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40 Unforgettable Sports Cars Of The ‘80s and ‘90s

Cameron EittreimSeptember 3, 2020

'80s and '90s
via: Ford

7: Ford Thunderbird SC

The final years of the Thunderbird were a mixture of sales successes and letdowns. As the onslaught of SUVs began to flood the market, the appetite for a large two-door coupe was minimal at best. But before the Thunderbird said its final goodbyes, the car had an interesting option, the SC. Known as the “Super Coupe,” the supercharged Thunderbird was designed to be a blast to drive. The MN12 platform which the Thunderbird is built on has a cult following because of its exceptional performance.

'80s and '90s
via: Motor Week

The 3.8-liter V-6 is a supercharged marvel of engineering that can produce a 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds. While this number might not seem all that impressive, it’s a very respectable number when you consider just how heavy a stock Thunderbird is. Overall, the Ford Thunderbird is one of the last iconic two-door coupes ever sold in the ’80s and ’90s, and the SC is going to be a collectible.

Monte Carlo Z34
via: Motor Week

6: Monte Carlo Z34

GM had a couple of unique two-door coupes on the market during the ’90s, but perhaps none got as much flack as the Monte Carlo Z34. The car, affectionately called the two-door Lumina, by some had a fairly decent run on the NASCAR circuit. On the consumer side of things, GM needed to shake up the sales, and thus the Monte Carlo Z34 was launched. With a sleek paint scheme and flowing lines, this was an aerodynamic coupe. The 3.8 L V6 was not a performance motor, but it did manage to move the Monte Carlo with authority.

'80s and '90s
via: Motor Week

The Z34 from this generation might not be the first car from the ’80s and ’90s that comes to mind. Finding one of these in clean conditions can lend a collector a decent piece of GM history. The Monte Carlo from this generation is known for a stellar NASCAR run as previously stated and the design is still handsome to this day.

2001 Ford SVT F-150 Lightning.
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5: Ford F-150 Lightning (Second Generation)

There’s no doubt that Ford was having fun during the ’90s in terms of creating fun-to-drive projects from the SVT division. Another one of these projects was the second-generation Ford F-150 Lightning. This stylish-looking single cab truck was tremendously faster than the first generation. Its styling is iconic after it was featured in the original Fast & Furious movie.

Ford F150 Lightning
via: Ford

The Ford F-150 Lightning had a powerful presence on the street and the track, making for a stellar pickup truck that could double as a sports car. The truck didn’t change much over its short production run, although there were subtle horsepower increases over time. The truck was available with an automatic transmission and a bench seat, but there wasn’t an extended cab version. Overall, the Ford F-150 Lightning in its second generation is a truck worth considering for any collector.

'80s and '90s
via: Motor Week

4: Mercury Cougar

The Ford “New Edge” design scheme was seen across quite a few vehicles. The Cougar is one of the final cars to wear this new design aesthetic. The car was designed by Darrell Behmer and the goal was to attract female buyers into the showroom. Performance-wise, the car got its powerplant from the Ford Contour and it managed to perform admirably in most circumstances. There were two engine choices for the Cougar, a 2.0 L 4-cylinder, or the 2.5 L V6.

'80s and '90s
via: Car Domain

Both of them performed very well, and the optional leather interior gives the car an upscale look inside. The Mercury Cougar is sure to become a collector’s item because this was one of the last two-door Mercury vehicles ever created. The brand has since folded and the Mercuries you’ll see on the road will become lesser.

'80s and '90s
via: Car Domain

3: Pontiac Fiero

The Pontiac Fiero was one of the most underutilized and most scrutinized sports cars to come out of a GM factory. The first problem was the fact that the car had suffered from engine compartment fires early on. This created a media frenzy for GM and there was a recall on the car, but aside from this, the Fiero was an excellent car to drive. The unique look of the car had some of the aggressive stylings some Pontiac models had seen. The only direct competition for the Fierro was the Toyota MR2.

'80s and '90s
via: GM

Finding a mid-engined sports car for as cheaply as you can get the Fiero is a hard thing to do. With the design elements and the capability to do an engine swap, the Pontiac Fiero is an excellent platform to build on. Not to mention that cool-looking ’80s styling that makes the Fiero reminiscent of a better time.

Shelby CSX
via: Car Domain

2: Shelby CSX

The Dodge Shadow was an unassuming compact car for the duration of its life, so when Carroll Shelby decided to supercharge it many in the automotive community were interested. The Shelby CSX was the Dodge Shadow but on steroids, and it had a lot going for it during the ’80s and ’90s. Power was derived from an intercooler Turbo II 2.2 L inline-four, producing 175 hp (130 kW) at 5300 rpm. The power was just right for a car that was this small, and results were exceptional when it came to performance.

Shelby CSX
via: Hagerty

The car wasn’t much to look at but, the ground effects helped give it an updated look. The CSX is perhaps one of the most unique parts of ’90s automotive culture. The distinct design and signature performance was a high point for a compact car that had these dimensions. Rarity and hot hatches are not what they used to be, but the CSX is a car that’s worth considering.

Dodge Spirit R/T
via: Car Domain

1: Dodge Spirit R/T

Finally, we have one of the most underrated and potentially iconic sports cars to ever grace the automotive landscape. The Dodge Spirit R/T was the fastest four-door sedan mass-produced in 1991 and 1992 according to automotive historians. The car was amazingly fast and rivaled sedans even produced to this very day. Built on the K-Car platform. the Spirit was the last bit of fun for Dodge before the cab-forward cars took over.

Spirit R/T
via: Motor Week

The Spirit R/T is a rare sedan in today’s automotive market, but you can find one from time to time. The trick is to find an original-owner model that has been well maintained. With the right care and maintenance and the fact that the K-Car platform is so universally used by Chrysler, the Spirit R/T is an easy car to build upon.

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