Whether offered to commemorate milestones like anniversaries, or specifically to demonstrate the unrestrained potential of a particular model, the automotive enthusiast community will always hold special edition cars with considerable interest. In addition to delivering a significant degree of exclusivity, they almost always roll off the production line as instantly collectible and destined to grace the grounds of a concours ‘d elegance some thirty years later. A dream come true for their designers and engineers, such cars frequently indulge flights of fancy usually considered much too costly to be offered for mainstream production. With this in mind, here’s a collection of special edition cars we admire from recent memory.
First shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the Aston One-77 was the fastest Aston Martin ever offered—with a top speed of 220 miles per hour. Production ran from 2009 to 2012, with but 77 examples of the hand-built exotic grand touring car made. Power came from a front mid-mounted 7.3-liter 48-valve V12 producing 750 horsepower and 553 ft-lbs of torque. The rear-mounted transmission was a six-speed automated manual gearbox. Extensive usage of carbon fiber and aluminum in the Aston’s construction ensured both light weight and superior strength. The extraordinary power, outstanding balance, and exceptionally luxurious interior of the Aston One-77 make it one of the most desirable cars of all time.
Because of the BMW M1 super car from 1978, when BMWs M Division was given a green light to have its way with the diminutive 1 Series coupe for the 2011 model year, the company had to label the result with something of an unwieldy nomenclature. The good news is this was the only thing awkward about the BMW 1 Series M Coupe—one of the hottest BMWs ever produced. Though fashioned for but one year, the model has seared its way into the collective automotive consciousness. Already appreciating in value, only 740 copies of the car were sold in the U.S. Power came from a 335 horsepower 3.0-liter twin turbocharged inline six with 370 ft-lbs of torque.
First shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the 1,200-horsepower Jean Bugatti Edition Veyron pays tribute to Jean Bugatti, son of the company’s founder, and creator of the Type 57SC Atlantic. Production was limited to a run of three examples. The “horseshoe” grille surround and EB badges of the Jean Bugatti Veyron are rendered in platinum. The beige and brown interior treatment closely mimics that of Jean’s personal Type 57SC Atlantic La Voiture Noire, which translates to “the black car”. One of the more distinctive details of the interior is the way the silhouette of the Type 57 is embroidered into the Veyron’s door panels.
Originally produced for the Trans Am racing series, the first Boss 302 Mustangs appeared in 1969. Designed by Larry Shinoda, their most distinguishing visual characteristic, the hockey stick side striping, was introduced on the 1970 model. Power came from a 5.0-liter V8 rated at 290 horsepower, which was later revealed to be closer to 380 horsepower. Ford also did 8000 Boss 302s in 2012 and 2013, based on the Mustang GT. The engine was reworked to produce 444 horsepower and the suspension system was modified to improve handling. The “Laguna Seca” version featured a red roof and additional performance upgrades.
In 1991, GMC introduced the best performing pickup truck the automotive world had ever seen. It also spawned a sport utility version—long before BMW ever dreamed of the X5. For model years 1992 and 1993, GMC offered the Typhoon two-door SUV with a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6, a self-leveling air suspension system, and all-wheel drive. The Typhoon’s pickup truck counterpart was known as the Syclone. Both were rated at 280 horsepower and 360 ft-lbs of torque. The Typhoon was clocked at 5.3 seconds from 0 to 60 and 14.1 seconds in the quarter mile.
Back in 2010, in celebration of the venerable marque’s 75th anniversary, a special edition of Jaguar’s flagship GT car bowed at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed. Boasting some 530 horsepower and 483 ft-lbs of torque from the company’s supercharged V8, the suspension and braking systems were duly modified to contain the performance potential of the engine. The XKR 75’s sleek exterior was finished in Stratus Grey paint. A set of red brake calipers contrasted 20-inch gloss Vortex forged lightweight alloys with a dark technical finish and diamond turn. Completing the look of the car, a special aerodynamic body kit ensured stability at high speeds.
As a 50th birthday present to itself, Lamborghini introduced its Veneno super car to the world at the 2013 Geneva auto show. With but three copies built in total, Lamborghini’s Veneno coupe is one of the most exclusive Lamborghinis ever built, and by extension one of the rarest cars in the world. Its carbon fiber monococque houses a pair of seats made of forged composite. With a total curb weight of just over 3200 pounds, the Veneno’s 740-horsepower, 6.6-liter V12 makes 507 ft-lbs of torque and is capable of accelerating the Lamborghini to 60 from rest in just over 2.5 seconds.
Photo by Lamborghini
Porsche’s 918 Spyder is a limited production (918 units worldwide), V8-powered mid-engine AWD hybrid sports car boasting a top speed of 210 miles per hour. It is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. The V8 displaces 4.6-liters and operates in conjunction with a pair of electric motors to generate a total system output of 887 horsepower and 944 ft-lbs of torque. The Weissach Package ups the ante by subtracting some 99 pounds with magnesium wheels, a lighter brake package, ceramic wheel bearings, and titanium bolts. The 918 Spyder Weissach Package was the first street-legal production car to lap the Nürburgring in less than seven minutes. The full run of the 918 Spyder is sold out.
Taking the Viper’s V10 engine full circle, Dodge engineers returned the truck-based high performance powerplant to a pickup truck for the 2004 model year, and in the process created nothing less than a legend. Built for only two years, and solely for the purpose of speed, the Ram SRT-10 featured an engine displacing 8.3-liters. It made 500 horsepower, and catapulted the 5,130-pound pickup to 60 in just under five seconds. Top speed was 154 miles per hour. More than just fast, the SRT-10 also demonstrated excellent roadholding, generating .86 g of grip on the skidpad.
Developed in collaboration with Jeremy Lookofsky’s Cartel Customs of Simi Valley, California the magma orange and black Scion tC Release Series 9.0 is limited to a run of 2000. The uniquely distinctive Scion model features a lowered ride height, a center-mounted exhaust outlet, a Cartel Customs-designed aero kit, and black alloy wheels with matching center caps. Also, for the first time ever, the Scion logo is rendered in black. Inside, the custom stitching, front seat belts, and a plethora of other details are in orange. The Series 9.0 also features the Cartel logo on the starter button. The release series number with the Cartel logo and Lookofsky’s signature appear on the rear view mirror housing.