later we had gotten the message. Good relations with law enforcement are critical in a non-title province or state.
I remember seeing rear seat delete options, I imagine it was for someone that wanted a regular cab truck with more space for storage.
In the summer of ’98 my local Ford dealer still had a new ’97 F-150 on the lot. It was a black standard cab flareside Lariat. Graphite leather seats and a five speed. A fun truck for the right person for $17,000.
A/C was an option on XLs. I had to pay extra to get it in my ’98.
Storage space, in the 80s you could order a Chevy or GMC crew cab with no back seat as well. Speaking of odd truck setups, a mid box candidate looks pretty weird before the box is installed since you order a long bed chassis with a short bed box which leaves a large gap behind the cab where the mid box goes.
My ’69 Riviera had every option except cruise, The guy I bought it from put in an aftermarket cruise control that would loose about 1mph every 10 mins, so I would have to reset it about every half-hour. It would also disengage with any turn signal operation, a real pain with lane changes. It was better then nothing on my many long trips, but not much
I’m pretty sure that cruise was not available in 69 you could get the speed minder to warn you when your speed crept up. I’ve got in on my 69 LeSabre.
“Electro-Cruise Control,” the older, more cumbersome GM system, was offered on 1966 and ’67 Rivieras, per the Old Car Brochures site; 1968 (and presumably ’69) Rivieras offered the simpler “Cruise Master” system. The speed minder was also available separately.
I couldn’t remember if cruise was an OEM option or not. If I remember correctly cruise control wasn’t a big hit in the beginning, people were kind of leery of giving up that kind of control while driving
It used to be either or, Speedminder or Cruise, but cruise was definitely available on 1969 Buicks,
Was Speedminder & Cruise mutually exclusive in ’69? I guess it makes sense. The ’71 Riviera I used to have had both speedminder & cruise control….probably because speedminder & the trip odometer was combined as a single option.
By the 70’s both were available at the same time, but for a while they assumed you wouldn’t need the Speedminder if you ordered cruise.
My 1967 Riviera has “Electro-cruise”, and it have almost every option, without Power door locks and the “remote trunk opener”. Strangely.
It was a California car with only one owner from 1967-1997, it was registered in November 1966 as a 1967 model. In 1997 it got new chrome on the bumpers and was repainted in it’s original color. It’s now a nice, solid car woth 170.000 miles on the odometer. The quality of the car is maybe the best I’ve ever seen.
Please post a picture of the Riviera, I would love to see it
Well, here is one.
One more. Love the rear of the car 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
I’ve owned it for 11 years now. I love it!
I always thought the 4-door Neons with power front windows and manual rear windows were an oddity.
My Citroen is like that with crank rear windows but every other luxury feature you can imagine it stops rear riding kids fiddling with the switches.
Ford still had this on their base model Focus about 2 years ago.
Wow, I’m very surprised… I always thought this was only a French thing (aside from the Neon). And as much as I love Peugeots and whatnot, it always seemed incredibly stupid to me. The two windows you can’t reach from the driver’s seat are the only ones you have to roll down manually? The opposite arrangement would actually be preferable, IMO, if car manufacturers insist on engaging in this ridiculous practice.
Have the same deal on my Falcon. I can squeeze my arm back past the seat and operate the driver’s side crank. You get used to it.
I read that the rear doors had no room for a motor on the Neon.
I saw that feature before the Neon (front power windows and rear crank windows) on a neighbor’s 1979 Volvo 240 DL she bought new.
I remember a neighbor’s 1954 Bel Air sedan being equipped that way, but that was a good many years ago.
I had a1979 Chevy dual rear wheel crew cab with 8 foot bed Silverado, nice velvety red bench seats, 454, 4 speed Muncie, power everything except rear door windows. Was told that on first year four door pick ups GM did not design power Window lifts for the rear doors. Thank goodness they did install dual fuel tanks.
Front power windows only was standard mid-spec Ford fare for UK and Aussie models sold in NZ for many years. My Grandparents’ ’76 Volvo 264GLE had powered fronts only too
No Neons ever had power rear windows. Something about the side-impact-protection intruding on the needed space for the motor.
I read in the comments on an earlier Neon CC and someone mentioned that Chrysler believed power windows would be so infrequently ordered that the cost of engineering/equipping separate rear door hardware would be inefficient. Sounds like the Mopar equivalent of GM’s “1980-Malibu-rear-window-won’t-roll-down” bungle except the Neon kept this until the end of the second generation’s run.
I’ve seen a couple:
When I was in high school, the string ensemble conductor/teacher drove a 2002 Toyota Camry LE. What I found odd was that although it had leather, it had hubcaps instead of alloy wheels. I though by that point Toyota would’ve been using alloys on all higher trim models.
Over the years, I’ve seen more than one 1997-1999 Mercury Tracer on eBay with leather seats but manual crank windows. Odd combo.
When I was little kid, a family friend owned a ’95 Plymouth Voyager base model. It had tinted windows and A/C, but the AM/FM radio had no cassette player (a must have on a 90s family vehicle). Made for some very boring car rides.
That leather was probably a dealer add on. Never knew they did that until I worked at Ford dealer in 2002 and they sent every Expedition and Explorer with cloth our for a leather upgrade. I’m not a fan of leather at all, so this disappointed me.
Not only did that Camry have leather, but it probably had a sunroof! I think it’s such a stupid combo for an optioned Camry to have hubcaps. I’m sure it was made for Sheeple however 😉 (“Rims? What are rims? Look at this leather!”).
Are you sure the Tracers weren’t vinyl? I’m not familiar with them at all, but can’t imagine those little cars with leather.
In the past, I’ve seen 2011 Sonata GLS models with leather and hubcaps, too; that must have been a dealer add too. The SE didn’t even have full leather.
My wife when I met her had a ’93 Camry LE wagon. It had leather, was a V-6, but had plastic wheel covers. Otherwise, it was fully loaded with the 3rd rear seat.
The third gen V6 LE had pretty much all the XLE items available a la carte including the moonroof, leather and 15″ alloy wheels. There was no XLE wagon so the only way to get a loaded one was to option up an LE. The 3rd row seat was available on DX and LE wagons. I own a 95 LE V6 wagon with no options except the ‘premium’ audio system and 3rd seat, which also added ABS to the car. It doesn’t even have a roof rack which enhances the appearance in my opinion.
In regards to the 2002 LE Camry, that was the base model by then and 15″ alloys were available as dealer options for the I4 and V6 models, and leather was optional IIRC. The XLE had 16″ alloys standard and leather optional for 2002, standard for 2003.
1. A 1971 Ford LTD Brougham 4 door hardtop with a three speed manual transmission. As the wife of the retired owner of my hometown’s Ford dealership, Mrs. Gulledge did not like an automatic transmission. She got a new Ford about every 5 years and up until 1971, getting a manual transmission was not a problem. Her previous car, a 1966 Galaxie 500 was equipped as such and also had air conditioning. When it came time to build a loaded LTD (power windows, seats, stereo, etc) with a three speed manual, Ford balked. I think it was because her husband was involved with Ford and the fact that three of her sons all owned very successful Ford dealerships in North Carolina, that Ford acquiesced and built her car. Her next car was a 1977 Ford LTD II and I know it was an automatic and her final car was a 1982 or 1983 Mercury Marquis. It came to a point where she had to finally accept an automatic transmission.
2. My 1980 Mercury Monarch Ghia 2 door finished in what I was told was lipstick red with a white vinyl half top. What made this car different from your run of the mill Monarch were the options: power windows, power bench seat, a/c, cornering lights, light group, deluxe all vinyl interior, tilt wheel, cruise control, TRX aluminum wheels, and an especially fancy all digital display, push button AM/FM – Quadraphonic radio with 8 track tape player. All this powered by the 250 CID six! As far as I can tell, about the only thing it didn’t have was a moonroof and leather seats. I know I am forgetting some options but this thing was loaded. Someone suggested it was probably an executive car – it was an 8,000 mile offering on the used car lot of Lumberton Ford in Lumberton, NC. Beautiful car hampered by a disappointing engine (in comparison to everything else this car had!)
3. My dad’s 1955 Studebaker 4-door sedan Ultra Vista. A demonstrator owned by the owner of Nance Studebaker in Charlotte, NC and driven mostly by his wife, this car was loaded: Front only power windows, power seat, vacumn radio antenna, deluxe radio, power steering, brakes. However, the crowning glory of this particular President was the presence of factory installed air conditioning that occupied the trunk and discharged cold air through the plastic tubes mounted on the rear package shelf. This was the first year for a/c in a Studebaker who purchased the unit from NOVI, the familiar aftermarket supplier of a/c systems for cars back in the 1950’s. Although traded off many, many, many years ago, it has never been forgotten. I believe they equipped about 200 or so of these 1955 models with air conditioning.
4. A 1962 Impala sport sedan with a stovebolt, factory a/c and power windows. This was driven many years by someone who worked for the local hometown newspaper office.
5. A 1966 Chevrolet Bel-Air with a tilt wheel. I think it was a 283/Powerglide and it must have had power steering in order to get the tilt option.
Interesting topic and I’m sure I’ll come up with some more.
The 250 6? Or a 200 6? Small engine in a fancy car was not super uncommon in that era, I remember seeing lots of Cutlass Broughams and Regal Limited with the 3.8 V6.
Carmine: I’m assuming it was the “standard” six offered in 1980. Was that the 200? I owned this car from 1981-1984 and over the course of time, I guess my memory has gotten a little foggy about some of the details.
I’m going to have to dig for a picture to post of this car. Oh, it also had a factory luggage rack on the trunk – major sharp little car!
IIRC, six-cylinder Granadas came with either the 200 or 250 from 1975-77 (250 standard on the upper-trim Ghia), the 250 only from 1978-80.
I think it was a 250 six. It just needed a V8!
Are the Monarch and Impala really that unusual? I have seen quite a few similarly configured Impalas ranging in years from 1959-1965 for sale on eBay and other sites from time to time. It doesn’t seem surprising to me that some car buyers (particularly older people and those on a budget) may want to opt for many amenities but do not care for performance.
Then, I guess with few exceptions, we could debate any individual’s postings here. With regards to the Impala, I have seen quite a few over the years with a stovebolt and factory a/c, but this particular car is the only one I’ve ever come across equipped to include power windows. However, considering Chevrolet’s volume, there were probably more than one would think rolling off the line as such.
Regarding the Monarch – I have never seen another one in the flesh or on e-bay equipped like mine. Was it the only one, I am sure it was not….
However, remember the question posed was What Was The Most Oddly Equipped Car You Have Seen? These two were included on my list because TO ME, they were oddly equipped.
My ’69 Impala hardtop 4-door was pretty much a stripper with a few things added: power steering, power brakes (but not discs), 327 with a 2-barrel and a TH350, and (puzzlingly) a factory FM Stereo receiver.
It was a California car with no A/C, vinyl interior, manual windows/locks, plain old wheelcovers… but no one could stop its owners from jammin’ to the stereo sounds of whatever was on the air in 1968 San Jose. I always found that slightly odd.
I’ve never heard of or seen a TRX tire and wheel package on a Falcon Chassis Granada/Monarch. I know that the TRX wheels and tires were avaialble on the Fox Granada but the Monarch name didn’t make it to the Fox chassis.
The 250 was the base engine for the Falcon based Granada/Monarch yet they offered the 255 V8 as an extra cost option in 1980.
You are right Eric, the TRX wheels were on my subsequent Thunderbird Elan.
The Monarch’s wheels were like the ones on the four door Grand Monarch below.
I can’t believe I made this mistake – I do know better…
Not nearly that odd, for a few glorious years in the 97-01 Camry run, you could get a base CE model with the V6 and 5 speed. I don’t know the specifics on trim levels, but that one had to be pretty basic. Prior to that, what was the last V6 5 speed midsizer with plastic wheel covers?!
What a shame it was mated to that trim level only. The same drivetrain was available in the 98-03 Solara in all trim levels. The many negatives of the ’97 Camry might have been bearable for me if there was a nicely equipped V6 SE sedan with black interior and alloy wheels.
Many years ago we bought a rear bumper from a ’66 Windsor that someone was parting out. It had neither power steering nor power brakes. These were both optional, but usually Chryslers were ordered with at least one of them. Some dealers would refuse to place an order for a Chrysler with neither. (I know because my Grandad tried!) I don’t remember much else about that car because it was so long ago.
I’ve never seen it, but know of a “stripper” ’66 Chrysler Windsor in the prairies with absolutely no optional equipment. It was originally ordered by a farmer. He wanted a base level Fury but with a big block. The dealer convinced him to move up to a Chrysler to get the standard big block and was hoping to make some money on the options, but the farmer refused to order any options. 3 on the tree, manual steering and brakes….
The polar opposite to that, I once saw a ’66 New Yorker 4-door hardtop out in BC which had every available factory option except A/C. I think it also had the standard 440, not the 440 TNT engine upgrade. Maroon with a black vinyl roof. Black leather power buckets, console shifted 727, disc brakes, power windows, power VENT windows, power antenna, cruise control, AM/FM, rear heat, headlight sentinel, tilt-o-scope steering column, etc. etc. It was mint and was for sale. I almost bought it.
