Car manufacturers love special editions. They’re a chance for designers to showcase the model in the light they intended, with everything from new paint colours to interior upholstery used to lift the standard car.
Just this month we’ve had two new special editions hit the UK market, at very different ends of the price spectrum. In the budget corner there is the Citroen DS3 Pink special edition, complete with Fuschia roof and trim detailing. While many may find the image a turn-off, Citroen is hoping the striking style statement will appeal to the DS3’s trendy customer base.
Bentley has also been dabbling with special editions, with the unveiling of the Birkin installment of its flagship Mulsanne Limousine, again complete with bespoke paint work and interior fixtures, in a tribute to 1920’s Bentley racer Tim Birkin.
However, some manufacturers really don’t ‘get’ limited editions, and there are some rather questionable rare cars out there, including some that should never have left the drawing board.
Here is our guide to the most dubious special editions ever to hit the market:
Volkswagen Golf Harlequin
The multicolored Volkswagen Harlequin was produced in 1996, and with just 264 ever leaving the production line, it is one of the rarest cars Volkswagen has ever produced. This is perhaps just as well, given the Harlequin’s body panels were finished in four clashing colours: Tornado Red, Ginster Yellow, Pistachio Green and Chagall Blue, to give more than a passing resemblance to a clown car. There’s no doubt it’ll get you noticed, but for all the wrong reasons.
Bugatti Veyron L’or Blanc
Supercar manufacturer Bugatti teamed up with German porcelain designer K?nigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (KPM) to produce the one-off exclusive L’Or Blanc. It may pack the same 1,000bhp, 8.0-litre mega engine that once saw the Veyron crowned the fastest car in the world, but any kudos that may impart on the L’Or Blanc’s driver will immediately be dashed when passers by notice the garish bodywork, complete with inset pieces of porcelain. Just because you can, Bugatti, doesn’t mean you should.
Chrysler PT Cruiser Couture Edition
No special edition could have ever made the oddly styled Chrysler PT Cruiser any more appealing, but this didn’t stop Chrysler from trying. In 2010, they released the PT Cruiser Couture Edition onto the world. It featured two-tone silver and black paintwork separated with a red pinstripe. The interior of the inexpensive hatchback, with its ‘Radar Red’ leather seats, is definitely hard to miss and sits incongruously with the slightly overwhelming exterior.
Fiat 500 Barbie Edition
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous Barbie doll, Fiat and US toy giant Mattel teamed up to create the 500 Barbie Edition. The chic city car has a ‘nail varnish’ pink finish and even comes with a light-up vanity mirror and crystals throughout the interior. We’d imagine its market appeal is quite narrow.
Chevrolet Venture Warner Bros
Thankfully a US market only model, the generic looking Chevy Venture people carrier was given an unlikely makeover in 2000, with the Warner Bros Edition. Thankfully the exterior was largely left alone, and Chevrolet concentrated on fitting everything a parent could need to keep their offspring entertained, including a flip-down rear screen and on board DVD and VCR (yes, really) players. Perfect for soccer moms…and that’s about it.
Jeep Wrangler Call Of Duty
A rather cynical marketing exercise to cash in on both Jeep’s military history, and the huge popularity of the Call of Duty gaming franchise, saw the creation of the this special edition Wrangler. While we really wanted to see the car fitted with a machine gun turret and bullet-proof cladding, modifications were limited to some enormous tyres, ‘exclusive Call of Duty graphics’ and the game’s logo embossed on the seat headrests. Poor show, Jeep, poor show.
Chevrolet Camaro SS Hot Wheels
Forty-five years after the release of the original Custom Camaro Hot Wheels toy, Chevrolet produced its first full-size version in conjunction with the miniature carmaker. To cushion the blow of the tacky Hot Wheels badges, the limited edition Camaro was at least finished in striking Kinetic Blue paintwork and got a huge 426bhp 6.2-litre V8, meaning a 0-60mph time of just 4.5 seconds.
Nissan Juke Nismo Dark Knight Rises
With the launch of the Dark Knight Rises on DVD, Nissan created a one-off special Batman themed Juke Nismo. The matte black ‘batmobile’ features red detailing throughout the exterior along with bat emblems dotted around the cabin and exterior. A bat logo can also be projected onto the headlining and onto the ground below the door mirrors, just in case your nearest and dearest weren’t already aware of your pathological obsession with the Caped Crusader.
Mini After Eight
In 1991 Mini partnered up with Nestle to produce an After Eight branded version of its iconic city car. The model adopted the tradition deep green and the logos of After Eight chocolate mints, including a logo on the steering wheel and velvet seat covering. 1,500 of the After Eight Mini were produced, but weirdly, given the UK’s love of the sweet treat, it only went on sale in France and Spain.