Yesterday’s Scirocco is a reminder of the original Volkswagen project for a sporty car based upon pedestrian internals. That project was EA425, and as Volkswagen shifted away from rear-drive platforms towards the new, efficient and cheap to manufacture front-drive arrangement, Porsche continued to develop the prototype. Released nearly in conjunction with the new Golf and Scirocco, the 924 was the first to introduce the world to a water-cooled, transaxle Porsche in late 1975. Yet as they’ve done with so many other models and though the affordable and efficient 924 was a relative hit out of the marks, immediately Porsche began offering special limited models to tick the price up and spur sales.
The result was that effectively every model year early on got its own special model. Today I’ve got two of the early examples; the 1977 Martini World Championship edition and the 1978 Limited Edition model. While neither have much in terms of performance gain, either is an affordable entry-level classic:
In 1976, Porsche won the World Sportscar Championship for makes with successful runs in both the 935 and prototype 936 chassis. The 936 was triumphant at Le Mans in the already famous Martini livery, while a series of 935/76s carried the colors in Group 5 FIA sports car racing. It was there that Porsche introduced the ‘slant nose’ aerodynamic bodywork that became the hot mod on 911s in the 1980s; however, in the 1970s you could get a very nice slantnose Porsche – replete with Martini Racing colors – for a lot less than a 911 Turbo.
To commemorate the success of the 1976 season, in 1977 Porsche released a limited run of Martini-colored 924s. Option M426 was the Martini World Championship Edition, and it cost $450. Add in a removable roof like this one for about $350, and the sticker price of this car just passed $10,000. For that sum, Porsche gave you quite a lot of visual enhancement; bathed only in pure white, the 924’s 8-spoke alloy wheels were color-matched to the body. Martini stripes ran the length of the sides, their design mimicking the wedge shape of the 924. Inside, a special two-tone interior of scarlet corduroy and black leatherette was offset with Martini stripes stitched into the upper portion of the seats and blue piping ran throughtout. A commemorative plaque was added to the back of the center console, too, reminding you that the car you were driving was from the house of a champion. You held a real leather steering wheel, and helping execute your commands was achieved by Porsche adding sway bars to the suspension both front and rear. It was a series of small changes that resulted in a neat package, and one that is sought by collectors of the transaxle design today:
Porsche has never been one to shy away from special editions. You could probably populate the pages of this blog daily with the veritable cornucopia of limited-run models Stuttgart thinks up at every board meeting. So it comes as no surprise that Porsche’s tried and true formula of “Add Limited Edition” immediately found its way into their new 924 chassis as soon as it was released. I covered these special models last year over at The Truth About Cars, but you’re probably already familiar with a few as we’ve seen them before on these pages.
The first to hit was the Championship Edition (Martini) 924 in 1976-7. It was primarily an appearance package with the signature red/blue Martini stripes over a body in white with a unique interior, though the model also got sway bars for some performance gain. About 3,000 were produced. In 1978 that was followed by the Limited Edition; again, a special color with special Pascha interior, sway bars and the addition of fog lights. In 1979, to celebrate the 1978 victory of Porsche 935s at Sebring, Porsche introduced a new limited model. Dubbed ‘Sebring ’79’, the new model took aspects of both the Martini and Limited models and combined them. You got sway bars and fog lights (Sebring takes place partially during the night, after all!), and the model was presented in bright Guards Red paintwork with a Tartan interior inserts. Porsche upped the race decal quotient from the Martini car; not only were there yellow race stripes that flowed down the sides, those stripes encircled the car now. Giant “Sebring ’79’ decals adorned the front fenders and the tail, as well. And if you forgot what you were driving, Porsche slapped a huge ‘924’ white decal in the middle of the headlight filler panel. As 924 special editions went, it was the closest to a full-sized Matchbox car you could buy.…
To wrap up the production of the W201 in 1993 and make way for the W202, Mercedes-Benz decided to give buyers a little extra something. That something was two ”Limited Edition” W201 variants. They comprised a 2.3 which was more of a luxury version and a 2.6 which was geared more towards sport. Both versions were limited to 700 cars each. The 2.6 didn’t come with any engine performance upgrades but did get different shocks, stiffer springs, roll bars, a quicker-ratio steering box, lower-profile tires and wider wheels borrowed from the S and SL. All the 2.6 cars were painted in black and the interior got some very non-conservative treatment with heavy use of red accents throughout.
