Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. To commemorate its golden anniversary, Ford revealed a very new and very much improved model of its iconic Pony car, with a special edition run that was released about halfway through the year — exactly 50 years following the 1964.5 year Mustang that started it all.
Less than 2,000 of the limited-edition Mustang models were made, and naturally, they went fast.
This got us thinking about other special and limited edition cars. Often, engineers — bound by production guidelines, budgets, and regulations — get to enact their more creative sides, and serve up some wildly spectacular cars for a limited time, before the folks in accounting cut them off. Or something like that.
Special editions can include mainstream models with a large cap on their production — think about Ford’s partnership with outdoor outfitter Eddie Bauer as an example. On the other end, you have the one-offs and the super limited, which tend to be outrageously expensive due to their exclusivity. When perusing the web for material for this post, we found a tremendous number of models that fell throughout this entire spectrum, so we picked out a few to highlight. The following entries are not ranked by any particular metric, nor is it by any means a comprehensive list of the immense number of special and limited vehicles throughout the years.
Read on to see some of the most amazing, gorgeous, and limited special edition vehicles ever to hit the market.
1. 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R
Powered by a 5.4 liter V8 that laid out 385 horsepower, the 2000 Ford Mustang Cobra R was the fastest and most powerful factory Mustang ever released at the time. It was also extremely hard to find, as it was limited to just 300 units and only available in red. The rear seats, air conditioning, and numerous other luxuries were all ditched in the name of saving weight. On the track, the Cobra R could reach a terminal speed of 170 miles per hour, and go from 0-60 in just 4.7 seconds.
2. 2013 Dodge Charger SRT 392
With only 392 units in circulation as the name implies, the SRT-tuned Dodge Charger is a family-sized rocket that could be bought in Bright White, Billet Silver, Plum Crazy, HEMI Orange, and TorRed. It pumps out 470 horsepower from its 6.4 liter V8, which pairs nicely with an equal figure for torque. Besides the obvious power advantages, buyers also get ”392 HEMI” badges, a black roof, 20-inch, split five-spoke Black Vapor Chrome wheels, a spoiler (black, of course), and build number/392 plaques in the dashboard. There are newer versions, but the 2013 model makes our list due to its limited production.
3. 1986 Mercedes-Benz AMG Hammer
Mercedes-Benz’s skunkworks studio AMG is known for some pretty exceptional vehicles, but none so impressive as the AMG Hammer. “In 1986, if you were very, very rich, and wanted to go very, very fast, and wanted four seats, there weren’t many options,” Chris Harris, of /Drive, says in the video above. But fortunately, AMG was around to create a modified 300E, giving it a 396 horsepower V8 up front (powering the wheels at the back). At the time, “for $17,000, AMG would transplant the 5.6-liter M117 V8 of the Mercedes 560 SEC under the hood of the E-Class and then bolt on DOHC cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder, stretching the performance envelope from 177 horsepower to 355 horsepower.”
4. BMW Individual 760Li Sterling Robbe & Berking Edition
If your BMW 7 Series just isn’t decadent enough, fear not, because BMW heard your cries. Thus, this special addition Bimmer was born, which is almost as long as its name. BMW partnered up with the Robbe & Berking silversmiths of Flensburg, Germany and decked out its flagship in — not surprisingly — actual sterling silver. The trademark kidney grill? Silver. Badging, sill plates, and exhaust outlets? Silver. Further, the inside has been played with as well, with handmade silver trim, embroidered headrests, and more. Pricing information is hard to come by, but seeing as a single spoon from Robbe & Berking goes for around $320, it’s probably a considerable chunk of change.
5. Bugatti Veyron Jean Bugatti Edition
Having already shattered numerous records with its ridiculously fast car, Bugatti now spends its time pumping out super-exclusive, special edition Veyron models because — well, because it can, frankly. Above is the Jean Bugatti edition Veyron, an ode to the company’s founder and namesake’s son, who “is credited with designing the Type 57SC Atlantic – perhaps one of the rarest, most expensive vehicles ever made.” Only three Jean Bugatti editions were slated for production, each commanding a $3 million or so price tag.
