Today, fast SUVs are nothing special but in the ’90s, they were extremely rare and obscure. However, Jeep produced one that will be a collector’s item in the near future. And that is 1998 5.9 Limited, a one-year, top-of-the-line model. Jeep equipped it with every luxury item they had to offer as well as a 5.9-liter Magnum V8 delivering 245 HP (via Driving Line).
Although 245 HP doesn’t sound impressive today, it was a lofty number for by the late ’90s SUV standards. The Grand Cherokee 5.9 was sort of a Jeep hot rod before those modern SRT versions with their powerful Hemi engines. And because they only built about 15,000 of them, the 5.9 Limited is the definitive future classic.
When the 996 generation of 911 debuted in 1998, most Porsche purists were shocked. Their beloved car lost one of its defining characteristics: air cooling. The reason was simple, air cooling wasn’t interesting since it could no longer cope with the rising power of the engines and demanding engineering of Porsche cars. The engines had to use regular water cooling, which is far more efficient (via Porsche).
It was so good, they used water cooling throughout history. Some say the 911s lost some appeal, but it was a smart move because it allowed Porsche to develop the car even further. Whatever the truth, the reality is the 996 is still a great car you can buy for just a fraction of the original sticker price. But if you like the flat-six engine and unmistakable 911 shape, you should look for one right now.
In 1998, AMG released its ultimate version of standard E-Class in form of the E55 AMG. From the outside, the E55 AMG looked like any other E-Class with just minimal changes but underneath the body, there was a 5.4-liter supercharged beast just waiting to be released (via Mercedes UK).
With 349 HP and 391 lb.-ft of torque, E55 AMG could accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 5.4 seconds which was late 1990s Porsche Turbo territory. AMG built over 12,000 examples which makes them relatively plentiful today and you can pick up a decent example for around $10,000 which is a steal.
You may be surprised to know that you can easily become a proud owner of an almost classic Maserati for as little as $8,000. For that money, you can buy a decent Maserati BiTurbo, which they introduced in 1981 and produced until 1994. The BiTurbo lineup of cars started with the 222 model, which was a handsome two-door coupe (Via Maserati).
And it continued with those 420 and 430 sedans they built on the same base. The car’s original price was close to $50,000 in the mid-80s. But thanks to depreciation and the poor quality of the BiTurbo model, you can look rich and sophisticated for the price of a used Ford Focus.
It sounds unbelievable, but you can buy a proper Rolls Royce for less than $10,000. That is right. The early 1980s Rolls Silver Spirit is a super luxury sedan with classic looks, a powerful engine and a bespoke interior (via Classic World).
If you decide to buy this car, it will show that you have class, money and are a member of high society. And, if that is exactly what you want people to believe, that $10,000 was well-spent.
Today’s classic car enthusiasts may not remember the Oldsmobile heyday since they retired the brand in 2000. However, back in the ’60s, this company enjoyed a reputation for inventive technology, style, and luxury. Oldsmobile represented the cutting edge of GM at one point in time, presenting models that were far ahead of their time and displayed power and style on the global market. And one such car is the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. This was a large, powerful personal luxury coupe with a twist as it was front-wheel drive (FWD). All domestic cars, regardless of the class or engine, were rear-wheel drive. However, Oldsmobile wanted to introduce something else, so they constructed the ingenious FWD system (via Car and Driver).
Designers created an attractive shape with a low roof and hidden headlights for the Toronado. The car’s power came from a big block 455 V8 with 385 HP. The Toronado was a success because it introduced superb driving characteristics, leaving most competitors in the dust. The first two generations were the best. Later, the Toronado was a Cadillac Eldorado with a different grille. Interestingly enough, however, current prices for this gem are not high. For less than $20,000, you can find a perfect 1966 to 1968 Toronado. And, it could change your perspective on the driving and the handling of those big, classic American cruisers.
Cadillac envisioned the Allante as a competitor to the Mercedes SL convertible. It was a two-seat luxury convertible designed by Pininfarina. It came with a Northstar V8 engine and front-wheel drive. That was quite an unusual combination, but the car looked and performed quite well (via Retro Motor).
The production process was specific because the actual fabrication happened in Italy in the Pininfarina factory. And then they shipped cars to the U.S. by jet, which affected the cost of the final product. The Allante stayed in production until 1993 and they built just over 21,000. The car proved too expensive to produce. Allegedly, the factory lost money on every Allante they made.
The Pacer is a car that people equally love and hate, but it is still legendary and recognizable. It was AMC’s effort to produce a compact car. However, it turned out to be less compact than its competitors, and with numerous flaws. However, the design and the legend that revolves around its charm make it one of the most quirky and iconic ’70s legends (via American Motors).
The prices are still low, and most people have forgotten about this cool car. If you like the Pacer, you can find them affordable, but don’t expect great performance because that’s not what this car is all about.