By on April 24, 2019

They used to be commonplace, but the last decade or so has seen this automotive phenomenon fade from memory. Today we talk special branded editions, and how it’s time for them to make a comeback.

Today’s question was generated by a Twitter conversation the other day, when another Twitterer posted some photos of the superb 205 Lacoste Special Euro Yuppie Edition. While branded special editions and trims were used to denote luxurious or sporty versions of vehicles between the Sixties and the early part of the 2000s, they’re much less common now.

Sure, you could get a Fiat 500 Gucci (Jennifer Lopez, stop!) until a few years ago, but such branding just isn’t there any more.

Mercury Villager Nautica, Image via FordThe Nautica trim Villager was very exclusive, as were the Pucci, Bill Blass, and Valentino Lincoln vehicles. General Motors had that ghastly Gucci Seville in the Eighties, but I’m not calling for any of those kinds of things anymore. And perhaps something more subtle than a Pierre Cardin Javelin, too.

2018 Lincoln Navigator, Image: Ford Motor CompanyAnd that’s today’s question. What vehicles on sale in 2019 are most deserving of branded special editions or trims, and with which brands? The Navigator Yacht Club comes to mind today — all it needs is the Bill Blass logo. Take my money!

[Images: General Motors, Ford]

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54 Comments on “QOTD: Additional Branding for the Special Vehicular Feels?...”


  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    The Affliction Ford Raptor.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The Vans Kia Rio.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The PINK Ford Mustang. Not pink – PINK.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    More subtle than an Oleg Cassini Matador?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    They replaced the hood ornament and horn crest with Gucci. They should consider trying that again, might boost sales to hide the crest.

    https://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/1979-white-cadillac-seville-gucci-edition-1343000

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Every car needs a Brougham trim option with puffier interior softer suspension balloonier tires and extra sound deadening.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    A good example of how bad branding can be was the Cadillac “Trump Series” limos. Apparently Cadillac made several of these and gave them to Trump for his approval. He supposedly kept the prototypes and never got back to Cadillac

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-599ee057/turbine/ct-photo-gallery-trump-cadillac-at-the-volo-au-001

    http://www.trbimg.com/img-599ee058/turbine/ct-photo-gallery-trump-cadillac-at-the-volo-au-003

  • avatar
    ajla

    I always thought it was a miss for GM to not do a “Sega Edition” of the Sonic.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Nautica or Nautilus edition Navigator is a no brainer.

    I’m surprised someone hasn’t tried “REI” edition CUVs.

    I’m also surprised that GMs partnership for “North Face” edition vehicles didn’t last longer.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    This sort of thing made more sense when cars lasted as long as fashions did. What would True Religion branding do for the resale value of an otherwise well preserved 2007 IS250?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I occasionally see a Hot Wheels Camaro parked at the Metro garage. So maybe this is a thing that’s best left in the past.

    On the other hand, I always liked Levis-themed vehicles. Denim interior? That at least is something unique.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The problem with fashion branding is that fashion comes and goes. Nautica was all the rage when the Nautica Villager came out, but who’s buying those clothes now? So few brands stay relevant over the years – the only ones I can really think of are Ralph Lauren, Levis, and maybe couple of haute couture brands that probably wouldn’t want to be associated with a mass produced car. The rest come and go.

    Besides, everyone’s into “fast fashion” now anyway, which isn’t going to work unless you do an “H&M Edition” of something, and that’s just f**king stupid. The only brands that really resonate anymore are all tech-oriented, and an IPhone-edition car is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Or they go down in prestige. Back in the early ’80s I bought a couple of Merona polos at Neiman Marcus. A couple of years later, Target was carrying Merona stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        You mean, polos made of Merona wool, or branded “Merona”?

        • 0 avatar
          iNeon

          Merino. Merino wool is the thing.

          I loved Mossimo’s black label— late 1990s prints for men. Few were doing them as well or as approachably. Target bought the name and installed red labels.

          Tat.

          Levi’s ran a silver tab with Target and they weren’t traditional. Don’t know if that lasted.