Oh, why did I forget this one – dad had a 1966 Newport two door hardtop with optional, but almost always seen power steering, brakes, and seatbelts front and rear. The difference was this car was equipped with an am/fm radio with just the front dashboard speaker. Someone must have liked classical music to specify a base Newport with this option.
Today, I own a 1966 New Yorker 4 door hardtop similar to the one described in the above post. While mine has the bucket seats, they are covered in vinyl and the shifter is on the column. It is lacking disc brakes and power vents, but the all the other power options are there as are front and rear heat/ac, cruise (auto pilot), twilight sentinel, tilt-o-scope, etc.
The AM/FM radio was an expensive option. I have a copy of the dealer options price list and noticed that the list price of the AM/FM radio was comparable to the engine upgrade from a 383 to a 440!
The rear speaker with fader control was also a separate option. If you only ordered the AM/FM radio then you still just got the front speaker as you mentioned. Also note this was an AM/FM mono radio, not stereo anyhow.
If you are the same Mr.Bill that I think you are, you were talking of selling your NYer back in 2008 and it needed some TLC at the time. Glad to hear you hung onto it. Did you fix it up?
I’m probably the person you are thinking about. I did contemplate selling the New Yorker a few years ago but I kept it. I appreciate it for what it is and I wouldn’t want someone to buy it for the engine and scrap the rest – or part it out. It has stayed together all these years and I want it to remain that way.
I have not fixed it up, however, it is safe and dry in my garage awaiting the day that I get around to it. Funny, I was thinking about getting it back on the road last week. The last few years have been busy for me – a change in career and obtaining my masters degree. Now since that is behind me, I hope to get back to some of the things I enjoy in life, cars being one of them.
This is probably the right place to mention three cars I know of since they’re all Chrysler products. The first, an old-lady car a friend bought: 1962 Plymouth Savoy 4-door sedan, brown on tan, Slant 6, automatic, power brakes, air conditioning, radio delete, small hubcaps.
The second, my 1965 Valiant Signet hardtop. It had been special ordered by a Boeing engineer who wanted a Formula S car but didn’t like the looks of the fastback Barracuda. It had the 4-barrel V8 with the dress-up package, the suspension package, and the 14-inch wheels with the special wheel covers. In addition to these, it had a 4-speed transmission, power steering and brakes, and a vinyl top.
The third, my 1976 Dart ex-cop car. It had a high-performance 360 engine without catalytic converters and with dual exhausts and a little oil cooler for the power steering pump; a 727 Torqueflite transmission; heavy duty shocks and springs all around, heavy front sway bar, a rear sway bar tucked in behind the axle, 14×6 steel wheels with F78 or G78x14 tires (can’t remember for sure) and hole hubcaps, cop-car heavy duty vinyl seats and floor mats, and a dome light the size of a pie plate.
Beside these cars, my 1969 318 4-speed Valiant Signet coupe hardly bears mentioning.
This is one of my favorite subjects. I’m an options-buff which explains my love for pre-90’s GM products — there are some weird machines out there.
My 1981 Shorty Chevy Cargo Van is a good example. The City of Birmingham found it abandoned somewhere downtown & I bought it from their biweekly impound auction for $120 some ten years ago. I had to do a title search & discovered it was never transferred out of the original owner’s name (which was a defunct Birmingham Tire Dealership).
Like most cargo vans, it is Frost White and ordered with the side & rear door windows and passenger’s seat. It also has the 305-4bbl and A/C. But that’s it.
It has the base 3-on-the-tree shifted manual transmission, no power steering, brakes, radio, gauges, etc. I’ve seen one other G-van with V8 and manual transmission, but never one with A/C. It’s quite fun to drive but a total bear to park!
I remember I worked with a guy that had a wholesale mens clothing side business, he had one of these, except it was equipped with power windows, tilt, cruise and power locks, he said it had been ordered to be converted to a custom van, but never converted, hence all the power equipment on a white cargo van.
My dad had a ’78 Chevy van with manual steering (but power brakes, for whatever reason). That was, bar none, the stiffest steering I’ve ever encountered. Just awful.
I whole-heartedly agree on the steering. It’s the highest-effort steering I’ve ever fought — even worse than the manual steering on this particular beast, believe it or not.
Never seen manual steering on a P30 since they had a PS pump to power the hydroboost 1/2 of the equipment would have been there for PS.
I was surprised it was available that way myself, especially being a steel-bodied step van at that. It has the 350-2bbl engine, 4-speed (first gear is “low”), manual steering, power brakes, and 4.56 rear end.
I saw a mid-seventies C50 or C60 in the scrapyard one day with manual steering which was a big surprised. It had a Gigantor steering wheel in it which I tried in vain to pull off. I thought it would have been fun to put in the G-van since it was styled exactly the same…only it had an enormous rim diameter.
My dad had a 1970 Pontiac Strato Chief with armstrong steering. Combined with the small wheel, it was the ultimate in difficult to park. He was too cheap to retrofit power steering.
Apparently you have never driven a pre-77 Ford F250 4X4 pickup….
A mate bought a 84 F 150 351 auto manual steer, ironically an ex ambulance weighing 3 tons talk about heavy steering it had 31inch mudgrips all round to compound the issue
I bet our old 69 IH 4×4 would give it a run for its money in the Armstrong steering dept. Talk about the worst vehical to try to learn on as a 13 year old kid, I could barely see over the dash or reach the shifter, let alone crank the wheel!
Try a 55 Cornbinder 3/4-ton long box pickup with no power steering and a 500-gallon fuel tank and 500 pounds more of tools etc. in the back. That’s what I took my driver’s test in.
My ’77 shorty is the same way. Power brakes, manual steering, no tilt. Driving that thing can be… an experience.
No cruise, no A/C, not even the woodgrain trim on the dash… but it did get a slider, 4bbl 350 (single exhaust), and a TH350. That much I can agree with 🙂
That van has got to be pretty peppy with the 350!
Otherwise known as its most redeeming quality! 🙂
Though, at 250K miles it’s not quite as peppy as it once was.
My dad had a ’78 GMC half ton van w/ a 2bbl 305 and a 3 spd on the column. Power steering and brakes, but no cruise and no AC. He ordered it w/ just the drivers seat and proceeded to make a homemade conversion van out of it.
That van would start in the coldest North Dakota winter mornings, but it was unbelievably cold blooded even when the temp was well above zero…thanks, EPA. And a column shift was no fun to use when very cold–ever try shifting with two hands?
We had that van in the family for about 15 years, driving it the last 5 years or so without a working speedo or odo. The miles stopped being recorded around 85k, so it had maybe 120k or so when he sold it at an auction.
Re: the broken speedometer: mine never worked either. The drive gear mounted on the tailshaft of the transmission is slipping on the shaft and the only fix is to remove the transmission & disassemble it to get access to the rear tailshaft. It’s not like the automatic where the tailshaft housing just unbolts.
I can see a mechanic trying to explain this to a customer…
“You mean you have to take out the transmission to fix my speedometer?!”
I like the way older cars let you know what options were on it, like “Power Steering” in the hub of the wheel or “Power Brakes” on the brake pedal. I suppose in a time when not all cars had these options, it was good to know. I can’t help thinking of the poor guy that spins that power steering, freaks, and slams on those power brakes…. Too bad the optional seat belt didn’t say “Buckle this, you’re surrounded by idiots”
Automatic cars here from the big 3 either UK,US or OZ were fitted with whitewall tyres factory blackwalls meant manual box, Very Very few people ordered auto.
I’ve never had a particularly oddly optioned car but I do remember the time I found out that just because a car has an ABS warning light on the dash as standard equipment that does not neccesarily mean it has ABS. That was an interesting experience.
My grandfather had a big ol’ console radio that had a button labeled “TV” no one could understand what it was for since the radio predated TV by many years plus it had no screen. We could only guess that the manufacturer knew of the coming TV and just wanted to prepare for some kind of adaptation
My uncle’s El Dorado. Black on black, leather, vinyl top, wheel mounted on the trunk No A/C. He said he didn’t want to have it serviced. Must have been an old man thing. My grandfather didn’t want A/C in his 86 Cougar, so he took the belt off of it.
My Dad hated power windows for similarly irrational reasons. He said they would eventually fail, and he didn’t want to pay to fix them. So our ’79 Cutlass Salon, for example, had cruise, tilt steering, rear defroster, upgraded stereo, a/c, Super Stock wheels — and manual crank windows.
Your father was right, at least in our case: our ’94 Camry’s power window mechanism eventually broke; to keep the car secure, I propped up the glass with several suction cups until I could get it fixed.
OTOH, cranked windows can fail the same way. Problem is, it’s hard for buyers to know how much engineering margin is designed into all the parts. Given Detroit’s notorious QC back then, your Dad may have been more rational than you think.
Nowadays it’s hard to buy even a compact car w/o what used to be considered luxury options. I like to keep my cars on the simple side, but most other buyers & the industry disagree.
I’ve owned over forty cars: from every decade since the 60’s, mostly American, some Japanese, a few European. All but maybe two with power windows. Never experienced power window failure with the American or Japanese cars; only with two of the Germans: a Mercedes and an Audi. And of all, only one of them was a brand-new car, the rest were all used.
Not saying window regulators don’t fail, but I think there might be some people out there a little paranoid about it. Or, maybe I’ve been fortunate…
Hhahahha the logic behind that is totally insane:
I don’t want to have this air conditioning serviced when it breaks, thus, instead of enjoying it for it’s available service life I will break it myself upon purchase of car.
I got this…..
I sooooooooo got this…………
1976 Oldsmobile Omega
-260 Oldsmobile V8
-3 speed MANUAL- on the column
-Power steering and brakes
-NO POWER WINDOWS
-AM Mono Radio
-Full wire wheel covers
-White vinyl top
Dash, carpets, seatbelts-Lime Green!!!
I’ve seen this car, in person, it belongs to a local member or the Oldsmobile club.
Wow, I’d love to see that in person! No clock?
On a much less intriguing parallel, one of my impound auction specials was a silver ’80 or ’81 fwd Omega Brougham with the 2.8V6, high-back blue velour bucket seats (power driver), power windows, locks, tilt, gauge package, basically everything but cruise control….. because it had the 4-speed manual. Really cool.
I’m trying to remember if it did, I’m going to say yes, since it was a Brougham trim Omega.
Wow a manual luxed-ed up FWD X Omega is pretty rare, one of the few manual FWD X’s I’d ever seen was a cheapo Skylark coupe, it didn’t even have full wheel covers, just the caps on the steelies, it was like an 81-82.
I remember there was an old lady that had a black 1980 or so Phoenix SJ coupe in black, with the tiny “Smokey and the Bandit” style snowflakes for the X-cars, I used to see it at a local grocery store from time to time, so I knew it was local, but I never bothered to track it down, now….its vanished.
Clock, yes… If the Nova had one the Olds did
You’d be very surprised at how rare the clock is on the X-bodies: the Nova in particular. I believe some packages (possibly the Concours & LN) had it standard but few came so-equipped.
(Huge car-clock collector here).
Carmine, please post some pics of that Omega Brougham.
Actually, I’d love to do a CC post on it! I’m thinking “The X-Body You’ve Never Seen.”
basically everything but cruise control….. because it had the 4-speed manual.
You probably could get the 4-speed with cruise control, although that combination confuses the hell out of some people. I’ve had a bunch of cars like that and I remember an ex-girlfriend’s father being in complete disbelief of it (“THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY BE SAFE, I’D NEVER USE IT!!”)
As I’m sure both of you guys know, you could get all the FWD X-cars with the high-output V6 from the Citation X-11 and a 4-speed manual. I’ve always been an X-11 fan and I’d love to have one of the B-O-P equivalents as well – especially the incredibly rare ’83 Phoenix SJ hatchback. The slightly less rare notchback was much better looking, but these are cooler to me by virtue of how unique and different they are from most contemporary American cars. Apparently only 172 examples were built so I was shocked that I was able to find a picture of one online. The only other one I’ve “seen” is a tiny B&W picture in the Standard Catalog. Not too sure about that white paint with the blacked-out grille… something dark would look way better, IMO – but this is still cool. The description on Flickr says it was a 4-speed/H.O. car as well:
Yes, my current car (2000 VW Golf) also has this combination (5 speed manual with cruise control) and it confounds even some car guys (like my cousin) who’ve never heard of it…it works fine, but just within the range of the gear you’ve choosen (it obviously doesn’t shift for you). Why shouldn’t manual transmission fans have to keep pushing the accellerator during long trips?
I can’t claim I’m the first one I’ve heard like this, a friend of mine had a ’83 Dodge Challenger (RWD Luxury Sport Coupe produced by Mitsubishi) which also had cruise control and a manual transmission. Back then it probably fit the “luxury” characteristic of that car back when cruise control was not common and considered a luxury option…though now its become pretty much standard I think on all but the least expensive cars.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, my moms 96 Saturn SL2 had cruise and a 5 speed. I also had an 87 BMW 325i and a 1992 Saab 900 with cruise and 5 speed. There is a switch on the clutch pedal just like the brake light switch that cancels the cruise when you step on the clutch. However, I also thought it was weird when she bought the Saturn, but I was 12, so my cars were well used with about 220,000 miles on them by the time I got a hold of them.
