By on May 3, 2017

1996 Dodge Ram 1500 Indy 500 Special Edition, Image: Chrysler

Yesterday’s post about the excellent Bill Blass Lincoln Continental Mark V got me thinking: Maybe I could wear a white, double-breasted suit with gold buttons to work inquire about the multitude of other special editions for the Question of the Day today.

Like Mr. Casey mentions, Lincoln used special editions from the ’70s through the ’90s, which is about the same time (give or take) other manufacturers were doing the same thing.

So tell me, what’s your favorite special edition?

I must admit, I enjoy talking about special editions. I do so in the comments, and use Rare Rides to discuss them when I can. Something about the obscurity and details of the extra trim/stripes/stickers really piques my interest. That said, I have two favorites in mind to share with you and get the ball rolling.

Image: Mercury Villager Nautica

Resplendent in blue and white like the Bill Blass Continental, the Mercury Villager Nautica was the peak of first generation Villager. This was the only exterior color scheme available, and the gold Nautica badging and white wheels scream, “I live in a suburb and it’s 1997.”

Image: Mercury Villager Nautica Interior

The Nautica-branded theme carried over to the interior quite spectacularly, where you could have grey leather (boring!) or blue and white to match the exterior. Notice the tasteful embroidery on each seat. Unfortunately, the Nautica trim died in 1998, replaced by the top-of-the-line, uninteresting Estate trim on the second-generation Villager in 1999.

But we won’t dwell on that, as it’s time to move along to something even more awesome.

Image: GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition

You knew it was coming. The GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition is my other favorite. Available for the year 2000 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Jimmy nameplate, the Diamond Edition is excellent. Built by ASC (which I didn’t know before writing this), the Diamond Edition gave you a unique grille guard with integrated fog lamps, tube-shaped running board, special metallic tone cladding, and Diamond Edition badges on the exterior. The color selection included blue, pewter, and perhaps a red, but black was by far the most common.

Image: GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition Interior

The interior of the Diamond Edition was frankly ahead of its time, and featured perforated and quilted leather, along with the expected embroidery. Such quilting can be found in ultra-lux vehicles like Rolls-Royce and Bentley today — but none of them had it in 2000! The Jimmy Diamond Edition was truly something special.

So tell us about your favorite special edition. I’ll be waiting.

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99 Comments on “QOTD: What’s Your Favorite Special Edition Vehicle?...”

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    I’ll refrain from the typical “BLACK GOLD” response everyone expects from me. I’ll stick with the VG30-powered theme Corey started with his Villager, though, and refer to the magnificent 1988 Nissan 300ZX Shiro Special – 1000 cars painted pearl white, with matching pearl wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Mmm blanco.

    • 0 avatar

      The Nissan dealer I worked for at the time had one of these in stock. Nice.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      My VG30 nominee is the Tommykaira M30C: start with a Y31 Cima, give the VG30DET a bump to 275hp, a mild drop and new wheels, add a lip spoiler and some BMW-looking badges to ape the style of the original M5.

      Japanese Classics had one at their open house: champagne paint, gold badges and a white leather interior, but sadly it had been caged and turned into a drift rat :(

  • avatar

    The Levi Gremlin. AMC had lots of special additions in that era.

  • avatar

    288 GTO followed by the 911 GT2 RS are my two favorites. Although of the two the 288 GTO is king.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Why the hate for the white suit with brass buttons. Bought mine in early 1977 for wear at the Disco on Yorkville Avenue.

    It was not double breasted but it was designed by Pierre Cardin!

  • avatar

    The Snoopy Edition Mitsubishi Pajero Mini. All sorts of Snoopy-related stuff plus a Charles Schulz’s signature decal.

  • avatar

    How about special editions they shoulda made?

    Mercedes 600 Autocrat Edition
    Toyota Prius Sierra Club Edition (I’m serious about this one – it’d have sold)
    Ford F350 NRA Edition (serious about this one too)
    Mitsubishi Credit Repair Edition (good news – it could be done on all their models)
    Cadillac Escalade Baller Edition

    And finally…
    Cadillac ATS DW Series

    • 0 avatar

      How could you forget Car & Driver’s perennial plea for the Mercury Grand Marquis de Sade edition?

