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Fun & Affordable ’80s & ’90s Cars That You Forgot About

Cameron EittreimJuly 22, 2022

The 1980s and the ’90s were a great time for the automotive market. There were several new and improved models coming out every year, and it was also a great time for performance cars. Automakers were experimenting with new models that took performance to the next level. Whether it was the Dodge Neon R/T or the Ford Probe 24V, there was no shortage of fun-to-drive cars during this era. Many of these cars weren’t perfect, but what they did is bring back the fun driving was missing due to the emissions regulations of the 1970s.

If you were around for the 1980s or ’90s, there’s a good chance that you enjoyed these cars when they were new. But the current automotive market has emphasized enjoying the used cars of our past. Many of these cars, which were disregarded in the early 2000s, are exploding in value. More consumers are starting to learn how great these cars were and want to enjoy them now. We looked at fun-to-drive cars from the 1980s and ’90s that are still affordable today.

Mercedes AMG C36
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

An impressive car that came out in the 1990s was the C36 AMG. This car was based on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and it had a lot to offer. The unique styling of the car coupled with the great performance were two of the selling points. The ground effects kit gave the car a more aggressive look that had not been seen before. The off-the-line quickness of the C36 AMG made it a much better offering than the cars that came before it (via Supercars).

Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG
Photo Credit: Car Advice

The AMG lineup of cars has continued to improve in value, and these early examples show how great the brand was. The C36 AMG is a definite collector’s item, but you can still find it for an affordable price. With the right modern upgrades, you can transform this car into the ultimate road warrior or weekend track beast. The AMG line has a great lineage and the C63 AMG is a hog. The C63 AMG is not a car that will disappoint you at the red light.

Photo Credit: Subaru

Subaru SVX

Even though you get to see the modern Subaru sports car, which is the BRZ, there was also a two-door sports car that came along in the 1990s. The SVX was an odd-looking sports car with some serious performance. You’ve probably never seen anything else like it on the road, and there’s a good reason for that. Subaru put a lot of development into the design of the car, and it stood out from the crowd for many reasons, including the performance (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Subaru

The SVX did not sell well at all and it got discontinued. The car would never have a successor, but the fact that the car has increased in value is notable. More drivers are starting to realize the SVX is a unique sports car and had a lot to offer. Car fans of the ’90s will see the value of this car continue to rise as time goes on. The SVX did everything right while still offering the driver a capable sports car. The driving experience in the SVX is top-notch and the car is still fun to drive. With the right upgrades, the SVX can be a modern sports car with a lot of value to offer.

Lotus Elan
Photo Credit: Lotus

Lotus Elan (M100)

Lotus is a brand known for its excellent handling. The Elan was one of the sports cars in the 1990s that has become largely forgotten. But there was also a lot to like about the car like the smooth styling and great interior. The Elan had a short wheelbase, which made it handle well on twists and turns. It also had a great engine, which gave the car some of the best performance a Lotus model had up to that point. The Elan has the look and luxury of a great sports car. You have a car like the Miata, and then you have the more elegant option, the Elan (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Motor 1

Lotus is a brand that has continued to evolve in the past couple of decades. While the brand has continued to move upmarket, there are still points where you will look back to the Elan. The car was everything the Lotus brand is about, all wrapped in a compact package drivers could enjoy.

Photo Credit: Car Scoops

BMW M5 (E34)

The E34 BMW M5 is notable and desirable. The performance of BMW during this time period was some of the best in the brand’s history. Coupled with the attractive styling of the car and they had a recipe for success. The M5 was one of the most popular BMW nameplates in the history of the company. Nowadays, the M5 is a great used car that still has excellent performance for the price. The modern performance and handsome style make the E34 a winner (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

There are countless add-ons that you can get for this generation of the M5. The car is also one of the fastest BMWs from this era when it came to off-the-line performance. When you consider all the luxury features this car came with, the M5 was a winner. BMW has continued to evolve the M5 line as time has gone on. The M5 is not your average BMW model, it is fun to drive. The design of the M5 is also different as there is significant precision and build quality here.

Photo Credit: Carscoops

Chevrolet Impala SS

The Impala SS was a surprise for consumers when it was released in the early 1990s. On paper the car was just a clone of the Caprice, but there was something special about it. The Impala SS had Corvette power under the hood and unique, distinct styling. There is no way to miss the Impala coming down the road. The car became a cultural phenomenon and everyone wanted to own one. Initial sales numbers were great (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: GM

Even Tim Allen was the proud owner of an Impala SS. The car just resonated with automotive fans in every way. Its performance and styling made it a great addition for anyone who wanted to own a performance car. The legendary Impala nameplate made the car a hit with consumers who wanted to reminisce on their childhoods. The Impala SS has a great stance coupled with the legendary performance that resides under the hood.

Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX

The Eclipse GSX was more than just the car Brian drives in “The Fast and The Furious” movie. The Eclipse proved to be a massive success for the Mitsubishi brand in the 1990s. The thing that made the Eclipse great was the turbocharged power packed in the lightweight design. Coupled with that was excellent handling, which helped the car take twists and turns like something far more expensive than this car was. The Eclipse GSX is a defining sports car that’s fun to drive and also has a luxurious interior (via Supercars).

Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
Photo Credit: Mitsubishi

Feature-wise, the Eclipse was also a well-appointed car. It came with a leather interior and many options for the price. When it came down to it, the Eclipse did everything right. As time went on, the Eclipse would become the mainstay of the Mitsubishi brand, and for many drivers, the Eclipse was the first car they drove. Mitsubishi is a company that evolves every generation, and the Eclipse brought fans a capable and affordable sports car.

Photo Credit: Automobile

Mercedes-Benz 500E

The Mercedes-Benz models of the 1990s were the last honest models to come across. The 500E had a build quality that is unmatched today and its performance added to that. The engine was specifically designed for this model and the interior had many luxury appointments to go with it. But perhaps the best thing about the 500E was the handling, as this was one of the best handling Mercedes-Benz models from this era (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Automobile

What the 500E did well was the performance, but it was also considered one of the more reliable Mercedes-Benz models. If you can find one of these cars in good condition, you will have a great driving ride. Not to mention the fact that the parts are fairly easy to come across these days, and this car was made before OBD-II was a thing. The 500E is fun to drive and it had the bells and whistles that you would look for in a luxury car that cost this much money. The 500E is fun to drive, it will impress you. The on-road drive and the comfort of the interior are the winning qualities of the 500E.

Photo Credit: Motor 1

Toyota Celica All-Trac Turbo

The Celica All-Trac Turbo was much more than just a standard Celica with an appearance package on it. This is the Celica everyone wants at one point or another. Toyota combined the all-wheel-drive system with a turbocharged engine, this was a receipt for fun. The Celica All-Trac had a fairly recent run in the rally racing world. There was a lot to like about the car and in the right paint scheme, it was one of the best-looking Celica models (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Motor 1

These days, the Celica All-Trac Turbo is difficult to come across because collectors are holding onto them. But you can still find them from time to time, and the performance is applicable even in today’s world. There is a lot to like about this generation of the Celica. You could say this was the last honest generation of the Celica. The Celica All-Trac won’t beat the Supra in a head-to-head race. But what the Celica All-Trac does right is to give buyers a fun-to-drive sports car.

Oldsmobile Quad 442
via: Car Domain

Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442

The Oldsmobile cars of the 1980s and 1990s were on the verge of being boring. In fact, consumer interest in these cars had waned while the Cutlass Supreme was the best-selling car in America in the 1980s. The Calais was the new modern car that the folks at Oldsmobile were trying to push to consumers. To generate some interest in the car, the Quad 442 was launched. An ode to the Oldsmobile muscle cars of the past, this one had a high-performance version of the standard motor (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

There was a lot to like about the Quad 442, the interior was updated and the exterior of the car was more attractive than before. If there was one thing that GM did right during this era, it was putting a larger motor in a small vehicle. The automotive press praised the Quad 442 for its great off-the-line performance.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Porsche 968 Club Sport

The Porsche 968 Club Sport is one of the best sports cars in this era. It had everything that made the original Porsche models excellent and took it to the next level. The available paint job made the car stand out from the crowd, and that was even more so with its color-coated wheels. The styling of the car was updated to match the modern era, and the interior is more comfortable than the Porsche models that had come before it (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Car Domain

With the available spoiler on the back, there was nothing about this Porsche model that was boring. This is why it connected so well with consumers at a time when Porsches were starting to fall out of favor. Today, you can find the 968 Club Sport for a more affordable price than you’d think, and most of these models have been well taken care of. For a short period, the Porsche 968 had fallen out of favor, but in recent years, the car has returned to relevance.

Neon R/T
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Dodge Neon R/T

The Neon was the replacement for the aged Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Horizon. What the car did right was bring an affordable and fun-to-drive platform to showrooms. The styling of the car was refreshingly modern with frame-less doors and a sweeping design. The Neon was also a lot larger than the outgoing vehicle. The R/T model was a real treat because it turned the Neon into a miniature race car. With the blue paint job that came with white stripes, you’d almost mistake this for a miniature Dodge Viper (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

The Neon would be sold for over a decade and it was one of the best sellers Dodge had. The compact car was a lot better than the competition, as it came with more power and reliability. The Neon R/T is still a fun-to-drive car that you can find today for a great price, although the models are becoming scarcer. Dodge added a lot to the Neon in terms of style and performance. There weren’t many compact cars that could compete with this one.