My 2004 Saab 9-3 has a 6 speed and cruise. Nice combo….
I special ordered my first new car, a 1984 Camaro Z28. I ordered the L69 305 HiPo engine with the 5-speed manual, 4-wheel disc brakes, and the cruise control. Just after I ordered my car, instead of picking options from a long list, GM switched to ordering options by throwing several into particular group, with no substitutions.
I used to drive the Z on the interstate, and the cruise came in quite handy. There was a switch on the clutch and brake pedals so that if either one was pressed while the car was in cruise, the cruise would disengage.
Sounds like a neat car. That had to be a blast to drive. Did the L69 come with the functional cold-air hood or was it an option? I’d love to have that hood on one of my 3rd-gen cars…just to see the flaps pop up under WOT.
One of my other favorite features on the early Zs was the console clock. Too bad you lose that option when an ETR radio was ordered.
Up to a certain point in the early 80’s, cruise control was only available with automatically-shifted cars — I should have prefaced my earlier comment with that 🙂
CARMINE – Get pictures of that, I’d love to see it!!
I will for sure the next time I see it, I saw it last about a month ago.
How about this…a 1976 custom ordered Pontiac Ventura Sedan with the 260 V8, bucket seats, no console, and a 4 speed manual on the floor…only other options were AM/FM stereo and A/C…finished in dark green metallic and saddle interior and no clock..
This pic is of my old 1979 Z28 (after I had sold it — I almost bought it back!).
I found its build sheet and discovered it was ordered with
A/C, automatic transmission, tilt steering, AM radio (or maybe U69/U58 AM/FM — I forget now), aluminum wheels, and power door locks.
It had the base level black vinyl interior which was a little spartan but still contrasted nicely with the outside. The power locks and aluminum wheels kind of struck me as strange though.
It kind of irks me that after finally scoring a set of the correct gold-trimmed turbine aluminum wheels….the next owner installed some base Z28 rims instead. Oh well, it was his car…and he did fix it up I guess.
Oh, and BTW, that black ’84ish Grand National still had its original Delco 2000-series ETR…8-track stereo: the only one I’ve ever seen.
A big Delco 2000 series radio with 8 track is pretty rare, I think there was a CB option for the 2000 series radio that is also rare as heck.
A 1984 Buick with a factory 8-track radio? Impossible…
I saw the car with my own 30-year-old eyes with its Delco radio still installed in the dash and have nothing to gain by lying about it.
I have a 2003 Subaru Outback wagon, with the H6 engine, that is not equipped with the L.L. Bean package that was almost universal with that engine at the time. Mine has cloth seats, no sunroof, basic CD player (this was 2003), no VDC stability control (although the registration to the car says “OUTBACK VDC”), but the H6-3.0. I’ve seen maybe 5 like mine in the last ten years.
Believe it or not, my first-off-the-boat 2001 Toyota Prius, the most computerized car on the planet at that point, did not come with cruise control standard. None of the ’01s did. It was otherwise well-equipped, with stereo, power steering, brakes and windows, A/C, alloys, etc. Just no cruise. Weird.
Since everything about the car’s speed, including the engine’s throttle, was obviously computer controlled, it certainly had the capability baked in. It even had the dash light. They just left out the cruise control stalk and the brake pedal switch.
Toyota’s Prius program manager said they were fighting to get the list price down to $19,995. Since they lost quite a bit of money on each car in Prius’ early years, that made little sense. (Prius is quite profitable now thanks to volume.) I’m guessing it was due to some pencil-pusher in Japan who’d never been in the States. Or maybe they wanted to give the software more road time before trusting it with cruise.
Once word got out it would work, a number of enthusiasts (not me) got Toyota switches and put them in themselves, in spite of the fact you had to remove the air bag to do that.
More likely it was because nobody in Japan thought about it. In Asia, cruise control is unknown as the traffic makes its use problematic.
I added cruise to my 2010 yaris, all I had to do was get a cruise switch & a 3 inch harness to connect to the clock spring. The wiring was all set otherwise. It was like 100 bucks for everything.
The first generation Prius had zero options and were all equipped the same way in I believe 2 interior colors. The infotainment LCD (which I bet ate up a lot of the gadget R&D dollars) also had a ‘MAP’ button which did nothing. The JDM models had GPS available but it would not have been expensive and not even been missed in USDM models since navigation was unheard of for a car in its class at the time.
This black 1969 Caprice carcass was ordered with blue vinyl bench seat interior, 396-2bbl, Turbo 400, A/C, power steering, concealed headlamps, fiber optics, AM Radio, and separate Stereo 8-track player. I’m not sure what wheel or roof option it had.
It was more “show than go” with its manual drum brakes, manual driver mirror and lack of any other options. Manual drum brakes on a BBC Caprice?
Sad, weird equipment aside, that must have been a sharp car when new.
A co-worker in the early ’90s had an ’87 Chevy C-10 short box pickup with 3 on the tree. I’ve always suspected that these were the last 3 on the tree vehicles ever offered – anyone know for sure?
’72 Valiant 4-door sedan, loaded to the gills ($1000 of options on top of $2500 base price), B3 Blue/blue interior and rally wheels, first A/C Valiant the rural Vermont dealer had ever seen.
One family owned from new, I’ve seen it at several shows and link below is to the sticker.
First-generation Ford Fusion SEL, loaded 4-cylinder manual, black with beige/tan leather. I could see black on black in dealer stock but the beige/tan along with everything else…
’07/08 Toyota Yaris with Quebec plates, At that time it was impossible to get one in the northeastern US without “the usual” pack of mandatory options, the de facto choices were manual, automatic and color. If you saw an RS or a base base model with 14″ wheels chances are it’d be Canadian-registered. There were a couple Canada-only colors too, a metallic red/orange and straight silver.
Also, almost bought an ’03 Focus in about ’07…5 door, every option except automatic or leather. So, sunroof, 16″ alloys, power everything. Not that odd, especially in silver-on-gray, but exactly how I’d have specced it. Someone else beat me to it, though.
Funny thing about used Foci at that time, the hatch and wagon commanded a premium over sedans and manual and auto ran about the same price used (100% depreciation on the slushbox option) Too many full-default spec auto sedans in rental fleets.
I suppose the broader lesson is there’s no such thing as an undesirable oddball in the age of eBay Motors – there are buyers out there for everything and now it’s a matter of putting in not that much effort to find them.
Another odd Valiant I read about was one built during the mid-sixties when the Barracuda was just a Valiant 2-door with a big rear window (pre-1967). During that time, the Valiant convertible was the de-facto Barracuda convertible. So, just about anything you could get on a Barracuda could be ordered on a Valiant, too.
In that regard, someone special-ordered a Valiant 4-door sedan with a four-speed. When it arrived at the dealership, someone at the factory had written “4-DOOR 4-SPEED?” on the windshield in big block letters. I would imagine it was such an oddball, that there were lots of rechecking of the order request to make sure it was supposed to get that transmission while being built on the assembly line.
Nowadays, with the rarity of 2-door coupes, it would be hard to ‘not’ get a manual shift floor transmission in a 4-door. Back then, while a 3-speed column shift in a strippo sedan wouldn’t be unusual (especially in a compact), a floor shift would have been.
It should also be noted that the body pan for a floor shift transmission in the sixties was actually different from column shift cars. There was a built up area on the left side of the transmission tunnel where the shifter boot could be mounted so as to be completely horizontal instead of following the curve of the tunnel. So, that Valiant sedan with the 4-speed would have had a special floor pan and truly be a rarity that likely cost Chrysler much more than what it sold for.
I’ve seen 64 and 65 Valiant sedans and station wagons with 4-speeds, and yes, they had their own floorpans as well as did my 69 Valiant.
Watch this space tomorrow morning.
My 64 Impala 2dr HT came from the factory with 327 2 bbl three on the tree, power steering, non power brakes.
I saw an original mid sixties Chrysler 300 Convert fully loaded with 4 on the floor.
I think your Impala was originally a 283 2bbl OR a 327 4bbl. Chevy did not start building 327s with a 2bbl carb until the 67 Camaro was introduced.
For whatever reason oddly equipped cars have always been a subject of interest for me. I remember in 1982 a friend had a very handsome new Monte Carlo with all the interior and exterior trim upgrades, tilt, cruise, stereo, power locks and power driver’s seat. The car had no power windows and no A/C.
In the early 90s I saw a 77 Monaco with a super 6 and a 3 speed on the column. A AM radio was the only option. It was a trade in at a local dealer.
I picked up a 72 Dart Swinger Special about 10 years ago. It was a 318 car with AC, PS, Radio and remote mirror. It also had 10 inch drums and the 7.25 rear end. It had a the rubber floor mat and bench seat. Very strangely equipped Dart.
It now has a 340 and disc brakes, so there!
THANK YOU! If a Monaco had ever been built this way, I knew somebody around here would have seen it.
The 225 Slant Six was and advertised “Fuel Economy” engine option for those years ’76,’77,’78.
I had a ’76 Charger 2dr (nee’ ’75 Plymouth Fury) in the 1980s. It was a base model (not the SE Charger which was later to be the Chy Cordoba) with the only options being the 225 x 6, automatic transmission, and rear window defroster. No right door rear view mirror, no day/night interior mirror, no splash shields between the front bumper and radiator panel, stock black steel wheels with dog dish hubcaps, AM radio only, no A/C w/ manual vents only, bench seat, crank windows. I found a 1976 magazine with the Dodge ad advertising the 225 as saving fuel even when equipped with an auto transmission. I figured the one I owned was probably a dealership’s loss leader for advertising a car “as low as $XXXX”. It did however have the same 25 gallon gas tank as the V8 models so it did get a good 400 miles or more from a filled up tank. Downside was the slowwwwwwwwwwwwwww acceleration to highway speed from the big car with a small engine.
Other weird spec cars I have encountered:
-2dr Dodge K-Car with manual transmission shift on the floor (ex-girlfriend’s from college)
-Mid 1980s Dodge mini-van panel van with the 2-door rear door option.
-On-line you can find the guy who ordered the 1990s Dodge Mini-Van equipped with the Turbo-ed 3.0 engine and manual transmission which he claimed was the only one ordered that year (if ever) with that spec combo.
Mid 1970s Ex-Ma Bell Dodge Van: 225 Slant Six with a manual Transmission- on the floor, this was my landlord’s house repair vehicle. I got to move it around in the driveway one time. The shifter was very long and weirdly angled to the floor behind the engine doghouse.
2008- I drove a rental Dodge Mini-van without cruise control. Figured the cruise control delete was the rental company’s way to save costs on it’s fleet.
Oh, one more for now.
I had a black/gold 1979 Grand Am 301 4-speed car years ago. It was ordered with the 4bbl engine, A/C, 4-speed, posi axle, Astroroof, Snowflakes, Camel (custom cloth) bucket seats, console, Snowflakes, sport steering wheel, tach cluster, tilt, lamp group, sport mirrors (RH was remote also I think), power door locks, power driver seat, rear defogger, etc.
The car did not have power windows, a power trunk release or a clock strangely enough. The U58 AM/FM stereo in the car may have been a replacement for possibly a failed early ETR unit (which had an integrated digital clock) and I don’t think cruise control could be ordered with the 4-speed. It was pretty obvious the original owner did not trust power windows!
Regarding another car altogether, my old landlord in Mountainbrook, AL asked me if I could look at his old Buick sometime & maybe help get it running again. When I pulled into his driveway, I was looking at a very loaded maroon 1975 LeSabre Convertible 455 with split dual power 60-/40 white seats, power everything, etc. After I commented on its high option content, he told me that when he was ordering the car new (!!), he chose every available option EXCEPT the driver side view mirror thermometer and the litter container.
I went over every inch of that car and he was right: the car even had the limited-slip rear end, trailer receiver & associated wiring harness. I thought it was interesting that he didn’t skip a beat when he mentioned how unnecessary that silly trash can & thermometer would be on his car nearly thirty years after ordering it.
BTW, his car of course had the neat extra-cost fuel-economy gauge in the speedometer 🙂
I have a 75 Estate with all the options, no woodgrain, factory vinyl top. Including the thermometer and the litter container.
That’s an oddball for sure. I didn’t realize a Clamshell wagon could be ordered with a vinyl top. What color combination is it? Is there a pic of it anywhere on this site?
I want to own a Clamshell wagon someday.
Tom did a write-up a couple of years ago
I don’t think there is a pic yet, color is even stranger, Riviera Silver Blue with a dark blue top and interior.
That’s it, was it posted before?
It’s from an old ad on a Buick site, it was in Boca
A sale ad? Any links? Because I took that picture and I’ve never had the car up for sale.
It was on Craigslist and ebay, but it’s been discussed at length on various forums
Carmine, I think you posted that picture of your Estate Wagon on the ’74 Estate Wagon CC. I know I’ve seen that pic on CC before.
My dad has a good one, a 1971 Riviera GS, very well equiped, buckets with console, custom interior but no A/C. My dad ordered it new, and the dealer didn’t want to order it without A/C, eventually relented after putting down a sizable deposit. The outboard vents in the dash are dummies. We’ve never seen another boattail Riv without A/C.
