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Discussion Starter #1
With some recent talk of dealer-installed options, a few questions.

Was the point of dealer-installed options so Ford could build mainly basic spec cars to simplify the production line process and the dealers could add things as needed? Or was it because a dealer could spec up a car quicker than the production line could make it and deliver it to the dealer for a customer order? Or was it to get over a difficult task to guess what options to have on the cars delivered to the dealers to sit in the showrooms? Would they deliver a few high spec cars so the customers could see what was available and then a load of low spec cars that the dealers could add the options to?

Are the dealer-installed options the same parts as the production line or different parts?

What sort of dealer-installed options was available, or was it anything that was available when ordering a new car?

I have read about dealer-installed air conditioning. This sounds like quite an involved thing to add to a finished car. Was this only on the early cars where I believe the air conditioning unit hangs under the dashboard?

Would a dealer install options not available on the production line, or combinations of options that the production line would not mix ( if that is a thing )?

Jeremy.
 

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That's a lot of questions. You might find interesting these couple of pages from an old Mustang Recognition Guide for the '65 year model.

(For the record, I'd like to have a dealer installed citizen's band radio That'd be WAY cooler than the fender mounted turn signals.)

763511
763512
 

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I'd say the reasons were as broad as those that bought them. In 07 I was buying a new mustang. The dealer I went to had the perfect one for me, but I wanted the polished aluminum wheels, so they installed them for me. Funnily enough my wife (now ex) decided she wanted that car and I ended up with my black gt/cs. They were willing to add nearly anything I wanted from their catalog as well as a roush supercharger, or a glassback roof.
 

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That's one of the things that made the Mustang so popular. You could get it with a zillion different options, and the dealer could do a lot of them...if you just had to have one or more.
 

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"Mustang ! The car designed to be designed by YOU !"
The answer to all those questions is yes! The car was as basic as a 170 CI I-6 with a 3 speed and only one seat that moved that you could get without a radio or heater, or you could have a high-winding 271-horse 289 with a thirsty 4 barrel, 4 speed, dual exhaust and later on have an auto, AC, power steering, console, and on and on and on...and if the dealer didn't have just the car you wanted at the price you could afford, you could have them build it for you by special order or even right there in the service department !!
There were factory equipment, regular production options, and dealer options that made so many Mustangs (and other Fords) unique as their owners. And I don't think anyone has done it so well since then.
 
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In those days you (or the dealer) could order a car from the factory with AC and it might arrive in boxes in the trunk for the dealer to complete. Some Fords but Dodges were the worst at that as per Mark Worman. It was a dealers guess at what models, colors and options he could most easily sell.

The dealer model is to sell you a car TODAY that is on the lot now!, whatever it takes, and they are not lies if you mean well. The real money is made in the F&I office. "Ya, we can get you financed, I can add what ever you want and it wont cost you a dime...today":geek:
You want the best price? Dont mention you are paying cash or have financing arranged already! I sold new Fords and Dodges way back. Every truck that hit the lot got pin stripe tape and a bed liner some a tow bar. Lots of cars got the pin stripes and tinted windows. The question was "What can I get this one for?" The line was "Sir, the MSRP was XX but this one already has X added" They were the first things to be "thrown in" back when people actually negotiated. Next were the flip up tow mirrors on Dodge trucks. In the Way way back it was HD step bumpers with the dealers name in them. There were also A LOT of cars that were sold with lesser parts than what they were delivered with like those mirrors, wheels, full sized spares, rear end ratios, radios and floor mats being switched around or lost:poop:
 

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The whole thing was to "close the sale". If adding in , lets say foglights, they would do it. Because all too often, the buyers would just stroll into a different dealer, and the sweet talking salesperson would close the deal there.
 

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You could even get the four Weber 48 IDA carbs as a dealer installed option, or the Paxton supercharger, both of which could be found in the Shelby Performance Parts Catalog.
Most dealers had the complete Shelby accessory catalog available as dealer Installed options, even if they were not a Shelby authorized dealer for the Shelby GT-350 / GT-500 / and the Shelby Cobra cars.

Z
 

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back in the day there were no packages. you ordered every option you wanted alla carte

I think chevy started putting together packages in the late 60s

there were less insurance and litigation issues. so dealers had more freedom to customize a car
 

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I think you've got three dynamics that were being accommodated:

1. As it already stood, the Mustang was available with a good-many factory options from the outset. Given the realities of a fast-moving production assembly line, you can only have "so many" different options going on before the sheer quantity and breadth/depth of them grinds the speed and efficiency of the line to a grinding halt. So Ford decided on what the basic factory options were, and anything/everything else that was developed or available/possible got tossed into the dealer-option hopper, where indeed, it became a good profit-center for the dealer.

2. Quite frequently, customers would visit the dealerships wanting to buy a new car, and the dealer would have one that was "kinda close" to what the buyer was hoping for, but... It didn't have a/c, or a radio, or wire wheel covers, or whatever... Dealer-installed options to the rescue! It was good way to get the customer the car they wanted/visualized without having to special-order it and wait. Instant gratification.

3. Plenty of customers would buy the car as-is, or add a few simple options like floor mats or whatever.. But then, later, they'd save up some more dough and come back in for some serious upgrades. More profit-center.

No need to over-think it. The assembly lines couldn't/wouldn't deal with the whole range of stuff and nick-nacks and induction packages that Ford dreamed up. So a core set of options was decided upon, and the rest happened on the dealer end.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the great replies. There were far more options than I realised.

I think we had something similar, but maybe not on the same scale. Fords from the 1970's onwards would have trim levels like L, XL, GT, GXL, GL, GLS, S, Ghia, Ghia X, etc. But I think you could still have options on top of these trim levels.

Interesting that even if a car was ordered from the factory with certain options, they might just get put in the trunk for the dealer to install themselves.

I had a 1979 Mustang 5.0 Pace Car many years ago and it never had all the stickers that are normally down the sides of the car. From what I read, they were not fitted at the factory and the dealers would fit them. Maybe with the stickers being quite large, it was not to everyone's taste.

I mentioned about options that might not be able to be mixed. Not sure if this is a thing or not. If so, would a dealer be able to get around this? For example, a performance model might not have air conditioning, but could you get the dealer to install it anyway?
 

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Wish it was still more like '66...
 
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I had a 1979 Mustang 5.0 Pace Car many years ago and it never had all the stickers that are normally down the sides of the car. From what I read, they were not fitted at the factory and the dealers would fit them. Maybe with the stickers being quite large, it was not to everyone's taste.
Not just Ford, but all of the big-three, typically ship "pace cars" (and trucks) to the dealerships with all the decals in a box or tube inside the car. It is the dealer's prerogative as to whether the graphics get installed right away, or whether they leave them in the box so that the new owner can make that decision for themselves.

As a businessman, if I owned a dealership, I'd leave the decals in the box, so that I'd have the widest possible array of interested buyers. Some people like the pace car regalia, some don't (I'm of the latter ilk). Leave 'em off, and you can please everybody at the point of sale.

But many dealers can't help themselves and jump the gun and put on the decals pre-sale. Probably because they thought it looked good for display in the showroom. Or because they assumed that everyone would want those billboards and associated decals on the side of the car. But once they're on, they're on..

My 38-mile '79 Pace Car has the decals installed, but I've also got a spare set of NOS. Both my 1989 Trans Am Turbo pace cars were thankfully spared of having the decals installed, and they are still boxed up in the rear hatch. It looks so much better without.
 
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