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’90s Cars Everyone Loved 20 Years Ago But Not Anymore

Cameron EittreimAugust 5, 2020

The sports car market has changed significantly since the early days of the muscle car. Sports cars became leaner, utilizing smaller engines while still delivering the fast speeds drivers wanted. Two decades have gone by since the real renaissance of the automotive industry. The rise of the sports car in the ’90s and its eventual downfall toward the end of the decade left a lot of enthusiasts scratching their heads.

But there is a good deal of fast classics that came out of this decade. Some of these cars you might be familiar with, such as the Acura Integra. Others, such as the Plymouth Prowler, are long forgotten, and for good reason. Nevertheless, we took a look at 50 obscure ’90s sports cars that drivers have fallen out of love with via Road and Track.

Plymouth Voyager
Photo Credit: Autoweek

50: Plymouth Voyager

If you were born in the 1990s or shortly before, you probably remember seeing a Voyager on the road often. These minivans were some of the most popular cars of the decade, and with good reason. Thanks to the car-like driving characteristics and the ability to seat seven people, the Voyager was the ideal way to transport a family. These vans were also very practical with plenty of cargo space and an optional roof rack. Chrysler also differentiated with the various body styles of the van by offering a long wheelbase and short wheelbase version.

Plymouth Voyager
Photo Credit: Chrysler

The minivan market was originated by Chrysler, and the Plymouth Voyager was one of the first models. While the Voyager was immensely popular during the ’90s, the minivan has since fallen out of favor. Meanwhile, Chrysler has moved onto crossovers as the rest of the automotive industry has followed suit with that move as well. The Voyager will live on as one of the most iconic cars of the automotive revolution, and the ’90s model was special for several reasons.

Pontiac LeMans GSE
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

49: Pontiac LeMans GSE

You might not realize it, but there was a time when Pontiac sold a hatchback that was built by Korean automaker Daewoo. The LeMans GSE was popular for a short period, partly due to the affordable price tag and attractive styling. But what happened soon after that was a consumer backlash over inferior build quality. These cars would routinely spend time in the shop even when they were fresh off the showroom floor. Dials would fall off of the controls and the interior would deteriorate at a rapid pace.

Pontiac LeMans GSE
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Not the experience that you wanted in a brand new car, and as such the LeMans was shuttered quite rapidly. You can still find these cars on the road, but they are few and far between. Generally, the only people who enjoyed the LeMans were the elderly. The car just didn’t have the quality nor staying power to remain a part of the Pontiac lineup. Interestingly enough Pontiac would go on to offer a subcompact car in America decades later, again based on a Daewoo.

Sunbird GT
Photo Credit: Car Domain

48: Sunbird GT

The GM J Body platform saw a lot of changes over three decades, and Pontiac was a part of this. At one point every GM brand had a car that was based on the J Body, even Cadillac as scary as that sounds. The original Sunbird GT was not a bad car by any stretch of the word, and a lot of the styling was better received than the Cavalier. But Pontiac had a problem with quality in the long run that made the Sunbird fall out of favor. Toyota was coming on strong with the Corolla as was Honda with the Civic.

Sunbird GT
Photo Credit: Car Domain

As time went on, the GM J Body cars were increasingly simplistic and lacking in features. The Sunbird GT was a great entry point for buyers who needed something affordable. But as time went on the cars were less innovative and this leads to a decline in quality. Nevertheless, the Sunbird GT was at one point one of the most popular cars in the GM lineup. The Pontiac badge and the signature styling made it stand out from the crowd.

Pontiac 6000 S/E
Photo Credit: Car Domain

47: Pontiac 6000 S/E

Pontiac had many cars during the ’90s and one of the most popular was the 6000 S/E. The sedan was positioned at the top of the Pontiac line. Although the Grand Prix and Bonneville were also available at the time, the 6000 S/E was marketed toward a different crowd. Much of the styling cues can be attributed to the later Grand Prix models, which shared a lot of the design inspiration. The interior was massively comfortable and the standard V6 was more than sufficient enough for most drivers.

Pontiac 6000 S/E
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Nevertheless, the Pontiac 6000 S/E was later discontinued by GM as the company continued to shrink the Pontiac line. Few cars have managed to make the initial impressions that the 6000 S/E did, but it just wasn’t enough to catch on with buyers. Especially as automakers moved away from futuristic naming and extreme styling. At the time the 6000 S/E was controversial and comfortable all in one mix.

Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport
Photo Credit: Car Domain

46: Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport

Few cars have been as iconic and as forgotten as the Chevy Celebrity was. For a short period, this sedan was one of the best-selling cars in America. The affordable price tag and semi-decent reliability made the car a hit with fleet customers and retail buyers alike. But as with any bread and butter design, the Celebrity Eurosport was a car that drivers would forget quickly. These cars were prone to rusting and if that wasn’t bad enough, the engines couldn’t last over 200,000 miles.

Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport
Photo Credit: Car Domain

You’ll still see these cars on the road from time to time with elderly customers, but that’s about it. The vast majority of the Celebrity Eurosport models have been rusted out and are resting in salvage yards around the midwest. The boxy design of the Celebrity was becoming dated even at the time that it was brand new, but now the car is dated when you see it on the roadways. For the most part, these early ’90s Chevies have been all but forgotten in the last decade.

Olds Aurora
Photo Credit: GM

45: Oldsmobile Aurora

General Motors was on a design spree during the late 1980ss and early ’90s, and while some of these cars stuck, others faded into oblivion. The Oldsmobile Aurora was one such car that was revolutionary at the time. With a forward-thinking design, the Aurora was by far one of the most beautiful luxury sedans on the road. But then you had the doubters who thought that Oldsmobile was past its prime. With a beautiful exterior styling and a powerful Northstar V8, the Aurora was every bit the performance sedan that you’d want.

Photo Credit: GM

Although these sedans never failed to catch on with the general public, they did garner a cult following of solid enthusiasts. The second generation of the Aurora was not as special as the original cars were by any means. While most have forgotten the Oldsmobile Aurora nowadays, back in the early ’90s, this was a groundbreaking car in every sense of the word. With a solid V8 engine and an extraordinary amount of style, the Aurora was a car that would make you look twice.

Oldsmobile Silhouette
Photo Credit: GM

44: Oldsmobile Silhouette

The GM dustbuster vans were not appealing by any stretch of the imagination, the elongated styling and lackluster performance just didn’t add up. Nevertheless, the company was attempting to innovate and the Silhouette was the companies first try. This was one of the first luxury minivans to hit the market, and at the time it was revolutionary. The minivan was more popular than ever but at the time Oldsmobile was not at the forefront of buyers’ minds. No automaker had tried to market a luxury-oriented minivan before, so this was a new concept.

Oldsmobile Silhouette
Photo Credit: GM

That’s not to say that the Silhouette was uncomfortable, because it did feel right at home for most buyers. The interior was plenty spacious and there was a lot of cargo room to go around, but for the most part, the van was scorned for its radial exterior design. The “dustbuster,” as it was called by most of the automotive media, is not fondly remembered these days. GM continued to make attempts at a luxury minivan later on as well with the ill-fated Buick Terraza.

Saturn SL2
Photo Credit: Saturn Forum

43: Saturn SL2

The compact cars of the early 1990s are some of the most memorable to most millennials in one sense or another. We’ve all either ridden in one or had a parent that owned one of these well-known cars. Saturn was a brand that was particularly successful for a brand new offering with the sales far exceeding the expectations of General Motors. On top of that, the S-Series was made of a dent-resistant material, which was the first of its kind for a car. Sadly, as time went on these Saturns to relegated to rental car fleets and eventually forgotten.

Saturn SL2
Photo Credit: Saturn Forum

By the end of the new millennium, the Saturn brand was nothing more than rebadged models of other GM cars. The originality was gone and most of the original fans of the brand had long since moved on. Nowadays you’ll see an original Saturn from time to time, but the cars have mostly died off. The reliability was never a strong point and with no dealer network left most of the warranties and servicing have dried up.

Volkswagen Fox
Photo Credit: Car Domain

42: Volkswagen Fox

When the ’90s rolled around, the Volkswagen company was in a state of a brand identity crisis in the US. Gone were the early days of the popular and iconic Beetle, and the cars had become stale and dated. There was no originality in the Volkswagen line, and as such the cars were lacking that special sauce of the earlier models. The Fox is a car that most of us have long forgotten and with its squared body and lack of features, it’s no wonder. The 1993 Fox didn’t even come with a standard radio.

Volkswagen Fox
Photo Credit: VW

But with a base price of $5700, it was one of the most affordable cars you could get. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to propel the little Volkswagen model into stardom. Instead, it created a lack of interest in the brand and eventually almost bankrupting the company. Volkswagen had to reinvent itself with the current models that we find today, and the New Beetle was one of the first new revolutionary cars for the brand.

Volkswagen Cabrio
Photo Credit: Auto Rakhkr

41: Volkswagen Cabrio

Affectionately dubbed the “chick car,” the Cabrio was at one point one of the most popular convertibles on the road. But after the 1990s and the fact that most of these cars are off of the road now, the love has depleted. The Cabrio was the trouble-free convertible model that was sold by VW until 2005. The interior of the Cabrio was a carbon copy of the Golf, and this was both good and bad. As more convertibles entered the market, the Cabrio was often overshadowed and VW didn’t do very much to incite interest in the car.

Volkswagen Cabrio
Photo Credit: Auto Rakhar

Although the Cabrio was massively popular during the 1990s for the most part these cars have been long since forgotten. The cutesy little convertibles of the nineties were an interesting part of the automotive market but buyers have since moved on. Few cars stand out like the Cabrio as a failed piece of automotive history, and nowadays you seldom see one on the road anymore.