      • 0 avatar

        Fifty Shades of Red Velour

        • 0 avatar

          Classy, but allow me to inject something low-brow:

          Fifty Shades of Whorehouse Red.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Why do you always have to bring up the Fifth Avenue?

          • 0 avatar

            Lest we forget.

          • 0 avatar

            I made my cousin and his wife (my close friend) crack up the other day with that term.

            He found a 1995 Chevy K1500 Z7-1 step side ex-cab, and we use it as the camp/fishing truck.

            It has red interior, and we were on our way to the camp and were talking about the truck we were riding in. He had mentioned taking the dash out of his old 1995 single cab K1500 (which donated its 5.7L to the Z7-1) to replace the busted up one in this truck.

            I told him you can buy dash covers on eBay, its a real overlay that has adhesive on the back, so you permanately cover the old cracked/broken dash with it.

            “You can even get it in Whorehouse Red to match this truck.”

            They laughed for 10 minutes and told her sister about it when we got there. She said “well, that’s just about what it is” while laughing.

            Once he realized how much work was involved in swapping dashes, he decided a cracked up dash is just fine for a beater camp/fishing truck. :)

  • avatar

    Dodge Ram SRT-10.

  • avatar

    The diamond edition Jimmys used an obscure early HID headlamp, as this was on a small amount of vehicles it meant a four figure headlamp bulb. That is until the parts were discontinued very early leading to conversations with customers on why we couldn’t replace the burnt out headlamps in their 9 year old truck.

  • avatar

    Definitely the Volkswagen Cabriolet Etienne Aigner Edition.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The way I read these, it’s looking for special editions, not trim levels. So something like the Legacy GT Spec B doesn’t count. Nor does the Skyline GT-R V Spec. Or the Release Series of the Scions.

    With that understanding:
    I’m almost ashamed to admit that I dig the John Varvatos 300.
    I realize you can essentially option a regular 300 in the same way, but I like the way it is optioned from the get-go.

  • avatar

    40th Anniversary Land Cruiser in 1997. Came stock with front and rear locking diffs, and I think a two tone leather interior.

  • avatar

    The AMC regional wagons

  • avatar

    2001 Mazda Miata British Racing Green Special Edition.

  • avatar

    ’66-’68 Mustang High Country Special. My Colorado childhood friend’s dad had one, as well as 27 other desirable ‘Stangs in his collection back in the 80’s. There’s something cool about a regional special like that.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Honorable mentions:

    96 Town Car Spinnaker
    96 Town Car Cypress
    Lexus ES300 Coach Edition
    Montero 40th Anniversary

    • 0 avatar

      I drove a Cyprus 1996 Town Car several times. It was at the dealer I worked for. I almost bought it. I should have.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I didn’t like them with the landau, so I hope it was without.

        • 0 avatar

          It was. At least as best I recall. It was about 16 years ago lol.

          I suppose it would be my pick.

          I would pick an Aerostar Eddie Bauer, but I consider Eddie Bauer on Fords to just be a trim line, not a special edition, and I’m not that hot for it on the other vehicles it was applied to.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    F150 and Bronco Nite

    So glorious.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Corey probably thinks I’m going to suggest the 1999 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow, consisting of the last 200 Rivieras ever built…which were bestowed with a unique silver color, embroidered “Silver Arrow” headrests, and numbered plates on the dashboards. There were no other differences, and all of them were supercharged (Buick had made the supercharged engine standard in the Riviera for ’98 and ’99).

    However, my favorite special edition is definitely the Holland and Holland Range Rover. All that English luxury. They had a new one at the Land Rover dealership here in Oklahoma City until very recently.

  • avatar

    1993 Chevy Indianapolis Pace Truck –

    The strangest design choice was to borrow the bumper from the diesel powered trucks (it had two holes in the front for the inter-cooler but served no purpose on the pace trucks.)