Wow, that’s a rare one. There used to be a very old thread on the AACA forums which I think may have recently been deleted (jerks) entitled “oddly-optioned Buicks” or something like that.
Someone on that thread posted pics of a gorgeous blue 1971 or 1972 Riviera that was on E-bay. It had the standard interior, manual windows, and no factory radio: it still had the block-off plate in place. I don’t think it had A/C either but I can’t recall.
Hmm, I didn’t know you could get a radio delete either. To my understanding the only two options it is missing is the AC and traction control. My dad is glad he ordered his the way it is though because it’s one less thing to service. He also has a 1963 Wildcat convertible with a 401/4 speed too, I guess you could say that is oddly optioned, but 4 speed full size Buick anything is rare.
My uncle had a 1963 LeSabre convertible that he had ordered with no options at all, as base as they come from the factory. It had a 401 (that he later put a 4bbl on) and a 3 speed. He raced a then new 289 64 Mustang with it and dusted it. The Mustang guy asked him what he had in it, and my uncle replied just a 401 and a dynaflow lol.
Back in 60’s a friend had a 65 Wildcat convertible (white top, red upholstery and body) with the 465 and a four speed. The car was ordered through the family’s dealership. I never saw another like it. I recall a long shift handle with white ball on the end. An absolute blast to drive.
You mean “455” no Buick “465”
Wow… that’s a rare car!
Otto, the engine was actually 425 cubic inches but Buick labeled it as a 465 (which is its torque rating). The air cleaner actually reads “Wildcat 465”. Buick knew they were the King-o-Torque! 🙂
You da man, Junqueboi, I stand corrected
There is a 1972 Oldsmobile 98 that makes the rounds at some car shows down here that has a radio delete, it doesn’t have a block off plate, its just smooth woodgrain where the radio would have been. I’ve seen the same treatment on a 75-76 LeSabre without a radio too.
I’ve seen a Cadillac hearse or 2 without a radio too.
I always found it odd that you could get fully automatic climate control on a Caprice, Buick and Cadillac but from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s that option was dropped for the Oldsmobile line; their fans were not automatic again until 1985.
Pontiac had an automatic climate control on and off again through the 70’s and into the early 80’s. Oldsmobile dropped the “Comfortron” and offered “Tempmatic”, which was like the standard GM a/c controls except it had temperature gradations instead of the blue to red COLD-HOT slider levers.
As I was typing that post I thought I had a memory of some Pontiac’s with Automatic Climate Control, but I was unsure and decided not to mention it in the post. Thanks for reminding me.
RPO C61 Automatic climate control was available on the 1973 Grand Prix/Am and possibly the 1974 model also…it may be the only GM intermediate available with this option.
RPO C65 Semi-auto A/C became available on some of the other intermediates in 1975. Whereas C61 was a fully automatic system, C65 regulated the air temperature only and the control looked nearly the same as the manual C60 A/C control.
You could get the automatic unit on mid-size Buicks too, I’ve seen one Regal with it.
I have a semi-auto unit out of a ’75 Buick Regal but I didn’t think the fully-automatic unit was available on the ’73-’74 cars. I’ll check my ’73 Owners manual later.. you got me wondering.
A friend-of-a-friend when I was in college ordered a Pontiac Bonneville (’63, I think) with a vinyl bench seat and 3 on the tree. His reasoning: “I don’t want to give any girl an excuse to not sit next to me.”
Oh, and my first car was a ’56 Pontiac 4-door with 3 on the tree. Second year for the modern Pontiac V8. 317 CI that year, I think.
Several posts have mentioned cars that lacked cruise control, power locks, or power windows. I guess a lot of the cars I’ve owned have been fairly spartanly equipped (more to come on a few specific examples):
1) I have never owned a car with functioning cruise control. The first car I ever had as a teenager, a 1978 Buick Century which my parents gave me in 1988, had cruise control which no longer worked. That’s the closest I’ve come to owning a car with this feature.
2) The vehicles my wife and I currently own — a 2014 Ford Escape bought new a couple of months ago, and a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer bought when it was a year old — are the only vehicles we have ever owned with power locks or power windows.
On the other hand, I have never driven a car that didn’t have power steering, and I have only ever driven one car that didn’t have power brakes (a 1980 Ford Pinto that belonged to my grandmother; that car is also the only car I’ve ever driven with an AM radio).
1985 Plymouth Turismo, base model (no Duster package), sold new in Massachusetts, automatic, 2.2L four (mandatory with automatic), power steering, power brakes. Bought used, owned from 1989-95.
–crank windows, manual door locks (not uncommon on small, low-priced cars in that era; I had an ’87 Plymouth Sundance, an ’87 Chevy Cavalier, and a ’95 Ford Escort that were similarly equipped)
–no air conditioning (not unheard of on small, low-priced cars sold in this part of the country back in the ’80s; the ’87 Sundance didn’t have a/c either, although the Cavalier and Escort did)
–AM/FM stereo with basic two-speaker setup and no tape player (the Sundance was the same; the Cavalier and Escort had cassette players)
–I would say that at least 50% of Turismos and Chargers had louvers on the rear hatch, and 90% had small spoilers at the base of the trunk. This car had neither.
–Depsite the fact that the lack of louvers left the huge window in the rear hatch fully exposed, no rear defroster. Very unusual on a car sold in Massachusetts. After a while I just got used to not being able to see behind me in the winter.
–No interior dome light on the ceiling (just a small plastic cap where it would normally go). The only interior light in the car was a small map light above the dash. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another car from that era that didn’t have a dome light.
In addition, the seats did not recline, and it pretty much goes without saying that it didn’t have cruise control.
Somewhat oddly, it had a tach; I assume all Chargers/Turismo must have come with one.
1999 Jeep Cherokee, 4-door base model, automatic, 4.0L straight six, 4WD, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning. Bought new in September 1999, daily driver until October 2013, just sold it last month.
–crank windows, manual door locks
–no cruise control
–AM/FM stereo with basic two-speaker setup and no tape or CD player
–15″ steel wheels with center caps
–all trim on outside of vehicle (including grille and bumpers) was black, no rub strip on sides between wheel wells
–spare tire mounted on side of rear cargo area, did not come with cover (we bought an aftermarket one)
It was still possible in 1999 to order a base Cherokee as a 2-door and with a 4-cylinder engine, manual transmission and 2WD. We saw such an example sitting on a dealer’s lot in northeastern Connecticut. The sticker price was in the $18s.
If that cherokee was a white one my neighbor owned it until about 2006 (I’m in Eastern CT) I almost bought it from him for 2k because he tried to sell it forever but no one wanted a 2wd cherokee.I think his son took it eventually.
Candidate for very recent stripped down bargain: When GM was in its death spiral in 2009 and killed the Pontiac franchise, all Pontiac inventory was being sold at deep discount, the very best deals being offered to employees (who survived the bankruptcy). A friend picked up a totally stripped left-over 2008 Pontiac Vibe for about 8 grand… 25% off the sticker plus $4K for a cash for clunkers trade-in. It is as spartan as a 2008 car gets: A/C, PS, PB, and a radio. Anyone who really knows cars realizes that a Vibe is the mechanical twin to a Toyota Matrix / Corolla. At 10,000 commuting miles per year, this $8K bargain should last 20 years.
I assume your Trailblazer and Escape have Cruise Control though.
When I was a small child my grandmother’s best friend’s family owned an Oldsmobile and Buick dealership. I remember her friend had a 1974 Oldsmobile 98 with automatic headlamp dimmers. The car was sold and resold locally staying in our small town for decades to come. I have never seen another Oldsmobile 98 from that era with automatic dimmers.
A childhood friend’s mother drove a 1973 Buick Estate Wagon with an automatic headlamp dimmer. It looked identical to, and was mounted externally in similar fashion as those seen on a 1970 or 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III. It was the only GM car of this era outside of a Cadillac that I recall with this option. If I remember correctly, Cadillac hid this option up behind the grille.
Bill, The sensor was the same on that 98.
Mounted out side the car, on the fender, the “War of the Worlds” style pod?That was dealer installed Guide-Matic, I have seen it in accessory catalogs, Cadillac was the only GM make that had a factory auto-dimmer still available by the 1970’s
I was guessing it was a dealer installed option since it looked like the Lincoln sensor. I have never heard the term “War of The Worlds” to describe it. That’s a good one.
All the cars we ever had with auto dimmers seemed to work better if the sensor was mounted on the inside of the car. It is an option my parents and grandparents seem to always like as we live in a rural area of two lane roads. The last car my parents were able to order with automatic dimmers was a 2010 Lexus RX. It was not offered in 2013 when they ordered another RX. I bought their 2010 as an extra car and really like having that option as in the old days.
You can get it on Cadillacs again, it’s called “Intellibeam”
They were great on country 2 lane roads but terrible on interstates. Oncoming traffic would not trip the dimmer and everyone on the road hated you because your brights were always on. Not much good in town either, you often followed people with brights blinding them in the mirror. I had s 63 Cad and my system worked fine but I gave up trying to use it.
Amusing multi-page thread here (from 2012), with both “rare options” and “odd combinations,” mostly 1950s-60s-70s:
Thanks for sharing that link. I have enjoyed it!
Glad you liked it, LeBaron–like this thread, a l-o-n-g one chock full of interesting stuff…
The odd one that sticks in my mind caused a major family row:
My Uncle Mike (mom’s side of the family) was a semi-disabled war vet (something about a burning tank at The Bulge) who worked as a postal worker in Lakewood, OH. For years he’d come to Johnstown every couple/three years to buy a new Chevy from dad. No deposits or anything like that, just order up what he wanted, dad made an offer on the trade, and a month or so later he came back to trade cars and pay for them.
For the planned ’63 Bel Air two-door sedan, dad had to do some shuffling to get stuff into it that normally wasn’t ordered as a combination on a Bel Air back then: Stovebolt, Powerglide, power steering, some fancying up of the interior, back up lights. Definitely a special order car, as Bel Airs were usually ordered in our area three-on-the-tree and nothing power. People would buy them to get the few standard features over the Biscayne.
Only Uncle Mike goes and buys a Pontiac Catalina instead from a local Cleveland-area dealer, a month after the car was ordered. And didn’t call dad to let him know he was cancelling out. That caused a major row within the family, and I noticed that Uncle Mike, Aunt Mame, and cousin George Michael weren’t coming around as often after that. And I seem to remember dad grumbling that it took a while to move the car off the lot.
That same car back in 1963 would’ve sold well in Northern California back then as that’s the way a lot of Bel Airs were sold . . . . in the full size Chevies, the Stovebolt was history; the shorter stroke 230 six became the standard engine.
Junqueboi should like this one;
my 73 Grand Prix is a Model J that thinks its an SJ. It has a 455, suspension package, Rallye IIs, and power everything. I think the only option it doesn’t have is a sunroof. It was special ordered but I cant figure out why the original owner didn’t just order an SJ. Maybe insurance?
A couple of other oddballs in my garage:
-I have a 78 Trans Am W72 4 speed T-Top car with no AC. I don’t think Ive ever seen another late 70s TA without AC
-1968 Dodge Coronet R/T with a 4 speed, no console and power windows. R/Ts were upscale musclecars and most had consoles.
-I have a 2010 Challenger R/T that is also an oddball. It has the Mopar appearance package that was only available in 2010 that consisted of a T/A-style hood scoop, a rear spoiler, and a strobe stripe but it came through with the basic cloth interior and standard 18″ wheels and a 6 speed. It was a dealer-ordered car that sat on the lot for a year before I rescued it.
My old man had a ’72 ordered in similar fashion. Model J with a 455, power windows and locks, Rallye IIs, and a few other things I can’t recall without the build sheet in front of me.
It gets stranger: He sold the car in 1995 in good, solid “driver” condition. I ended up buying it back in 2003 when it arrived, less its drivetrain and wearing pounds’ worth of Bondo and primer, at the “back forty” junkyard. It’s still in my backlot today – waiting to either contribute parts to our other GPs, or perhaps to be restored one day (not terribly likely… it’s *rough*).
My 1971-72 Grand Prix stories could fill volumes. There’s been at least five in the family over the years (three of my dad’s, two of mine) and many others which we’ve seen, hunted, parted, or otherwise been involved with. One day I need to start writing it all down… if I ever finish, it will be my COAL piece de resistance.
Just let me know when we can swap GPs! I think your GP may have been ordered that way to avoid the 3.08 rear axle that came with the SJ group. Your car probably has the 2.93 or 2.73 rear end, giving it a higher top end & better fuel economy. Personally, I’d much rather have yours due to its color & option content.
The GP I used to have (currently rotting in a field in AL) was the second most heavily optioned one I’d ever run across. I wish I could get it back because of its wild color combo (Verdant Green/white/white).
This car was ordered with every available option except the 455, limited slip rear, trailer towing package, map/dome lamp & gauge package (bummer).
