Equipment that wasn't standard on some vehicles


#1

When the Chevette Scooter without its back seat came up in discussions in another post, I started thinking about some things that were optional that one would expect to be standard equipment;

  1. Chevette Scooter lack of a rear seat
  2. Henry J without an exterior trunk lid
  3. Ford trucks through 1950 where the right hand windshield wiper was an option
  4. Bottom line Chevrolets through 1959 where the right hand sun visor was an option
  5. 1957-58 Studebaker Scotsman where the radio was not a factory option, but the Studebaker dealers weren’t permitted to install a radio. One had to go aftermarket to get a radio.
  6. On many cars in the 1940s and 1950s, an oil filter was an option.
  7. On many vehicles in the 1940s through the 1960s, electric wipers were an option if even offered. Vacuum wipers were the norm.
  8. When electric wipers became the standard, multi-speed wipers were optional on some Ford products. The standard issue had only one speed.
  9. The lower line Dodge and Plymouth cars through the 1940s did not have a glove compartment lock.

How many other strange lack of features that were optional can you think of?


#2

Well ford didn’t offer a 75 mm howitzer on any model.

I don’t remember when the first drink holder was introduced… I think it was a
"Dean Martin"


#3

I remember the first new car my father ever bought - 1962 Chevy II. It was so low end that it wasn’t even a Nova. It was ordered with 2 options - seat belts and back lights. no radio, rubber floor mats, 4 cyl, 3 on the tree, no air, 6.00-13 bias ply tires, dog dish hub caps.

I eventually went to college with that car.


#4

Learned to drive in a VW…only a pretense to a heater was available.


#5

Re: item #2–The original Nash Metropolitan, like the original Henry J, did not have a trunk lid.

One had to manhandle luggage into the Metro’s tiny cabin, past the seats, in order to get the luggage into a storage area in back of the seats. Later model Metropolitans did have a trunk lid. However, the lid was not an option. In early models, it was simply unavailable, and in later models it was a standard item.

Re: item #8–This cheaping-out with wiper speeds was not limited to Ford.
I recall that our '59 Plymouth Belvedere had only 1 speed for the wipers, and that speed was too slow to deal with a really heavy downpour of rain.

And, of course, in an era when we all expect something as basic as back-up lights to be standard, it is good to remember that these were optional on most cars, prior to circa 1965.


#6

“Learned to drive in a VW…only a pretense to a heater was available.”

The heater boxes (exchangers) were crap and so were the cable controls. Although they improved somewhat in the early sixties, they were still crap. I froze in my first Beetle, but my new 71 Super Beetle had pretty adequate heat even with the conventional exchangers (bigger engine and bigger fan/fan housing) as long as I maintained the cables.

Heating the interior of the Transporter (van) with virtually the same heating system was even a bigger problem.

However, you have brought up an option for missing or inadequate components. I worked at VW in the early days. We sold lots of Eberspacher Gasoline Heaters to freezing Volkswagen drivers. Later on we also sold Stewart-Warner South-Wind Gasoline Heaters, too. You have to wonder about having a gasoline fire right above your gas tank, right ? They did give lots of instant heat, though.

CSA


#7

My 84 GMC S-15…Rear bumper was optional. When the truck came in (I had ordered it)…It came without a rear bumper…I asked the salesman where’s the rear bumper…He said “You didn’t order one…their optional”…When I ordered my truck that’s one of those items you didn’t think you had to order…But I guess on all pickups back then the rear bumper was NOT required equipment.


#8

That Was A Poor Salesman. Many Owners Installed Aftermarket Step Bumpers And Had No Use For The Standard Part. He Could Have Explained It Better Or Sold You One.
CSA


#9

That Was A Poor Salesman. Many Owners Installed Aftermarket Step Bumpers And Had No Use For The Standard Part. He Could Have Explained It Better Or Sold You One.

I agree 100%…I was just amazed that a bumper was optional. I looked at buying a GM bumper…They were making this plastic bumpers that sold for about $300…I bought a aftermarket steel bumper for $150…Then before I put it on…I undercoated the back-side so it didn’t rust out…It was a perfect fit…


#10

“I agree 100%…I was just amazed that a bumper was optional. I looked at buying a GM bumper…They were making this plastic bumpers that sold for about $300…I bought a aftermarket steel bumper for $150…Then before I put it on…I undercoated the back-side so it didn’t rust out…It was a perfect fit…”

It sounds like you saved $150 and ended up with a much better bumper. Maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t provide a bumper for the S15 after all.


#11

Today, 7/30/11, I can just walk outside this Ford dealer and LOOK at all the missing features.
We’re hosting a car show ( 2 blocks cordoned off ) and there are some wonderful samples out there. Hot rods, 57, 67, 77, 05 T-birds, Fairlanes, monster trucks, Shelbys, Lincolns, Mustangs etc.
( see the ad @ http://www.gurleymotor.com )
This would be a good time to take note of triedaq’s query up close and personal. There’s even Chevy’s and others in the other block. 100 vehicles here today at least. But, alas, I’m stuck inside as the shop is open for regular business :frowning:


#12

The padded dash.
The swing away steering column.

Whoa…here comes a rain cloud, let’s see how fast these dozen drop-tops can get’em up !
( but this is Gallup NM…don’t like the weather ? wait 10 minutes. )


#13

Heaters were hung under the dash contraptions until the late 50s and early 60s. I worked on a 59 Belvedere with a South Wind box under the glove compartment.


#14

I find it incomprehensible that in the early days meaning to until the early 1930s that car engines were not fitted with engine intake air filters. Roads then were mostly dirt or gravel and if you followed another car on a dry day, the abrasive dirt intake to your engine must have been very destructive to engine life.


#15

I had a 65 Fairlane with one speed wipers and no washer. I could have looked, but I was 18 and just assumed there was a place to put the washer fluid. Nope.


#16

IIRC, Federal safety regs did not require windshield washers until the 1966 model year.

Even so, the fluid reservoir for the standard windshield washers on my father’s '66 Galaxie 500 was ridiculously small. The reservoir was a vinyl bag that hung from the inner fender, and it held approximately 1 qt of fluid. On a wintery day when the roads were heavily salted, I could (and did) use up all of that fluid within a couple of hours.


#17

Vacuum Operated Wipers Were Great, Too, Until One Needed To See Ahead While Actually Driving In Heavy Rain.
CSA


#18

Yeah, those vacuum-operated wipers were particularly wonderful while driving up a long hill during a heavy rain.

:-((


#19

I remember on our 57 Ford, back up lights were an option, as well as radio, power steering, power brakes, tinted windshield, etc. but were included in the 500 model as well as seat belts.

I had one of those gas heaters in my 59 VW bug. Actually worked pretty good especially parking on a cold night. Didn’t need the engine going. Once the car warmed up though and on the highway, you didn’t really need the gas heater.


#20

Vacuum Operated Wipers Were Great, Too, Until One Needed To See Ahead While Actually Driving In Heavy Rain.

How about the wiper fluid on the old VW Bugs…Where the fluid was run off the air pressure of the spare tire. I guess it’s one of the first low tire pressure reader (but only for the spare tire). When the washer fluid wouldn’t squirt - check the spare.