As we have found out while exploring this unusually fecund theme, special editions have a touch of the spurious. It doesn’t only apply to the volume car makers (who have that name for a reason).
It also applies in its own way to makers of cars that are supposedly exclusive already. Without looking up the numbers I am very sure that Ferrari sells fewer cars a year than Ford sells special edition Fiestas, for example. Yet Ferrari is not content to put five or six basic cars in their showroom, happy in the knowledge that only a few thousand find customers every year.
The Ferrari California T (essentially an up-rated 2013 Ferrari Maryland, I think) is available as a “Tailor Made” edition. It has stripes on the bonnet, to make it look faster. It succeeds the 2015 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Tour de France special edition. That version had a 740 horsepower, 508 lb ft V12 and a name you might expect to have found on a Renault Super 5 in 1987.
Allegedly the car was named after a GTO which won the Tour de France in 1964. It’s hard to believe that many of the buyers of the car knew that in advance. Rather, the information is presented to the buyer as a little bit of connoisseur knowledge. I don’t imagine that very many actual Ferrari buyers (some do) will walk about with date of the 1964 GTO Tour victory in their heads and be pleasantly surprised by seeing a car named in memory of that event. It’s simply too fine a detail.
It makes me think of the bogus emphasis on unimportant peculiarities that whiskey makers use to market their over-rated lawnmower fuel: “The Kyle of McNevis Special 23 Years Old is a limited run of 1205 bottles, drawn from a special cask located in the north-north-east corner of the distillery where it is said its proximity to the sinuous course of the Dunromin stream gives the whiskey a tang from the muscovite, biotite and hornblende minerals in the granite over which it flows.
Further, the casks themselves are made from the finest Spanish oak. This is thought to give the elegant whiskey its distinct olives and chorizo flavour suspected by some to come from the fact the tapas is eaten in the same country as the barrels are made. In addition to this we have only one bottling of the 23 Year Old per year guaranteeing that supply is indeed limited to a very few hand signed, individually numbered bottles….”
You get the feeling that Ferrari’s marketing people have been tasked with reading the firm’s history expressly with the aim of finding something to tie to a car which would exist anyway. Indeed, I expect one could order a Ferrari F12 pretty much in the same specification as the Tour de France special edition long before they thought to bundle up leather, A/C and colour coded licence plate nut covers into a self-important special edition.
Isn’t there a touch of the Franklin Mint about these special editions?