1999 Dodge Caravan
Photo Credit: Dodge

40: Dodge Caravan

There was a time where the minivan was the most popular car on the road. This was before the crossover wave and the SUV boom. The Dodge Caravan was the car-based people hauler that turned Chrysler’s fortunes around. This car was at the peak of popularity during the nineties as Chrysler rolled out a revised model with innovative features such as dual sliding passenger doors. Sadly, as the turn of the century arrived, consumers had fallen out of favor with the Dodge Caravan, and now the crossover has taken its place.

Dodge Caravan
Photo Credit: Car Domain

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing that caused the consumer shift other than a changing appetite in vehicles. The minivan didn’t evolve much over the years and this could be one reason for the stark contrast in new buyers. There is also a far more serious competition for the Caravan than there was during the nineties. Honda and Toyota both have compelling offerings.

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Car Domain

39: Honda Accord (1989-1993)

The Honda Accord hit its stride during the start of the nineties. The popular name was more modern and more refined than ever before. Honda began to break sales records with the Accord and this caused an upstir with domestic automakers. The Accord was sleek and comfortable with more than enough power to compensate for the size increase. To this day the Accord has remained a top seller for the company in the passenger car segment. Ford and GM have both dropped out of the passenger car market due to the success of the Accord.

Honda Accord
Photo Credit: Car Domain

This specific generation of the Accord was the best-selling car in America from 1990-1992. The Accord has a lot to offer families in terms of value and safety. This is why the car skyrocketed after the mainstream redesign and has remained a fixture of the automotive industry. Anyone who was around in the nineties knows this Accord body style.

Nissan NX100
Photo Credit: Car Domain

38: Nissan NX2000

Few compact cars were as polarizing as the Nissan NX2000 was during its heyday. The carmaker was branching out in a new direction and the NX2000 was at the forefront. The car was a unique blend of styling and design, coupled with enough passion to gain a loyal following. The performance of the car was spunky and very similar to the Sentra SE-R it was based on. The sales of the NX2000 were not enough to justify the car and Nissan axed it prematurely.

Nissan NX2000
Photo Credit: Car Domain

But for sheer 1990s design, the NX2000 is something special. Initial buyers were taken aback by the beautiful exterior styling and the interesting features. The NX2000 had removable T-Tops and hatchback design, the car was practical and fun to drive at the same time. You can still find these cars in excellent condition and the replacement parts are dirt cheap.

1990 Audi V8 Quattro
Photo Credit: Car Domain

37: 1990 Audi V8 Quattro

Audi has always been a carmaker that grows on you and gets better with age like a fine wine. The V8 Quattro was a car just like that and an interesting blend of German quality and durability. The sedan was designed like a steel slab, with a sturdy design that focused on ride quality and performance. Audis are not your average car, they are designed for driving pleasure and you can see the Porsche influence in this sedan. The interior was high quality with real wood accents and leather seating.

1990 Audi V8 Quattro
Photo Credit: Audi

Naturally, there was the abundance of luxury features that you’d expect from a car in this price range. The Audi brand around this period was focused on quality and the driving experience. Few sedans are as underrated as the Audi V8 Quattro was, but for what you get, this is the “it” performance car of the nineties.

Infiniti M30
Photo Credit: Stanced Nation

36: Infiniti M30

The original Infiniti model was far more unique then you’d think. See Nissan didn’t have the preparation or design that rival Lexus brought to the table, so the company instead focused on driving passion. The M30 was an attractive car with a rich interior and just the right amount of power. The brand had to differentiate itself from Lexus and Acura and this car did just that. Although the M30 didn’t become the sales success that the company had hoped for, the car was deinitely worth investing in.

Infiniti M30
Photo Credit: Car Domain

If you’re an old school Datsun or Nissan enthusiast you’ll appreciate the stellar build quality that the M30 brought to the table. The honest driving characteristics made the car a pleasure to drive and own, and the reliability isn’t half bad either. You are bound to get a few stares in this unique-looking piece of automotive history.

Mercury Capri
Photo Credit: Car Domain

35: Mercury Capri

Enthusiasts don’t realize that the Mercury brand had quite a few unique models during the nineties. The Capri was the last convertible to ever bare a Mercury badge. The car had a spunky style that didn’t look like anything else in the lineup. Ford used an international design to create the car which was originally intended for the Merkur brand. The Capri was fun to drive with a fair level of tuning that went into the suspension. Because the sales were not as expected the car is fairly rare and you will find these models very seldom on the open market.

Mercury Capri
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Few cars are as rare as the Mercury Capri during this era. The consumer appetite for convertibles was waning and the Capri was a last-ditch effort. Unfortunately, there was increased competition in the marketplace during this time for cheap convertibles such as the Geo Metro and the Chevy Cavalier.

Infiniti J30
Photo Credit: Car Domain

34: Infiniti J30

Somewhere along the line, the Infiniti brand lost that original “magic” that made their cars unique. The J30 was a unique luxury sedan that was based on the Nissan Leopard from overseas. The car was a sleek and well-designed example of what a Japanese luxury car should be. The J30 got a lot of criticism from the automotive community for lackluster handling and whatnot. But the car performs better than expected and as time went on, the model was refined.

