When your local Chevrolet dealer wants to sell you a car, he doesn’t necessarily want you to buy the least-expensive base model sitting on the lot. He makes his living on commissions, and if he isn’t selling product, he isn’t making money. Therefore, he wants you to buy all the options.
For as far back as anyone can probably remember, there have been options offered by car manufacturers. Some were a great success, and some were at one time not very popular – which now makes them highly sought. We thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of the more obscure and often overlooked options that have been available to Chevrolet buyers over the years.
Liquid Tire Chain
Listed in the Chevrolet annals was RPO V75, Traction Compound and Dispenser. At a cost of $23.20, the device placed a spring-loaded canister mounted behind each of the rear wheels. A button mounted near the driver would be depressed, directing manifold vacuum to the canisters, and the “ice-melting aerosol” was sprayed on the tire. In theory, this would help traction by removing unwanted build-up of snow in the tire tread. This was a short-lived option, and was only found on 1969 and some early 1970 models. Imagine having one of these now, and adapting it to spray VHT traction compound on the tires when racing.
Flame Out Ashtray
For many years, smoking was considered a normal activity. Many smokers even have the bad habit of flicking the used cigarette butt out the window. If the weather was nice, quite often all of the car’s windows were down, and many car fires were started when the driver flicked their cigarette butt out the window, only to have it come back in the car and smolder on the rear seat or carpeting.
To combat this issue, Chevrolet developed the Flameout Vacuum Ashtray. This accessory used a glass jar that was mounted under the dash, on the driver’s side of the car. The glass jar was hooked to two lengths of tubing. One piece of tubing was connected to a butt receptacle mounted to the dash, and the other connected to the engine for receiving manifold vacuum. When the driver or passenger was ready to discard their cigarette butt, they placed it in the dash-mounted receptacle and depressed a spring-loaded valve. Depressing the valve would allow engine vacuum to suck the butt into the jar, extinguishing the hot end.
We all seem to think that life was a little slower paced “back in the day,” but every once in a while, we come along an item that makes us realize that time has always been a concern for people. Take for instance the electric shaver option offered from Chevrolet, primarily from 1951 through 1959. Listed simply as an “electric shaver,” the car buyer could choose from the Remington Roll-a-Matic, Schick, or Norelco Sportsman shavers. Each of these were powered by a cord that plugged in to the cigarette lighter in the car. It was a novel idea, as dad could save time by shaving while he drove to work. At least he wasn’t texting.
Patriotic themed items have always been big sellers. Let’s face it, were a nation of prideful people. So, when the Heritage interior was optioned on 1976 Monzas, Chevettes, and limited Vegas, Chevrolet felt they had a huge-selling idea. The option (code 1776), added $182 to the Chevette, between $111 and $143 to the Vega, and just $45.00 on the Monza.
This option was only available on cars with particular paint colors like white, black, silver, and red. Maybe someday, someone will open a set of barn doors and find a Chevette with this special heritage trim. Okay, probably not.