Hooniverse Asks: What's the Best Dealer Package Ever?

It seems like it’s nearly impossible to buy a car from a dealer as factory equipped, but without some sort of dealer add-on. Hell, the Cohen Brothers famously poked fun at this practice in the movie Fargo, which forever sullied the offering of the dealership undercoating. Sometimes dealers, or dealer associations, go a step further and offer special packages that denote a whole unique model. Sometimes those are nothing to laugh at.
That was just such a case with the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special, a model that was dreamed up by Ford’s California Dealers Association, and which today is recognized as a desirable member of the Mustang legacy. Not every dealer-originated model has been so feted, and in fact most have long since been forgotten.
What we’re interested in today is those that haven’t been forgotten. In fact, what we want to know is your opinion on what has been history’s best dealer offering. What do you think, who has had the nicest package?
Image: Mustang360

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49 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What's the Best Dealer Package Ever?”

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    My heart is with Mr. Norm, but the wallet says Yenko.

      1. Lokki Avatar

        Apparently someone has bought the rights to use the Yenko name

  2. P161911 Avatar

    Most of the Ram Air V Pontiac Engines were dealer installed.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    I know I mentioned this once before — probably sometime in the Pre-Disqus Period — but the only regional dealer package I have any specialized knowledge of was the Midwest-only (MO, KS, IA, NE?) “Mid-Am” edition Toyota Celica in 1979. I remember them being advertised on TV during the 10PM news, and actually saw them new on the dealer’s lot at the end of my street. It was fairly typical, frankly. As I recall, it just had two-tone blue body side stripes over white, special badging, RWL tires and upgraded seats. It’s sure obscure, however. The ONLY reference I can find online is a classified ad for a used one in the Salina newspaper in 1988.

      1. CraigSu Avatar

        I swear I read that as Mustang Twitter special and thought, “Have we, as a society, really sunk that far?”.

        1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
          Wayne Moyer

          0-60 in 140 characters or less.

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            Not to mention 40 years less

        2. Alff Avatar

          No, but Ford might.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Not the best from a performance perspective, but certainly memorable for a Seattle kid from the 70s. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/be94934eec019c1d7911559448b99ccafd12e15ce98d7fc675ceb552a81755e7.jpg

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      Are you referring to the team or the car?

      1. Alff Avatar

        Yes. The car was a sticker package with a personalized plaque on the dash. At least some players got them. I remember seeing Jim Zorn’s in the dealership.

    2. Scoutdude Avatar

      I remember seeing these back in the day. Surprisingly this afternoon I saw an older Odyssey with the classic blue and green stripe and head from one end to the other. I’d say it was about 18″ high.

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Would the ’67 Rambler wagon’s regional editions be consider dealer packages, or factory spec’d?

    1. Alff Avatar

      Didn’t realize those were regional. Dig the Mariner.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

        “Simulated bleached teakwood” FTW!

        1. Alff Avatar

          So bad, it’s good.

        2. mad_science Avatar
    1. 0A5599 Avatar
  6. GTXcellent Avatar

    In the early ’90s Ford had a regional package for MN and I think Wisconsin on F150s and then eventually Rangers called the Northland Edition. Basically XLT Lariats with aluminum rims and different paint that wasn’t available anywhere else (although back then Lariats weren’t the dolled up trucks they are today – leather, power windows, automatic transmissions were still optional). Google can’t seem to find me one, but the colors were a bright blue or a burgundy over a gray rocker.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      The Dakotas got those too; one of the beater pickups on my family’s farm is a burgundy ’95 with the same two-tone pattern and wheels as the picture below.

      1. GTXcellent Avatar

        The ’92 and up refresh must have gotten a little different paint, because I thought the blue was much bluer – that looks almost teal. (It’s also been 25+ years so maybe me not remember so good)
        Do you remember the special We-Fest GMC pickups from that same era? I can’t recall what the dealers were calling them, but they had those gaudy yellow z stripes.

        1. gerberbaby Avatar

          Are these the stripes? The northland edition is the first thing I thought of. I honestly don’t remember the GMC half-arsed attempt to compete with Ford

        2. BigRig Avatar

          Those were Zorbaz giveaway prizes werent they? Detroit Lakes area had a few running around

          1. GTXcellent Avatar

            Maybe that’s what they were – Zorbaz instead of We-Fest. Regardless, they were very unattractive, and they always seemed to be on very base SLEs with base steel wheels and NO options.

          2. BigRig Avatar

            Yep. Red with yellow z stripe gmc’s. Regular cab long box somewhere around 90 or 91

  7. 0A5599 Avatar

    The Gay brothers ran a rainbow-hued Pontiac sponsored by their family’s dealership. Does that count as a dealer package? They probably sold it eventually.

    1. Alff Avatar

      That Gay package is fabulous.

      1. JayP Avatar

        Does it drive straight?

        1. Kiefmo Avatar

          Ironically, as a drag car, most of its driving is straight.

      2. Harry Callahan Avatar
        Harry Callahan

        In Dick-in-son TX. Nice.

    2. mad_science Avatar

      Gay. Pontiac.
      7th grade me is losing it.

  8. evan r Avatar
    evan r

    Not unlike the Mustang, the Volvo 242 came as a California Special. Dig the crazy interior!

  9. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    I remember back in the early 80s there were TV ads featuring The Good Olds guys offering a Metro NY NJ package that had heavy duty shocks and brakes. Can’t find it on youtube though.

  10. Hillman_Hunter Avatar

    There’s a true COPO Camaro here in town that was special ordered by a little old lady (possibly from Pasadena) in 1969 in anonymous green with houndstooth tan interior and optional folding rear seats. She used it as a grocery getter for nearly a decade. I really don’t think you can beat having the baddest Camaro under a completely plain bodystyle.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      That’s doing it wrong surely with a COPO. I wonder what the story behind it was, you couldn’t end up with the car by accident.

  11. tonyola Avatar

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3cafe9c9ac9da6b03e899e29115c60234832d6b8502c17bc4718511962aaf825.jpg If you checked the right boxes on the order form in 1967, you could order a Z/28 option package on your new Camaro. With some of the packages, plenum air intakes and exhaust headers were placed loose in the trunk for installation by the dealer or owner.

  12. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    Not sure how exclusive it was but there was a Lincoln Mercury store that put a Landau top, wheels and pinstriping together and voilà… The Mercury Cougar Classic.

    1. Alff Avatar

      The top and spoiler are sending mixed messages.

    2. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      Needs wide whites, wire wheels, and the “Palm Beach Special” badges.

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        Vogue tire all the things!

  13. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    AMC’s “Group 19” dealer installed high performance parts. You could order your late 60’s/early ’70’s AMC with hotter cams, forged cranks and rods, high rise or cross plane aluminum intake manifolds, front and rear spoilers, and a host of other bits.

  14. Tomsk Avatar

    Pangra! The extended-nose, corner-carving, turbocharged freak show created by the sales manager of Huntington Ford in my neck of the woods, Arcadia, California (the location is now home to Mercedes-Benz of Arcadia).

    1. Krautwursten Avatar

      Came here to post this. Glad I can rely on you guys.