10 Ridiculous Special Edition And One-Off Cars

Car Culture / Comments

Welcome to automotive absurdity.

Automotive history is littered with amazing special editions based on heritage like the legendary BMW M3 CSL, the Subaru Impreza RB320, the Renault Clio Williams, or the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition. However, those are carefully conceived and brilliantly executed cars that deserve their iconic status. The cars we're looking at here don't. These are the laziest and most cynical special editions ever conceived, all either verging on the ridiculous or fully committing to a concept with a complete lack of self-awareness. Sometimes comical, sometimes head scratching, and all of them absurd.

Nissan

1. Nissan Altima Special Forces TIE Fighter

The basis of Nissan's movie tie-in deal with the Star Wars franchise is tenuous at best. The movie that inspired it was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Nissan builds a compact crossover called the Rogue. There was, of course, a special edition Rogue to go with the movie, but the Nissan Altima Special Forces TIE Fighter car takes the cake and eats it whole. It's a result of a collaboration between Nissan, Lucasfilm, and the Hollywood fabrication firm Vehicle Effects, and it's horrific. There are details of the build, but they don't matter. The important thing to know is that it has Tie Fighter light and sound effects.

Nissan
Nissan
Nissan
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2. Dodge Viper Star Wars Edition

Dodge also leaned heavily into a Star Wars deal. The Dodge Challenger and Charger Stormtrooper Hellcat models were bad enough, but the Dodge Viper is a complete head-scratcher. Initially, it was said to be inspired by the character Kylo Ren, which would explain the pattern across the sides and the Viper's roof that reminds us of his helmet. However, Dodge retconned the car, saying it was inspired by the original and scariest Star Wars villain, Darth Vader.

Dodge
Dodge
Dodge
Dodge

3. Fiat Seicento Sporting Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher rose through the ranks of racing from karting to Formula 1 to become one of the greatest drivers the world had ever seen. He reached his peak and held it there while driving for Ferrari, but also drove Mercedes touring, sports, and F1 cars competitively. He had a hand in developing the Ferrari Enzo and the Mercedes SLS AMG and owned one of each. Also in his collection is a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, a Ferrari 599 GTB, a Ferrari FXX, and a Ferrari California. He also, reportedly, owns a Fiat 500 Abarth, which would make much more sense for a Fiat special edition celebrating Schumacher. However, Fiat instead went with the awkward-looking 54-hp Seicento to celebrate the racing legend.

Fiat
Fiat
Fiat

4. Nissan McDonald's GT-R Nismo

We don't mean to beat on Nissan, but there is no better way to cheapen the GT-R than to associate it with McDonald's. Thankfully, the gold-wrapped version of the GT-R won't be a proper special edition, but it does exist and is the full-size version of a toy being included in Japanese Happy meals between April and May. The other toys include the Toyota 86, Mitsubishi Delica, Suzuki Jimny, and a different color GT-R. There's also an online sweepstakes for eligible people to win seat time in a GT-R at Nissan's Grandrive proving grounds in Kanagawa.

Nissan
Nissan

5. Rover 25 Art Car

The art car we all remember fondly is the BMW M1 painted by Andy Warhol. In fact, there's a string of cool BMW art cars out there. Letting artists or fashion designers loose on cars is not a recent phenomenon, but in 2002 Rover showed just how wrong it could go with the Rover 25 Art Car. The Rover 25 is a bland vehicle at best, but it's not deserving of this putrid pink parody of fashionable avant-garde design.

According to Rover's press release, young fashionista Matthew Williamson's design is where "Bollywood meets the Moulin Rouge." However, once you see inside, you'll be wiping away the tears of laughter generated by the fact Rover paid money for this and then showed it off during the 2002 London Fashion Week.

Rover
Rover
Rover
Rover

6. Porsche 911 Facebook Edition

The Porsche 911 Facebook Edition didn't make a big splash because nobody but Porsche really cared that Porsche had reached five million "Likes" on Facebook. The fan page decided the final spec, and the one-off car has the inscription "Personally built by 5 Million Porsche Fans" on the dashboard. It was also part of Porsche's '50 Jahre' (50 year) celebrations and shows just how long the German sports car company milked the calendar event. For those that are interested, it's a 991 Carrera 4S finished in the Porsche Exclusive color of Aquablaumetallic, and is equipped with the Aerokit Cup package and 20-inch Carrera S wheels finished in a special white paint.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

7. Volkswagen Polo Harlequin

If anyone in your vicinity voices the opinion that the Volkswagen Harlequin cars are cool, you are legally obligated to give them a slap round the ear. The Volkswagen Polo Harlequin is, well, look at it. It's a warning to the automotive industry about what happens if you let the marketing department expense the drinks on a Friday afternoon. For the record, the colors on the Polo Harlequin are Ginster Yellow, Chagall Blue, Pistachio Green, and Flash Red. Curiously, 3,800 of the original 1995 Polo Harlequin were sold. In 2021, Volkswagen Netherlands tried to replicate its success as the original was not originally sold there.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

8. Jeep Patriot Led Zeppelin Edition

Seven Jeep Patriot Led Zeppelin Edition models were created by a "vehicle branding company" called RGVA to commemorate a Led Zeppelin reunion gig at the UK's O2 venue in 2007. If you're wondering how ramming the words "Jeep Patriot" and "Led Zeppelin" together makes any sense, you have every right to be dazed and confused. According to Ian Calderwood, who designed the graphics, "The Jeep was chosen for its American ruggedness. The graphics complement the bold character of the car, whilst maintaining its prestige, and I feel it reflects the personality of the band excellently." How exactly an American compact crossover SUV called Patriot compliments an iconic British rock band that's legendary for its excess, he doesn't specify.

The seven Jeep Patriots sales each included two VIP tickets for the show, champagne reception, and access to the after-show party. They were sold after the 20,000 tickets for the gig were sold out and cost £34,860. In November of 2007, that was a little over $69,000.

RGVA
RGVA
RGVA

9. Ssangyong Korando Sports DMZ

SsangYong Motor Company is the fourth-largest automaker based in South Korea, and the Korando Sports is a pickup truck. The DMZ special edition refers to is the Korean demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea. It's a border barrier, essentially a no man's land, around 2.5 miles wide and 160 miles long, so why name a special edition after it? We have no idea what was going through the marketing department's heads, but it comes with green camouflage pattern paint, so there's that. By all accounts, the Korando Sports is a cheap but hardworking truck and comes with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. It's just the DMZ livery that makes us scratch our heads.

SsangYong
SsangYong
SsangYong

10. Bentley Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner

We get the Bentley Bentayga by Mulliner Fly Fishing edition, but a Falconry edition is either Bentley reaffirming its high-class roots or Mulliner's marketing department running out of ideas. Traditionally, Falconry is a pastime of the "high-born" classes, the sport of kings and conquerors, and, historically, a status symbol among the nobles of medieval Europe, the Middle East, and the Mongolian Empire.

The Bentayga Falconry interior is a bespoke dream for the rich, even before you add the falconry equipment. To give you an idea of how insane this Bentayga is inside, the passenger's dashboard is made up of 430 individual pieces of wood alone. More importantly, though, there's a perch and tether for your hunting bird of choice between the front seats, and in the back is a master flight station and refreshment case as well as two more perches.

Bentley
Bentley
Bentley
Bentley

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