Special editions: are they really that special?

These are the creation of the new car marketing droids who are thinking of enhanced sales with the promise of a snazzy paint job and a few extra pieces of kit. Traditionally, that never translates into anything like higher used car values, thank goodness; it just makes the vehicle rather more saleable to people like us. So are there any that we should be taking a closer look at?

Rustling around the cheapies, I was delighted to stumble across a 1993 Volvo 440 XI Limited Edition at just £395. It’s one of those ironically hip – rather than hip replacement– nouveau not-quite classics. With racing green paint, sports seats and I don’t know what else, it will always make £395 for as long as it can pass an MOT. The rarity special-edition factor will always help, too, even if the automatic transmission doesn’t.

If you’re buying a cheapie, a Ford Focus is a sensible way to go. Ford has long offered Black editions, so a 2001 1.6i petrol with leather, and in black, of course, is a snip at £790. You’ll have to wait decades for any significant value hike, but it’s a comfy car and not an old bloke’s Ghia.

We don’t want saloons, though, do we? We want character, excitement and a really, really good special-edition name. Well, that would be the Mazda RX-8 Nemesis.

There were a couple of specials based on the 228bhp models, butthis used the 189bhp motor. Never mind, the name is rather awesome. Only 350 were made, most in Copper and some in Stormy Blue, and it has all sorts of rotary crests, Nemesis floor mats and random pieces of chrome. The one I found is blue, so it’s a rarity right there.

These are worth buttons because they’re potentially a pile of expensive trouble and don’t do many miles to the gallon of oil, but that overlooks the two and a half doors’ worth of practicality. Anyway, £1600 for a 2007 left-field sportster, which will become even more exclusive over the coming years, is a bargain.

A 2005 Toyota Celica Red Edition (in black, confusingly, although the seats are rouge) at £4995 is a more rational buy than a Wankel-engined oddity. Alternatively, I like the look of the rather more contemporary Renault Mégane 1.6 Dynamique World Series coupés. They have a high spec with off-centre stripes, and a 2009 example costs £5500 or so.

Which brings us back to Volvo and the spiritual successor to the rubbishy old 440. So how about a 2009 C30 R-Design Black Edition, but in white? There’s a black roof and mirrors and an R-Design bodykit, and you’ll pay around £7000 for the privilege of feeling special. Lovely.