    • 0 avatar

      Swapping diesel front bumpers onto half ton GM trucks was a hot-rodder fad in the early 90s. I remember reading about it in Hot Rod Magazine (I was in middle school at the time) as a thing to do to help get extra cooling for a built hot rod truck with a side benefit of supposedly looking better. The best implementations IMHO flush-fit driving lights in the holes.

  • avatar

    Ol’ blue eyes.. Sinatra edition Imperial. With his signature on the dash and cassettes for the deck.

    Pop! Thank gawd there were never any Welk edition.

  • avatar

    A few recent that I’ve always liked or am interested in:

    -The Steve McQueen 991R
    -BMW M2 performance edition
    -1988 BMW M3 Evo
    -2016 BMW M3 30 Jahre

  • avatar

    Frank Sinatra Imperial is pretty special.

  • avatar

    I have a friend named Jimmy Diamond.

    I kid you not.

    • 0 avatar

      Wasn’t he a mobster in “Magic City”?

      Oh wait that was Ben “The Butcher” Diamond.

    • 0 avatar

      I have a friend named Jimmy. I told him he should buy one. Like me (but not as bad), he has pain issues and he drives a 2000s S10 regular cab 2.2L 5spd. It kills me to ride in that truck. I know its a big part of his problem and he has to drive so much. He is die-hard Chevy guy. To the point that he won’t consider or recommend anything else. I admit my Ford bias, but I won’t buy one I know to be a POS (like an IRS and/or SOHC Explorer, a FWD minivan not named Transit Connect, etc). I won’t recommend one that I know has faults either.

      I really think a well cared for GMC Jimmy isn’t the worst choice he could make. But, he wants to finance a TrailBlazer. I tried to tell him all the reliability issues they had, and that really a Tahoe or Yukon (or a K1500) would be a far more reliable choice.

      I know the smaller Jimmy of the 90s/2000s wasn’t all that reliable, but it was generally better than what replaced it IMO.

      I found a 2WD GMC Jimmy Diamond Edition in poor condition in Philly:

  • avatar

    1989 Firebird T/A 20th Anniversary Edition. Available only in white with gold wire wheels and packing the Buick GSX intercooled turbo 3.8. You could choose between t-tops, hardtop, or convertible– although the last is exceedingly rare. It actually required no engine or suspension mods to meet pace car requirements. It was rated at 250 HP to avoid embarrassing the Corvette, although in reality it probably produced around 300.

  • avatar
    Hoon Goon

    Would punt a kitten for one of these.

    Subaru Impreza RB320

    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Makinen Edition

  • avatar

    On the basis of its ridiculousness, I always found the Subaru Impreza Gravel Express pretty interesting:

    Other ones I’d nominate would be the Ford Ka Lufthansa edition (which had a light gray interior with yellow trim to sort of match Lufthansa’s cabin and seats at the time), and, of course, the Golf Harlequin edition.

  • avatar

    Yugo convertible.

  • avatar

    The 20th Anniversary 1989 Pontiac Trans-Am with the turbocharged Buick 3.8 V6 as seen in the Grand National. I think around 1,500 were constructed.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned a car that has been featured here at TTAC, the Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman. Or was that more of a limited trim with its three year run, and not a one-year special edition?

  • avatar

    Any one remember the Fila Thunderbird from the early eighties?

  • avatar

    1996 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series with an experimental Cypress Gold Frost Paint from BASF. 250 SPRAYED USED ONE PAINT TOTE THEN SAID F THIS INCREDIBLY AWESOME BUT HARD TO PAINT COLOR

    • 0 avatar

      Ford had some great paint colors in the 90s. That aquamarine that changed to green and turquoise depending on the angle of the sun and lighting, or that purple – mauve – maroon that did the same thing…


  • avatar

    “What’s Your Favorite Special Edition Vehicle?”

    The “short bus”.

