I love the color orange. I especially love a bright shade of that zesty hue when sprayed onto some automotive sheetmetal, though it’s hard to find orange on anything outside of sports and muscle cars. At best, mundane commuters like crossovers and sedans will settle with a deep metallic orange-ish bronze, eschewing bright highlighter-spec or creamsicle oranges.
That’s a shame, considering how good our short-term Kia Stinger GTS looks in Federation Orange. First offered on the 800-unit run of the GTS, this vibrant color is now happily available on regular Stingers in loaded-out GT2 trim. Seeing this sleek four-door liftback swathed in a shade usually reserved for Sunny D got me thinking about the auto industry’s relationship with orange. We’re used to seeing orange on Lambos and Porsche 911s, but what about some of the limited-edition oranges that defined the entire special ordeal?
In no particular order, here are some of the best limited-edition or low-ish production orange cars you might have forgotten about.
Hard to believe we’ve had three decades of Mazda’s cheeky little roadster. Last year marked the big three-oh, and the Japanese automaker mixed-up a bucket of new Racing Orange paint to celebrate. It’s a rich, metallic hue, designed to “represent sunrise and anticipation…and evokes the breaking dawn of an exciting new day,” at least according to Mazda.
This special shade extended to the interior, with seat piping, door accents, dash trim, shifter, air vents, and stitching all in orange. Mechanically, it’s identical to a regular 2019 Miata Club, with Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, and upgraded suspension.
Only 3,000 of these were made available worldwide, with only 643 offered to the United States.
Credit where credit is due—out of all the automakers on this list, BMW is the least afraid of color. From colorwheel mainstays like Estoril Blue and Imola Red, to off-beat weirdo mixes like Phoenix Yellow and Purple Silk Metallic, none have seared eyes quite like the Fire Orange paint on the E92 M3 Lime Rock Park Edition (LRPE)
Offered as a consolation prize for the Europe-only E92 M3 GTS (also in Fire Orange), the M3 LRPE adds extra equipment on top of a regular M3 w/ Competition package. Each LRPE arrived with the paint, Alcantara steering wheel, titanium exhaust, carbon fiber exterior trim, and the all-important dash plaque denoting this as a special edition.
It looks great, but good luck prying one from the hands of hardcore Bimmer enthusiasts, as only 200 were made in 2013.
Unveiled at, of all places, the Playboy Mansion in 2006, the Fahrenheit Edition Mk5 GTI is one of the most distinctive-looking iterations of the popular hatch, thanks to the exclusive Magma Orange paint on the exterior and interior trim. As is the case with most of the cars on this list, most of the special-ness boils down to aesthetic touches, though a “European-tuned suspension” was also included.
It’s hard to find a clean Fahrenheit these days, but they made 1,200 for the U.S., so keep an eye out.
On the complete opposite end of the color spectrum from Subaru’s eternally popular blue options, the low-production WRX and WRX STI Orange and Black Special Editions offer up a deep tint of Tangerine Orange with contrasting black wheels and black trim. Other than that, it’s mechanically unchanged from a regular WRX or WRX STI from the same era. These are much rarer, however—only 200 WRXes and 100 WRX STIs were covered in this color.
Of all the Vitamin C-rific specials on this list, I reckon few of our American readers know much about the Focus RS Heritage Edition. Just 50 of these mega-hatches were built to commemorate the RS’s discontinuation, all right-hand drive for the U.K. market.
That’s a shame, because in addition to the gold-ish Deep Orange paint, the Heritage Edition package added a Mountune performance pack that boosted power to 370 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. A Quaife front limited slip diff manages this extra power.
Over the course of the past few years, Ram has introduced and discontinued a special shade of Ignition Orange for the popular 1500 truck, each package offering extra visual touches like hood stripes and orange interior trim. At least up until the end of last year, the Ram 1500 Classic offered an orange package, but we’re not sure on the production figures, as Ram neglected to market the truck whatsoever. What we do know is the 2015 version spawned only 1,000 units, so keep an eye out.
This is a rare case where the color is outshone by the mechanical upgrades. The famous Nürburgring package for the wacko LFA supercar eked an extra 10 hp from that 5.0-liter V-10, reworked the transmission tuning, stiffened the suspension, added lightened wheels, and incorporated a full aerodynamic suite of rear wing, front splitter, and canards on the front bumper.
OK, OK—this Orange wasn’t exclusive to the Nürburgring Edition (NE), nor did all NEs arrive in the aforementioned Orange. However, I posit Orange is the color most associated with the NE, as the Geneva auto show debut car was orange, as were all the subsequent promotional images and digital video game versions of the car.
Only 50 LFA NEs were made, and only a handful were offered in Orange.
Despite sharing a model year and similar visual aesthetic, these are separate special editions offered almost a year apart. The Limited Edition Boxster and Boxster S came first, wearing the sharp GT3 Orange paint lifted from—you guessed it—the contemporary 911 GT3 RS. Porsche really tipped the bucket onto the canvas here—everything is GT3 Orange, including roll bars, shift pattern markings, stitching, and trim pieces. Of course, contrasting black wheels and mirror caps round it out.
The later GT3-aping Cayman S Sport arrived in either Bright Orange or Shining Green, but you could spec another non-GT3 RS color from a pallette of Carrera White, Speed Yellow, Guards Red, Black, or Artic Silver. Yeah, I’ll stick with orange. Like the aforementioned Boxster, the Cayman S Sport added contrasting black accents to the exterior.
Mike Dalton and his orange Ram at ODSS
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Unlike the Boxster, the Cayman package also included a raft of performance upgrades. The S Sport rides on a wider track than the regular Cayman S, along with a lower suspension and a sport exhaust system. Inside, the gauge binnacle and steering wheel are ripped from the GT3.