Options I remember it having are…
Tinted glass, Deluxe seat belts, power bucket seat, power locks, power windows, power trunk, door-mounted courtesy lights, gold paint stripe, white cordova top, door edge guards, body side moldings, sport mirrors, tilt, cruise, sport steering wheel, rear defogger, auto temperature control A/C, UM2 AM/FM 8-track, RH visor mirror, driver’s side visor mirror(!), Frt/RR mats, Frt/RR bumper guards, deluxe bumpers, and Rally II wheels. Such a beautiful car.
I’m probably headed to an auction tomorrow to bid on a slate blue ’73 Grand Prix. No interesting options but it appears to be very nice and it’s not a bench seat car.
’73s never appealed to me quite as much as their earlier siblings, but even so, drop a clean one in front of me and I’d be inclined to say yes. Actually got to strip anything I wanted from a maroon, low-optioned ’73 last year. It had the worst trunk/quarter rot I’ve seen in years… as in, there were none of the above left! It’ll be in the Junkyard Outtake one of these next weeks. (Its 400/TH400 is on my shelf right now, waiting for its day to come)
’71s were always my favorite, mostly because of their tougher-looking grille. ’72s come in second, since they share the majority of parts and are far more common, thus meaning we’ve had more of them available to us. ’69s and ’70s were alright, but I didn’t like the quad headlight/flat decklid arrangement as well.
My current GP inventory:
• 72 J, was 455/posi/”chocolate brown” with brown interior and black top – cooling its heels in my backlot (as mentioned)
• 71 SJ, was 455/posi/triple black – have code-correct but numbers-wrong drivetrain, owned 6 years, very slowly being restored (my “dream GP”)
• 72 J, original 400/non-posi, buckskin with brown interior, non-vinyl top car – driver with rusty quarters/rockers, owned 2 years, bodywork getting done a bit at a time (to be Dad’s GP)
I’ve also got an attic full of GP parts (pretty much 2-4 of everything that fits through a 4×8 opening), each of which carries at least one story of the car it came off of. So much to write!
I drool every time you guys talk 73 gp’s.
Nice Challenger Lt. Dan…
My 1968 Plymouth GTX sounds similar to your R/T. The ONLY options selected – road wheels (Plymouth’s term for Magnum 500s), vinyl top, rear window defrost, and rear speaker. That means no power steering, no power brakes, no power anything. It is a 4 speed car with buckets, but no console and also the only GTX I’ve ever seen that was a side stripe delete car.
My best friend Wayne (attending JC in those days) got off the dealer’s lot in Corte Madera (California) a ’79 Trans Am . . . no options except for the screaming eagle decal. 403 Olds V-8, THM 400, base vinyl seats – no air, no radio, no power windows or door locks. This would’ve been December, 1978.
very nice GP collection Kieth! If I was smart I would restore a 69-72 since you can actually get parts for those, and if I found a 455/4 speed car at a reasonable price…well my kids don’t really need to go to college right?
I actually like the quad headlights on the 69-70s and again on the 76-77s. The single headlight years are still sexy but I always thought it gave their noses more of an unfinished look.
JB, I love your black 73, it is how I would have ordered one back in the day
GTX, I have seen a couple of stripe delete 68-70 GTXs, mostly 70s, but they are rare. What color is yours? My car is also a stripper (manual everything) except for power windows. The original owner said it was a factory mistake and they never charged him for it.
Billy, a radio delete Trans Am? That’s an oddity!
Thank you Phil! This is what the Challenger looked like when I picked it up. After a year I couldn’t stand the truck-style 18″ wheels and picked up a set of the 20″ Mopar Classic Torque-Thrust wheels from a wrecked car and they made a world of difference in looks but the old 18s had a smoother ride thanks to the deeper sidewalls.
Man that’s a cool Challenger! Do they have any odd performance restrictions on those?
I remember in the early ’90s when the new ’93 Camaros debuted if you ordered a Z28 with the new LT1 but not the Z-Rated tires the General would put the “standard” 110mph speedometer in it and put a 118mph speed limited on it. Get the Z-rated? go have fun!
One of the oddest things ever, and I know they existed but never saw one in the flesh. Can you imagine ordering a loaded out one from a lummox dealer who checked the wrong box?
My windshield washer button is STUPID. It’s on the end of a turn signal stalk that controls the brights. You got to push it kind of hard to make it work, which either cause the brights to flash or the turn signal to operate. Either way, I look like an idiot
Well, I once had a ’63 VW Bug that was equipped with a cold water tap right on the dashboard.
It did not come that way from the factory. It developed on its own after I left the spare-tire-air-pressure-powered windshield washer out in a Boston winter with plain water in the tank. Come springtime, when you pushed the washer button it squirted water out at you! Talk about looking like an idiot.
You win… 😉
1983 Ford Ranger 4X4 with a 5.0L V8, C4 Trans, and 9″ rear axle with disc brakes…oh wait, I built that myself…. 🙂
Tell us more…
This car has been for sale for quite a while not too far from me. Very rusty, and definitely not as strange as other cars that have been mentioned, but it’s a 1977 Cutlass with a 260 V8 and a floor-mounted four-speed.
what a shame, that Cutlass would be really cool restored with a big Olds engine in it but that’s too far gone for most restorers. Ive only seen Pontiacs and Chevys with sticks in those years. Hopefully someone will save the trans and shifter parts.
That’s a pile, I wonder if its a 4 or a 5speed, Oldsmobile started offering a 5 speed in the big Cutlass and an MPG booster in the 70’s, they are rare, but there are still a few around, in better shape than that one.
I had a ’76 Omega with this trans. Borg-Warner T50. They are no good. They have the torque capacity of a rubber band, as long as you don’t use too thick of one.
There were 5-speed options with the Olds 260 in ’75-’77. Coming of age in California in those days, we saw neither, that is THIS combo . . .
I think the 260V8 was only available with the automatic, 3-speed, and 5-speed. I think that’s a 5-speed car.
A 1980 Pacer Limited with leather seats and power everything at a local Philly AMC dealership. As if AMC couldn’t waste any more resources on this car. It was not meant to be luxurious.
1980 was the last year for the Pacer. I guess AMC wanted to spruce it up a bit. It had to compete with their Concord Limited sedan which also had all those goodies. Yeah, I know it seems odd to see a humble Pacer with leather, PW, PDL, and power seats, considering its “value-image” beginnings only five years earlier.
AMC tried to do anything they could with the Pacer, after pretty ok first year sales, it just fell off the map. Because of its odd looks and dimensions, they tried to pitch the Pacer as an alternative to mid sized cars, so they dolloped a big helping of Brougham. Later in their run the Pacers got more luxurious options like power windows and locks, which were usually seen in compacts.
As usual with AMC great concept, weird execution. The Pacer was designed to be FWD transverse mounted engine, which at the time was way ahead of the curve, but of course, due to a myriad of problems it turned out not to be as planned
Sorry I am late to the commentary here.
No, the Pacer was intended to use GM’s licensed version of the Wankel Rotary which they planned for their H Body Monza, based on the rear wheel drive Vega.
AMC had no money to do a completely new car with a FWD system. There may have been internal AMC studies, but FWD was a substantial commitment in and of itself, in addition to a platform that was unique in the AMC line up.
After GM couldn’t make the rotary viable, AMC had to shoehorn in the 232 and 258 sixes in it’s place.
OK these cars are more like “odd omission cars” but hey that seems to be the game we’re playing… lol
My fathers (and later mine) 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham sedan, full chrome, 307 V8 E-Quadrajet, 4 speed automatic (but factory shift quadrant was still labeled D – 2 – 1 NOT OD – 3 – 2 – 1 but had four shift “dents” the bottom one which was un-labeled), posi-trac, full options – premium stereo, AC, power everything with ONE omission. Rear vent windows were not powered. That’s right the ONLY manual thing on the whole DAMN vehicle was the rear vent windows. WHY ORDER A CAR WITH EVERY OPTION BUT POWER REAR VENT WINDOWS!
1997 Ford Escort station wagon. My car purchased off of Avis Ford used car lot in December 2001. LOADED automatic trans, power seats, power windows, uplevel stereo, minus one option, cruise control… One drove that car from Gallup, NM to Toledo, OH with no freaking cruise control. Dang near lost my mind and I ENJOY driving vacations.
I know these sorts of vehicles are rare now with options packages for everything. 🙂
My ’86 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham LS had the power vent windows (in the rear) . . . . it also had the FE-3 suspension and a full instrumentation cluster. Otherwise, it was very broughamy indeed (307 V-8. Flowmaster 40’s woke it up!) .
All GM 78-87 RWD mid sized 4-doors had power vent panes if the car had power windows. If the vent panes were manual, the front windows were also manual. The rear door glass on these cars did not roll down into the door, power or otherwise. A brilliant cost savings move that pissed off GM customers for nearly a decade!
The vents were manual and the front windows were power. I spent many hours in both the front and back seats of those cars. Believe me there were many times as a driver that I wished I could crack open those back vents without leaving the drivers seat.
There was a 1977 or 78 Dodge Monaco or Plymouth Fury (I can’t remember) parked on my street back in the late ’80s. It was already rusted out but it attracted my attention because it had dual exhausts and slotted wheels/dog dish hub caps. Inside was a 140 mph speedo. It was obviously a police-package car. Except it also had a vinyl roof and wide body trim and a full brougham interior. I thought that was very strange.
Vinyl roofs can be added easily, ditto for swapping in different interiors.
…or it may have been a police chief’s or other executive car.
I took a 2.5 4 cylinder, no a/c, no radio 1985 GMC Safari cargo van in on trade, actually, I took 2 of them, they were from a business, they bought…1998 or so new Safari cargo vans, the owner of the company was disappointed the new ones were so “loaded up” with a/c and V6’s, he was all heart.
My parents had a friend who was a Pontiac dealer in the ’60s, and to accompany our latest wagon (a heavily optioned 1967 Executive dealer demonstrator), the car ordered for my mother that year was a ’67 GTO, Linden Green with black vinyl roof, with 400 4-barrel, positraction, a/c, power brakes and steering, and an automatic on the column. No console, just a hump between the Naugahyde bucket seats. Not sure how rare this combination was among the tens of thousands of hardtop coupes made that year, and detailed breakdowns don’t seem to be online anywhere.
The car came with mounting points (under the headliner, not visible) for optional shoulder belts, and I wish it had been so equipped – I still have a small scar at one end of my eyebrow from hitting the steering wheel when the car was totaled in a chain-reaction highway hydroplaning incident in September 1974. Radial tires would have helped, also disc brakes, etc.
As a parent of teenagers now, I can’t even imagine how my parents let me drive this car to and from college, hundreds of miles, in the first place – much less on highways with potentially bad drainage. A teenager with a GTO!? (A year earlier I’d gotten it up to 120 mph on the PA turnpike, but of course never mentioned that to them. Sh*t, I wasn’t even 17 yet.) Kids today get into fatal crashes even in cars with modern passive safety equipment; all the GTO had was dual-master-cylinder brakes and an energy-absorbing steering column, both by federal mandate starting that model year.
From what I recall, until 1967-1968, there was no bench option for a GTO, bucket seats were standard, but consoles weren’t. So if you ordered an automatic car, but no console, you had a column shift with nothing between the seats.
JP Cavanaugh did a CC on a GTO with buckets but a column shift: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1966-pontiac-gto-%E2%80%93-a-goat-or-a-mule/
In the mid seventies I owned a ’69 Chrysler Newport 2 door with only one option; power steering. It had the base 383 2 barrel with a 3 speed on the column. No radio, manual brakes, no a/c. It was a cruiser and I sure enjoyed it’s one option. I wish I had some interior photos of that one.
During that same time period I was employed in the used car business and ran across some oddballs. A ’65 Barracuda with a slant 6 and 4 speed, a ’66 Sport Fury with a 440 and 4 speed with manual steering and brakes, a ’64 LeMans 2 door sedan with a 326, powerglide, a/c and full power are some that come to mind easily.
My parents had a good family friend that ordered a ’72 Toronado with every option except a/c (and possibly cruise, I don’t recall). We lived in Alaska at the time, so he said he did not need it. It was not unusual to see luxury cars without a/c in Alaska. He was right, you did not need it. I never could figure it out, because the way I saw it was you did not need power seats or windows either. And a good by product of factory a/c was a much better heater.
Carmine reminded me of a late eighties Astro van I that came through the Chevrolet dealer I worked at that had a V6 and manual transmission. Then about 5 years ago there was a ’64 Newport 4 door for sale locally with a 3 speed on the floor. I thought that was odd so I did some research. It turns out that in the early sixties (and possibly before) Chrysler (not Plymouth or Dodge) did not offer any column shifters. Automatics were push button, and manuals were floor shifters.
BTW though, It’s not a Powerglide, its an ST-300, a 2 speed Hydramatic. It was common in all the BOP midsize cars until the Turbo350 came out in 1969.
THM’s became available in the GTO for ’67 . . . . but THM 350s became available in ’68 for the A body intermediates (those without big block engines). Friend in high school had a ’68 Chevelle 327 with THM 350 . .
The Turbo 400 became available for the midsize performance cars in 1967, so it was only in a Chevelle SS, GTO, 442 and GS400, but the Turbo 350 wasn’t an option in ANY car until 1969 when it debuted.
This was because from 1960-62, Chryslers had the Astra-Dial dash.