Infiniti J30
Photo Credit: Stanced Nation

Although the J30 didn’t have a V8 powerplant or a lot of the features that rival luxury sedans had around this period, the car still had a lot of class. Infiniti put a lot of design effort into a car that was otherwise forgotten about. These cars when found in good condition are the hidden gems of nineties Nissan design.

Dodge Intrepid Concept
Photo Credit: Car Domain

33: Dodge Intrepid

Although you might not realize it, the Dodge Intrepid was one of the most influential cars of the nineties. The Intrepid went away from the squared design of the eighties and onto a modern design that was “cab-forward”. Cars to this day utilize the same aerodynamic design that the Intrepid innovated at the time. The Intrepid was improved throughout the nineties and the final car was quite a fine piece of automotive engineering. There is the very rare R/T version of the car and the Intrepid also had a stable run on the NASCAR circuit.

Dodge Intrepid
Photo Credit: Car Domain

There were some design mistakes with the Intrepid such as the dreaded 2.7L V6 engine, which is highly regarded as the worst engine Chrysler ever made. But aside from that, the Dodge Intrepid was a well-built piece of automotive history. You can’t go wrong with the forward-thinking design and smooth-riding V6 power.

Suzuki X-90
Photo Credit: Zomb Drive

32: Suzuki X-90

You’ve got to give Suzuki credit. The automaker was giving it all it had during the nineties. The X-90, the Esteem, and even the Swift were moving into modern designs. This model was never a sales success, but when you see one, you know it is unique. The X-90 was based on the same platform as the Sidekick/Tracker, and it possessed some steady off-road chops. The problem with the thing was that it was only a two-seater. The design was also polarizing to certain demographics and thus, never sold well.

Suzuki X-90
Photo Credit: Zomb Auto

With the rise of crossover vehicles today the Suzuki X-90 would probably be a hit. It seems that this was just the right car at the wrong time. The values on the X-90 have been going up because of the car obscurity, and if you can find one in the original condition the X-90 can be a real gem.

Qvale Mangusta
Photo Credit: Autoweek

31: Qvale Mangusta

What happens when you send a Mustang to boarding school over in Italy? Well, you get the Qvale Mangusta. This rare sports car was only manufactured for a few years, and after that went away. The car was based on the Ford Mustang and it shared most of its components with the Mustang. Take one look at the interior and you’ll see right away that the Mustang influenced this sports car heavily. The Qvale Mangusta had a Ford-derived V8 engine as well which gave the lightweight design some serious horsepower.

Qvale Mangusta
Photo Credit: Qvale

Sports car junkies might remember the Mangusta for its polarizing design but the car never sold well. The price was much too high and there were much better competitors in this price range. The car went on in obscurity for a few years until the company faded into darkness altogether.

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
Photo Credit: Pinterest

30: Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

The eighties and early nineties were an important time for automakers, designs and power were improving. The VR-4 had a lot of special features that made it stand out from the average family sedans at the time. The most important thing was the turbocharged motor, the same engine that made its way into the Lancer EVO. The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 was a big sedan with a lot of interior space, but it could still handle it’s own on the track. There are few things that the Galant VR-4 did wrong, and that’s why the value has remained.

Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
Photo Credit: Pinterest

The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 from this era isn’t a very common car, and the values have remained steady. The interesting thing about the car is that it was at the pinnacle of Mitsubishi design at this point. Finding one of these in rare conditions can be an awesome find, to say the least.

Cutlass Quad 442
Photo Credit: GM

29: Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442

We already know what you’re thinking. What is this, you ask? During the nineties, GM was trying to infuse some life into the Oldsmobile brand. The Quad 442 had the same name as the legendary muscle car albeit a modern design. The powerplant was a V6 engine but the car still managed to achieve some respectable track numbers. The obscure design of the Quad 442 was an exciting car to drive.

Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442
Photo Credit: Autoweek

Unfortunately, reliability and quality issues plagued this generation of GM cars. The design of the car was universally panned by the critics, but for what it was the Quad 442 wasn’t a bad entry. The car provided more driving pleasure than a lot of comparable models did at the time.

Honda Civic Del sol
via: Street Mag

28: Honda Civic Del Sol

The Del Sol is perhaps one of the most unique Hondas to ever come out of development. Not because of any great amount of horsepower or other number, but because the car was unique. It was a two-door Civic that infused a Targa-top design, an oddity for a car in this price range at the time. There was nothing inherently unique about the Del Sol, it just stood out like a sore thumb. The car was heavier then the stock Civic and this turned a lot of tuners off.

Honda Civic Del Sol
Photo Credit: Super Street Mag

Still, the Del Sol has been making a comeback in the used car world and the values are rising. The VTEC variant of the car is the most highly sought-after model, and if you add some aftermarket modifications, you can have a credible street rod.

