American Muscle Car Anniversary Editions That Sucked: The Worst Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette Celebrations We Actually Paid More For
What's a great way to try and sell an extra few thousand or so cars? Check to see if there's a birthday coming up and then slap together some stickers to 'celebrate.' Anniversary edition cars have traditionally been big cash grabs from automotive companies content to put in as little effort as possible to remind loyal buyers just how long they've been supporting their favorite models.
Which muscle cars are notorious for being big disappointments from fans who thought they were getting something special when they handed over extra cash to mark a milestone? These are the worst Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and Chevrolet Corvette anniversary editions ever produced.
Worst Ford Mustang Anniversary Editions
Surprisingly, Ford has a relatively weak history of celebrating its various chronological milestones. Even the first anniversary edition Mustang, a version of the Fox produced in 1984 to mark its 20th year on the market called the 'GT350', is really only cool if you manage to snag the ultra-rare turbocharged convertible model.
It only gets sadder from there. In 2003, Ford decided to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company by building special editions of several popular cars, the Mustang included. The Centennial Edition consisted of 17-inch rims, badges on the side, and a two-tone leather interior. If you looked closely, you'd also be able to see a slightly different spoiler sitting on the trunk.
All 2,040 Centennials were built as GTs, they were all painted black—because, you know, Henry Ford—and they each came with a watch, a book, and a keychain, kind of like if you'd inherited the car from your late uncle. For all of the above, and zero extra horsepower or performance gear, you were expected to pay $995 above the purchase price.
If, for some reason, you weren't swayed by the Centennial Edition's charms and decided to wait a year to see if Ford blew things out for the Mustang's 40th anniversary, you were also in for a let-down. The 40th Anniversary package was offered on white, black, and red cars, and came with a stripe on the hood, roof, and trunk, another on the rockers, and some extra aluminum bits inside the cabin. Oh, and a unique set of wheels.
Don’t look for any go-fast goodies with the 40th Anniversary car, and be prepared for zero recognition even from Mustang fans, because Ford decided to put badges on every version of the coupe and convertible produced that year to let people know just how little it cared about creating something special after 40 years of steady sales.
Worst Chevrolet Camaro Anniversary Editions
The Chevrolet Camaro's anniversary editions were typically given even less attention than those foisted on the muscle car's cross-town competition. Although the Camaro's 20th birthday in 1987 was commemorated by way of 1,000 special convertible IROC-Z conversions handled by American Sunroof Company, by the time the 25th Anniversary edition came due in 1992 Chevrolet just said 'eh, here's some stickers' and that was that. Dubbed the 'Heritage Edition,' this uninspired Camaro offered double-wide rally stripes on the hood and a badge (with all Camaros that year getting a dash badge, too).
It was a far cry from the unique 'Collector's Edition' Camaro that Chevrolet had explored in prototype form, which featured a Corvette-sourced L98 engine that produced 270hp through aluminum heads and a custom exhaust, while sitting on the 1LE's suspension. Two test mules were built, but the 602-car limited run (intended to match the number of Z28 models originally built in 1967) never happened for '92.
10 years later, and facing down the dual milestones of a 35th anniversary for the Camaro as well as the last year of production for the fourth-gen F-body, Chevrolet once again dropped the ball. All SS models could order RPO Z4C, which amounted to…stickers. Lots and lots of stickers, which added little checkered flags to the 35th Anniversary car's front-to-back striping.
Each Z4C car was bright red, and in addition to featuring 35th-specific stitching on the headrests were also badged to remind you what you were driving, because the experience behind the wheel was a dead ringer for any other Camaro SS of that generation.
Worst Chevrolet Corvette Anniversary Editions
The late-1970s were a sad time for the Chevrolet Corvette, as engine output shrank to around the 200hp mark and true performance driving began to feel like a distant memory. This was a far cry from the glory days of the C3 Vette, which was a truly exciting design when it first appeared at the end of the previous decade.
This may be why Chevrolet felt its hands were tied when it came time to call attention to the Corvette's quarter century of production in 1978. The Silver Anniversary car was produced in droves—15,000 in total—but were limited to aluminum wheels and a two-tone, silver-and-grey paint job.
There was a set of badges on the nose and, for some reason, the gas cap, but all Corvettes built that year were given these too so it wasn't much of a selling point.
To add insult to injury, Chevy charged $399 for the Silver Anniversary car and then forced buyers to also fork over $380 for a set of sport mirrors that had to be ordered at the same time, with no exceptions.
You have to travel a fair ways into the future to find another Corvette quite as disappointing as the Silver Anniversary, but it does exist. In 1993 it was 'look who's 40' time for the 'Vette, and this meant a 40th Anniversary package that featured embroidered seats, badges, and a red color scheme inside and out.
Seriously, that's everything unless you also want to get excited about the center caps on the wheels, all for the princely sum of $1,455.
Oh, and those embroidered seats? GM messed up on their supplier order, so every single Corvette produced that year had the '40th Anniversary' logo present and accounted for, making the actual 40th AE car just a little less special.
More From Driving Line
Which anniversary edition cars were actually cool and fast? Check out these special model muscle cars that made an effort.