Forgotten special editions are kind of my bag. I’ve written 21 different articles on various obscure limited-run models that have been lost to time and there are a few more to come. When I put these articles together, I have no defined system for what’s included and what isn’t. These cars must simply be noteworthy or desirable in some way and with sufficiently low production volumes. But there are plenty of special editions that just fade from our memory banks until we see one years later and go, “Oh, yeah. That was a thing.” Here are two. What have you seen?
For the last year of the first-generation Windstar, Ford added two models: a flagship Limited with leather seats and faux wood interior trim and a special edition Northwoods. According to Wikipedia, the latter was available on both the GL and LX trims, the GL getting cloth seating and silver wheels with gold pockets and the LX receiving leather trim and gold-painted wheels. It appears all Northwoods models received the same two-tone paint treatment, using one of the three different shades of green available on the Windstar that year. This is some real 1990s minivan arcana – I couldn’t find any other info on the Northwoods edition, even in the brochure.
While the above Windstar has its original green paint, the bright green on this 1980 Datsun 200B Aspen GL isn’t original. It sure is fetching but the original paint job on this special edition was quite distinctive for its day, too, being a two-tone “shadow tone” treatment in green, blue or gray. There were also “Volante” alloy wheels and button-tufted velour seats. Again, information on these is scarce and I’ve only been able to find photos of the car in its original gray.
I did, however, find a TV commercial for the Aspen GL. 1980 was the last year for the 200B, our version of the car known as the Bluebird and 810 elsewhere, so the Aspen GL was like a farewell special edition. The overall aesthetic – with the cushy velour seats and two-tone paint – wouldn’t have been out of place on a Buick Century or, well, a Dodge Aspen.
Is there a special edition vehicle you’ve stumbled across lately that you’d forgotten existed? Or perhaps one that you never realized existed?