The dash flared right out to the wheel,leaving no place for a column shift. Now, in ’63-’64 they could have offered it, but didn’t.
Likely, the small volume made it non-cost effective.
I believe that the years for factory floor-shifted 3-speeds in Chrysler C-body cars were 1962 through 1964.
After reading most of these stories, I think we need a thread about cars that were “overly” equipped. What cars had too many options? What cars had that one very limited-production package?
The special 4 seat 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Talisman comes to mind, the option package was almost the price of a base Pinto or Vega. It divided the massive Fleetwood Brougham into a 4 seater with big consoles in between the seats, special velour upholstery, even the headliner was velour.
The option continued to be available in 75-76, but the rear console was dropped, so those are 5 passenger versions.
Wow, that Talisman is the big daddy of broughams. I had completely forgotten about them
I just sold a 76 Talisman I had. It is a 50K mile car with perfect interior and the outside required new filler panels. I could never warm up to the car so after owning it about 16 years I sold it to a friend who kept after me to sale the car to him. He bought it and it seems it has tried to self destruct, which has been a big embarrassment to me. I still have a great affection for these domestics.
I’ve never seen one — and for that matter it might not exist — but the most oddly-equipped car I can imagine would be a fully-loaded, every-available-option Studebaker Scotsman.
Studebaker did not allow one to order up a fully loaded Scotsman. By that I mean you could not order one from the factory with power steering, brakes, power windows, seats, air conditioning, etc. Only the six cylinder engine was available and an automatic transmission was off limits too. The antiquated flathead six was, some say, inadequate for the size and weight of a Studebaker by 1957 and had been that way for some years.
Studebaker even went so far to discourage dealers from adding accessories and bling to a Scotsman after it was received at the dealership. Only a very few items were offered as approved for the Scotsman but this didn’t keep dealers from adding items to make it more appealing (at a customer’s request or not.) This was thought to be done so as to not eat into the sales of Champions which for additional money, was a nicer and way better finished automobile (albeit still hindered by that old flathead six.)
If you had any options for a Scotsman, it would become a stripper Champion!
Not sure whether or not it’s been mentioned already, but Mitsubishi had some rather odd equipment combinations in the mid-90’s. I’ve seen several 94-96 (pre-facelift) Galant S base models with leather and power sunroof, but manual windows and locks. Never could figure out why so many were equipped this way.
Also, Toyota offered the 3RD (92-96) generation Camry in DX-V6. Manual everything (transmission and accessories) with the tiny base wheels and the most powerful motor. Only one person that I’ve spoken to about it can recall seeing one.
I mentioned in my post that they kept that for the following generation too (CE V6 manual). car and driver did a little story on it once and likened it to an old Roadrunner 🙂
Back when I worked a summer at a car dealership, I noticed the salesman all had weird optioned cars (at least the car guy car salesman). My auto shop teacher was the head of HR so I asked her one day if the salesman got to pick their own ride for demo cars. She told me that the dealer owner decided that if a salesman met a certain threshold he could grab a common car off the lot throw dealer plates on it for themselves for 6 months at a time. She said he than made a deal that the top 5 salesman could order what ever they wanted off any lot under 60K (he owned a number of large dealerships around the state.) The 3 that stand out are a V10 ram extended cab long bed 2500 with a manual and no options other than AC (I heard that this salesman bought the truck after his demo was over) A 4th gen camaro ordered with a factory warrantied aftermarket supercharger (by one of the customizers thru a deal with GM. ) Had every option including T-tops special racing stripes and a few other bolt ons from the performance parts catalog. I gather this one upset the boss as it came awful close to the top of the budget and was still on the showroom floor a year later. (I’m not a camaro guy so I’m sure the details are off but I do remember it sitting in the showroom with a sign that said demo marked down to 46K) There was also a ram 3500 diesel with dually 4wd reg cab larime slt leather every option but no tow hitch or heavy duty options and bucket seats. weirdest truck ever.
A friend in high school had an 80’s ram half ton royal se (top trim) with a 4 speed and a slant six and also a heavy duty 4 speed and a very low rear end. The story was it was bought by a short older gentleman who wanted power windows but as he couldn’t reach the crank handle but wanted a manual with the slant 6 so the truck would last.
I saw at least 3 that my friend’s mother got stuck with in the early 70’s that, to me, were in another world, options wise. All three had base engines with the 3 on the tree shifter, no radio, and in the two Fords, not even a factory heater! The first one was a red Nova with a heater, that’s it. It didn’t last long, it rusted very quickly, and in 4 years, was gone, replaced by a blue Maverick with a very obviously added on heater plopped on top of the trans tunnel. It worked fine, but was horrible looking. The Mav lasted about a year or so, then it was wrecked when my friend’s older brother, at the beginning stage of a long long string of bad moves, wrapped it around a tree a few months after getting his license. It was replaced by a icky green Comet, with the same ugly heater in it. She had that car a long time, and then it was replaced by a stripped to the point of “Where did they find one like this??” ’80 or so Mustang, which hung around until about 1990, when it was replaced by a Toyota pickup. That didn’t last long, it rusted like it was made of metal dust barely held together. She moved out of town at that point, driving away in a new Caravan, a loaded up one, paid by her divorce settlement. She had finally had enough of her husband’s cheapskatedness.
My ’66 Galaxie 500 convertible was an odd duck. It had manual windows and locks, but a power top (not uncommon, I’m sure); a grille from a lower-end 500 but all of the trim and interior bits from an LTD, and GT-style rims. 390 2-bbl and Cruise-o-Matic.
Power tops were standard.
Yeah power top was even standard on the base Mustang convertible and that is a car that did not have a large heavy top.
1967 Ford Mustang convertible base model. Vintage Burgundy paint, black interior, 289 2 brl V8, 3 speed cruise-o-matic, manual windows, manual locks, manual steering, manual locks, AM radio, and NO A/C.
I only call it “unusual” because whomever ordered it (salesman or original) ordered performance options (V8), ordered convenience options (auto trans), but didn’t go all the way. You have to have the V8? Why not 4 brl carb too? You had to have the automatic? Why not power steering and brakes?
Actually, power tops were only standard on Ford’s large cars.
It was still an option the Mustang.
So someone ordered the freaking power top too! Aye my family heirloom gets weirder and weirder. I wonder if it was ordered by an elderly salesman who thought that power brakes and power steering were needless frivolities? But then why the automatic? Why the power top? It couldn’t have been a “performance special” because then I would think you would go all the way and order the 4 brl carb and 4 speed manual trans.
FYI the first owner of my car was a new high school graduate who had just gotten their first job. Oh and female too for what its worth.
If you really want the lowdown, spend a few bucks with these guys.
My ’64 1/2 mustang convertible was ordered on April 17 1964 with PS, PB P-top factory A/C a 289 4bbl (D-code) and 4 speed, dual exhaust, White sidewall tires, front and rear seatbelts deluxe wheelcovers with spinners, 2 speed wipers and washer, dual outside mirrors and exterior decor group (pinstripe/rocker moulding), but no back up lights.
It was originally Rangoon Red with Red interior and White top.
It’s now Midnight Turquoise with a White Pony interior.
You should drop the $60 or so & get the Marti Report for your car! It’ll tell you exactly what was extra-cost & even give you the original selling dealer’s info. You can pay extra & get the option breakout percentages & find out how many 1967 Mustangs were equipped the same way yours is.
I got the report for our mundane ’67 coupe along with a perfect original-style aluminum door tag with the correct codes stamped out on it for maybe twenty extra bucks.
At a dealership near me there’s a brand new 2012 Chrysler 300 Limited still in stock. It’s dark blue and really pretty. Seems to be fairly loaded, has the Pentastar, basically everything else. Except it has the 4.3″ display, and not the UConnect 8.4″ system. There’s a note saying that there was limited availability on the car when that came out. So it just sits there. If I had the money and wanted a nice new car, that would be one heck of a deal. I think it has at least $7k off sticker right now.
The lack of the nav and maybe that it’s a pretty expensive 300 for not having the V8 might have held it back? I dunno?
There is a Cadillac-Buick-GMC place down here that has a 2012 Lacrosse on the lot, new, Its the last one on the lot, for some reason it hasn’t sold.
Back when I sold Buicks, we had a 98 Park Avenue on the lot until 2000. There wasn’t even anything wrong with the color or the options, it was black with grey leather. We ended up selling it with a huge discount.
$41K is way to much for that car. You can get a new 300 with the V8 nav and sunroof for under $40K
I think the asking price is around $34k. To me, that price is much more reasonable. And although I’d rather have the 8.4 screen, I use the nab on my phone. Not a huge deal, other than I am not buying a car right now!
In 1970 my dad bought his first new car, a base 1970 Firebird, loaded with options. AC, V8, 4 speed, 8 track, nice interior, rally wheels, vinyl roof, etc but refused to buy any power options (steering, brakes, windows, locks)
From the time I was in high school I ordered all the stock for my father’s Pontiac-Buick store and later, while in university, his Chrysler-Dodge store. This was back in the days before option packages, when it was a time-consuming chore to individually specify every single feature of every vehicle. I honestly don’t remember making any egregious errors and had worked out systems to identify what colour combinations and so forth would optimize the inventory. But one year in the 80s while I was tied up with exams, my Dad, who wasn’t the most detail-oriented guy, decided he needed to get some orders in and did it himself. Among the many resulting issues I remember a Fifth Avenue that arrived without a rear window defroster. As the highest-priced car Chrysler sold at the time, no defroster–in Canada–meant that car sat for well over a year before it finally sold (to someone who planned to winter down south).
What a relief when I got into the business myself–with European and Asian manufacturers–and discovered how easy it was to order stock when all I had to do was pick an option package and colour!
In 1987 my parents bought a one year old Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham Coupe. It was black, with black landau top, red pinstripe, chrome Super Stock Wheels, and Dark Claret (cranberry) leather interior. It was a V6, which wasn’t all that uncommon, but it had NO power windows, power door locks, power seat or Cruise! It did have AC, tilt, delay wipers, rear defog, am/fm/cassette and power antenna though. The salesman said the former owner had special ordered it and traded it for a new one. Despite it’s unusual options, it was stunningly beautiful and the dealer, the long since gone John Lee Oldsmobile of Ann Arbor, had several buyers lined up wanting it! My dad offered the most for it, so we got it!
My mom had 2 Saturn SL2s. The ’94 had crank windows, manual transmission, alloys, upgraded radio and a power moonroof. The ’96 also had crank window, manual transmission and power moonroof, but it had hubcaps and standard speakers. It also had cruise control.
I got a 92 Saturn SL1, which was kind of the reverse of yours, from a GM employee. It had Power Windows and Locks, CD player radio upgrade, anti-lock brakes and a 5 speed manual. I think he originally ordered it with the sunroof which ended up not getting it with it. I think he wanted a SL2 but there was some sort of hold on them for Employee orders.
My aunt had a 77 Bonneville with no power seat and she couldn’t see over the dash and it had every other option. Uncle had a 78 LeMans. Power locks no power windows and win do regulator delete in the rear. Had no ac clock or guages and all that was just black plastic. A truly ugly car.
There’s no “window regulator delete” on that generation of A-Body.
None of them had windows that went down. It’s been a much discussed topic here over the years.
Also worked with guy with loaded Taurus with 4 cyl.
There was even a 5 speed 4 cylinder Taurus available. I remember a friend of mines grandmother had a Dodge Shadow with a digital display AM ONLY mono radio, huh?
I went to high school with a guy whose parents had an ’86 Taurus MT-5 wagon…the one with the 4-cylinder and 5-speed. I don’t think I’ve come across another!
I’ve seen ONE Taurus MT-5. It was in Kodiak, Alaska in 2005 and was pretty well trashed/used up. I knew they existed. I remember some of the four cylinder Taurus from ’86 and ’87; these were usually low-buck specials to get people in the doors of Ford dealers back then in the S.F. Bay Area . . .
I’ve never seen a manual Taurus in person, have seen a police package Taurus up close before.
I had a ’92 Plymouth Voyager with a 5-speed manual transmission. If I remember the stats correctly, Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth sold a total of 176,000 minivans in 1992, 3000 of which came with a clutch. It was a pretty decent van, actually.
I once saw a 2012 Focus Titanium with a cloth interior and no sunroof. Pretty weird especially when you consider that it’s the 4th and highest trim level. Not surprising that the 2013’s could not be ordered that way.
Parents leased a 1976 Ford Elite-460, dual exhaust no cats, Autotemp AC, tilt, cruise, split seat luxury interior . No other power equipment.
No rear defroster(this was Canada), AM only radio, no light package,so no interior lights of any kind other than a dome light Not even an ashtray or glovebox light. I was so pissed about that that I went to the j-yard and over a couple of trips, amassed all the items to retrofit the light group, most of the wires for it all were already built into the harness. The only tough part was plumbing the live wire into the headliner for the nifty dual-beam spotlight lamp.
Not bad for a 16 year old, huh?
My dad recently bought my brother a ’96 VW Golf. It’s a 4 door with the near indestructible base 2.0L 4cyl and 5 speed manual, with standard steel wheels with hubcaps, factory CD player, power locks, power trunk release, power sunroof and manual crank windows.
