Sunday Column: Ram Kanadia’s – The Special Edition: 1 of only 500 other special editions

Some months ago, in the not too distant past I had, my (frequently unchecked) inbox was filled up with news of upcoming new models; or to be more specific, new special edition versions of current models. After spending almost half a minute I was baffled with the array of different supercar manufacturers offering these so called ‘limited-run’ cars, and the fact that the buying public have never seemed to catch on to the marketing gimmick.

At first, I treated the new versions with suspicion – what had happened to the car industry in the last few years for them to entice prospective buyers with new versions. After a few more seconds, I learnt to understand that this marketing trick has been going on for years; though the models are new, the technique is very much the same. Trawling through the classifieds, it is evident that some enthusiasts bought into the idea and as such everybody now seems to be in possession of a rare ‘GT’ or ‘EVO’ version; in fact I came across a rather special retro and classic car on my search – an original and completely standard E30 M3. It was so rapidly replaced by the EVO and the EVO 2, and the Sport EVO, Convertible, Sport EVO Convertible, the Cecotto and finally the Cecotto Ravaglia that the standard model now poses as a rather rare and special classic; as such it used this argument as the foundations for the inflated asking price.

Limited Editions: just a ploy to sell?  

Over the last few months, many magazines have raved on about the new 2012MY Nissan GT-R, it most probably will not be featured in this online publication very often (at least not for the next 10 years or so until it reaches classic status), but Kazutoshi Mizuno, the creator of the mighty Godzilla stated that the car still has another 5 years of production ahead of it. Why then, have we already seen several special editions excluding the standard model evolutions since 2009? For example, we were introduced to the ‘Track Pack’ earlier this year; though it can be argued that as it is an option on all GT-Rs that it is not really a special edition, more just an edition.

Pagani Zonda PS – A well known supercar ‘edition’

The most obvious and possibly exhausting example for its customers is the legendary Pagani Zonda. When it was first introduced, it amazed everybody, how could a start out company create such a refined and reliable supercar, and go from exactly that to such a popular, and major contributor to the supercar industry. However, since its first introduction, we have seen so many special editions that it is difficult to understand or follow, which is the most special of them all. The Zonda C12 was evolved into the S, then the S 7.3, the S 7.3 Roadster, the F, F Roadster, Zonda Cinque, Cinque Roadster, Tricolore, Zonda R to the one-off creations such as the UNO, RAK, HH, PS, and F Final Editions to name just a few.

The Pagani Zonda C12 S – Better attributes or an excuse to bring in the punters?

When will it end? My guess is that it will never end – the special editions are enough to get many more customers through the door on cue and it helps the brands survive in the eyes of the enthusiast. Cars have become so fundamentally boring and laugh out loud fast that the unique driving experiences have been withdrawn – what your are left with now is a highly assisted, double clutch, rocket that accelerates from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds with the launch control switch flicked up and the pedal pressed to the ground without the worry of the car squirming across the middle of the road. These cars are now very composed and very, very boring. The Special Editions, in my eyes are an excuse given to the top bods for the production of even more driver focused cars. The best examples of this I can think of are the E46 BMW M3 CSL and the 1M Coupe. The CSL struggled to sell when new, even as a one-off but it is arguably one of the most enjoyable M Cars, the 1M however flew off the shelves to enthusiasts and both cars together are some of the best ever produced. These ‘Special’ Editions are just that.

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4 responses to “Sunday Column: Ram Kanadia’s – The Special Edition: 1 of only 500 other special editions

  1. I’d be hard pressed to call the 1M a special edition – it may be of limited production, but surely it’s a model in its own right, like any other M car?

    I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by specials though. Their point depends on how far they differ from the basic models already on sale in the range.

    I’m currently sifting through all the MX-5 special editions over the last 20+ years, picking out the worthy examples from the run-of-the-mill stuff – so the turbocharged Le Mans, or upscale V-Spec, or 10th Anniversary model is more special than a California or Icon. The former all had mechanical or significant trim changes, the latter were little more than new colours with a few toys thrown in.

    I think a special edition has to be just that – special in some way, to distinguish itself from the car it’s based on. I’m not clued-up enough on Zondas to know which is which, but any that offers more power, or even wilder body modifications, is a worthy edition in my view.

  2. Evening Antony,
    Evidently I disagree with your opinion of the 1M – the first reason being that it is so different from that of a standard 1 Series Coupe; it take chassis dynamics from the E90 M3 – it has a 71mm wider track at front and 41mm wider track at the rear which, as you say “any that offers more power, or even wilder body modifications, is a worthy edition in my view”. The 1M Coupe offers all of these and there are only 450, it is far from a standard production model.

    You have now got me looking through MX-5s now too. Colours seem to be the latest trend and excuse for a new edition. The Veyron is another example; sang noir, sang blanc, sang bleu, they are all special editions only differentiated by unique colours.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Regards,

    Ram

    • Those huge differences between 1M and regular 1-Series are exactly the reason I don’t see it as a special edition and do see it as a model in its own right ;)

      “Special edition” suggests to me a car that’s based largely on the original model, but with enough changes to justify it as something unique from the herd.

      The MX5 examples I mentioned before are a good way of explaining the concept of special editions. The 10th Anniversary and California were both “special editions” of the MX5, but only the former actually differed significantly from the bog-standard 1.8. The California was some yellow paint and a badge, the 10AE was a 1.8 with a new gearbox, some upgraded trim, and a limited production run.

      The 1M has a limited production run, but it’s a lot more than just some M bits stuck to a 1-Series :) Different bodywork, different engine, hugely different chassis settings, unique interior bits etc mark it out as a model in it’s own right, just like an M3 or M5 :)

      All in my opinion, of course :)

  3. Have to say I agree with Anthony I would class the 1M and M3 CSL as limited production rather than special editions. By saying you are only going to make a limited number it increases demand even if the car company ends up making a lot more than they originally said. The Ferrari F40 is the classic example of this, originally there were only supposed to be 400 and Ferrari ended up making 1100.

    The Zonda is another case entirely. Yes the Cinque etc are special editions but the entire production run only amounts to 150 cars at most. It really needs to be considered in the same way as the coachbuilt Ferraris of the fifties such as the 410 Superamerica (36 made using 4 or five different body styles).

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