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’90s Sports Cars That Are Still Relevant

Cameron EittreimSeptember 27, 2019

The 1990s were a magical time for the automotive industry. Carmakers were just beginning to delve into new technologies. The sports car market was one of the first to benefit. Whether you wanted an inexpensive turbo or a V8 powered muscle car there, was sure to be a fit. Many of the nineties sports cars have become cult classics as a result. The birth of the small-block LS1 V8 engine was one such advantage, and the rising popularity of SUVs made sports cars a dying breed.

The sports cars that hit the market during the nineties were some of the most unique vehicles ever engineered. Brands like Mitsubishi and Subaru entered the market with memorable cars that were beyond fun to drive. Many of these nineties sports cars have increased dramatically in value over the years, becoming collectors’ items. To truly understand what made the nineties sports cars so special you have to delve deep into the experience. Read on as we take a look at some of the most memorable and rare sports cars (via Road & Track) to hit the market during the nineties.

20. Acura NSX

It’s without question that the Acura NSX is one of the most iconic cars on the road today. The NSX didn’t have a fire-breathing V8 engine and wasn’t particularly exotic looking. But where the NSX stood out from the crowd was its sheer precision engineering. The Acura NSX was crafted in a special factory that Honda designed just for this car.

The Acura NSX was handcrafted with a bespoke 3.0-liter V6, coupled with an all-aluminum design. Just take a step behind the wheel of an original Acura NSX model and you know you’re in for something special.

19. Mazda RX-7

Mazda was a company teetering on the brink of extinction during the nineties. But the company still managed to bring us one final RX-7. Just taking a look at the beautiful RX-7 exterior elevates a heartbeat, then you step behind that rotary engine. The RX-7 drives like pure bliss and the interior is one of the most comfortable in a sports car.

The RX-7 was rather unassuming to look at, which makes the car a definite sleeper. It has increased in value dramatically and will continue to be a hot commodity.

18. Mitsubishi 3000GT

Mitsubishi was just coming into itself during the nineties. After a partnership with Chrysler, the company was in strong financial shape. The Mitsubishi 3000GT is perhaps one of the most underrated and underappreciated sports cars on the road. Combining a twin-turbo motor with a lightweight body, the Mitsubishi 3000GT drives exceptionally.

The Mitsubishi 3000GT was also quite livable with a 2+2 seating configuration. Whether you need a sports car that could fit your children or you just wanted a turbo, the 3000GT offered it.

17. Nissan 300ZX

When you think of quintessential nineties sports cars, there’s probably not one as unique as the Nissan 300ZX. The Z car is known for its featherweight handling and powerful twin-turbo engine, and the Nissan 300ZX carried on that tradition. The Nissan 300ZX offered a comfortable interior and an optional convertible model.

Buyers were treated to a naturally aspirated V6 engine or the twin-turbo variation, which is still affordable to this day. You get the power of a Toyota Supra in a comfortable and affordable used car.

16. Toyota Supra

There’s one nineties sports car you just can’t avoid, and that’s the Toyota Supra. The twin-turbo powered Toyota is one of the most iconic sports cars on the road. Take one out for a drive and you’ll feel a car that drives like an exotic. The Supra had leather interior and a stylish exterior that still looks refreshing to this day.

The resale value of the Supra has gone through the roof and the car continues to be a hot commodity. The Supra will continue to stand the test of time for its durability and performance.

15. BMW 8-Series

This was one of the most powerful and iconic sports coupes to hit the market. The BMW 8-Series was known for its powerful V-12 engine and futuristic exterior. The 8-Series is one of the most well-designed beamers to date, and the car is highly sought-after.

The coupe incorporated a large interior with a lightweight design that made the car drive like a dream. The V-12 engine is known for its precision design, and you can also get the 8-Series with a V8 engine as well.

14. Ford Mustang SVT Cobra

The nineties Ford Mustang was not one of the most exciting sports cars to look at, but there was a special package that changed that. The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra was and is still one of the most fun-to-drive variations of the Mustang. Known for its understated motor and smooth growl, the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra was a very limited edition sports car.

The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra was only available in a few colors. To find one today, you can expect to fork over a pretty penny for this racehorse.

13. GMC Syclone

Yes, this is a truck. But the GMC Syclone is perhaps one of the most fun-to-drive cars to come out of the decade. The GMC Syclone boasts one of the most powerful turbocharged V6 engines to come out of a GM product. The truck has a lowered no-frills design and it was only offered in a few colors, which makes the GMC Syclone a rarity.

Finding a GMC Syclone is going to take some searching because production was very low. But if you want one of the best sports cars of the nineties, the GMC Syclone is it.

12. Nissan Skyline GT-R

This particular sports car should be called the icon because it’s been featured in hundreds of movies and publications. The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a legend in the sports car world as well as the drifting world. The nineties generation of the Nissan Skyline GT-R is now legal to import into America, and you just can’t beat this car.

With a powerful twin-turbo engine and a design that looks like a jet plane, the Skyline GT-R stands out. You’ll find Skyline GT-R’s for sale but you can expect to fork over a lot of money.