They weren’t produced in big numbers, but we’ve seen a couple 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E Limited Editions appear on GCFSB as of late, both in 2.3 and 2.6 form. This 190E 2.6 Limited Edition for sale in Florida has extremely low mileage and certainly appears as such. These 2.6 Limited Editions came equipped in black over black and red leather with carbon fibre trim, tighter suspension settings and sport seats. The carbon fibre trim has been replaced by wood trim in this example, which, in my opinion doesn’t really complement the more sporting look of the interior. It’s not terrible, mind you, but I would have preferred the stock look in this case. Given the small number of these 190Es built and the smaller number that still exist in good shape, you’ll want to look this example over a bit more closely.
The 1990s would bring about a shift in Mercedes-Benz naming language, but the year before the C class would arrive, the original baby Benz, the 190E, would have one last shout in the form of two Limited Edition models. The 190E 2.3 Limited Edition would be offered only in Emerald Green over parchment leather with burlwood trim. The 190E 2.6 Limited Edition, like the one we see here for sale in Missouri, was offered solely in black over black and red leather with carbon fibre trim. While the 2.3 Limited Edition was tuned more towards luxury, this 2.6 had a bit more aggression with the Sportline spec. On offer were tighter suspension settings and sport seats, among other features. This 190E 2.6 Limited Edition is especially attractive, having had one owner for many years with low mileage showing on the odometer.
Continuing on my theme of watercooled transaxle Porsches in famous livery, in 1976 Porsche won the World Sportscar Championship primarily with its 935 and 936 models in Martini Racing livery. To commemorate this achievement, in 1977 if you walked into your Porsche dealer and selected option M426 (Code E19) on a new Porsche 924, you’d be handed the keys to a uniquely colored coupe. The outside of each was Grand Prix White, and along the side were triangularly shaped stripes in the now famous Martini Racing livery. The “Tarantula” alloys were color-matched white as well. Underneath, the Martini cars were equipped with front and rear sway bars – the only real performance option. Inside was what really set the car apart, though, with scarlet carpet and seat centers, contrasting piping, a leather steering wheel and of course a commemorative plaque to let you know you were in the house of a World Champion!
The 1993 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 Limited Edition we featured last year is back up for sale, this time surfacing in California. Wearing Euro market headlamps, this final year W201 has accumulated just under 5,500 miles in that time and comes at a considerable discount since when we last saw it. Rarely do you get a chance to acquire such a rare piece of Mercedes-Benz history for such little cash. Given the choice between the new CLA and this stately compact sedan, I’d reach for the keys to the original baby Benz every time.
The below post originally appeared on our site March 19, 2014:
The low mileage Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 Limited Edition we featured last October is back up for sale, the seller having lowered the price by another $2,000. Not many of these Limited Edition W201s left in this condition, but how far will the seller have to go to find a buyer?
The below post originally appeared on our site October 15, 2014:
Back in July, I reviewed a 1978 Porsche 924 Limited Edition that was for sale for $3,700. To me, that car looked to be a fantastic deal. Sure, the 924 is the red-headed step-child of Porsche, but it was a clean and original driver for under $4,000. Hard to beat that in Porsche terms! Today, I found another “Limited Edition” 924 from 1977. In true Porsche form, they sure managed to make a lot of special editions of the 924! This car is one of the slightly less rare Martini Racing Championship edition cars, of which there were 3,000 produced. While the 1978 car was understated in silver, this 1977 shouts out its sporting connections with some pretty fantastic side stripes and a wild interior:
Model: 924 Martini Racing Limited Edition
Engine: 2.0 liter inline-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 34,000 mi
Price: $7,999 Buy It Now
PORSCHE 924 SPECIAL EDITION
MARTINI RACING CHAMPIONSHIP LIMITED EDITION!
EXCELLENT CONDITION! LOW MILES!
~FUN TO DRIVE~
Comes with Certificate of Authenticity & An Original 1977 Print Advertisement
This car has been babied! It has never seen a flake of snow!!!
“The first limited-edition 924 was labeled the Martini Edition and factory order number M426. Also known as the Championship Edition, it was a celebration vehicle of Porsches racing triumphs. It was distinguished by front and rear sway bars, leather covered steering wheel, red-white-blue Martini Rossi striped on the outside and on the headrests, white alloy rims, black vinyl seats, and red carpet. The vehicles were built from December 1976 through March 1977.”
I can’t say that this car really looks to be in mint condition. Clean, yes, but not near-spotless like the 1978 silver car.…