By on August 20, 2020

Toyota

As expected, the traditionally front-drive Lexus ES will enliven its rear axle for the 2021 model year.

Like its sister sedan, the Toyota Avalon, the ES range will see the addition of an all-wheel drive model motivated by the automaker’s stalwart 2.5-liter four-cylinder. A powerhouse it is not, but come winter, the ES 250 AWD could be a respectable motorist’s best friend. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2020

The Rare Rides series has featured around 10 special edition cars in past, depending on how generous you are with the term.

And while every special edition presented here thus far was designed to add some padding to a manufacturer’s bottom line, today’s special edition McDonald’s van had a much more benevolent purpose.

(Read More…)

By on May 11, 2020

Back when your author was the (soon to be not) proud owner of a 93-horsepower Plymouth, Toyota was prepping the American populace for a new kind of driving experience. A futuristic one, and a thrifty one, to boot. Two decades ago, it debuted a model that first appeared in its home country three years earlier: the Prius.

Eighty trillion jokes later, and after selling more than 1.9 million of the things to U.S. consumers, Toyota is marking the Prius’ 20th anniversary in this country with a limited run of special edition models. And they happen to look better than the stock Prius. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2020

The standard Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare are primarily remembered (and not seen) because they rusted as soon as the dew settled on them on a spring morning. While that makes standard examples sort of rare today, there’s a very special model which was very rare from the beginning.

It’s the 1978 Dodge Aspen Kit Car, and that’s its real name.

(Read More…)

By on April 24, 2020

Lexus

That a print advertisement can still remain (near) top of mind two decades later speaks to the power of marketing, and maybe a little to the vehicle behind that famous ad: the Lexus GS.

After announcing a limited run of 2020 Lexus GS 350 F Sport Black Line Special Edition — a vehicle the brand calls the “best ever” GS, the automaker admitted that this is it for the model. The GS, which added a modicum of muscle to Lexus’ image back in the 90s, won’t live beyond the summer. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2020

The AMC Gremlin celebrated its 50th birthday recently, a fact which would have passed by without notice were it not for commenter Steve Biro. And since we’re talking Gremlin today, we may as well take a look at an oddball trim that’s as quirky as it is rare.

It’s a Levi’s Gremlin from 1976, and it comes standard with an invitation to the Pants Party.

(Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

mazda

While buying a new car has recently fallen in popularity in the Western world, taking a backseat to things like experimenting with rice in the kitchen, watching your neighbor’s dog through a sealed window, and repairing that antique pencil sharpener you bought 8 years ago, the business of selling cars continues.

In Japan, where social distancing measures (and the coronavirus itself) have thus far proven not as severe as in the U.S., there’s a lineup of special editions incoming from Mazda. U.S. customers, however, will have to wait in their homes for updates. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

Mini says it will ship its Sidewalk Edition convertible to the United States next month. Apparently, no one told BMW Group that the country is currently navigating a situation that might not encourage the sale of open-air automobiles. Still, it’s an interesting little car that holds some measure of appeal to those seeking the laid-back California lifestyle — and are willing to spend $38,400 (plus $850 for destination) to embrace it.

The cabriolet is essentially a Cooper S, packing the same 189-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo that model uses to scramble to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Yet it costs the same as the performance-focused John Cooper Works with a collapsible roof. For the Sidewalk Edition, that money has been reallocated from the powertrain in order to gussy up the car with some funky new duds.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.

Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.

(Read More…)

By on March 17, 2020

While Toyota and Subaru are officially developing a new generation of the 86/BRZ, neither model from the current generation looks long for this world. The Toyobaru twins’ placement as an affordable sports car meant volumes were never going to be stellar but the last few years have been particularly unkind. Inside the United States (the duo’s strongest market), the Toyota half of the pair hasn’t managed to break 10,000 deliveries since 2016 — something the BRZ has never achieved. Last year, Toyota’s coupe was sitting at just 3,398 units while the Subaru only sold 2,334.

But the final nail in their coffin could be the new special edition that’s coming out of Europe. Subaru is introducing the conclusive-sounding “Final Edition” of the BRZ for Germany.  (Read More…)

By on March 9, 2020

2005 Suzuki Reno in California junkyard, RH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWould you consider a special-edition version of the Daewoo Nubira’s successor to be worthy of inclusion in this series, even as I walk by 99 out of 100 junked BMW E30s? Hey, if I’m willing to photograph every Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally and Geo Storm GSi that I find in the junkyard, then of course a genuine, numbers-matching Suzuki Reno SWT makes the cut! (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2020

honda

With the refresh bestowed upon the wild Honda Civic Type R for 2020 comes a unique variant few Americans will get their hands on. However, unlike European buyers, those 600 lucky customers will at least get a radio and air conditioning.

The Type R Limited Edition takes what’s already a potent, attention-grabbing machine and dials up the track-readiness — but not the power. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2020

acura

Depending on your interests, “PMC” might denote a brand of ammunition. For others, it’s the nerve center of Acura performance, residing in Marysville, Ohio.

For 2020, Acura, eager to draw eyes to one of its two crossovers, has slapped the abbreviation of its Performance Manufacturing Center on the MDX, then limited availability to make those drivers feel special. Will they feel special, though? (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2020

Nothing lasts forever. Not even, apparently, the Morgan Plus 4 — a low-slung, quintessentially British roadster that started production in 1950 and still looks looks like it comes from a land of postwar rationing. Beneath the 2020 Plus 4 lies the same ladder frame that underpinned the first Plus 4, which arrived on the scene when Betty White was just 29.

You won’t find many 2020 Plus 4 models. Just 20 commemorative examples are planned as Morgan gears up to enter the modern age. (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2019

Not long ago, Rare Rides presented Buick’s very special celebration of the company’s 75th anniversary via the 1978 Buick Riviera. Today we’ll fast forward five years and have a look at another anniversary Riviera.

It’s the Riviera “XX,” from 1983.

(Read More…)

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