Do You Remember These Automotive Collabs?

Special editions models are nothing new, but were you aware of these obscure collaboration cars? Check them out!

Our Favorite Brand Tie-in Car Collaborations

2008 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car Replica – carsforsale.com
2008 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car Replica – carsforsale.com

Car fans love a good special edition model. Things like the various Pace Car Editions, performance one offs like the Tommi Mäkinen Edition Mitsubishi Evo VI, or even celebratory models like the recent 60th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang. These special edition cars feature unique and exciting differences from the average model, plus they’re usually pretty rare. We could go on and one about some of the most beloved special editions ever made, but we’re getting a bit more specific for this list. We’re looking at some non-car brands that collaborated with auto makers to make special edition oddities.

Clothing brands, toys companies, popular beverages, and so many other businesses unrelated to cars have had some sort of special edition model put together over the years. We’ve scoured the history books to find these niche collaboration models from nearly every decade. Here are some of our favorite automotive special edition collaborations but be sure to let us know about some of your favorites that didn’t make the list!

AMC Levi’s Editions

We’re starting things off with possibly one of the most iconic automotive collabs of the 1970s, the AMC Gremlin Levi’s Edition. This was during a period when AMC was looking for a good gimmick that would give themselves an edge over their Big Three competition. The company decided to look outwards for inspiration in designing their vehicles and gained the help of renowned fashion designers Aldo Gucci, Pierre Cardin, and Oleg Cassini. Each of these fashion icons took an AMC model and gave the cars their own flare. While these were great little blips in AMC’s past, it was another clothing brand that stole the show.

AMC joined with Levi’s, the denim jean company, to create special edition AMC models. Customers could order the “Car that wears the pants” version of the hatchback Gremlin in 1973. This Levi’s edition upholstered the interior of the car with what looked like Levi’s denim jeans. It had the same denim look, same copper buttons, and even had the little red Levi’s brand tag from their jeans. The fabric used for the “denim jean” upholstery was actually nylon-spun fabric made to look like denim, but it’s still a pretty unique appearance package regardless.

AMC found some success with the Levi’s tie-in and followed this up with Levi’s editions of the Hornet, Pacer, Concord AMX, Jeep J-series trucks, Jeep Cherokee, and even the CJ line got some Levi’s love.

Ford Mustang 7-Up Edition

Ford Mustang &-Up Edition - carsforsale.com
Ford Mustang &-Up Edition - carsforsale.com

Have you heard of the blunder that is the 7-Up Edition Mustang? The original plan for this cross promotion was to only produce 30 of the special edition Mustangs and give them away as prizes at the 1990 NCAA Basketball Finals. It was going to be one of those “make a half-court shot and win a car” kind of scenarios, but 7-Up scrapped the idea last minute. Ford had already begun producing some of the cars, so they decided they’d just bump up the initial production to 5,000 make it their own special edition model.

The 7-Up editions were 1990 Fox body Mustang LX convertible models featuring the 5.0 under the hood. What was unique for this model was the paint scheme. It consisted of a deep emerald green metallic paint and a white soft top for the roof matching 7-Up’s marketing materials. Inside was white leather upholstery and it was given the best interior package featuring cruise control, air conditioning, and the top-of-the-line sound system featuring a cassette player and AM/FM radio.

Ford Eddie Bauer Editions

Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer - carsforsale.com
Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer - carsforsale.com

While the 7-Up collab wasn’t planned, the one with Eddie Bauer definitely was. Ford and Eddie Bauer found themselves in an interesting partnership starting in the ‘90s as they found a particular audience that appealed to both brands. The outdoor apparel brand was ideal for outdoorsy families and the all-new Ford Explorer found itself in a similar niche due to its 4×4 capabilities and ample seating. So, the Ford Explorer gained its first special edition with some input from Eddie Bauer.

The Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition primarily consisted of a two-tone paintjob over top of the XLT trim with some added Eddie Bauer badges. This may seem simple for a special edition, but people loved them. The collaboration was so successful for the model that it became a returning staple for the Ford Explorer into the 2000s. Eddie Bauer even made its way onto other Ford models in the ‘90s like the Aerostar and the F-150, but none were as appealing as the Explorer version.

Mercury Villager Nautica Edition

Mercury Villager Nautica Edition - Mercury
Mercury Villager Nautica Edition - Mercury

When Ford tested out the Eddie Bauer collaboration on their Aerostar minivan, Mercury decided to follow suit with their own clothing brand edition. The Ford subsidiary took their Villager minivan and added some connections to the Nautica brand. The nautical-inspired clothing brand entered as the top trim level of the Mercury Villager. The Villager Nautica edition carried a two-tone paintjob featuring a bright yellow stripe and inside there was two-tone upholstered seating with the Nautica logo embroidered into the headrests. It even came with a matching Nautica duffle bag. The Villager Nautica Edition was different but didn’t carry the same weight that Eddie Bauer had for Ford. The Nautica branded minivans were soon phased out along with Mercury as a whole not too long after.