  • avatar

    Bill Stroppe Baja Bronco
    Ford Bronco Nite
    Black/gold Eddie Bauer Bronco

    I like Broncos.

  • avatar

    Ford set the gold standard for special editions in the 1970s –

    1. Lincoln Mark IV Designer Series – Pucci, Blass, Givinchy, Cartier.

    2. Ford Thunderbird Diamond Jublee Edition

    3. Ford Thunderbird Lipstick Edition

    4. Ford Pinto, Mustang II, and Maverick Stallion packages

    5. Pinto Cruising Wagon.

    They were just on f’ing fire (in the Pinto’s case unfortunately literally). Many of these packages could be successfully resurrected now since we’ve abandoned performance and purpose for comfort and status.

    C’mon Ford. How about the four Designer Series on the Navigator? I just don’t know why they don’t do this. It would sell big time.

  • avatar

    Happy to see the Bill Blass Edition made such an impact on you, Corey. As far as ridiculous special editions, I’ll have to pick the one that my partner actually drives – a 2008 Volvo C30 Boston Red Sox Edition, number 60 out of 107. Each car represents a game the Red Sox won during the 2007 season. Ours was a boring 3-2 victory over the Mets. Absolutely no sense whatsoever. But, a great car. Endless resale value (if we sell it in Boston):

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Well there’s one I haven’t heard of, certainly.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, someone else got the Thursday, August 21, 2007 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at the Trop which was attended by 16,000 people.

      That special edition was 10 kinds of stupid. Wow.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that another B&B’s partner has a special edition C30. We’ve had ours since new, though I made it a condition of taking delivery that the dealer had to remove the fender badges and the rear-window decal. I sold the floor mats.

      A goofy special for sure, but in the 8+ years we’ve had ours nothing has broken.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve always liked the C30. Especially that burnt orange they had, with a stick, oh I’d love a crack at it.

        I like that color on a lot of vehicles, actually.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    1955 “Golden Anniversary” Oldsmobile Rocket 88

  • avatar

    I saw a Range Rover that I believe was called Rhino Edition…seats were leather embossed to look like elephant or rhinocerous hide, special floor mats and a grayish green paint color. Supposedly one of 250 worldwide, per the owner.

    How about the tacky mid-70s RMO(Reliable Men of Olds)Cutlasses…chromed sport mirrors, special badges and other trim differences. It was a regional thing in Ohio, I suspect there were other regional specials too.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The Rhino exists, I saw it on the website when I was checking the Vitesse earlier today. Very rare, and it sounds very hideous.

      I want to see it and take pics.

  • avatar

    Neither one of these is really my favorite, but does anyone remember the 2000-2003 Chevy Venture Warner Bros. Edition complete with Bugs Bunny badges, or the 2000-2003 Chevy Monte Carlo Pace Car editions with Taz decals?

  • avatar

    2002 Lincoln Continental CE (Collector’s Edition).

    Make mine with floor shift/console/buckets please.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I’ve never seen one of these. But I don’t think that Conti was very good. ;)

      • 0 avatar

        On the contrary, it was my favorite car to drive on the lot. The Intec 4.6L made it decently quick for a non-sporting luxury sedan.

        It was pretty close to the LS V-8 as far as 0-60 (under 8 seconds), which didn’t ride nearly as nicely. I do like the LS, but the Continental was more plush. With the suspension set on comfort, it was very nice riding, but not soft enough to make you seasick. The gauges should’ve been on every Lincoln from its introduction to the modern era. Very nice looking and functional.

        It wasn’t a Lincoln pseudo 5-Series, it was a comfortable car that drove nicely, with ample power, and was well appointed. It also looked a helluva lot better, not to mention drove much better, than the Town Car.

        Reliability may not be in its favor compared to the its old Panther brother, but its the one I’d have. The difference in how it drives alone would make dealing with a transverse drivetrain worth it, to me anyway.

        (Below is pasted info I found on the CE. Seems 5 passenger seating like I wanted was standard. I have excelent taste, obviously. LOL!)

