Modern Unicorns

Unicorn, when referring to vehicles, is a general term used to describe a very rare car, especially if it was ordered in a rare combination or just a few were produced. These can often look like a normal daily driver to the layman, but to an enthusiast they are a diamond in the rough.

SRT-6 Roadster
For some reason, Chrysler couldn’t sell many Supercharged AMG-V6 versions of its roadster. Perhaps it’s because not many people wanted a Crossfire in any capacity. But for those who love it, keep your eyes peeled for this rare beast.

Chrysler produced 1,500 of the Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster

BMW occasionally produces a limited run of their vehicles under another name – Alpina. The number of these special edition versions produced is always low. Compared to cars from the M-Series, Alpina’s vehicles have more emphasis on luxury, higher-torque, and automatic transmissions.

BMW of North America offered only 800 Alpina B7s for 2007 and 2008.

Solstice GXP Coupe
Pontiac built a handful of Coupes in 2009 and not many were ordered with the GXP Trim. If you find a good GXP Coupe (especially rare as a manual) hold onto it, you will have a future classic on your hands.

Pontiac Produced about 800 Solstice GXP Coupes

S-10 EV
Here is something you probably didn’t know existed – an electric powered S-10. That’s right, Chevrolet built a small truck that was powered by the notorious EV-1. They leased most of them and then those were eventually scrapped, but 60 were sold to private parties and could very well be out there in someone’s barn.

Chevrolet produced 492 S-10 EV trucks

Saab built this vehicle on the same platform as the Cadillac SRX. Production began in 2010 for the 2011 model year and Saab closed its doors in 2012.

Saab Produced 457 9-4X SUVs

Durango or Aspen Hybrid
Chrysler began producing these twin hybrid SUVs in August of 2008 and just 3 months later, announced that they were closing the manufacturing plant. There’s no clear information on how many of each were produced, but it is suggested that only 150 of the Aspen Hybrid were ever produced.

Chrysler Produced 400 Durango/Aspen Hybrid SUVs

Mercedes-Benz produced the R-Class from 2006-2012. It was supposed to share the best attributes of a minivan, an SUV, and a wagon – just wasn’t received well. In the 2007 model year, they added the AMG version. It had a hand-built 6.2L V8 producing about 500 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, spinning the 4MATIC all-wheel drive to 60 in just 4.6 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz found out the hard way that the world wasn’t ready for a 507 hp 6.2L V8 minivan.

Mercedes Produced 330 R63 AMG minivans

Cutlass Calais 442 W-41
The 80’s were a stagnant era for American Muscle, but the early 90’s brought forth the wave of ‘Pocket Rockets’ as the market was effected by the compact import popularity. Oldsmobile’s contribution was the Cutlass Calais 442. It had a 2.3 16-Valve with about 180 horsepower and was mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Only 3,789 W-40 engine code were produced from 1990-1991 and in mid 1991 they added some performance enhancements, to compete in the IMSA road racing competition. Olds had to produce a minimum of 200 of this version of the vehicle in order to compete. It had a 190 horsepower engine and a 3.94 final drive ratio.

Oldsmobile Produced only about 211 of the ultra rare – 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais 442 W-41.

LeSabre Grand National
Buick made a bold move when they changed their rear-wheel drive Grand National into a front-wheel drive. The idea of a performance car with that drivetrain was something new to car buyers in 1986, but the major flaw was their shortsighted vision which only called for the Grand National as a means to get an aerodynamic 2-door body style certified for NASCAR. Under the hood was the typical LeSabre 150 horsepower – 200 lb-ft torque, 3.8L V6. They probably should have dropped in the 1986 (Regal) Grand National’s 235 horsepower turbo 3.8 liter SFI V6 into the LeSabre Grand National.

Buick Produced between 112 and 117 LeSabre Grand Nationals.

Passat W8 Wagon (w/Manual Transmission)
Between 2003 and 2004, Volkswagen imported only about 450 examples of the W8 4Motion Passat in Sedan and Variant form, with a 6-speed manual transmission. That alone makes them quite rare. However, finding this vehicle as a Variant in any color is nearly impossible. Only 105 total, made it to North America. When you break it down to specific paint/trim color combinations, you can get into the single digits on how many were imported.

Volkswagen imported only 105 Passat W8 4Motion 6-speed Variants

XJS Lynx Eventer
From 1991-1996 Jaguar produced the XJS. It had a 4.0L I6 or a V12 with roughly 300 hp. A number of XJS’s were modified by coach-builders ‘Lynx’ to create a three-door shooting brake, marketed as the Lynx Eventer.

Records suggest that 52 pre-facelift XJ-S, and 15 post-facelift XJS, were adapted, with only 18 of those as Left-Hand-Drive.

9-5 Sportcombi
If you can find one and get it road legal, you’ll easily have one of the rarest modern cars on the road. The last 9-5 wagon, never made it to production before Saab was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2012. Some of the preproduction vehicles have been auctioned off and been made road legal.

Saab Produced (Preproduction) 35 and only 27 9-5 Sportcombi Wagons left the factory.