Five much-loved limited-edition cars for the summer season

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 July, 2016, 8:13pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 July, 2016, 10:35pm

European marques often preview upcoming limited-edition cars amid the social whirl of midsummer. Several have gleamed in the past month’s long evening light, but the following five should attract Hong Kong’s collectors.

The Mercedes-AMG GT R looks to be the car of the year. The twin-turbo, four-litre V8 arguably stole the season at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in southern England three weeks ago, and might have revived the “haute” motoring popularity of metallic “Kermit” green. The marque describes the rear-wheel-drive supercar’s shade as “AMG Green Hell magno”, however, to highlight the supercar’s performance during testing on the Nurburgring in Germany.

The 1,555kg Mercedes-AMG GT R packs power behind its new AMG Panamerica grille, and with a modified suspension, stiffer body, new aerodynamics and a wider track. The 585-horsepower supercar is 75hp stronger than the GT S and produces 700 Newton metres of torque to achieve 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and a 318km/h top speed.

Such enhancements were achieved “with the help of new turbochargers” and more oomph in the AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission on standard-fit Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, with 275/35 ZR 19 at the front and 325/30 ZR 20 at the rear. The Mercedes-AMG GT R’s pre-sales start on November 21, with a European launch planned for March next year.

It has been a big month for Ford. On June 19, the Blue Oval marque reaffirmed its Le Mans heritage by winning the GT class of the 24 Hours race. Ford GTs also finished in third, fourth and ninth places in the race. Such success was timely as it was 50 years after Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon won Le Mans in a GT40 Mark II racer, and just as the marque plans production of the 600-horsepower Ford GT “in late 2016”. Last month, the carmaker announced the upcoming production of the Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition. It’s a looker in matte or gloss black, with a white stripe and carbon touches on gold 20-inch wheels. Ford has not specified its price, availability or its “limited” production run, however.

The GT is “one of more than 12 new Ford Performance vehicles coming by 2020”, alongside the Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R, the marque says. A hit at last year’s Detroit Motor Show, the rear-wheel-drive GT has a new, mid-mounted 3.5-litre, V6 twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifts, on 20-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tyres.

Britain’s Lister Motor last month launched a limited run of 10 Lister Knobbly Jaguar Stirling Moss cars, each with a handmade magnesium body and lightweight build of the original “works” Knobblys of the 1950s. The racing marque soared and faded in the 1950s, but was revived in 2013 when Andrew and Lawrence Whittaker bought it and then made and sold 10 aluminium-bodied models in the following year.

The 10 Stirling Moss editions will commemorate the driver’s races for Brian Lister in the “works” racing cars at Goodwood in 1954, Silverstone in 1958 and Sebring in 1959. “Each car will be priced from £1 million [HK$10.3 million] with first deliveries in autumn 2017,” Lister says, adding that the models will have a silver, numbered plaque with Moss’ engraved signature.

Owners would also receive a personal welcome letter from the legendary racing-car driver, while Historic racing versions will come with a full FIA HTP passport.

The Knobblys’ 3.8-litre, straight-six, 337hp Jaguar D-type Racing Engine and four-speed gearbox are produced by Crosthwaite and Gardiner, and the 841kg Stirling Moss edition does 100km/h in four seconds and has a top speed of 296km/h.

The Fiat 500 Gucci edition is much-loved in Hong Kong. Last month, however, the Italian marque announced its latest inter-brand collaboration, with compatriot yacht manufacturer Riva. The Fiat 500 Riva looks suitably nautical in “Sera Blue”, popular in the Aquariva Super boat. The limited edition’s 500 numbered and personalised hatchbacks and convertibles have chromed mirror caps, a double aquamarine belt line and 16-inch blue alloy wheels.

The dashboard is in hand-painted mahogany with maple inlay work; while the door sills and gear knob are carved from a solid piece of mahogany; and the seats are in ivory leather by Poltrona Frau, also works with Maserati. The dashboard incorporates Fiat’s seven-inch HD Uconnect LIVE infotainment system, with Bluetooth voice calls, music streaming and voice recognition. Potential importers might note that the 69hp, 1.2-litre Fiat 500 Riva will be available in right-hand-drive in Britain at the end of August, along with TwinAir 85hp and TwinAir 105hp options.

This month, Jeep said it was sending 125 units of its three-litre V6 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary (of the marques founding) to Britain, where they will sell for for £50,550. These models have an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quadra-Trac II 4x4 system, bronze detailing and 75th Anniversary badging. They sell in the US from US$41,175.