Whilst the standard specification of virtually all cars has included a steering wheel for over a century now, receiving a koala bear cuddly toy, a handbag, umbrella or collapsible motorcycle as one of the standard features of your new car at no extra cost is rather more surprising.
In a (sometimes desperate) bid to woo new car buyers to choose a particular make or model, car companies have equipped their models with many unusual features as standard over the years, with some resorting to lame marketing gimmicks as well to attract prospective customers into their deserted showrooms.
A great example of the latter is Ford’s famously failed brand Edsel. By the late 1950s, when consumer demand for new Edsels had reduced to a mere trickle, the floundering American marque offered any customer bold enough to take a test drive the opportunity to win a pony! Fiat tried a similar scheme in the 1980s with its Regata, with the test drive reward being a wooden ‘flying’ seagull that flapped its painted wings in the breeze when hung from the ceiling!
Sporting goods have proven to be a popular car specification enhancement over the years. The special edition Fiat Panda Italia 90, for example, came with a standard Italian-team football in the boot, whilst the Lancia Y10 Fila, based on the Panda’s platform, had a Fila-branded sports bag, loaded with a sport towel, training shoes and other gear. The Peugeot 806 Eden Park limited edition had leather rugby ball shaped head restraints as standard, and Rolls-Royce went one better by including an actual rugby ball – trimmed in the same leather as the Wraith 2015 Rugby World Cup edition’s sumptuous interior – rolling around in the boot.
The low-volume £180,000 Range Rover Holland & Holland includes an exquisite tailored leather-trimmed load space, safely housing a pair of handcrafted Holland & Holland guns. Conversely, the rustic rear-engined Russian ZAZ 968M took game hunting to a considerably more basic level. Standard fitment in the ZAZ was a removable metal flap in the passenger’s front foot well, designed with the sole purpose of ice hole fishing, allowing the car to be driven onto a frozen lake to fish for grayling and sturgeon.