Acura Vigor
Photo Credit: Carscoops

27: Acura Vigor

The rise of the Japanese luxury brands during the early nineties was iconic. Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti all entered into what was once only German territory. The Vigor was not what you’d expect in a luxury car, the main problem was the fact that it had a five-cylinder engine. Aside from that, the car was panned for not having a large enough interior. The performance of the Vigor wasn’t horrible, but the car didn’t add up to the company’s expectations.

Acura Vigor
Photo Credit: Carscoops

Consumers weren’t interested in paying a premium for a five-cylinder Honda Accord. The interesting thing about the Vigor is that Acura was pitting the model against the Lexus LS400. However, the consumer appetite for the Vigor wasn’t what the company had hoped for and it was eventually replaced with the Acura RL.

Isuzu Impulse
Photo Credit: Isuzu

26: Isuzu Impulse RS

Remember Mr. Isuzu? Probably not, but he was one of the most iconic advertising spokespeople in the early nineties. There was a time when Isuzu sold cars instead of just sport utility vehicles, heck there was a time when Isuzu was part of the automotive industry period. If the impulse looks familiar that’s because it was the car that the more popular Geo Storm shared its components with. The Impulse had the makings of a great car, it was lightweight and the suspension was even tuned by Lotus.

Isuzu Impulse
Photo Credit: Car and Driver

But the car just failed to get in front of consumers and thus Isuzu let it fade into obscurity. Once the Impulse was discontinued the automaker focused on SUVs and rode the SUV boom of the nineties until the models became unpopular. A consumer outrage against SUV rollovers finally put the nail in the coffin of Isuzu for good.

Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

25: Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

The Mercedes brand has become synonymous with high-powered sedans and SUVs. But there was a time when Mercedes was a more sedate manufacturer. The C36 was one of the earliest performance sedans during the ’90s. With a turbocharged inline-six, this was a powerful and lightweight sedan.

Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG
Photo Credit: Car Advice

Still, the sedan made a name for itself back in the ’90s. These C36 models are rare in today’s world and you can expect to spend a pretty penny to get your hands on one. There are very few performance sedans, especially from the ’90s, that can compete with this classic.

Subaru SVX
Photo Credit: Motor Cities

24: Subaru SVX

Up until very recently, Subaru was still making its way onto the American automotive market. The SVX was an attempt to captivate the sports car market and is often underrated. The Giorgetto Giugiaro design was way ahead of its time in the ’90s. The SVX is a rarity on the roads anymore. Performance was more than adequate for the ’90s and it also had AWD.

Subaru SVX
Photo Credit: Autocities

There’s no doubt that the SVX holds a special place in the history of sports cars, although it is often overshadowed by vehicles like the 300ZX and the 3000GT. This was a ’90s sports car that could hold its own on the track and in city streets. From its standout design to its performance, the SVX is a hidden gem.

Lexus SC
Photo Credit: Club Lexus

23: Lexus SC

Although most of these beautiful vehicles have been beaten and abused by now, the Lexus SC of the ’90s was a very special vehicle. The car was almost overengineered to a degree. The SC was based on the Toyota Supra. The SC400 came with a powerful V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive design. Off-the-line performance is amazing and the V8 is among one of the most reliable engines on the road.

Lexus SC400
Photo Credit: Auto Wise

If you can manage to find an SC300 or SC400 unscathed, you’re in for something special. The vehicle offers anything you could expect in a luxury coupe. Prices are fairly reasonable. However, many of these ’90s cars have been abused or customized to the point of no return.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
Photo Credit: Autotrader

22: Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited

Long before the SRT Jeep Cherokee hit the market, there was another performance version. The Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited shared a lot of the components with the Dakota 5.9RT. It had a powerful V8 engine and a revised suspension that gave the Cherokee a more aggressive ride. Because this was the Grand Cherokee of the ’90s, it was fully loaded.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

This was one fast Jeep, achieving 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, a strong feat. These ’90s vehicles are hard to come by, but when you do find one, it’s usually been kept in good condition. The key is to find an original owner model, as this generation of the Grand Cherokee is known for its durability and reliability.

Dodge Stealth
Photo Credit: OKOT Car Auction

21: Dodge Stealth

Chrysler had hundreds of vehicles on the market during the ’90s. The Stealth was a well-designed sports car with a lot of potential. The AWD design gave it a distinct edge over foreign rivals. Chrylser added little touches to the Stealth to give it a jet fighter image, and the car performed well. The aftermarket scene for the Stealth has become quite phenomenal.

Dodge Stealth
Photo Credit:: Car Domain

While the Dodge Stealth might not be as well known as the Toyota Supras or the Nissan 300ZXs of the ‘9-s it was a comparable powerhouse. The car had a good deal of features. Dodge has not since had a sports car quite like the Stealth since the ’90s.

Lotus Elan (M100)
Photo Credit: Lotus Elan

20: Lotus Elan (M100)

The Lotus Elan is a hidden jewel. It was a surprising change in the roadster segment. The car was lightweight and unlike anything else on the market in the ’90s. Lotus was known for having impeccable driving characteristics. Although the roadster wasn’t powerful on paper, it managed to perform quite well.

