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Limited Edition Cars from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalogs

The American luxury department store would occasionally team with manufacturers each year to offer special editions of cars that would sell out in minutes.

© AquaColor - Car and Driver

By John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver

Wretched excess may not be morally defensible. And it’s definitely something most of us can afford to indulge. But at least Neiman Marcus has long done over-the-top with a little wit and style. That includes their legendary “Christmas Book,” and some spectacular (and not-so-spectacular) special- (and not-so-special-) edition automobiles.

Founded in 1907, the Dallas-based department store chain has now reportedly filed for bankruptcy. As it shuts down its 42 locations, it will take the Christmas Book and that weird, wacky and wild automotive tradition with it.

Before weeping, however, know that while the first Christmas Book was issued in 1939 the Neiman Marcus special car tradition only stretches back to 1995.


BMW Z3

© Eon Productions

Perhaps the least memorable Q-issued car in the history of James Bond was the 1996 BMW Z3 featured (sort of) in 1995’s Goldeneye. Honestly, a four-cylinder Z3 was a limp ride for 007. But it was enough of marketing hook for Neiman to offer replicas of the Z3 as driven (very briefly) in the film. Painted “Bond Blue” it came with such exotic gadgets as an answering machine and CD player. Reportedly the 100 cars – VINs ranging from 00700 to 00799 – were sold out in two days.


Ford Thunderbird

© Car and Driver

The return of the two-seat Ford Thunderbird was a media frenzy back in late 2000. So, no surprise, that year’s Christmas Book offered 200 “Special Edition” versions of the upcoming 2002 T-Bird. All were painted black with a silver top. They reportedly sold out in two hours and fifteen minutes. And if you couldn’t afford the $41,995 full-size car, a 1/18th scale version was also available. So people 1/18th the size of most people finally had something to drive.


Cadillac XLR

© Car and Driver

For the second year in a row, the Christmas Book went for a luxury two-seat convertible. For 2002 it was a “Neiman Marcus Limited Edition” 2004 Cadillac XLR. You remember the XLR? The Corvette-based machine powered by the 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine. This XLR got an “Ultra Violet" exterior color and two-tone shale and ebony interior. Actually that’s not real shale or real ebony, but whatever. GM made only 101 special XLRs at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They sold for $85,000 each – and they sold out in 14 minutes.


BMW 645i

© Car and Driver

Yet again, it was a BMW featured in the Christmas Book. In 2003 it was a 2004 BMW 645i two-door coupe with “Strat Grey” paint and a crème leather interior. Tasty. Only 50 were offered at $75,170 each.


BMW M6

© Car and Driver

It was BMW’s fourth time up to bat in 2006, this time with a $139,000 limited edition 2007 M6 convertible. That’s the M6 that was powered by a 500-hp V-10. The Neiman M6 was painted “Ruby Black” and finished with a golden brown Merino leather interior. Only 50 were offered.


Lexus IS F

© Car and Driver

Welcome back, Lexus. In 2007 it was a $68,000 “Special Build” IS F sedan featuring a 416-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and an eight-speed “Sport Direct Shift” gearbox. Only 50 were made and they had a unique interior design with black “high-style with white stitching upholstery.” We tested a 2008 IS-F back then because we’re Car and Driver, damn it.


BMW 750Li

© Car and Driver

BMW hitched itself to Neiman Marcus for the fourth time in the 2008 Christmas Book. This time with the 2009 BMW 750Li. Since this was the 7-Series' 31st year in production, only 31 personalized Neiman Marcus 750Li models were built. All were drowned in Diopside Black metallic paint, all had a bunch of interior tweaks, and all came with European delivery and a tour of the south of France. That’s cool.

See more at: Car and Driver

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Autos Magazine: Limited Edition Cars from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalogs
Limited Edition Cars from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalogs
The American luxury department store would occasionally team with manufacturers each year to offer special editions of cars that would sell out in minutes.
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