What are rare factory options you have seen on vehicles?

Just trying to start a nice interesting off of the wall conversation…

I got to thinking, I worked with a guy that had a 2002? or so chevy silverado and it had a rare factory option, a pro-tec composite bed, Im not sure if it was fiberglass or what but it was all plastic, the bed, the tailgate the sides, the whole shot. the whole point was supposed to be that it was lighter than a steel bed so you could haul more weight. I have seen a few other that had this option, the best way to spot them is the tailgate, the tailgates on pro-tec bed trucks have raised embossed lettering, with a tiny pro-tec badge on the gate.

I don’t know how much the option costed or how rare it it, but I haven’t seen many.

The other vehicle I can think of is a ford tempo with power drivers seat?

Any other ones that come to mind?

For a few years, the Ford Sport Trac had a heated front windshield. I almost bought one for that feature

@bscar2 Ah… I almost think that maybe lincoln had something similar, that does sound nice. I remember temos had AWD as an option as well, I have seen one in person.

I once had a 1969 Oldsmobile 98 Luxury Sedan that had drum brakes instead of the front disc that were optional in '69 and standard by '70. Car couldn’t stop worth a darn coming off the freeway…

Anyway, had a '65 Chrysler New Yorker that had a reverberator for the rear speaker. Had a knob under the dash that turned it on and controlled the “echo”. Made it sound like you were in a stadium.

Silverado with 4 wheel steer . ( I believe Honda did this in the 70’s for a short amount of time )
Envoy with sliding rear roof.
70’s GM cars with swiveling drivers seat.
60’s Mustang with swing away steer column similiar to Tbird.


Two odd ones that I can think of right off the top of my head that I’ve actually seen.
One was a 45 RPM record player in an old Chrysler although I did not see it in operation. Carrying around vinyl records in 100 degree heat must have been a hoot…

The other was an early 80s Subaru option that was absolutely hideous. It was the downsized equivalent of a LIncoln Town Car and was a 4 door sedan. The roof was extra thick, padded vinyl, had opera windows on each C-pillar, and was slathered from one end to other in gold electro-plated plastic both inside and out.

Ghastly is a polite term for it and it’s hard to believe a sane, sober person would have ever bought one of those rolling abominations but it did occur.

I think the in-dash record player has to be one of the most rare options ever. Only seen pictures of the contraption, never seen one in an actual car.

Some late '50’s high end GM cars, Caddy’s mostly, had a gizmo that dimmed your headlights automatically. That option is pretty rare, but at least I’ve seen a few cars that had it.

My 1990 Grand Caravan LE has an option which is supposedly rare - I can’t say unequivocally. In addition to the (ugly) fake wood paneling on the sides, and the nice (for the time) leather seats, it has a sliding sunroof. It slides back into the roof, or lifts in the back, both ways make a ton of wind noise at highway speed. But I like the extra daylight coming in, and it’s sometimes useful for adjustments to my roof rack when I’m carrying canoes and bikes together. It’s also helpful for allowing some ventilation when the car is parked, without compromising security.

How about the opposite situation? I have a rare vette not only for some of the features it has but also for what it doesn’t have. The combination makes it desirable for collectors.

I had a Sunbeam Imp set up for Antarctic work and my brother had a Kaman Gia with a gasoline powered heater.

A 1959 DeSoto was available with luggage that matched the cars upholstery. And the car was available in pink.

Rod–Are you thinking of the '56 Dodge LaFemme, by any chance?
That was probably the first attempt to market cars exclusively to women, and this special model came in (I think) a combination of pink & white with matching interior. The interior featured a color-coordinated purse & umbrella, and I believe that the glove box had a built-in cosmetic case.

I don’t know how many LaFemmes they had planned on selling, but I believe that the total production was no more than a few hundred, thus making them extremely rare today.

TwinTurbo is correct about some older cars that have missing features which then adds to the value. The radio and heater core deletes are a couple to save weight. The old Pontiac Super Dutys even had the frame drilled full of holes to save weight.

Some old Chrysler products also had the Tic Tach Clock with both clock and tachometer combined into one unit. I seem to remember the old Superbee I owned as having that option.

Another odd Subaru model from back in the day (and as hideous as the Town Car clone) was a 2 Door Hardtop that had a fake convertible roof on it. It wasn’t as ghastly as the TC but was trying hard anyway…

Instead of rare options, how about options that were more common than the cars that they were supposed to be placed in?

What am I talking about?
I am referring to Preston Tucker’s campaign of selling radios, seat covers, and some other specialized options to Tucker dealerships in order to raise extra capital, just prior to the launch of the vehicle.

Motorola produced at least a few hundred of the specialized Tucker radios, and apparently many of them were sold to dealers. When the company went belly-up after producing only ~50 pilot cars, the radios became much more common than the cars that they were designed for.

The automatic headlight dimmer in the 50s Cadillacs came and went. In the late 50s? Dodge came out with swivel driver seats. They did not last but must have been good for overweight drivers with back problems.

Our 1946 Buick Roadmaster had the heater under the front seat with ducts going to the front as well as the back. The problem was the long hoses went under the car, where they lost a lot of their heat. I don’t ever remember being really warm in that car.

Also in the 50s styling madness we had colored tires; I saw a Dodge with dark blue ones with big whitewalls of course.

@twinturbo Ahh yes, like the dodge minivans with manual transmissions, those are rare, I have seen a few. One place i worked used to have guard dogs dropped off at night and the guy that dropped the dog off was in a caravan with a stick.

I think most of the Chrysler minivans exported to Europe are not only standard but diesel. Why can’t we have that here?

I bought a '73 Vega GT that had a factory tent option. I liked the car but the tent was stored in the garage until we threw it away. The next year I bought a '74 Monte Carlo with swivel bucket seats. My wife loved them and I hated them. I hear they are a rare item these days but who knew?

@brownjeff Yes, Chrysler minivans are (or were) assembled in Graz, Austria by Maga International and come with a 4 cylinder diesel and 5 speed manual. A gas 4 cylinder and 3.3 V6 were also available. The one they build for Volkswagen probably can be had that way as well.

When I ordered my '81 Citation 2-door hatchback, I attempted to get the optional, “pop-open” rear side windows. Normally, these cars had non-opening rear side windows, but this option allowed you to turn a small handle located above the front doors, thereby popping the rear windows open slightly.

A few weeks after placing my order, the salesman called to inform me that the factory had not yet begun to install those optional rear window openers, and that my choices were to go ahead with my order–sans option–or to wait for an unknown period of time until the option became available.

I chose to skip the option, and I wonder if it ever did become available.