Lotus Elan (M100)
Photo Credit: Lotus Elan

The short wheelbase allowed the car to zip in and out of turns with little effort. Aside from the short turning radius, the Elan was also very reliable. Repair costs were far less than other Lotus models that had come before it. The Elan was the precursor to the Lotus Elise that came later on in the ’90s.

BMW M5
Photo Credit: GTA 5 Mods

19: BMW M5 (E34)

The E34 was revolutionary in a couple ways for BMW. The car was more refined than outgoing models. With increased competition from Lexus, this was a must. A top-of-the-line straight-six gave the E34 a driving experience that still excites to this day. Very few modern luxury cars can come close to the E34 in terms of quality and drivability.

BMW M5 E34
Photo Credit: Right Foot Down

BMW has made several well-rounded sports sedans and coupes over the past few decades. But the E34 of the ’90s is close to many enthusiasts’ hearts. Its sheer power that the E34 has is at the top of the clas, not to mention the modern luxury features that make the E34 a livable sedan.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
Photo Credit: STV ID

18: Porsche 911 Carrera RS

Porsche was in a bit of transition during the ’90s. The 911 Carrera RS built on an already great platform and updated it for the ’90s. The car had some updates, but for the most part, stayed to the tried-and-true formula of the ’80s. The car is still a highly sought-after collectors’ edition with good performance.

Porsche 911 Carrera RS
Photo Credit: Silodrone

The 911 Carrera RS was available in a sports coupe and convertible. The result was a desirable car that offered a good deal of potential thanks to its exceptional design. To this day the 911 Carrera is still a highly favorable German sports car.

Bugatti EB110
Photo Credit: Auto Week

17: Bugatti EB110

Bugatti had gone bankrupt during the ’90s. The Bugatti factory was one of the most elaborate automotive factories in the world and now sits vacant. The EB110 was at one point the fastest car in the world. When you think about rarity in the world of exotic cars ,the EB110 is an absolute jewel. The car was designed from the ground up to have a hand-built body and interior.

Bugatti EB110
Photo Credit: Bugatti

The ’90s were a special time for performance vehicles and the Bugatti EB110 was at the pinnacle. This is a car that’s constantly forgotten about but proved to be one of the most notorious sports cars on the market. Bugatti did a lot right with the design and implementation of the EB110.

BMW Z1
Photo Credit: Top Gear

16: BMW Z1

You’ve probably never seen a Z1 because the car is extremely rare. The design of the roadster was unique in comparison to the other members of the BMW lineup during the ’90s. What BMW had focused on with the Z1 was a car that could tackle just about any track. While you might think that the 8-series was the pinnacle of BMW design in the ’90s, the Z1 was something even more unique.

BMW Z1
Photo Credit: Classic Car

Looking back on the Z1, there’s a lot that the car did right. The Z1 was able to tackle the track in a performance matter that very few cars can. The design was beautiful to this day and among one of the most unique beamers ever created. Aside from those attributes, the Z1 is a historic piece of ’90s BMW philosophy.

BMW M3 Lightweight
Photo Credit: Blogspot

15: BMW M3 Lightweight

BMW was an innovator during the ’90s in terms of cutting-edge design. What you had with the M3 Lightweight was a car that could handle its own on the road or the track. The M3 was already a lightweight vehicle, but this model enhanced design. Coupled with the fact that BMW had a majority hold on the luxury car market, there was no surprise here.

BMW M3 Lightweight
Photo Credit: LB Limited

The M3 Lightweight was 200 pounds lighter than the standard model. Aside from the weight reduction, BMW also added new decals to the exterior. This was a distinct feature as BMW generally steered clear of anything that would tarnish their impeccable exteriors.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Mäkinen Edition
Photo Credit: Pinterest

14: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Mäkinen Edition

The seventh-generation Lancer Evolution (August 2001 – January 2003) is the most widely-recognized variation of the car. However, the sixth generation Tommi Mäkinen Edition is probably the most desired Mitsubishi on the road. The first thing that you’ll notice about this Lancer is the quintessential ’90s sports car design. Interior-wise, this Lancer offered a leather Momo steering wheel and shift knob just to name some of the features.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Mäkinen Edition
Photo Credit: Flickr

The red exterior color is only available in the Tommi Mäkinen trim. The other exterior colors available are white, blue, black, or silver. The Lancer could also be ordered with differentiating exterior decals, one of the few cars to offer such an option. It has been said that only a few of these have been imported into the U.S. market.

Ferrari F50
Photo Credit: James Edition

13: Ferrari F50

The F50 is in its own league in terms of beauty. Ferrari was at the pinnacle of design during the ’90s, and the F50 was an entirely new design. The naturally aspirated V12 engine was directly bolted to the frame. Its 512 hp output was far ahead of many supercars from the same era. The precision design of the body was very smooth, down to the sculpted wing that was on the deck. The stripped-down design of the vehicle was not your average posh Ferrari.