        The Collector’s Edition Continental includes the following key features:

        Genuine Walnut Burl steering wheel, instrument panel and side door trim with “CE” logo

        Preferred Suede seat inserts with Milled Pebble leather bolsters

        Driver’s seat belt system

        10-spoke chrome wheels

        Platinum painted grille

        Five passenger seating configuration

        CE logo on exterior bodyside and inscribed on floormats

        New Shiva Carpet.

        Don’t have a clue what driver’s seat belt system is. I know it wasn’t some motorized thing like economy cars of the late 1980s/early 1990s had, lol. May have been on the list by mistake, or maybe its like the Belt Minder system in modern Ford products?

  • avatar

    Lotus Europa John Player Special edition. I’ll take mine in black and gold, please, though the burgundy ones also look rather fetching with the gold pinstriping.

  • avatar

    1992 Jaguar Vanden Plas V12. A Canada only model, they made 100 cars. Only came in 2 colours, Black Cherry and Oyster. It was the last year of the Series III sedan (last year for that body in the US was 87 for the XJ6, you guys never got the V12 in sedan from after 1979 until XJ40 in 1993)

    It had all the goodies Jaguar could throw at it, it was basically trimmed as a Daimler Double Six with all the options. Black Cherry is a particularly attractive colour in the sun. Has flecks of copper and purple in it.

  • avatar

    Always loved the Mustang Bullitt special editions, especially the S197 version.

    • 0 avatar

      I went for it. Fell for the Dark Highland Green–only available on the Bullitt–the repro five-spoke American Racing Torque Thrust wheels and the ‘bling delete’ (didn’t hurt that it only came with a manual transmission).

  • avatar

    Remember the ‘Special Edition’ Joseph Abboud Regal.
    Brown exterior and two tone brown interior.

  • avatar

    Do the s-10 cameo and gmc syclone fall under this category because I always liked both of those for different reasons.

  • avatar

    LThe late 70s were definitely the golden era for special editions, followed by the 90s, so hopefully we’re ripe for a revival one of these days.

    Definitely love the Plymouth Fire Arrow and the other Arrows with words added to their names, the free-wheeling Fords and all the other trucks with full side-decal packages like the feathers GM trucks, the Stallion Fords, the Jeep Golden something somethings, the square headlight Jeep Renegade, Plymouth Neon Expresso, and since I’m obligated to mention the Ford Puma on occasion I’ll say the Ford Racing Puma and also the Puma Thunder just because of its name.

    Also the Toyota WiLL Cypha Hello Kitty edition I found while browsing goo-net the other week (though it’s probably custom, it’s also appropriate) (

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The 1984-85 Ford Thunderbird Fila edition. Yes, the sneaker company. It was the 80’s when sneakers and athletic wear became fashionable. Plus they threw in other athletic accouterments. Though no Jane Fonda work out tape was included.
    “The Fila Edition Thunderbird was targeted to the “Active Lifestyle” set, and was offered in Red, Black, Charcoal, or a new “Pastel” Charcoal color, combined with a dark gray two-tone, with color coordinated 14″ Alloy Wheels. Inside you get the Ford articulating Bucket Seat interior in either cloth or leather with the “Fila” logo on the seating surfaces, and it was equipped with most of the options available on a standard T-Bird. Included was a “Fila” canvas bag that contained a leather portfolio, a beach towel, a sun visor, a headband, and a pair of wrist bands.”

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    1994 Saturn “Homecoming Edition,” just because I bought one used in 1997 without realizing what I had. Basically, Saturn built a special run of almost-fully-loaded SL2 sedans (ABS and 4-wheel discs standard, sunroof and automatic transmission optional) to commemorate the first Homecoming in Spring Hill. Roughly 6000 cars were slathered in pearl white paint, dark grey Saturn badges, and a special leather-and-cloth interior treatment and rear headrests.

    Like I said, I didn’t know it was anything “special” until I went to a breakfast of the local Saturn club and mentioned I’d just bought a pearl white SL2… and several got up from the table to walk out and look at my car!

    Weird people…

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