The 4 worst automotive special editions, according to you


Last week our Hagerty ForumsQuestion of the Week asked, “What’s the worst special edition?” You did not disappoint. Special-edition models have been around almost as long as the automobile itself, but not all of them have been good. Some miss the mark by a little, others by a lot. Here are four that you reminded us exist. Now we just wish we could go back to forgetting about them.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/01/worst-automotive-special-editions


I’m just glad no Novas were on the list.


Love the La Femme!. Wonder how many are left.


I had one of those '76 Dart Lites and thought it was the best car I owned. In fact it was the first one I liked well enough to keep until I got it paid for. I got it cheap when the '77s came out ant the local dealer bought a bunch of inventory from a Chicagoland dealer, so it was titled used with 127 miles on the odometer. Then in '84, I had just turned the odometer over and with 600 miles showing it got T-boned by a Vista Cruiser. And no, it wasn’t real powerful, (I don’t think it would have taken on my brother’s 340 Duster) but I was getting 30-32 MPG around town.


I love the 1956 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Hardtop Coupe!

  • More improvements for the Dodge Royal in 1956 included a new face, modified trim, larger fins, more colors, altered taillights, and a new stroked Hemi V-8 that now displaced 315 cid. In addition, the Powerflite automatic transmission now had push-button selectors. The most powerful Dodge passenger car engine was the D-500 V-8, which used dual four-barrel carburetors to produce 260 hp – an increase in one year of 67 horsepower. In order to accommodate the additional power, a heavy-duty suspension was included with this motor.
    Don’t think I’ll actually go out and look for one but I’d sure consider it if I happened to see one.


Sorry, but a 75 Buick Century is a mid size car, not full size. They also used t-tops on the Olds Cutlass, and I never felt they looked out of place on these Colonnade Coupes. Now t-tops on an Impala? That would look odd!


Thank you, geok86. It seems like most of these cars are being judged by a modern standard. We’ve forgotten what a full size and mid size car used to be.

My dad worked at a Plymouth dealer back in those days and with all the souped up Dusters we see around these days, we’ve forgotten that the cars were typically sold as practical, economical and sporty little cars. They were wildly popular at the time and the Feather Duster was a perfect fit, given the fuel crisis. And as for acceleration, compare it to the quintessential eco car of the time: VW Beetle, not the performance of a late model Civic.


I would think the AMC Gremlin Levi Edition should rate an Honorable Mention


I’m genuinely surprised no one mentioned the Mod editions Dodge and Plymouth did. Those things were hideous at the time and still today. It’s my understanding that numerous dealers had to dye or reupholster the seats and tops to get them off the lot.


What did the Buick have under the hood? I’m sure it wasn’t much that year but just curious.


Only the actual pace cars came with the 455. The dealer/public version came with the Buick 350 and Turbo 350 tranny. I had one for 30 years


I worked at a Buick dealership in 1975 - after sitting on the show room floor for a few weeks, the Sales Manager had our Body Shop remove the decals. Presto, the car sold in a week. They were just a little too loud for the Buick customer.


Having been an Oldsmobile dealer in 1977, we were blessed once again with a Pace Car for the Indy 500. From 1970-1974, Oldsmobile paced the 500 with 3 of the 5 selections in the form of a 442 convertible and a couple of Hurst Olds. But alas, only three years departed from the ‘74 H/O, somebody smokin’ something decided a Delta 88 should do the honors. Not a bad car (had the 403 Olds engine in it and NOT the 350 Chevy mill that got Olds in hot water), but the two tone Silver/Black paint scheme with Firethorn Red interior and matching Super Stock Wheels was not pleasant to gaze upon on the showroom floor. Interestingly enough, Chevrolet used the same paint scheme the next year on the Corvette and, well, you know the rest of the story…

After over a year of not getting anyone to take a second look at this eyesore, we finally sanded off the black paint and resprayed the whole car silver. It eventually sold at a loss, of course, and I don’t even think we mentioned to the buyer that it was a Pace Car.


Wow, I tink that Buick Free Spirit is a awesome looking car !!!
I don’t remember ever seeing one before but 455 or 350 model
would be a great car to own.


I remember the feather duster was popular to use for a starting point for a drag car. So unpopular with some, but desirable to a different crowd.
Some special edition cars were marketed in limited regions, which it might be interesting to write an article about some of them. And I always have to wonder about some of the lesser known dealer modified cars. Yenko, Dana, Spaulding, Baldwin, Nickey, Royal Pontiac come to mind quickly, but there have to be more.


I am surprised that the ugly 77 to 79 "Smokey and the Bandit smogged out TA’s were not on that list.


@edwardsg - The smaller market performance dealers are certainly an interesting dive. We have dug into a few of them previously, like Royal Pontiac and Baldwin Motion. A few of the others you list are certainly ideas for future articles as well.


Some dealers probably had low key programs. I owned a 1967 Z/28 in 1974 while in high school. Was lucky enough to be able to track to the original owner, and found out it had trans am history. Also found out that it was using a bit of oil in 1968, and the dealer did warranty work to fix it. This included balancing and blue printing the motor. Pretty generous when it only needed valve seals.
I also found out why it had a trailer hitch.
This was the car in 1969, when it was both tow vehicle and back up.
The 1969 had a cross ram, which was a bit touchy to keep tuned.
Imagine the shock.


That Buick’s decals looks like the average police cruiser these days. Everyone got away from the black and white because it offended the folks who see themselves in opposition to law enforcement.


I remember those. I was working at a AMC dealership when I was in college. Gremlins were a tough sell even with a set of Levis. I did trade in my Dodge Dart GT for a AMX when working there. Loved that car.