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The Joy Of Special Edition Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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The Joy Of Special Edition Cars

Geoff Maxted
August 10, 2013

Special Edition Car
We all know and love the brilliantly flawed FIAT Cinquecento, badged in the UK as the 500. It ’s as Italian as Silvio Berlusconi and probably more reliable. The hot versions are emblazoned with the legend that is Abarth. But when it comes to buying cars, why not really push the boat out - because you’re worth it?You could, for example, treat yourself to the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition. If you fancy standing out from the crowd it will cost you a measly £32,000. Apparently the price includes a set of ‘stunning’ Tramontano leather luggage. Have you ever tried to get luggage into a 500?

This follows on from the madness of about four years ago when the company announced an equally barking Ferrari Edition and, it must be said, FIAT are not the only company beset with occasional bouts of insanity. You must be aware by now of the Aston Martin Cygnet, which is simply a tarted up and re-badged Toyota IQ that becomes, in the words of the company, a ‘bespoke luxury commuter car’. Per-lease. It’s actually a cynical ploy to get around EU emission regulations for bringing down manufacturer ‘fleet average’ mpg. Someone will buy it.

In 2011 MINI got in on the act by announcing the ‘Inspired by Goodwood’ edition for a breathtaking £41,000! Read that number again. Apparently this model would be made of ‘specially selected materials and precise craftsmanship to guarantee the highest degree of comfort’. At that price I should jolly well think so. At that price I would expect gold plate and at least one former Pussy Cat Doll.

The history of the motor industry is littered with cars such as these; pointless promotions for people with more money than sense. For the price of some of these cars the canny buyer could afford a good new or used car from a prestige maker. For £41k you ’re almost into a nearly new Porsche Boxster or M Series BMW. Top of the range models across the board are available at these prices. Surely the idea of small ‘city’ cars is to provide a reasonable urban drive at low cost?

But I’m being unkind. If someone is so mentally unhinged as to think these cars are a good idea, who am I to argue; because there have been some truly terrible examples of special editions down the years. To demonstrate this I give you the ultimate pimp-mobile - the 1979 Cadillac Seville by Gucci! As you can see from the image this fine car also comes with a set of matching luggage and sports the famous ‘Double G’ logo. Groovy.

Yet the Caddy must pale into insignificance compared to the magnificent - and I’m not making it up - 1982 Frank Sinatra Edition Chrysler Imperial. In the hope that some of Frankie’s fame would rub off on the company they issued this vehicle with a special silver-blue paint job and a leather briefcase full of tapes of recordings by Old Blue Eyes himself. It didn’t work. And neither did the car.

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