Friday November 2, 2018
Or, half a dozen limited edition models that created a stir on their launch
Morris Minor Million
22nd December 1960 was a red-letter day for BMC as the millionth Morris Minor left the Cowley production lines; the first British car to achieve this status. 4th January of the following year saw the debut of the celebratory “Minor Million”, which features black carpeting, ivory leather upholstery, chrome wheel trims and, most noteworthy of all, a lilac paint finish. The original colour choice was to be metallic silver, but this was ultimately thought to be too vulnerable. Some 350 Millions were produced – and each was an instant collector’s item the moment the proud owner took delivery.
MGB GT Jubilee
In 1974 Abingdon announced a special model to commemorate 50 years of the MG marque and production of the MGB Jubilee commenced in 1975. Just 750 were produced, and aside from a one-off V8 and a solitary Roadster, they were all based on the standard GT. Only 300 were sold in the UK, the owners delighting in the black and gold alloy wheels, the “Jubilee” brass plaque in the glove box (this could also be embossed with your name), the tinted glass, the black cloth trim and, of course, that decal. With thanks to Silverstone Auctions for the photo - http://www.silverstoneauctions.com/
Mini 1100 Special
Not the first limited edition Mini but one that a) marked a key anniversary and b) was extremely well packaged. August 1979 was the 20th birthday of the car that was “Wizardry on Wheels” and the 1100 Special combined extra power from the 1,098cc engine with metallic paint (your choice of silver or rose) decorated with very late 1970s stripes, alloy wheels, a tachometer, a clock, a cigar lighter and even a radio. BL planned to make just 2,500 Specials but demand obliged them to build a further 2,600.
Ford Granada Ghia Sapphire
Ownership of a Granada Ghia Mk. II in the late 1970s was already a hallmark of social success but when Ford announced the Sapphire in May 1979, it instantly became a “must-have” for anyone who aspired to the directors’ dining room. 39 years ago, to drive a Granada that sported duotone paint was to put you in the same bracket as someone who possessed a Panasonic video-recorder – i.e. someone who was ‘going places’.
Talbot Sunbeam Trio
The Sunbeam is now chiefly recalled for the Lotus versions, but this 1979 limited edition model deserves to be recalled as one of the first versions to wear the Talbot badge, after Peugeot’s take-over of Chrysler’s European operations. However, I do not recall this fine car for its “Piccadilly” upholstery, its “Moonstone” finish or even the glamour that was a hatchback fitted with a heated rear window. During the 1980s I chiefly remember associating the name Trio with a certain advertisement for a chocolate bar -
Vauxhall Cavalier Commander
Some cars are so “1980s” as to virtually defy belief and the 1985 Cavalier Commander belongs in that elite category. After all, who could resist a car with ‘anthracite steel wheels’, ‘true officer material’ Grey Saxony cloth trim’ and a sliding glass sunroof? Vauxhall build 6,000 examples – 3,600 hatchbacks and 2,400 saloons and for those who could not quite run to a SRi, the well-appointed 1.6 litre Commander was a very agreeable alternative. And that silver metallic finish can instantly transport you to the days when Don't You (Forget About Me) was constantly heard on Radio One...