You Say The Economy Stinks? The Most Expensive In-Car Options
My last car cost $3,200. Last summer, when I put a set of American Racing Torq-Thrusts on it, I fretted over the $900 in wheels and tires I was spending. People who purchase cars from brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley don't have that problem. They drop $3,200 on lunch, not including the plane ticket. Here are a handful of the most ludicrous options you can purchase on an automobile today. Gold Plated Spirit of Ecstasy - $8,650
The most expensive car I ever purchased cost exactly $100 more than the gold plating applied to the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament in the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert at heart, but "gold-plating" has always been synonymous with "tacky" to me, whether it's on a Gibson Les Paul, a Coupe de Ville or a Rolls-Royce. For $8,650, I want more than just the "spirit" of ecstasy. I'm looking for the real thing.
21-inch Fully Polished Eleven Spoke Wheels - $10,375
Wheels are pretty much made of the same material the world over, right? They show up as a single billet, and some guy presses "Make Wheel" on a CNC machine and BOOM. Wheel.
So what makes a set of 21-inch Fully Polished Eleven Spoke Wheels on a Rolls-Royce cost $10,375? Maybe I'm reading that wrong. Maybe it's not "Polished" like with wheel polish. Maybe its "Polished," like "attended to by a manservant from Warsaw." Some Eastern European guy comes along with the car and for ten grand, that fella does nothing but keep the brake dust off those bad boys. Suddenly, that seems like a bargain. Can I get that on my Roadmaster?
Extreme Silver Satin Paint - $26,280
What the hell could possibly make a different paint selection cost $26,280 on the Bentley Continental Supersports? Maybe they actually paint the car in a different color you don't like and once you see it, they extort twenty-six grand out of you to change it from Chartreuse to something more sedate. They have to paint the car from the factory, right? What this is telling me is that the material alone costs $26,280. Unless it is made up of a suspension of the desiccated remains of Vladamir Lenin, $26,280 for paint is absurd. I'm also not sold on "Extreme." What's "extreme" about paint? Is it in "3D," too?
Starlight Headliner - $12,350
For the price of a well-equipped Nissan Versa, you can have a headliner in your Rolls-Royce that is lit with 3,000 fiber optic doohickeys as a means of enjoying a starlit sky even when the weather is crappy. My nine year old daughter has a similar feature in her room, courtesy of a large pack of glow-in-the-dark stars she carefully applied to her ceiling. Seven bucks at A.C. Moore, and you can put them in any arrangement you want. Hers spell out "Katie." Take that, Rolls-Royce.
Bang & Olufsen Advanced Audio System - $6,300
The first time I saw a Bang & Olufsen audio system at Tech HiFi circa 1981 (Mary, Mother of Jesus, I'm old). It was wild, man, with a kooky cassette deck and a wild turntable that looked like it came out of Space: 1999. With the B & O system in the Audi A8, you don't get to look at anything cool. It just sounds better, I guess, with 1400 watts and 19 speakers. I was listening to an interview with John Fogarty on WTF the other day and he was talking about how all the great music he made with Creedence Clearwater Revival was all made to sound good through a single paper cone speaker on the dash of a 1967 Pontiac and an AM radio. Is "Green River" really going to sound that much better at $6,300?
Chrome Jack with GT-R Logo - $299
This isn't the most expensive option, per se, but it's certainly one of the most ridiculous. You've just laid out $116,700 for a Nissan GT-R Track Edition and you're looking at the option list. There it is, a Chrome Jack for three hundred bucks. Even the description makes you feel like a sap for even considering it. "On a supercar, even the jack is super-special. This one is chrome and features the GT-R® logo." It should read: "Here's a $300 jack, idiot." Oh, and if you want the rod that makes the jack work? That's another eight bucks. $307 buys a lot of AAA.