My late Dad used to say that in the 1950’s and early 60’s, some American cars were sold without the steering wheel. That was selected later from catalogs. I could never figure out if he was joking about that or not.
I didn’t come from the sort of family where you could just say “Daddy, I think your lying, exaggerating or just making stuff up, which is it?” Until I had moved away from home and was in my 20’s, I would never have dared to say that.
I don't recall that but then again I was never in the market for a new car, but I can say that steering wheels were very large of necessity because power steering was no where near being standard equipment as it is today.
Many old people could not steer a car today if power steering failed or even if the engine stalled. Same with brakes, I can remember standing on brake pedal a few times when I was young and reckless.