Extremely Rare and Cool Special Edition Packages and Limited Run Models – Ford Edition Part II
Continuing the extremely rare and cool special edition packages and limited run models – Ford Edition Part I, we’ll list some additional rare vehicles from Blue Oval’s assortment.
Fairlane 500 R Code
Pressured by competitors which by ’66 were already deep in muscle car game, Ford finally pulled their ace and installed the 427ci 7.0L V8 into Fairlane. These R-Code Fairlanes were intended in 70 copies, but only 57 2-door hardtops ended up being built. Things weren’t much better the following year when 229 R and W-codes were made. Furthermore, Ford had plans to build the Fairlane GT with 427ci, but that project was scrapped. Although, there’s one Fairlane GT hardtop in Ford’s books. It only hasn’t been accounted for. All this clearly states that Blue Oval had some troubles supplying the engine.
Nevertheless, Ford Fairlane 500 R-Code was one hell of a car, officially generating 425 horsepower. It also had the 4-speed manual transmission and scooped fiberglass hood. As if 57 wasn’t rare enough already, most of R-Code Fairlanes don’t have the original driveline that’s intact. That only makes them even more collectible.
Ford Skyranger was supposed to be built by a third party manufacturer – American Sunroof Company. And it was, but not for long. Ford wasn’t that enthusiastic about the project and they scrapped it after ASC made less than 20 Skyrangers. Reports vary, but either 17 or 19 have been built. In any case, every single Skyranger features a stock 4.0L V6, all-wheel drive and extended cab. ASC only chopped off the roof and put the soft top instead. They also created one of the rarest pickup trucks ever, although unintentionally.
Expedition Funkmaster Flex
Funkmaster Flex special edition instigated by hip hop DJ and producer of the same alias only brings cosmetic changes to the table. It’s basically stock Ford Expedition with 300-horsepower 5.4L V8 and a 6-speed automatic. Black and red paint job, 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, and special badges on the outside, and red stitching and trim on the inside, however, are there to remind us this isn’t your regular flagship SUV. Only 650 of Funkmaster Flex Expeditions have been pushed, but that was to be the beginning only. Flex was supposed to flex out Mustangs too, but that cooperation still hasn’t developed.
F-Series Spirit of 76
Pretty much every car, lawnmower and skateboard manufacturer back then jumped in on the America’s bicentennial special edition theme, and Ford was no different. Although, they were somewhat more reserved about it, offering the package only in their F-series trucks. Moreover, the package itself was rather conservative. It can be explained by Ford’s perception that other carmakers would wholeheartedly jump in on the bicentennial thing in order to make more money. They probably weren’t willing to be branded opportunists, so they kept a low profile.
Ford’s variation on the theme was based on either Wimbledon White or Bahama Blue exterior color, and golden eagle crest and stripe over it. Only hint of a red came in thin border stripe on the side. Inside, blue vinyl seats were combined with red, white and blue plaid cloth motif. There was also custom lettering and eagle badge on the glove box, and that was that. It’s not known how many people decided to tick the Spirit of 76 box that spring, but very few such F-series (F-100 through F-350) survive to this day.
Thunderbird Limited Edition 007
Bond cars have always had that special aura around them, and Ford was always around when it came to 007. After not so great 2002 – Die Another Day came out, Blue Oval decided to commemorate the occasion with not so great revived retro Thunderbird. Since Bond drove Aston Martin V12 Vanquish and Zao drove Jaguar XKR, Ford’s choices were limited. The next best thing (although I’d say it was the absolute best thing in the movie) was Halle Berry and her role of Giacinta Jinx Johnson.
The Bond girl’s Thunderbird was commissioned in only 700 units (694 sold and 6 used for show) and all were colored Sunset Coral to match Jinx’s bathing suit from the movie. Unlike the movie, however, real world special edition Thunderbird came with the white top. Interior followed with Performance White leather seats, small badge on the instrument panel and a numbered, commemorative plaque on the glovebox. All were fitted with 3.9L V8’s, but had new variable intake camshaft timing which raised the power output from 252 hp to 280 hp.
Explorer Saleen XP6 and XP8
When Saleen ordered a batch of second gen Ford Explorers back in 1998, little did they know they’ll get a few “rotten eggs” in the package. Things weren’t exactly that bad, but instead of V8-powered Explorer, few XLTs were fitted with the V6. Instead of returning the “faulty” package back to Ford, Saleen proceeded in making the best out of the situation. Thus, the Saleen XP6 was born. XP6 was straignt 4.0L V6-powered conversion Explorer and only 6 of them have been reported thus far. There couldn’t have been more than 10 of these.
XP8, on the other hand, was exactly what Saleen had intended from the get-go. Between 125 and 265 of these were made and they were either available with straight 222-horsepower 5.0L V8 or Saleen’s supercharged version of the engine which developed 286 horsepower. Saleen’s Explorers were lowered by 2 inches which improved both the handling and the looks. Racecraft suspension components were installed and so were Saleen’s own 18-inch magnesium wheels. Either wood or carbon fiber treatment could have been chosen for the cabin and so could the optional RECARO leather seats.
