Ad for 1972 Levi's AMC GremlinEnlarge Photo
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.
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Levi's AMC GremilinLevi'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.
Levi's AMC Gremilin
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.