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Ad for 1972 Levi's AMC Gremlin

Ad for 1972 Levi's AMC Gremlin

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If you're young enough to believe that the world has always been full of internets and Kardashians, it may surprise you to learn that way back in a mystical time known as The 70s, there was a special-edition Lincoln Continental gussied up by designer Bill Blass.

Impressive, we know. But it gets better: the Lincoln Continental Mark V actually came in four special editions by Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy, and Pucci. Unlike the humdrum, showroom versions of the Mark V, these pimped out rides came with special touches like tinted vinyl roofs and designer logos on the opera windows.

(This of course, was when badass luxury cars had opera windows. Presumably because badass plutocrats really dig opera.)

And so, in a moment of wistful nostalgia, we decided we'd look back at some of the best and the worst of the special editions dreamed up by designers.

Unfortunately, we hit a snag: almost all of these cars fall into the "worst" category. So instead, we'll be taking you on a quick tour of seven custom rides, ranging from the "not-entirely-awful" to "kill it before it reaches the children". Buckle up.

* * * * *

Levi's AMC Gremlin
The 70s were the high point for automaker/fashion mashups. That's when logos like Ralph Lauren's polo pony took the nation by storm, and the idea of using designer labels as status symbols became Fashion Priority #1.

In this brave, new world swarming with tiny alligators, there were bound to be some losers. Thankfully, the Gremlin wasn't one of them. Well, not so much.

At the time, people were worried about energy shortages, and Jimmy Carter was encouraging everyone to lay off the heaters and put on sweaters. The Gremlin was an economy car meant to allay the public's fear of the gas crunch -- to get people from Point A to Point B using a little less fuel. And it came with a full year's warranty. 

As you can see from the ad above, the special-edition Gremlin featured demin-esque upholstery (just like blue jeans!), signature orange stitching, and even a bright Levi's tag in front of both doors. Sweet.

Not surprisingly, the Levi's edition sold fairly well because it was a solid match-up of middle-class affordability and middle-class style.

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Comments (8)
  1. The Levi's gremlins were kind of cool, though I remember my adolescent disappointment that the seat fabric wasn't really denim which I'm now sure wouldn't work for a variety of reasons. The idea worked even better on the Levi's Jeep CJ-5, another AMC product at the time. In all cases I thought the Levi's logo on the front fender was a bit much. It should have been just a tiny vertical tag just inside the hatch shut-line

  2. Here's my list:
    Gucci Seville
    Oleg Cassini AMC Matador
    Nautica Mercury Villager
    FILA Thunderbird (It wasn't available as a Turbo)
    VOGA Mercury Milan
    Frank Sinatra Chrysler Imperial
    ...every single person who lists their plain-jane Lincoln for sale as a "Cartier" because it says Cartier on the clock.

  3. Ha! You'll be happy to know that the Cassini Matador almost made the cut.

  4. What about the Pierre Cardin Javelins? Sweeet!

  5. Bingo. Huge omission from the list. I can see the Fila Thunderbird from the 80's missing the cut, though.

  6. Which reminds me of the Gucci Hornets - Ugh.
    Lets also add:
    Eddie Bauer Ford Anything
    LL Bean Subaru Outbacks
    Orvis Grand Cherokee

  7. What about the "Funkmaster Flex Ford Expedition", what a turd that one did that miss the radar?

  8. Perhaps our brains erased that abomination from our memories in an act of self-preservation. To which we say: thanks, brains.

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