When a car company wants to pad out its financial books, it often turns to the special edition model.
Invariably based on a more mundane vehicle in the range with some extra kit, a new colour scheme and a tempting price, special editions can stand out from the crowd just enough to move a few more cars out of the showroom doors.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not unknown for some companies to release particularly dubious tie-ins or questionably-titled models. We’ve lined up a selection of suspicious specials and question why they ever got further than a marketing man’s imagination…
Citroen 2CV 007
Remember the scene in the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only”, where 007 makes his getaway in a yellow Citroen 2CV? Citroen was quick to cash in with a special edition model in 1982, complete with enormous 007 badging and fake bullet holes. Marginally more silly than the Perrier edition, named after the popular fizzy drink.
Volkswagen Polo Harlequin
You used to always see patchwork cars on the road, where people had replaced bumpers or doors with one they’d found at a scrap yard. Volkswagen made them like that in the factory, producing Polos of different colours, before swapping all their panels around to create a run of green, blue, yellow and red superminis. Paper bag not included.
Fiat Seicento Michael Schumacher
7-times Formula 1 world champion Schumacher had a tenuous connection with the Fiat Seicento, but that didn’t stop Fiat doing a run of special editions based on the Sporting model. It included a few badges and wore an Abarth body kit, but with only 54bhp, winning races was out of the question.
You’d think, while money was rapidly spiralling down the corporate pan, that a special edition MG ZR and MG ZS honouring an atrocious girl band would be an unwise move. After all, young teenagers can’t drive, and they certainly can’t afford brand new cars. Maybe it was something for the dads…
Land Rover Freelander “Oh My Dog!”
We accept that Freelanders, with their large, spacious boots, are useful vehicles in which to transport man’s best friend. We’re not so sure that Land Rover France needed to pair up with canine product firm Dog Attitude to produce possibly the silliest-named special edition ever devised. “What The Furball?” would be more appropriate.
Smart ForTwo Q-Pot
We swear we aren’t making this up. Smart of Japan teamed up with Japanese chocolate maker Q-Pot to create a chocolate-themed special edition. Yes, it’s a brown Smart ForTwo. Yes, those are chocolate-like cubes on the doors. A prototype for the model even had chocolate-like interior fittings that looked like they were melting…
Skoda Felicia Fun
Car-based pickups are hardly the most glamorous of vehicles. So what do you do when you want to shift a few more? Paint them yellow, deck the rear out with wood, and fit a sliding rear section with a couple of occasional fair-weather seats. Then cover the upholstery in yellow fabric, with little green frogs all over it. Felicia Fun? Felicia bloody-barmy more like.