I wish you could still get cars like that. Exactly what you want without having to order packages and pay extra for options you don’t really want just to get one that you do want.
During the depths of the Malaise Era, the jump in gasoline prices in 1979 (due to the Iranian Revolution) pushed my dad to get a 2nd, more economical car, and chose a Ford Fairmont over Malibu/LeMans, Citation, and Chevette (he was a GMer, but they were costing more). I persuaded him to special order one so we could get the 4-cyl 4-speed (I wanted to learn to drive a stick eventually–and it was peppier and more economical too!) and let me pick the options, so in Feb 1980 we special ordered a
silver Ford Fairmont sedan with the base drivetrain (2.3 4-cyl, 4 on the floor), power steering and brakes, “handling suspension”, Exterior Accent Group (midway between base and top-of-the-line Exterior Decor Group, included chrome wheelhouse moldings, and the “cool” aero mirror–driver side only though), the Turbine Wheel Covers (which looked deceptively like allow wheels), and the NY-state mandated rear defogger.
We took delivery after 6-8 weeks.
If I had to do it over, I’d delete the power steering and get the Interior Accent Group, which had nice door panels and seat trim. Both area in ours looked cheap. I don’t think a tach was available–we could’ve used it.
Paul would call that car an “American Volvo” because of the European-ness of how it was equipped. 🙂
302 is the only way to fly in a ‘mont.
The Fairmont created a awkward marketing situation for Ford: Volvo engineering at a Maverick price-point. So I think it had to look cheap or it would’ve upstaged their more profitable upmarket models, esp. since it drove so much better than any previous Ford sedan. This was resolved later with derivative Fox models.
I never got to try the 2.3L; ours had the more entertaining 302, a blast to drive (as roger implied).
The Lima four was noisy enough to where you didn’t need a tach: upshifts would be dictated by the scream and thrash . . .
1968 Chrysler 300 Convert, copper, black top, black interior. Bucket seats, no console, only options being power steering and A/C
Manual brakes, windows, column shift auto…
Glenn Howard wouldn’t have liked that one too much.
My first car was a 1963 Valiant 100 2dr sedan, 170 ci slant six, 3 speed column shift. It had zero options, which on that car meant , rubber floor covering, no radio, no heater, no backup lights, single speed wipers, no windshield washers. It had a block off plate on the firewall where the blower motor would normally go. It had defroster vents with nothing connected to them. People were always floored that cars had been built without heaters.
It was possible to “delete the heat” up to 1967, but in 1968 Federal standards required a defroster, which meant, by default, a heater.
D3 products sold in Mexico didn’t have standard heaters for several more years. If you wanted heat,you had to take AC too.
My Dad got a 63 Plymouth Savoy Coupe with Automatic, radio, deluxe Wheel Covers and no Heater. He had the dealer retrofit a heater in it. A little to cold in Savannah, Ga for no heat.
In 1995, an acquaintance found in Palolo Valley (Honolulu, near the Nuuanu) a 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury. No rust; a few scrapes. Came from an elderly owner’s estate sale. 318 Polyhead, whitewalls, the standard Sport Fury full wheel covers, side trim, white with gold vinyl bucket seats and the standard full console with floor shifter. However . . . it was a radio/heater/defroster delete. No power steering, no power brakes. I would believe the only options were the whitewalls (4 ply nylon Goodyear in the trunk) and the Torqueflite. That’s it. Open the hood and there’s just “engine” . .
Renault 5 Baccara, “Le Car Brougham”, sort of…
Lots of pictures here:
My Grandparents had a 64 LeSabre 4 dr sedan with AC, kind of rare in PA. at the time, Power Windows and Seat, 2 speed Auto, Radio with rear speaker, Power Steering and Brakes but not the exterior decor package which included the chrome window moldings and thicker side molding. It also had blackwall tires but did have full wheelcovers.
I knew a kid in grade school whose mom drove a 64 Buick LeSabre wagon – blackwalls and dogdish hubcaps. Not common on a Buick of that era.
There should be a word about how many of these oddly optioned cars come about. There are certainly a few that are ordered, with probably the most famous being the Central Office Production Order (COPO) 1969 427 Camaro. A COPO was how it was possible to circumvent the normal order restrictions (like getting an engine over a restricted size, such as a 427 in a 1969 Camaro). Normally, it was used for fleet cars but, every now and then, a dealership would get a solitary order through. One of the biggest issues with these COPO specials is the long time it would take to get one built (if it got built at all). Because of the special nature of these cars, to save money, manufacturers collect similar orders, then run a single batch of all the cars at one time.
But, more often than not, what happens is that, at year end, the factories will use up inventories of parts and options just to get rid of them (particularly of options that won’t be coming back the following year).
The absolute best known for these goofball option combinations was Chrysler and their infamous ‘sales bank’. In fact, IIRC, there was a shake-up not long ago when Lutz tried to put an end to the ‘weirdo’ cars that would crop up at the end of the model year and dealerships were able to buy on the cheap but were still a hard sell. That’s a big reason why there are huge rebates at the end of the model year to clear out the remaining inventory. Many of those vehicles will have odd option combinations and, thus, be less desirable.
Back in 1996, I was lusting for a new VW GTI VR6 and as it so happens, my then wife was in the market for a new car and she had her heart set on a Jetta. We go to a VW dealer where we make the deal on the Jetta and I ask the salesman if they had the new GTI in yet since it was not on the showroom floor. He responded that he did and it was in the back lot, so we went to take a look at it and while it was not in Black as I would have wanted, it did look damn good in Mars Red and before I knew it, we had signed a deal for his and hers VW’s.
Now because the model was relatively new, I did not realize that I had bought a GTI with some trim quirks that no other mk III GTI had that I have seen since (and they are minor to say the least). My wheel center caps had BBS instead of VW printed on them and yes, they were the stock wheels. The rear GTI badging was in red instead of silver as in all other 96 GTI VR6’s. And I also had little GTI badging on the rear side strips between the door and the rear wheel wells on both sides of the car.
I asked a little while later if any of this stuff was aftermarket or dealer installed and the dealer said it was not. I had posted this on a VW website a long time ago and someone had replied that it was how the Canadian GTI’s were trimmed…I have no idea if that is true or not but if so, I may have had a Canadian trimmed GTI but in US spec (the speedo was in MPH).
I think I blathered about this one somewhere else here, but my blue ’73 Bonneville has got a weird option mix. First off, the paint itself is not a 1973 color and is listed on the invoice as a $119 option. Interior is blue fabric. This is from memory as I don’t have the invoice in front me:
6-way power bench seat
Deluxe seat belts
AM/FM Stereo 8-track
Rear defogger (wires-in-glass type)
Lamp group (map/dome light, red/white door courtesy lamps, etc.)
misc moldings, etc.
Bumper rub strips
Rally II Wheels
RTS Handling package
400-4bbl engine (base engine is 400-2bbl)
Limited-Slip Rear end
Heavy duty air cleaner
Economy axle ratio! What the heck!
The car was not ordered with the top engine (455). It also did not have power locks nor a visor mirror.
In contrast, my Mesa Tan ’73 Bonneville coupe (white interior) was ordered like this:
Rear defogger (blower type)
Bumper rub strips
Single chrome remote driver door mirror
RTS Handling Package
455-4bbl engine (base engine is 400-2bbl)
So this one has the top engine with single exhaust, the base wheelcovers, and no power-assisted options. It’s not as ‘showy’ as the blue car but it’s quite a bit quicker despite its single exhaust.
Neither car has a vinyl top which is cool.
I’d kill to have my first ’73 Bonneville coupe back though.. It was golden olive with white interior and had the optional white cordova top. It was ordered with
Deluxe seat belts
door mounted courtesy lights*
map/dome light — note that these were ordered SEPARATELY instead of the “lamp group” — not sure why
passenger visor mirror
driver visor mirror — a very rare $3 option
white paint stripes
Dual sport mirrors
bumper rub strips
This car had the base 400-2bbl engine and no tilt nor cruise control. It was by far the most beautiful of the four 1973 Bonnevilles I’ve owned. (Bonneville #4 is a Burnished Umber sedan with the “basic group” — nothing interesting worth mentioning).
My black 2004 F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab (4-door) XLT. 5.4L V8, power windows/locks, a/c, non-power seats, sliding rear window (not power), 3.83 limited slip, factory trailer hitch….
… without the large telescoping side mirrors. And the best part: 6sp manual.
My Grandfather’s 1959 Chevrolet Impala he had in the 1960’s. It had every option known to man, but it was a pillared 4-door sedan, and it had a stovebolt six. As one would guess, it was a special order, from a farmer.
I was web surfing once and ran across a clone of that ’59 Impala pillared sedan. Very well equipped – in Indiana no less – but, with the 235 Blue Flame Six. It WAS originally ordered by a farmer.
Was it white?
When I was 11-15, I was a Boy Scout. One of the kids in our troop, George a-Greek name I can’t remember – his Dad had special ordered a ’66 Chevy Caprice that was loaded to the gills – but – had a 3 speed on the column. I rode in that car on the way back from Sierra camp, ca. 1972. It had the vinyl top, the simulated mag wheel covers; I know it to have been a 396 from the crossed flags/Turbo-Jet on the front fenders . . . went like stink through the Sacramento Valley . . . .
I also saw at the 1987 Napa Silverado Concours d’ Elegance a ’55 Packard Carribean with three-on-the-tree and overdrive. Although not listed in the Packard catalogue, Packard would build ‘special requests’ for customers as long as it was found in their parts bin. I understand there were about a dozen ’55-’56 Carribeans so equipped.
That’s crazy when he could have gotten the much cooler Impala SS
I’ve seen ONE Taurus MT-5. It was in Kodiak, Alaska in 2005 and was pretty well trashed/used up. I knew they existed. I remember some of the four cylinder Taurus from ’86 and ’87; these were usually low-buck specials to get people in the doors of Ford dealers back then in the S.F. Bay Area . . .
I’ll again throw in my uncle’s 1966 Impala four door sedan – it was factory ordered with one option, a radio. Blackwalls, dog dish caps, six and three-on-the-tree, no PS or PB. My cousin ordered a 66 Impala sport coupe that year with the 283 and three-on-the-tree. He did order the wheel covers and whitewalls but I’m not sure about PS or PB. This was small town IN in the 60’s. Lots of folks did not want the options – they liked to shift and were used to driving manuals without PS or PB at work, whether it be a tractor or a truck. And forget A/C or PW – “just more stuff to go wrong.”
Wow, this is the 227th comment on this post so far. Is it an all-time CC record? At least for a flame-war-free comment thread? Great topic, Jason. Nice work, gang.
I’m not sure what the highest number of comments is.
One more oddball . . . . former brother in law worked at a Chevy dealer in Corte Madera late 70s. He came by our house with a brand new ’79 C-10 Chevy truck, 2WD, short wheelbase stepside . . . bare bones Custom Deluxe, three on the tree, no power nothing – except – (I’m not making this up) it had power windows and door locks!
That reminds me of a beige ’76 or ’77 Malibu 4-door sedan that ended up in my favorite Birmingham impound auction many years ago. It had the 6-cylinder, dog dish hubcaps, auto trans, A/C, power windows and power door locks.
It had no other options — no clock, remote mirror, tilt, cruise, etc. Weird!
I currently own a 1970 Charger 500, that was ordered by the 67 year old original owner. He walked the line on options: 318, power steering, no PB, manual driver side mirror, buckets, console, AM radio and A/C, but with a driver side only fresh air vent, unusual for an A/C equipped car! Oh, yeah, black wall tires and dog dish hub caps. There is a note on the original invoice where he asked the salesman if the external mirror could be moved to the front fender!! The steelies and dog dishes were immediately replaced w/ road wheels (Magnums) upon my getting it!! 🙂
Oh man, that’s gorgeous!
Ah yes… fond memories of the days when people could order any strange combination that was buildable at the factory. I knew a family that had a 1967 Chevy BelAir 9-passenger wagon with the standard 6-cylinder and 2-spd Powerglide. I remember riding in it when we actually had 9 good sized high school students on board. Slow does not begin to describe it!
Remember back in the 60s, when all Cadillacs were big, and the base model was called a Calais? We had a customer at the Texaco station where I worked that had the most Spartan 1970 Cadillac possible… a Calais coupe with naugahyde seats, hand crank windows, and no factory air. and the point of driving a Cadillac was ???
Swinging the pendulum in the other direction, one of my easily googled favorites from the on-line auction circuit is a showroom perfect 1964 Pontiac Catalina Safari, claimed to be factory original with a 389 3×2 bbl. engine, 4-spd manual trans., factory air, and 8-bolt aluminum wheels / drums, plus every other power gadget you can name.
Finally, my all -time favorite from Consumer Reports about 35 years ago: The took delivery of a Dodge Aspen (or was it a Plymouth Volare?) that was trimmed as an Aspen on one side, and a Volare on the other. Badge engineering hits rock bottom!
Now why didn’t I think of my dad’s 66 Windsor sedan sooner! My grandad factory ordered the car. PS but no PB (not too unusual). Bumperettes on the front bumper. You usually only saw them on New Yorkers because that’s all they showed them on in the brochure, but they were available for the Newport and Windsor as well.
