MINI John Cooper Works GP
Coming along towards the end of each MINI Cooper generation’s life cycle, we met the first GP (a supercharged fizzbomb weighing just 1,090kg) in 2006, and the GP2 sequel – a lairier, edgier prospect, turbocharged for more torque – in 2013, with only 2,000 of each made.
The third, released earlier this year, went even further with 306hp and 450Nm under the bonnet, plus an extra 1,000 built. You’d need to be a loyal MINI fan to buy what is essentially a two-seater Cooper with a railing in the boot and the gearbox from a BMW M135i…
RenaultSport Clio 182 Trophy
The final version of the RenaultSport Clio 182 was the Trophy, with just 500 produced for the UK market. It featured a Capscium Red paintjob, 16-inch Speedline Turini alloy wheels, a bigger spoiler borrowed from the Clio V6, Recaro Trendline seats, plus – its standout feature – touring car-esque Sachs dampers.
With separate reservoirs to handle the oil and gas, plus a thicker damper rod and 10mm lower ride height, it made your heart race in the corners, and skip several beats when you got the bill for refurbishing said dampers
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition
Following almost eight years of production, the Mitsubishi Evo X said sayonara in 2016, but not before the brand had produced the aptly named Final Edition. It featured a highly boosted 303hp 2.0-litre turbo engine, four-wheel drive and the usual rally-spec differential magic.
However, of the 1,600 built, none of them made it to the UK market – instead, we were forced to ‘settle’ for the end-of-the-line 445hp madcap special. Mitsubishi hasn’t continued the Evo dynasty – incredible to think that an Audi RSQ3 is sort of this car’s modern successor…
Ford Focus RS500
Arguably the most pumped hot hatch of all time, the 2010 Ford Focus RS500 was the MkIII RS’s last hurrah. Power from the already savage 2.5-litre turbocharged engine was cranked up from 300hp to a colossal 350hp, and torque from 440Nm to 460Nm, enabling the still front-wheel-drive super-Focus to hit 100km/h in 5.6secs.
Aside from tweaks to the ECU, a larger capacity fuel pump, and a new downpipe on the exhaust, the RS500’s other main mod was a pathetic attempt to be stealthy. For this fast Ford, it really was a case of ‘any colour you like, so long as it’s matte black’.
Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition
Having served the nation for 67 years the Defender was retired in 2016, but not before Land Rover had produced a trio of Celebration Series specials, including our favourite – the Heritage Edition.
Available either as short-wheel 90s or long-wheelbase 110s, all were finished in distinctive Grasmere Green metallic paint with a contrasting white roof, Almond upholstery and ‘HUE166’ badges that paid tribute to the first prototype’s number plate.
It remained spectacular off-road, but because of the posh paintwork, you’re more likely to spot one in Shepherd’s Bush, than in the bush.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600
A matter of weeks into production of the new Aston Martin Vantage – the AMG-powered turbocharged one – Aston decided to build 14 more old Vantages: seven coupes and seven roadsters, as the last glorious hurrah for the outgoing baby Aston. Confusing or what?
Called the V600 in tribute to the monstrous, twin-supercharged Vantage of the 1990s, it was equipped with a naturally aspirated 5.9-litre, 600hp V12, and was distinguishable by its carbon diffuser, wide-mouth grille, side strakes and holepunch-vented bonnet.
Like it? Well, you’d have to really, really like it, because the price was reputedly Valkyrie money, for a Vantage. Do be careful, 007…
The life of the E-Type came to an end in June 1974 after a 13 year stint, with a special run of fifty cars, 49 in black, and one in British Racing Green, each of which carried a commemorative plaque bearing Sir William Lyons’s signature.
By this time, the Series III E-Type featured a 5.3-litre V12 engine developing 270hp, and was capable of zero to 100km/h in 6.4secs and 235km/h flat out.
Some 40 years later, Jaguar continued the tradition when retiring the XK, producing a Final Fifty series for the US market, all of which were painted black.
Audi R8 LMX
With the first-generation R8 soon to be replaced, Audi wanted it to go out with a bang, and the R8 LMX was that swansong.
It was significant for not only being the most powerful production R8 at the time – it produced an extra 20hp from the 5.2-litre V10 for a total of 570hp – but the first road-going car with laser headlights, gazumping BMW’s i8 by a mere couple of weeks, much to the German brand’s annoyance.
Just 99 Audi R8 LMXs were produced worldwide, and they were priced at a hefty premium to even the R8 Plus. All that money, for some frickin’ lasers. Worth it.
Porsche 911 Speedster
Released after the arrival of the new 992, the Speedster was essentially the Porsche 991’s last hurrah, with a limited-edition run of 1,948.
It borrowed the body from the Carrera 4 Cabriolet, modified with shortened window frames, a more steeply raked windscreen, a carbonfibre ‘double-bubble’ rear deck and carbon front wings, and used the same naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six as the 911 GT3 and GT3 RS.
However, it didn’t come cheap, and was almost the price of two base spec GT3s. That’s a pretty expensive sun tan.
Lamborghini Gallardo Squadra Corse
The Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse was revealed on the eve of the Gallardo’s 10th birthday, and was the final street legal version of the model.
Based on the Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, it borrowed the huge rear wing (read: downforce bragging rights) and lightweight fast-release engine cover from the Super Trofeo race car, and thanks to its 5.2-litre 570hp engine (can you say R8 LMX?), was good for 0-100km/h in 3.4secs and a top speed of near enough 320km/h.
It was available in just four colours, yellow, white, grey and red, with a total of 50 built. Wonder when the Huracán will start going special edition crazy?
STORY Peter Rawlins