11. BMW M5 (E39)

Another BMW that makes its way onto the list is the BMW M5 (E39). What happens when you pack a powerful V8 motor into a lightweight sedan? Fun.

The BMW M5 was known for its stellar reputation for quality and one of a kind performance. The aluminum V8 engine is one of the best to come out of a BMW factory. The BMW M5 is still a popular car to this day and the car has retained its value. If you want a fun-to-drive sports sedan, the BMW M5 E39 is a car that’s within reach.

10. Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 (C4)

When the Corvette ZR-1 burst onto the scene, it changed things for Chevrolet. The sports car featured an entire fiberglass body coupled with one of the most advanced V8 engines yet. The aluminum block V8 was known for its quick-witted power.

The Corvette ZR-1 (C4) featured a beautifully redesigned exterior, which fit in line with other sports cars at the time. When you think of a quintessential sports car, the Corvette ZR-1 (C4) is a dream to drive and own.

9. Toyota MR2 Turbo

Although the Toyota Supra gets all the credit for being the best Toyota sports car of the decade, there was another lesser-known model. The Toyota MR2 Turbo is a unique mid-engined sports car that filled the void left by the much larger Supra. If you were looking for affordable fun and a car that was cheap to own, the MR2 Turbo was your ride.

Known for its distinctive looks and comfortable driving experience, the MR2 Turbo is a winning combination of performance and style. You can still find MR2 Turbos in good condition for a reasonable price.

8. Aston Martin DB7

In addition to the popular entries that came from Japanese manufacturers, there was also an exotic that changed the game. The Aston Martin DB7 is known for its stylish exterior and powerful V12 engine. With its smooth-shifting transmission and beautifully crafted 2+2 interior, the Aston Martin DB7 stood out from the crowd.

You can still find a low mileage DB7 on the market for well under $30,000. For that price, you’ll get one of the most well-crafted nineties sports cars on the market.

7. Chevrolet Corvette (C5)

When the Corvette C5 hit the scene, Chevrolet was on top of their game. The brand was looking to push things a step further and the Chevrolet Corvette (C5) was an all-new modern vehicle. Introducing the LS1 Aluminum block V8 engine to the market was a game-changer.

The Chevrolet Corvette (C5) also offered a slew of new luxury features in the interior. The Chevrolet Corvette (C5) went on to be one of the longest-lasting Corvette models on the market. You can still find one in great shape.

6. Lotus Esprit

Lotus is not a brand that you see very often in the mainstream. But the company has created some of the most memorable sports cars on the market. The Lotus Esprit is known for its legendary design that pushed the boundaries of design.

The Esprit is one of the most affordable exotic sports cars on the market, and the car still manages to turn heads. You’ll get one of the best motors to come out of the Lotus factory and some pretty unique exterior colors as well.

5. Porsche 968

Although it doesn’t get the credit that it deserves, the Porsche 968 is one of the best sports cars around. The lightweight design of the Porsche 968 coupled with a very livable interior made the car a winner. The unique styling of the Porsche 968 is what made the vehicle stand out.

The hatchback design made the Porsche 968 functional, and the backseat made the car ideal for a family. The Porsche 968 still holds its value to this day, and you can find one with low mileage.

4. Mercedes-Benz SL600

Driving a V-12 powered sports car is a dream for most people. The Mercedes-Benz SL600 is perhaps one of the finest touring coupes to have ever hit the market. Although the car was upwards of $100,000 when it hit the market, you can get one very affordably now.

The SL600 incorporated a comfortable interior and a large trunk. It will cost you quite a bit in terms of maintenance, but the result will be a satisfying experience.

 

3. BMW M3 (E36)

Another impressive sports car to hit the market during the nineties was the BMW M3 (E36). The little sedan was known as the ultimate sleeper, packing a powerful engine and a comfortable interior. The standard racing seats gave the car an impressive feeling, and the engine is known as one of the best.

The M3 (E36) has gone up in value significantly over the past decade and the car is still a bargain. The M3 (E36) will stand up to most modern sports cars, and with the standard transmission, that’s an impressive feat.

2. Dodge Viper

The Dodge brand was on an upswing during the nineties with the success of the cab-forward designed vehicles. But what Dodge needed was a halo car similar to the Corvette. The Dodge Viper hit the scene as one of the most powerful sports cars to hit the market.

The 400 HP V10 engine was known for its rough tone and quick acceleration. The Viper didn’t offer a lot in terms of interior refinement or comfort, but the vehicle was a beast on the road and racetrack.

1. Porsche Boxster (986)

Finally, we have the most revolutionary sports car to hit the market in decades. The Porsche Boxster (986) brought the legendary brand into the new millennium. Offering a modern exterior and interior with all of the bells and whistles, the Boxster (986) was a hit.

The Boxster (986) came in a plethora of vibrant exterior colors, and the engine was lightweight. You can still find the Boxster (986) on the used car market for an amazing deal. If there was one car that defined the late nineties sports cars, the Boxster (986) was definitely it.

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