Chevrolet Venture Warner Bros. Edition

While Ford brands were busy with clothing collabs, Chevrolet looked towards the entertainment business. We could make an entire list of movie and television based special edition cars, but that’s for another list. This one we’ll give a pass though as it’s the Warner Brothers company and not specifically for one of their properties from the time. The Chevrolet Venture Warner Bros. Edition debuted in 2000 as a top-of-the-line kids theater on wheels. Chevrolet integrated a VHS player and a flip down 7-inch screen into the roof of the minivan. This was cutting-edge entertainment tech for a vehicle back then, unlike modern day where it’s common place to have rear-seat entertainment options. The only other notable change was the addition of the WB logo alongside their iconic character Bugs Bunny as special edition badging around the minivan.

Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition

Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition - carsforsale.com
Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition - carsforsale.com

At the 1999 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Ford unveiled the first ever Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition pickup truck. The collaboration between the renowned motorcycle manufacturer and America’s most popular truck made for a match made in heaven. Now motorcycle fans had an ideal alternative for when they couldn’t take out the Softail or Street Glide.

The special edition F-150 gained orange pinstriping and Harley-Davidson logos throughout the exterior, the exhaust from the SVT Lightning was installed with Harley inspired “slash” tips, the shocks from the SVT Lightning were added, and the first appearance of Ford 20-inch wheels were thrown on. The inside continued the motorcycle style with black leather seats that carried the Harley-Davidson logo. Ford would collaborate with Harley-Davidson in subsequent years before letting Tuscany Motor Company take things over in 2020 to upfit their F-Series trucks with the Harley-Davidson flare.

Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition

Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition - carsfforsale.com
Subaru Outback L.L. Bean Edition - carsfforsale.com

Merging an internationally recognized outdoors brand with a car worked well for Ford, so Subaru tried their hand at the idea. The company partnered with outdoor clothing company L.L. Bean to produce a special high-end edition of the Outback. The 2000 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean edition coupled the capable Outback drivetrain with some luxurious adornments like L.L. Bean sourced leather for the upholstery, faux wood trim, a six-disc CD changer, a McIntosh sound system, and a dual-pane moon roof. Aside from all the top-end exterior options for the Outback, the only real thing that distinguished this model on the outside as a special edition was a small L.L. Bean badge.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Adidas Edition

Volkswagen Golf GTI Adidas Edition - volkswagen-newsroom.com
Volkswagen Golf GTI Adidas Edition - volkswagen-newsroom.com

American clothing brands and American cars worked out well, so Volkswagen joined with German clothing brand Adidas to make their own collab car. The Golf GTI Adidas Edition looks like your average version of the hot hatch from the outside besides the Adidas logo adorning the B-pillar. Inside is what really set this model apart as it was given Adidas inspired bucket seats with Vienna leather and cloth upholstery that utilizes Adidas design cues and the company’s logo. It’s not much, but GTI fans are clamoring for this rare version of the Mk.6 model.

Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty Editions

Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty MW3 Edition - carsforsale.com
Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty MW3 Edition - carsforsale.com

Fans of the Call of Duty video game were surprised when Jeep announced a Black Ops inspired version of the 2011 Wrangler Rubicon. This black-on-black Wrangler was styled to match the campaign story and can even be found in some of the multiplayer maps. The only thing noticeable different from the video game version was that the real-world Black Ops editions included the Call of Duty: Black Ops logo throughout the design. Call of Duty would partner back up in 2012 as a promotion to the Modern Warfare 3 release. This time the Call of Duty edition Wrangler could be found in black or grey featuring the bright green Modern Warfare 3 logo all around the vehicle. However, just 200 versions of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon models were produced in comparison to 1,000 examples of the prior Call of Duty Black Ops editions.

Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition

Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition - fender.com
Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition - fender.com

Volkswagen brought about a rockin’ collaboration for one of their concept vehicles as the Frankfurt Auto Show back in 2011. The Fender Beetle concept was a guitar player’s dream vehicle. It included Fender guitar inspired styling, a dash mounted tube amp, and a subwoofer mounted in the trunk that was configured to plug a guitar straight in and start shredding. The Fender Beetle did make it to production, but with a lot of its cooler features stripped away. Production models still got the guitar finished, wood grain looking dashboard and plenty of Fender logos inside and out. The tube amp and guitar compatible subwoofer are gone, but the 400-watt audio system was still from Fender at least.

Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition

Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels 50 Anniversary Edition - media.chevrolet.com
Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels 50 Anniversary Edition - media.chevrolet.com

Did you know that the first ever Hot Wheels toy car was a Chevrolet Camaro? Seems fitting then that Chevrolet returned the favor with a Hot Wheels Edition of the muscle car for the company’s 50th anniversary! In 2018, Chevrolet introduced the Camaro Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition. This bright orange, racing striped Camaro was available as the 2LT or 2SS trimmed model and could be optioned as a convertible or a hardtop. The front fender carried a special Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary badge and the interior continued the orange and black theme. This wasn’t the first Hot Wheels Edition Camaro as the two companies had collaborated in 2013 too with a blue and black color scheme to commemorate the very first Hot Wheels car’s design.

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Jesse McGraw

Jesse McGraw brings his life-long car obsession into his writing. A fun childhood that involved growing up around race tracks, working on a rusty ‘99 Dodge Dakota held together by zip ties, and collecting Hot Wheels developed into a strong appreciation for automotive history. If there is an old, obscure, or rare car, he wants to know about it. With a bachelor's degree in Web Development & Design from Dakota State University, Jesse can talk shop about car or computer specs, focusing on classic cars, imports, and car culture.

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