Photo: AMC via artandcolor
Special edition cars aren’t anything new. Manufacturers sell them simply because they can charge a premium for a few extra features and a special badge.It wasn’t — and isn’t — always this way. For instance, the Hertz Shelby Mustangs got famous because the late car designer actually had the Mustangs shipped to his shop to be modified before they were sent to rental car dealerships around the world in the late 1960s.
But Ford, Hertz, and Shelby aren’t the only partnerships the automotive world has seen. Now movies and race car drivers are getting their own special editions, even if they aren’t that special. Some are great. It’s hard to find fault in Infiniti’s special Sebastian Vettel SUV made for the current Formula One world champion. But others (like this Gucci AMC) have been absolutely horrendous.
In the 2000, Chevrolet introduced a special edition of its Venture minivan as a partnership with Warner Bros. The big added feature came in the form of a DVD monitor, an exciting thing back then, but that wasn't all. A press release read, 'It's fun, functional and includes everything from sleepwear to now even a home collection in whimsical prints for the entire family.'
Both of Ferrari's Formula One drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, received a special Jeep Grand Cherokee before the start of the 2012 F1 season. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Scuderia Editions are a byproduct of Fiat's ownership stake in both Chrysler, the owner of the Jeep brand, and Ferrari.
While honouring Bruce Springsteen at the Kennedy centre a few years ago, Jon Stewart said this about the Gremlin, '(It) was a car created for two reasons. One, birth control for young males. And two, it was invented so that the (Ford) Pinto wouldn't feel so bad about itself.'
AMC charged $134.95 for the Levi's upgrade in 1973. The package replaced the Gremlin's stock interior with Levi's jean material.
The late Carrol Shelby helped create the iconic Dodge Viper. But few remember its poor cousin, the Dodge Shelby Charger. While Shelby eventually upgraded the engines of some of the 1980s Dodges, but the 1983 edition had no modifications to the engine leaving the car with barely more than 100 horsepower.
The Mercury Villager was a rebadged Nissan Quest, and like many Mercurys it never had its own identity. When the car was introduced in 1993, Mercury offered a special Nautica trim, which added a yellow stripe, Nautica 's sail boat logo and a leather interior.
While Nautica is still around today, Mercury met its demise in 2011. Like so many things that Henry Ford's son, Edsel, played a part in, the brand didn't last.
Unlike the Kong Volkswagen, there were performance upgrades--just none of the options you actually wanted. For an extra $5,585 Toyota gave the T3 version of the Tundra upgraded shocks and a new exhaust along with the new badging.
Unlike the 'Monster Garage' upgraded Terminator Tundra, the stock Tundra T3 does not feature a hydraulic system that allows it drop a motorcycle onto the road while moving.
AMC didn't just team up with Levi's. All throughout the 1970s the company partnered with fashion houses to create interiors for its vehicles, including Pierre Cardin, Oleg Cassini and Gucci. Unlike Pierre Cardin, who at least got the somewhat respectable Javelin, Gucci got a station wagon, which led to the Gucci Sportabout.
A few days ago, Bill Caswell argued this M3 shows just how far away BMW's M Badge has gotten away from racing. His issue wasn't with the Lime Rock Park race track, but rather this is a road car marketed as a track car. In his opinion, BMW's M badge is now little more than a marketing sticker. For those that don't know who Caswell is, two years ago he completed a three-day World Rally Championship race in a used 1991 stock 3 series he purchased on Craigslist for $500.
Gucci wasn't done. At first glance this looks like a pretty standard Cadillac Seville with some interesting luggage choices. Then you look below. Gucci print on the top, Gucci print on the headrest, gold Gucci emblems on the dash, the massive artwork on the side panel, and a Gucci hood ornament.
This is a partnership between Ford and the name of a race it hasn't won in more than 40 years. 1969 was the last time Ford took first place at Le Mans. Despite these special editions, the manufacturer has shown little interest in returning to the French endurance race anytime soon, although non-factory Ford entries competed as recently as 2011.
In the early 2000s, Chevrolet began building various special editions of their vehicles honouring NASCAR stars, and the bow-tie brand started by making one for the late Dale Earnhardt. The problem is that the car made to honour Earnhardt, who was known as the Intimidator, is far from intimidating. While Chevrolet got black paint right, powder coating the wheels and increasing the aggressiveness of the stance would have made this a much better tribute.
In 1987 General Motors made a perfect car for the Intimidator moniker, it was nicknamed 'Darth Vader' and wore a Buick badge--the GNX.
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