          Best example of this for me is Kohl’s. Kohl’s is a clearinghouse of decade old brandnames. Dockers separated from Levi Strauss and Kohl’s is selling them now. Same with Chaps, which used to be approachable Lauren, but…

          Oh, how I could go on!

          The Westinghouse fusebox from 1958 with the same branding and logo as the K-Mart TV from 2010.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    iirc Levis did have a an AMC (Pacer or Gremlin?)edition back in the day, with denim seats
    I kinda liked the Harley edition color scheme F150, although the Blackwood looked better overall

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Chrysler Imperial-Frank Sinatra Edition. It came with a case of Sinatra cassettes.

    “The Dude” Edition early 70’s Dodge Truck. The ads featured Don Knotts. I take it a Barney Fife or Andy Griffith edition was not in the offering.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Ford had a pretty good run with Eddie Bauer Explorers. They used to be everywhere for awhile. My favorite obscure trim is the Dodge Dart Hang 10, although I don’t think it is expressly tied-in with Hang Ten surfwear that was very “in” during my pre-teen years in the 70’s.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      there were Eddie Bauer F-150s, too. It was a thing when I bought my XLT in ’95. For the F-150 it was the paint (“Putty” as the lower paint color), F-150 emblems without trim level designation on the front fenders, “Eddie Bauer” decals on the bed sides, the Alcoa alloy wheels (which my XLT was optioned with), the 1996 style front bumper shared with the Super Duty diesels (I later added that bumper to mine), fiberglas cab steps, and a slightly nicer interior fabric in Mocha, and different trim strips on the dash and door panels.

  • avatar
    GreginToronto

    If Oldsmobile were still around, GM would have trouble keeping up with demand for the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Supreme.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_(brand)

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      When I first saw those “Supreme” stickers, I thought they were from gas stations (regular, midgrade, supreme). Then Daughter No. 3 (14yo) informed me it was a “lifestyle” brand. She had one of their stickers (loose) under her clear iPhone case, until someone at school swiped it. :-|

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    How about the Ford Thunderbird FILA Edition?
    http://www.2040-cars.com/Ford/Thunderbird/1985-ford-thunderbird-fila-edition-low-miles-original-paint-622822/
    or
    https://www.defynewyork.com/2011/03/29/fila-x-ford-motor-company-the-fila-ford-thunderbird-1984/

    Or the Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Grand_Cherokee_(ZJ)

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I did have one of these rare FILA edition T-Birds, leased new. But it was not red and I don’t remember (from memory) that edition being offered in red. In my memory they were only in the ‘off white’ colour. And they came with a FILA ‘gym bag’ with some FILA swag.

      Just like the one Bjorn Borg drives in this commercial:

      I also had and still lust after a Pucci edition Mark IV. My all time favourite vehicle.

      And have to admit, that a Frank Sinatra edition adds panache to an otherwise undistinguished vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        I sort of remember white and navy blue FILA edition Thunderbirds, but I don’t remember the red either. Those Mark IVs are neat, in an obscure dusty 70s way!

  • avatar
    Garrett

    The AAA branded Alfa Romeo or FIAT, because you’ll need towing.

    (Calm down, it’s a joke)

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Branching out from fashion, the hyper-adjustable seats in the Continental (and other newer Lincolns) are already inspired by an Eames chair, why not go all the way with a Lincoln Herman Miller edition?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I was following a Dually today and was thinking, “That’s it, a Kim Kardashian Dually”

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    CH-R Hobbit Edition

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I’m a bit older than a lot of people here and I have no shame in saying that as a young lad I coveted, COVETED, the designer editions of the Continental Mk V. Especially the Givenchy edition.

  • avatar
    qwerty shrdlu

    Viagra edition Corvette?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I loved the LLBean Forrester….

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Jack Nicklaus Town Car had a very lovely shade of green. Too bad it was matched with various golf-related colors that took away from the really cool green.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Well if Ram ever made a proper SUV again they need a Lone Wolf edition with the Hellcat motor. The commercial would start with it bursting out of the ground.


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