Here’s the kicker: If you ordered a power antenna it came mounted on the rear fender. My grandad asked for the regular fixed antenna to be mounted in the back where the power antenna would go, and they did it!
Dad’s 66 Newport, the one with the am/fm radio, had the little bumperettes also. My 66 New Yorker has the power antenna and that thing really extends. This car has am/fm as well along with the rear reverberator.
Bill, What color is your New Yorker. I have a 65 Imperial LeBaron.
Well, originally it was metallic green with black vinyl “sail” inserts on the roof with a black and white bucket seat interior. Before I purchased it, the color was changed to a non-original dark blue and the sails are now white. It still has its black and white interior – black carpet, dashboard pad (white dash), black and white door panels and all white vinyl seats. It has every option except power discs and power vent windows. Everything else, and I mean everything, is present.
I wish you could still order cars with whatever strange combination of equipment your little heart desired. I can’t recall ever seeing anything truly out there in person, the one that sticks out was a ’90 Cutlass Supreme International 4-door, completely loaded but with the Quad4/5-speed that used to race at the local autocross.
But, I’ve always been interested in cars like this, and the coolest one I’ve ever seen online is this ’67 Caprice wagon, 427/4-speed and seemingly every option available that year (except front buckets). I’ve posted this here before, but I can’t stop obsessing over how cool it is.
Original window sticker is below, more pictures of the car near the bottom of this page: http://www.impalass427.com/Allchevysphotofullsize4.htm
I once owned a 1981 Mustang Coupe that was such a stripper it didn’t even have an ashtray! It came with a 2.3 four cylinder and four speed manual, and I think it had power brakes, Beyond that, it had vinyl seats, crank windows, and a dome light (OK- it did have an aftermarket radio). That was it EXCEPT-
A T-Top roof. I thought Mustang T-tops only came on the hatchbacks, but this car was a coupe. Turns out the Mustang II only offered T-Tops on the hatchbacks, but Fox bodies offered T-Tops on either body style.
Caught this one leaving a Mustang show back in 08 maybe? First and last T-Top notch I’ve ever seen.
What a great thread…266 comments when I started, and being a weird-option-liking kind of guy I read the whole thing. Ain’t CC grand??!
I concur! We’ve gone past 275 or so at this point and I have yet to be able to read them all.
In 1978 I saw an all black Monte Carlo,with black cloth interior .The window sticker showed NO options. It was at a dealer in Sedalia,Missouri. The salesman told me a branch of the local Mennonites can drive plain cars. He said the factory called 3 times to verify the order before they built it.
There is a very sizable Mennonite population in various sections of Missouri – to the point there is a town in Knox County where every car in town is black.
With the advent of aluminum wheels as standard equipment, I have also seen a lot of aluminum and alloy wheels painted black.
This compelled me to make my first post, in 1986, my Dad bought a brand new Pontiac 6000. He really wanted a SE, but didn’t want the crappy carb’ed 2.8. The salesman found what he was looking for but it was a real oddball, it was a base 6000 not even a LE, with an Iron Duke optioned nearly identically to an SE. Most options I’ve never seen on another base 6000. This was the first car my Dad owned that reached 200,000 miles.
Removable glass sunroof
Cloth buckets with console shifter
Alloy wheels with Goodyear Eagle GT tires
AM/FM cassette with EQ and premium sound
Appearance package, lower door chrome trim
Remote trunk release
No power windows/locks
No rear window defrost
Another oddball I came across when I was in high school was an 87 6000 STE with a 5-speed manual. Was in the local classifieds and took it for a test drive, was a nice driving car the guy was asking too much. I ended up buying a more common 86 6000 STE with, unfortunately, an automatic.
The oddest vehicle I’ve been around was a 1999 Ford F-150 a family friend bought new. They were our neighbors up at Lake Carroll, and he ordered a brand-new truck from the small Ford-Mercury dealer in Mt. Carroll to exclusively use up there. An F-150 XL, black with gray interior, eight-foot bed, Club Cab, V8 and manual floor-shifted transmission. No appearance options, no alloys, etc. Plain cloth bench seat. He loved that thing, and I rode in it many times. It was very different from his regular car back then, a silver 1999 Volvo S70!
My current V50 is a bit odd, as it has all the options–moonroof, winter package, rain-sensing wipers, premium sound with CD changer, roof rails–but has cloth upholstery and a manual passenger seat. Even odder, it has cloth seats combined with heated seats! I’ve been told that it had to have been an ordered car, as no dealer would have ordered cloth trim with the heated seats. I rather like the combination, though.
What’s odd about that F-150? It sounds like it’s optioned to be a real truck, not a brougham with a long open trunk.
Yeah, that’s what’s rare 🙂
Haha! Nowadays that’s VERY rare.
My bought-new ’86 Ford Ranger4x4 Supercab had the STX trim package which included a gorgeous leather-covered steering wheel and nice brushed-metal (plastic) dash panels. But it had roll up windows, no AC (in California) and skinny plain steel wheels with 195/75 BSW tires. Also manual hubs, which is why I picked it. Its replacement (bought used) was a ’93 Land Cruiser with the optional moonroof, 3rd row seats, front and rear lockers … and non-power cloth seats. One of very few non-leather LCs of the FZJ80 variety that I’ve seen. Our bought-new ’93 Corolla DX wagon had no AC but we added it (OEM) before taking delivery for a very reasonable price. It’s still hard for me to believe that AC/PW/PDL etc are standard on pretty much every car now. I remember looking at classIfieds advertising cars with “RH” as a teen.
I once bought used a 1993 Nissan Altima GXE, very nicely equipped except for leather. What struck me about that car was that it was factory-equipped with HUD (head-up display). Have never seen equipped one like that since.
BTW, I loved HUD. It’s an option I wish was still offered.
I’ve got three. My dad’s current truck is one – ’99 Ford F-150 XLT with regular cab and long bed. 4×4, auto, 4.6 V8 but… with the Off-Road package. Which isn’t entirely rare, except the original owner got it with the off-road logo deleted (the old 4×4 Off Road sticker on the rear, not the newer FX4) and ordered it with the manual transfer case shifter on the floor instead of the “fourth AC control” that others had. Dad hated it at first – Mom picked it up 2 years old as a Christmas present at a great price – but now loves it like 13 years later. If he ever retires it, I’m buying it.
Second was my first car, a ’68 Ford Galaxie 500. 390 V8 2bbl, C6, two door fastback with every option possible checked. Center console (coolest. shifter. ever.), buckets, A/C, disc brakes, up level interior trim and.. a rear window defroster. Which was a heating element and a fan. It was telling how rare some of the options were that it was impossible to find interior parts and brake parts for the thing.
Third I’m working on a CC for. A Toyota Turbo truck that’s got no options at all. It’s pretty awesome!
Oh! One more! I had a 1993 Taurus GL a few years ago which in and of itself isn’t rare. It was white with light blue interior. 3.0 Vulcan with bench front and rear, column auto trans but it also had the 16in “turbine” alloys and.. a sunroof?
In all honesty I liked that car, a lot, and probably should have kept it. The A/C was busted but the sunroof and four windows open made it really pleasant.
I once had a Caprice, 1979, with about every option you could order, performance axle, 350 cui engine, full power, twopainted, cruisecontroll, and so on, but without intermittent wipers. If it is one thing that you need in Norway it’s delay-wipers. Sold new in Norway, I think maybe the salesman forgot to order that option?
My dad had a pair of 1978 Ford F-150 4×4’s. The 1st one he bought new, and the 2nd one he bought around 1990. Both were regular-cab, long-box, XLT-trim (carpeted floor, cloth seat, air conditioning, etc), 400ci/C6 powertrain. The 1st one had monochrome paint, AM radio, and dual fuel tanks, pretty normal for a pickup of the day; the 2nd one was fancier with two tone paint (brown with cream/yellow roof & bodyside) and the AM-FM stereo radio… but it only had a single fuel tank from the factory, the rear-mounted 16-gallon one.
A previous owner had “corrected” the oversight by installing saddle tanks in the unused space in the Styleside box below the box floor and between the cab & rear wheel, similar to (but less safe than) the GM installation that shortly became famous through Dateline NBC.
We took the saddle tanks out & lived with the 120-160 mile fuel range.
I used to date a girl in college who was a fellow Jeep fanatic…she briefly dated a guy before me that had an early ’80s CJ-7 with an iron duke and 3 spd slushbox. That had to be THE definition of gutless! The Wrangler has always had a few oddball 4 bangers mated to slushboxes out and about. Seems like a completely baffling combo, considering the use for a Jeep and the general demographic that buys them.
My dad had a ’63 Falcon Squire wagon with buckets and the center console. it had the atuo on the column. In the late ’70s he had a Mercury Monarch 4 door with buckets and a floor shifted automatic. My cousin had a ’63 Corvair Movza convertible with factory A/C. and a 4 speed.
15 years ago I had a ’67 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible with just about every available option according to the PHS print out.
Tyrol Blue with Pearl White interior, White top with leather like grain pattern and Redline tires. (Very patriotic)
400 4bbl / Turbo 400, Power steering, brakes top, windows, locks, antenna, trunk release. AM/FM Stereo, Cruise, Tilt wheel, reclining passenger seat, headrests, vanity mirrors on both visors and remote outside mirror. Front disc brakes with unique wheel covers, (a first year option).
The only missing options were the 428, 4-speed, 8-track, power seats and cornering lamps. The 8 lug wheels were not available with the disc brake option.
After the Grand Prix, I had a ’63 Lincoln Continental convertible. If i recall from the brochure, the only option was A/C which my car had and a choice between walnut veneer trim and brushed aluminum. Convertibles came standard with leather seats.
My first car had a few goofy options. It was a 1996 base model Chevy Lumina. Dark green with the gray interior (common). It had the LS alloy wheels, nice cassette radio, four way manual driver’s seat. The front of the seat could go up and down. Really nice feature. But the car didn’t have ABS or the remote trunk release button.
I had a 89 Grand Am LE but it was ordered with the GT blackout lights and factory fog lights. The switch for the fogs was located in the roof between the sunvisors. It also had a AM/FM Cassette with a switch on the door to activate the door speakers.
My brother in law ordered a F150 early 90’s with upgraded interior but rubber floor instead of carpets–he had a muddy job. He also has a 1970 RoadRunner with 383 4speed pistol grip and Air Grabber. No power steering, brakes–rear stripe delete. It was ordered with a chrome moulding between the wheels and the weirdest of all a rim blow steering wheel. Rimblow wheels and manual steering make for lots of fun parking
Back in 1973, my dad had a lime green 73 Ford Torino wagon with a 400 cu inch engine and an automatic……and absolutely no other options. It looked like a cop car station wagon.
I used to street race it with some success when I got my drivers license in ’76
I had an ’85 Chrysler Lebaron GTS that had a 2.2L turbo, auto, leather, digital dash-and crank windows & manual locks.
I also had a ’92 Pontiac Grand Prix SE with B4U GFX & wheel kit, steering wheel audio controls, power windows & seats, keyless entry….and no rear defrost. It figures that it was originally from Kentucky.
Here’s one for the books. When I was a kid my friends grandfather bought a new 1963 Olds Dynamaic 88 4 door sedan. It had a few options not usually seen on the base model, such as courtesy lights, clock and door edge guards. But it also had the cheap, non-deluxe steering wheel, no power brakes and a 3 speed manual on the column! I’m sure the take rate for the Hydra-matic approached 99% on the full-size Olds of this era, making this a very rare car. I recall asking this old timer why he didn’t get the automatic. He said something like he never had one and there were a lot of automatic transmission repair shops around, so they obvioulsy were not reliable. Go figure.
“He said something like he never had one and there were a lot of automatic transmission repair shops around, so they obvioulsy were not reliable.”
Best statement of the day. Once I stopped laughing, I had to kind of admire the old guy’s thought process. I guess the number of Olds dealers with service departments did not bother him.
My ’63 Bel Air. 283 2bbl, Powerglide, P/S, P/B, carpet, leather seats, heater and the 6 tailights& silver cove panel from the Impala.
The reason? It was an Australian assembled car, built by Holden.
My ’67 Impala used the rear lights & bumper from the contempory Caprice.
I can understand the “luxury’ features like the P/S, etc, but the Impala treatment on the Bel Air & the Caprice on the Impala are a mystery to me.
Some oddities from Brooklyn NY -late 60s early 70s
A `61 Chevy Monza coupe with factory air.
A `61 Olds 98 6 window sedan with air and power windows in the front only.
A `63 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with bucket seats, black leather and no air’
A `64 T Bird convertible with roll up windows and no air
A `70 Olds cutlass base 2 door stripper sedan with no air and power windows.
A `70 Buick Electra Limited coupe with roll up windows, no vinyl top and air
A `70 Pontiac Bonneville 4 door pillared sedan with no air
The best for last-a `59 Chevy Biscayne 2 door sedan with a 3 speed manual and factory air.
My 94 Cougar had every available option from V8 to moonroof, and uncommon options like the JBL audio system with CD changer and feature car white leather interior package, yet it didn’t have auto climate control, which you almost never not see on V8 equipped 94s.