By on April 16, 2019

Fifty years ago, Datsun showed New York that Japan was perfectly capable of producing a sporting automobile that offered everything drivers wanted, without breaking the bank. It may not have been cutting edge, but the 240Z was a GT car well worth coveting. Somewhere between the nimble, although sometimes underpowered, European roadsters and clumsy but savage American muscle cars, Datsun’s Z provided a well-balanced package for enthusiasts and racing teams alike.

This week, Nissan’s paying tribute to the vehicle that launched the Z line with the 2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition. Painted to resemble the No. 46 BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) 240Z that helped John Morton win back-to-back SCCA National Championships in the 1970s, the Anniversary Edition is the upside of living in the past.  (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Despite being manufactured in Canada, the Dodge Charger and Challenger feel like the most American vehicles currently on the market. Large, brash, and deliciously unapologetic about it, the vehicles embody multiple historical stereotypes thrown onto the United States citizenry. While those characteristics aren’t a good fit for everyone, Dodge says its holdout muscle cars capture the highest percentage of active military buyers in their respective segments (according to mTAB).

Now, Fiat Chrysler says it’s time for Dodge to “celebrate the men and women who serve our country,” providing a new Stars & Stripes Edition for the Charger and Challenger — along with some fleshing out of their existing appearance packages. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

To our collective horror, Ford decided not to sell the new Fiesta ST in North America. Instead, the automaker chose to cull its passenger car lineup during a period of declining demand and profitability in order to focus on higher-margin trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. No one in this office is particularly excited about the idea, but most of us could rationalize our hurt by trying to see things from Ford’s perspective and focusing on the bottom line. However, Ford is just rubbing salt into our wound at this point.

While the 2019 Ford Fiesta ST has abandoned its turbocharged 1.6-liter four-banger for a more Euro-friendly 1.5-liter triple boasting the same 197 horsepower and more torque, the United Kingdom also receives a limited-run Performance Edition that would have made a nifty little runabout/track day hooligan. Sure, it probably wouldn’t have been a hit here. But we would at least like to have the opportunity not to buy it.  (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2019

1978 Ford Mustang Stallion in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAfter the first-generation Mustang went from frisky lightweight to bloated monstrosity, Ford transferred the name over to an economy car based on the Pinto. This proved to be a wise move, in light of certain geopolitical events that took place right around the time the first Mustang IIs began rolling into showrooms, but most of the old Mustang magic was lost during the Pinto-ization process.

Ford created a bunch of flashy trim packages for the car, and I spotted one of the more unusual ones in a Denver self-serve yard a couple of weeks back: the Stallion. (Read More…)

By on March 24, 2019

With the current Ford F-150 having been with us since 2015, the manufacturer has to start getting serious about its replacement. However, before the fourteenth generation of the F-Series arrives, Ford needs to make sure the public hasn’t tuned out on the current model. Automakers frequently release special edition models late in a product’s lifespan to do just that. While the F-150 doesn’t need much help, what with being America’s best-selling automobile for decades, it will get the same treatment.

However, unlike the bevy of appearance packages that are currently clogging up the industry, Ford is rumored to have something more meaningful planned for the full-sized pickup. Rather than simply updating the graphics or incorporating a new suspension setup, Ford apparently wants to wedge the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 from the Shelby GT500 into the Raptor — thereby giving it a proper sendoff.  (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

Mazda has always been fond of making special edition trims of the MX-5 Miata. In 2003, the engineers in Hiroshima decided to put together something a bit more unique than the usual colored trim/new wheel design combo. Presenting the 2003 Roadster Coupe.

(Read More…)

By on February 27, 2019

With sales of the IS 300 leaving something to be desired these past few years, Lexus has bestowed the obligatory black-themed appearance package on the compact sedan for the 2019 model year.

Available on both rear- and all-wheel drive IS 300 F Sport models for 2019, the Black Line Special Edition offers a handful exterior features that help to distinguish it from the standard IS. However, the appearance package will be only be available in three exterior colors: ultra white, obsidian and atomic silver. (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2019

Despite Toyota claiming that the 86 will stick around for a while, everything points to the car being on its last legs. Fortunately, this is usually the point where a manufacturer starts rolling out special editions to retake the public’s interest. Normally, these cars aren’t much to write home about, but every so often one crops up, grabs you by the eyeballs, and never lets go.

Over the next few months, Toyota plans to sell the 86 British Green Limited in Japan and we’re more than a little miffed it isn’t coming our way.