6. 1991 GMC Syclone
“This little pickup truck was the fastest accelerating vehicle you could buy in 1991,” Jay Leno says, while discussing his GMC Syclone. Just 2,998 of them were made, and all (with the exception of three) were built in one year. More impressively, the Syclone was able to beat out Corvettes and Ferraris with a 4.3 liter turbocharged V6, cleverly mated to an all-wheel drive system. The 700-R4 four-speed automatic transmission was sourced from the Corvettes, while all told, the Syclone managed 280 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
7. 2003 Corvette 50th Anniversary Edition
The Chevrolet Corvette that was going to commemorate the five decades that the nameplate had been in production was originally going to be white and red, like the original 1953 model, so it was a bit of a surprise when “a lustrous burgundy with Xirallic aluminum-oxide flakes floating under a special tinted clear-coat and complemented by special Shale interior trim with anniversary badges and cockpit embroidery” was shown off. As many as 10,000 of them were going to be produced if the demand warranted it.
While little was changed beneath the hood, it did feature the F55 Magnetic Selective Ride Control suspension. Inside and out, the ‘Vette was adorned with special “50th” anniversary badges. The models ran about $50,000, or $2,000 more than the fully-loaded non-anniversary cars.
8. Chrysler 300 John Varvatos Edition
Eddie Bauer and Ford’s relationship is just one example of an outfitter and automaker teaming up; L.L. Bean and Subaru have done the same, as have Gucci and Fiat. But the John Varvatos edition Chrysler 300C is perhaps on of the nicest examples of such an alliance, and unlike many other vehicles on this list, is isn’t limited to a negligible production run. Buyers will be treated to titanium-finished rims, gauges and a clock inspired by John Varvatos’ timepieces, premium leather, a 363-horsepower engine with Fuel Saver Technology, and a tough, badass demeanor that John’s look projects.
9. BMW 1 Series M Coupe
The BMW 1 Series M was a sort of Frankenstein-type project that the company worked on just for fun — perhaps not realizing that the 1 M may have become one of the best cars BMW has made in recent memory. BMW took the standard 1 Series coupe, and made some tweaks to turn the smallest car in BMW’s lineup into a complete animal. “The wheel arches are flared, the car is slightly lowered, there’s a straight-six engine at the front, a manual gearbox in the middle, and drive goes to the back,” observes TopGear’s Jeremy Clarkson. “It’s made of leftovers. The door mirrors are from the current M3; the rear axle is from the old one; the engine is from a Z4. It’s a recipe that shouldn’t work, but it does.”
10. Lamborghini Veneno
It’s one of the rarest — and most expensive — vehicles ever produced. The Lamborghini Veneno is a supercar that would look at home on the streets of Gotham City than anywhere. There are only a few that actually exist, and they hit the market with a price tag of around $4 million. That seems to have increased in less than a year, as they are now going for a reported $7.4 million. What do you get for that kind of cash? A spaceship-looking monster that can reach speeds up to 220 miles per hour.
11. 2006 Chevrolet Silverado Intimidator SS
In 2006, Chevy decided to pay tribute to one of the greatest motor sports heroes of all time: Dale Earnhardt. The result? The special-edition Silverado Intimidator SS. Taking on Earnhardt’s nickname, and fixed with specialty badges in his honor, the Intimidator SS had a planned production run of only 1,333 units. As for aesthetics, it was only available in Black Onyx, unless customers specified otherwise. To this day, the Intimidator SS remains one of the most exclusive pickups ever produced.
12. Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition
The most recent generation of Chevy’s Camaro muscle car has seen a number of special editions, but this one may be the coolest. The Hot Wheels Edition of the 2013 Camaro was a specially-designed 2SS model, and was the first full-size replica of a Hot Wheels toy ever produced. Motor Trend ended up getting their hands on one, and hit the track with it to see what exactly it could do. A 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 13 seconds at nearly 110 miles per hour proved that this Camaro was more than just a gimmick.
13. Aston Martin One-77
Limited to 77 units (as you may have guessed), the Aston Martin One-77 is one of the rarest and most sought-after cars the company has ever built. It was first introduced at the 2008 Paris Auto Show, and eventually put on the market during 2012. The One-77 featured a 7.3-liter V12 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 220 miles per hour. The most surprising owner is probably the Dubai Police Department, which uses a One-77, along with a number of other supercars, to patrol the city.
14. Jaguar XK R 75
Limited to 75 units, this special edition XK R variant from Jaguar is as gorgeous as it is quick. The fellas from Top Gear took it for a spin, reaching 62 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, and topping out at 174 miles per hour. Under the hood, the XK R 75 sports a 5.0-liter V8, like many of its siblings, producing nearly 525 horsepower and over 480 pound-feet of torque. Built as a celebration for Jaguar’s 75th birthday, the XK R 75 also hit the market with a large price tag, well into the six-figures.