Ferrari F50
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Instead, the F50 was a street-legal track car that had all the fixings. There were only 349 F50s in production between 1995 and 1997. The unique thing about the F50 is that Ferrari would only allow customers to lease the car for two years before it could be purchased. In every way, the F50 is about as special as you can imagine.

Mercedes-CLK GTR
Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

12: Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR

Although Mercedes often comes off as a reserved automaker, the brand has ventured into the performance market. The standard CLK was an elegant, well-designed personal luxury coupe and convertible. But Mercedes decided to take the platform a step further with the stretched design of the CLK GTR. This was not a production vehicle but a purpose-built machine made to race in the FIA GT Championship in 1997. The car had a masterful LS600 6.0-litre V12 engine, delivering smooth power in the range of (447 kW; 600 hp) and 538 lb-ft (729 Nâ‹…m) of torque.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR
Photo Credit: Auto Guest Spot

The CLK GTR would compete in two rounds of the 1998 season. The CLK GTR holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most expensive production car ever built at the time with a price of USD $1,547,620. There were a total of 25 of these built during the initial run and the car is still among the most prized sports cars on the road.

Ford Escort Cosworth RS
Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

11: Ford Escort RS Cosworth

The Escort RS Cosworth is most notable for the “whale tail” spoiler that sticks off of the back of the hatchback. If you’ve never laid eyes on this interesting hatchback, it’s because the RS Cosworth was manufactured between 1992-1996 in very limited numbers. A very small number of the total 7,145 vehicles produced have been imported legally into the United States.

Ford Escort Cosworth
Photo Credit: Gield

The (224 bhp; 167 kW) at 6,250 rpm and 304 Nâ‹…m; 224 lb-ft (31 kgâ‹…m) of torque at 3,500 rpm was more than enough to propel the Escort RS Cosworth with authority. Even compared to other rally cars of the period the Escort is in its league. These cars are becoming increasingly valuable as automakers switch to the crossover.

Mazda RX-7
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

10: Mazda RX-7

The ’90s were an interesting time for sports cars with the SUV boom in full swing. One of the last real sports cars was the RX-7. From a design standpoint, the third-generation FD “1992-2002” was a beautifully sculpted sports car. Even by today’s standard, the RX-7 is a modern looking sports car that emphasizes design. The 1.3 L (79 cu in) twin-turbocharged 13B-REW twin-rotor is generally regarded as one of the greatest engines of all time.

Mazda RX-7
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

Mazda made sure to create a welcoming interior that was designed to look more like a cockpit than anything. The signature popup headlights have always been a stylistic choice on the RX-7. Notable features included the hatchback design and factory alloy rims. All in all, the third-generation RX-7 is a legendary ’90s sports car.

Acura Integra Type R
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

9: Acura Integra Type R

Rev happy four-cylinder cars were a hallmark of the ’90s, and Honda specialized in them. The Integra Type-R was every bit the boy racer image that Acura intended it to be. Four-cylinder Honda sports cars are generally fun to drive and cheap to maintain. The same can be said for the Integra Type-R, which stuck to a simplistic formula.

Acura Integra Type R
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

The Integra Type-R had the highly desirable B18C5 1.8 L 4-cylinder engine. This is a highly coveted enthusiast engine that provides a high rev limit and decent reliability. Everything that made the Integra Type-R special was based around this motor. Undoubtedly, the Integra Type-R is the most distinctive Acura of the last two decades.

Ferrari 550 Maranello
Photo Credit: Ferrari

8: Ferrari 550 Maranello

The 550 Maranello is a dazzling spectacle of design and performance. The 485 hp 12-cylinder engine is among one of the most well-designed engines to ever grace a Ferrari. The front-engine design coupled with rear-wheel drive gives the car an amazing blend of performance. In addition to the beautiful two-door version, there was also a roadster called the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina. This roadster was produced in very limited production numbers, around 448 to be exact.

Ferrari F550 Maranello
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

With vented disk brakes, the 550 could stop just as fast as it could accelerate. The performance was derivative of the Ferrari manifesto and the car handle it accordingly. The interior is the quintessential Ferrari with a metal shifter and ribbed seating. With a top speed of 199 mph, the 550 Maranello is still an exciting ride to this day.

BMW 850CSi
Photo Credit: Automobile Mag

7: BMW 850CSi

Another impressive V-12 from the ’90s was the BMW 850CSi, if you could afford the maintenance. Known as the “ultimate dream car,” the 850CSi was an impressive blend of performance and luxury. The wide-bodied coupe pretty much embodied what the BMW brand is all about. The optional 5.6L V-12 could put down a staggering 372 hp. The 8-series E31 was produced until the 1997 model year in America, with a total of 7,232 cars produced.

BMW 850CSi
Photo Credit: Automobile

These cars are becoming increasingly expensive and hard to come by in the open market. But this is a car that was built for the true BMW enthusiast. In a way, the 8-series was a tad bit overengineered, which takes the car to the next level. BMW has a long history of building exceptional performance coupes and the 8-series was one of them.