While we doubt sending this particular Toyota to North America would help the 86’s sales in the region, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a more appetizing variant. Granted, this author has spot so soft for dark green paint and gold wheels that it could only be compared to a lover’s whisper. But Toyota is offering more than just a basic exterior upgrade.  (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2019

Mazda is celebrating the original Miata’s 1989 debut at the Chicago Auto Show by taking the wraps off a 30th Anniversary Edition of the MX-5 at the same locale. Limited to just 3,000 units worldwide, the special edition will be offered as both the ragtop convertible and hardtop RF. Like previous anniversary editions of the famous roadster, Mazda is offering a unique color (Racing Orange, this time) and a handful of upgrades that should help collectors rationalize the elevated price tag.

We’re going to tell you right now that the only way to have this car is with a manual transmission. While we tend to always lean that way with the MX-5, having a clutch is the only way to get the 30th Anniversary Edition’s Bilstein dampers and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Otherwise, you’re basically paying extra to have one of the best parts of the package removed from the vehicle.  (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2019

At this point in history, minivans have become an acquired taste. Just like fine scotch and the silkiest of smooth jazz, there are those who appreciate the minivan and those who don’t — likely due to some tragic flaw within their genetic makeup.

However, Fiat Chrysler still gets the minivan and, as a reminder to normal people everywhere that they also still sell them, has seen fit to release celebratory editions of the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan. Proud to issue a refresher that Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant gave the world its first modern minivan back in November of 1983, both of FCA’s family haulers receive special 35th Anniversary Edition models for 2019.

Granted, the math isn’t perfect. But you can’t waste time celebrating a segment that’s only slightly healthier than your average retirement home resident.  (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2019

Image: Nissan

Subaru may have shacked up with outdoorwear maker LL Bean a while back, but Nissan’s new Rock Creek Edition Pathfinder looks ready to mount kayaks to its roof rack, stop for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, visit the college-age daughter in Burlington, then head into the mountains for rugged, ecologically sound adventures. Then, a safe return home to work on that dissertation.

Maybe it’s this midsize crossover’s unique Midnight Pine paint that conjures up images of 1990s New England stereotypes, but can you blame this writer for thinking it? Look at the thing.

So, what does a paddle up Rock Creek do for the owners of this 2019 vehicle? (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2019

It was only a handful of weeks after the returning 8 Series Coupe went on sale that BMW thought to release a celebratory one-off that incorporated real hunks of meteorite into the interior design. Well, BMW Individual is back at it again to produce another special edition.

Called the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe First Edition, it’s the obligatory aesthetic overhaul the brand likes to impose on most of its high-profile models in their first year. For the 8 Series, that means a limited run of the exclusive “Frozen Barcelona Blue” metallic paint and 20-inch, M-badged alloy wheels in onyx. The chrome detailing has also been substituted for a high-gloss black on the window frames, vents, grille, and tailpipes. (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

Mazda’s whipping something up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the MX-5, issuing a teaser to elicit some excitement. Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t give us much to go on. The only meaningful conclusions we can pry from the series of streaks provided by the automaker is that the special-edition Miata can still fit inside a parking garage (phew) and will have a hardtop.

Where has Mazda chosen to celebrate the MX-5’s 30th birthday? The Chicago Auto Show, naturally. That was where the Miata first debuted in 1989, and that is where the manufacturer wants to preview the special edition on its big day. While we still think forgoing a hilarious Chuck E. Cheese tie-in was a minor mistake, both roadster and brand have matured to a point where the more tasteful choice was bound to win. We also have no evidence to support the idea that the pizza party venue was ever under consideration.  (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2018

Pope Lamborghini

Roughly a year ago, Lamborghini customized a Huracán RWD for Pope Francis. This was not a commissioned job but a gift from the automaker to the Vatican. Tragically, His Holiness wasn’t interested in holding onto it so he could more easily cruise for babes and Catholic Church decided the best course of action would be to auction the vehicle off for charity.

While sold by Sotheby’s in Monaco last May for 715,000 euros (about $813,000 USD), it would appear the final bidder either didn’t have the necessary funds or experienced a change of heart. Maybe it was divine intervention. Regardless, the Huracán is now being raffled off for ten bucks a ticket — though you can choose do donate more and better your chances.

Even if you aren’t of the faithful, ten dollars for a nearly new supercar that has been blessed and signed by one of God’s favorite people feels like a bargain. Imagine the stellar track times you could achieve with the Almighty by your side and the Pope’s name scrawled on your dashboard.  (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2018

While Lexus has cranked out a few impressive sporting models over its lifetime, “performance” is not a term that’s synonymous with the brand. Instead, Lexus seems to evoke words like “reliability,” “luxury,” and “high resale values” from the collective consumer mindscape. However, the brand does do dynamics. You can log onto its website right now and discover that most of its fleet offers enough horsepower to make getting a ticket easy enough. It also has performance F variants of the GS, LC, and RC for customers of discerning tastes and the need for a 5.0-liter V8 powerplant.

Interested in going the extra mile to prove itself, Lexus plans to unveil a refreshed RC at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, along with a special Track Edition of the already high-performance RC F.  (Read More…)

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