Incidentally, 1998 was both the anniversary year of the NASCAR racing and F-Series trucks. Moreover, Ford was just beginning with its 5-year sponsorship of NASCAR. In order to commemorate the occasion, Ford, naturally released the F-150 NASCAR special edition. Spring special was made in some 3,000 copies, all of which were black. Furthermore, all had the 220-horsepower 4.6L Triton V8 mill, 120-inch wheelbase, 16-inch black aluminum wheels, Roush dual stainless-steel exhaust tips and front air dam, and mandatory XL trim level. At least 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic were available to choose from.
Only 17 weeks were needed for the project to go from the concept into production phase. That might be one of the reasons VIN plate doesn’t hold any information about them. Window sticker and 94N order code are the only identifiers of the NASCAR F-150. That and checkered flag stripe with NASCAR Official Truck emblem around the bed.
Early seventies were both exciting and thrill-killing for the muscle car scene. On the one side, some of the best muscle cars were produced in ’70 and ’71. On another, emissions regulations and soaring oil prices have practically killed the scene. This is where compact and economical imports, captives and domestic cars enter the fray.
Ford Maverick was one such compact car, but it wasn’t all that dull. At least not with the Stallion package offered during the ’76. Stallion was Maverick with some extra kick as Ford described it. According to them, it was a beautiful proof that economy can still be fun and exciting. Inside, Black Random Stripe cloth and vinyl upholstery were standard, while all-vinyl bench seat or sporty bucket seats in black vinyl were optional. Outside, Maverick Stallion featured blacked-out trim and grille, special paint on hood, roof, decklid and lower body, and stallion graphic on front fenders.True to its nature, Maverick Stallion could have been ordered with duo of potent engines mated to a 4-speed manual trans. Either with standard 250ci in-line six or optional 302ci V8. Only 5,529 Maverick Stallions were produced, but the package itself was offered on Pinto and Mustang II as well.
XC Falcon Cobra
An entrant from Australia – Falcon Cobra was a limited 400-units muscle car produced in 1978. Ford Australia already had plans for the new XD Falcon which would be offered exclusively in 4-door variants. Meanwhile they decided to do something special with the XC Falcon which was still a 2-door coupe affair among other things. Not that they wanted to, but there were 400 XC shells left unsold and they didn’t want to scrap them.
First idea was to convert them into black and gold Playboy-themed cars, complete with bunny decals. Sadly, they soon abandoned that idea, but at least they gave us the next best thing – Ford Falcon Cobra. Bold Blue bow to stern stripes and Sno White background were chosen for colors while cobra decals were fixed to the front fenders. 200 XC Falcon Cobras received the 351ci Cleveland V8, while other 200 got the 302ci Cleveland V8. Both were available with either manual or automatic transmission, and various optional equipment.
Inspired by the Bigfoot monster truck, Bigfoot Cruiser special edition of ford pickups stands out as one of the most impressive such conversions. It was available on F-Series trucks and Rangers alike, albeit in very limited numbers. Package included over 30-inch tires, Warn winch with Enforcer bumper, chrome roll bar with lights and Bigfoot Cruiser special decals. Thing is, most of them were affected by a recall for faulty cruise control prone to catching fire. Furthermore, some of them have already caused serious accidents and Bigfoot appearance (especially huge tires) didn’t really help their owners get away with it. So, Ford decided to take all those fine additions that made the Bigfoot Cruiser cool away. Maybe some of them have managed to escape the recall. Maybe.
Ski Country Special Mustang
Ski Country Special edition was only available in 1967, and only in 10 dealerships in Denver area. That info alone should be enough to express their rarity back then, and especially these days, 50 years after. As its name suggests, the package was intended for winter driving, especially around winter resorts like Aspen. Apart from having winter tires and equa-lock rear axle, Ski Country Special also features ski racks on the rear overhang. There was also a luggage rack available in five different colors. Apart from being available with both hardtop and fastback Mustangs, Ski Country Special was no stranger to Fairlane, Galaxie and Country Sedan too. Still, special edition numbers were limited nevertheless.
Free Wheeling package offered during the late seventies wasn’t that limited actually. It spanned across multiple Ford nameplates including Bronco, F-Series flareside and styleside, Courier, and E-Series Van. Given so many vehicles could have been ordered with the package, Free Wheeling’s total numbers will likely never be found.
Most vehicles influenced by this special edition came with chromatic multi-color side stripes that were different in every nameplate and year. For ’77, for instance, that was 5-color rainbow stripe. In ’78, Free Wheeling package was expanded and there would be A and B option from then until the end of production. A option was carried over from last year, while B option included additional tubular GT bar and 15-inch Chrome Yellow wheels. ’79 flareside and styleside would receive revised pinstriping, while ’80 A option now included optional Tu-Tone paint on flareside trucks. B option which was available for 4×2 models added fog lamps, bumper guards, bright rear bumper (contour on styleside and channel on flareside), 10-hole aluminum wheels, and handling package, while 4×4 models received GT bar and white styled wheels.