Jaguar XJ220
Photo Credit: Autocar

6: Jaguar XJ220

Known as one of the rarest supercars of the ’90s, the XJ220 is a piece of marvel engineering. The car was designed in collaboration with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, and the concept had a 6.2 L (6,222 cc) Jaguar V12 in it. Unfortunately, due to budget restraints, the production model utilized a 3.5 L (3,498 cc) twin-turbocharged Jaguar JRV-6 V6 instead. The sheer design of the XJ220 is unlike anything else on the road, even by today’s standards.

Jaguar XJ220
Photo Credit: Blogspot

The interior of the XJ220 is remarkably ’90s, with dual vents on each side of the driver cockpit. Rich leathers graced the interior of the two-seater, with a relatively no-nonsense design that was still comfortable. The XJ220 had relatively low production numbers, hovering around 275 (some reports say 281).

Toyota MR2 (SW20)
Photo Credit: Car Throttle

5: Toyota MR2 (SW20)

There was something different about this little roadster that separated it from the general Toyota narrative. The second generation known as the SW20 borrowed a lot of styling cues from Ferrari. The car has been called the “poor man’s Ferrari”. But don’t laugh too hard, because the MR2 is a solid sports car from the ’90s.

Toyota MR2 (SW20)
Photo Credit: Street Mag

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on an MR2 Turbo, the turbocharged 2.0L 3S-GTE engine produced 200 bhp (203 PS; 149 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 200 lb-ft (271 Nâ‹…m) at 3,200 rpm of torque. Although those numbers are mediocre by today’s standards when you combine it with such a small package, you still have a formidable road car.

Subaru Impreza 22B
Photo Credit: Automobile Mag

4: Subaru Impreza 22B

Known as the “best Subaru ever made,” the Impreza 22B is hard to beat. The combination of the rally car design and light bodyweight made the 22B a blast to drive. The EJ22G engine was designed specifically for the 22B, producing (276 bhp; 206 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 363 Nâ‹…m; 268 lbs-ft (37 kgâ‹…m) at 3,200 rpm of torque. This is dubbed as one of the best engines to ever come out of a Subaru factory and has made the 22B skyrocket in value as a result.

Subaru Impreza 22B
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

These cars are extremely rare and have been shooting up in value. If you are in the market for a ’90s sports car, the 22B is a great investment. Along the lines of the Acura Integra Type-R price-wise, you get a lot of bang for the buck with one of these street-legal rally cars.

1997 Porsche 911 GT2
Photo Credit: Classic Driver

3: Porsche 911 GT2

Extremely rare even by Porsche standards, the Porsche 911 GT2 personified the ’90s sports car. There was a Riviera Blue 911 GT2 that sold at auction for a staggering amount of $2.4 Million, quite the value for a 20-year-old sports car. For the true Porsche enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than the 911 GT2. This generation had everything that you could want in a Porsche of this caliber.

1997 Porsche 911 GT2
Photo Credit: Auto Evolution

With a curb weight of only 2,855 lbs and a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, this is not your realtor’s Porsche. There are quite a few serious road cars driving around today and the Porsche 911 GT2 is one of them. From its beautiful design to awe-inspiring speed, the 911 GT2 is everything in one package.

Lamborghini Diablo
Photo Credit: Top Gear

2: Lamborghini Diablo

The Lamborghini Diablo was an iconic piece of ’90s pop culture, more so than the outgoing Countach. The Diablo could obtain a top speed of 200 mph, which even by today’s standards is blisteringly fast. Available with either a 5.7 L V12 and a 6.0 L V12, the Diablo was well powered. The original V12 boasted 492 PS (362 kW; 485 hp) and 580 Nâ‹…m (428 lb. ft.) of torque. The interior was well appointed and the car even had modern safety features such as anti-lock brakes.

Lamborghini Diablo
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

A 1998 facelift gave the car a more modern interior and exterior. There was also a very rare roadster variation of the Diablo, which was the pinnacle of many car collections. Although the Diablo was replaced by the Murciélago, the car is still a highly sought-after collector’s item.

Acura NSX
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

1: Acura NSX

Most people didn’t know what to make of the NSX when it was originally announced. Honda had gone from building cheap economy cars to crafting a new supercar for the world. Launched in 1990, the NSX was the first car to ever be mass-produced with an aluminum body. The styling was lead by Chief Designer Masahito Nakano and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara. The aerodynamics were said to have been inspired by an F-16 fighter jet. The interior was no-nonsense ’90s sports car in every aspect.

Acura NSX
Photo Credit: Super Street Online

The Acura NSX was produced from 1990-to-2007 and each year the car became more scarce. There was a facelift in 2002 which gave the NSX a more modern vibe as a result. The all-aluminum 3.0 L V6 engine that powered the NSX is therefore still regarded as one of the best powerplants to come out of Japan. Overall the first-generation NSX is among the best supercars ever built.

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