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

Nissan Sentra SE-R

The Sentra was a groundbreaking compact as it was one of the first compact cars to offer a sports model. The sports model in question was the SE-R. The SE-R was based on the ordinary model of the Sentra but the heat was turned up a bit. There was a more performance-oriented motor as well as interior additions. On the exterior, there was a spoiler and an added appearance package. If you were lucky, you got it in red (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

The SE-R is one of the most well-known Sentra models that came out of Nissan and offered a lot of flavor for the price. The performance of the SE-R made it a fun car to drive and the price tag was affordable. To this day, the SE-R is one of the most well-known cars in Nissan’s heritage. Taking a compact and lightweight package and cramming a larger engine into it is always a recipe for success.

Volvo 850
Photo Credit: Volvo

Volvo 850 R

When you think of Volvo in the 1990s, the last thing that probably comes to mind is performance. But that’s exactly what the 850 R excelled at as the least well-known Volvo model. With striking red paint and a down-to-earth design, this car did everything right. It was one of the first cars mass-produced with low-profile tires and wheels. It also had a luxurious interior that was in line with the luxury focus Volvo was starting to do around this period (via Supercars).

Volvo 850
Photo Credit: Volvo

The Volvo 850 R is a highly regarded model that has piqued the interest of a new generation of buyers. With the precision engineering and excellent safety features, this is one of the most appealing Volvo models ever built. There’s no denying the 850 R has stood the test of time and offers a great vehicle. As mentioned before, Volvo is not the first brand name to come to mind when you think of performance, but the 850 R changed all that.

Photo Credit: Audi Data

Volkswagen Corrado VR6

The Corrado is one of the best driving cars VW ever built. The performance of the car was true to the Audi heritage and the upscale interior was a welcomed addition. The Corrado received glowing reviews from the automotive press, although the car never seemed to catch on with consumers. It was only decades later that drivers learned how well the Corrado was built and how strong its driving characteristics were (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Audi Data

The Corrado is a car that has increased in value over the years. Between its build quality and its exceptional performance, the Corrado is one of the best Volkswagens ever built. If you were looking for something from this era that was fun to drive, you can’t go wrong with the Corrado. Volkswagen has not sold a dedicated sports car since the Corrado and the design is one of the most iconic. The Corrado made a name for itself with its performance.

Photo Credit: VW

New Beetle GLS 1.8T Turbo

The New Beetle could be hailed as the car that saved Volkswagen in the 1990s. The company was on the verge of irrelevancy, and it was saved last minute by the release of the New Beetle. The Volkswagen New Beetle was also the car that introduced the world to the retro-themed car craze that would extend into the 2000s. The New Beetle GLS 1.8T Turbo was an exciting car to drive and its styling resonated with buyers in a way that the rest of the Volkswagen line had not (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: VW

The New Beetle would continue to be sold for over a decade, becoming one of the most recognizable modern Volkswagen models. These days, the Beetle has been discontinued, but it is still fun to see them on the used market. This is also one of the most affordable novelty cars you can find.

Dodge Stealth
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Dodge Stealth

Released in partnership with Mitsubishi, the Dodge Stealth was a twin-turbo-powered sports car. The interesting thing is that the Stealth has the same performance you’d get from a Toyota Supra but for half the price. The Stealth is probably one of the most affordable twin-turbo-powered sports cars you can get. The average consumer doesn’t know about this car, and most drivers from that era barely remember the Stealth at all. The Stealth is more difficult to acquire than the 3000GT and that rarity is appealing (via Supercars).

Dodge Stealth
Photo Credit:: Car Domain

Although values for the twin-turbo Stealth have continued to rise, the base models are still affordable. No matter what model you get, the car is an excellent value. Even today, the Stealth provides a fun driving experience that will make you want to find every twist and turn that you can. The twin-turbo power offers great performance for the price, and considering the car is rare, the price will only increase as time goes on. The Stealth built on the new reputation of the Dodge brand, making it a more fun car company.

1991 Pontiac Firehawk
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

Pontiac SLP Firehawk

Much like GM had the special edition Camaro IROC-Z, Pontiac had the SLP Firehawk. SLP is a company that has had a long-standing relationship with General Motors. The company specializes in customizing the F-Body models, and the Firebird and the Camaro both got the exclusive treatment. The SLP Firehawk was a fast firebird, and it was also one of the rarest. You’ll seldom see one of these on the road anymore, and when you do they are in pristine condition. The SLP Firehawk is not an ordinary Firebird model and that is what GM set out to achieve (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: GM

Sales of the SLP Firehawk met the expectation, and the car sold out almost immediately. Because the SLP Firehawk was an exclusive car, it was also a numbered edition. Which meant there is someone out there who has the first edition model. If you have been a fan of the Firebird models, then the SLP Firehawk is worth checking out. The Firehawk is one of the many renditions that the Firebird has seen over the years, and is also one of the rarest and most recent models.

Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R
Photo Credit Hot Rod

Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R

The Mustang SVT Cobra R has long been one of the most revered Mustang models in the lineup. There was just something about this car that resonated with consumers on every level. The SVT Cobra R has distinct styling that separates it from the rest of the Mustang lineup from this generation. The performance of the car was also much better than anything else that had hit the market prior. Ford pulled out all the stops to make this one of the most fun-to-drive Mustangs on the market (via Supercars).

SVT Cobra Type R
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

The limited production run of the Mustang SVT Cobra R also makes it highly sought after. Between its notable styling of the car and the one-of-a-kind performance, you can’t go wrong. There is also an in-depth parts catalog for this generation of the Mustang, which makes it easy to do any upgrade. When you mention the words Cobra and Mustang in the same sentence, you know that you are getting something special. There is nothing that this car can’t do and the amount of factory upgrades you can get is endless.

Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z
Photo Credit: GM

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

Long before the SS was the fire-breathing Camaro that we have today, there was a different model that ruled the roost. That car is known as the Camaro IROC-Z and it was the pinnacle of the Camaro lineup. The IROC-Z offered things that your ordinary run-of-the-mill Camaro wouldn’t, which is why it became so popular. Between the ground effects kit and the special paint job, this was a Camaro that was unlike the rest of the lineup (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The Camaro IROC-Z was one of the most well-known pony cars of the 1980s and 1990s. The styling of the IROC-Z is among the most notable of the fourth-generation Camaro. There have even been talks about bringing the IROC-Z name back for the modern Camaro models. When it comes to one of the most fun-to-drive Camaro models, you can’t go wrong with the IROC. The original IROC-Z ushered in a new modern era for the Camaro after the brand lost some of that luster in the 1970s.

Foto Credit: Mecum

1987 Buick GNX

If there is one car that has not only stood the test of time but also become legendary, it was the 1987 Buick GNX. The car was a stellar offering in every sense of the word. The turbocharged motor was one of the fastest engines to come out of GM. The dark paint scheme of the car with the blacked-out headlights made it look aggressive. The rarity of the car has only increased in recent years, as more people are interested in it. The GNX and Grand National were a major part of Buick’s success in the 1980s (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Mecum

The Buick GNX did everything right the first time, which is why the car was such a success for the brand. Although the car had a relatively short shelf life, it was a unique offering for GM. Between the styling and the exhilarating performance, this was one of the most fun-to-drive Buick models ever released.

Escort RS Cosworth
Photo Credit: Bing

Ford Escort RS Cosworth

Everyone is familiar with the Ford Escort. It was a cheap car with an even cheaper-feeling interior and questionable reliability. But overseas, the Escort was a completely different car, and one that was dominant in the rally racing scene. The Escort RS Cosworth is one of the rarest and most sought-after Escort models. The performance that this car can dish out is beyond exhilarating, and the styling still looks great too. The rally scene brought a lot of great cars to the forefront, the Escort RS Cosworth is one (via Supercars).

 

Ford Escort RS
Photo Credit: Ford

The Escort RS Cosworth has stood the test of time for being a fun-to-drive car. There’s a lot to like about it, which is why so many consumers have gone after it. While importing one can be far more difficult than you’d imagine, the car is worth the effort. There are few cars from this era that are as fun and rewarding to drive as the Escort RS Cosworth is.

Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

1990 was a good year for GM as quite a few new models were hitting the market. The Corvette ZR-1 was the first and most notable model to come around. The ZR-1 had one of the most performance-oriented engines to come in a Corvette in a while. There is also a completely revised exterior design. The car is modern-looking and comfortable, and GM was able to introduce a new fuel injection system that helped performance (via Supercars).

Corvette ZR-1 Via Motor Trend
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Style-wise, the Corvette ZR-1 was a much sleeker design as GM overhauled the whole Corvette brand. The ZR-1 was a much sleeker car and the automotive press quickly got behind the redesign. This generation of the Corvette is one of the most affordable and modern-feeling generations of the car that drivers can get.

1984 Ford Mustang SVO
Photo Credit: Car And Driver

1984 Ford Mustang SVO

The Fox Body Mustang has become one of the most popular models on the used car market. But what made the SVO so special is that it used a turbocharged motor instead of the traditional 5.0L V8. The styling of this Mustang is also a little different. The Mustang SVO is a performance powerhouse that Mustang enthusiasts weren’t used to and it’s also one of the most highly coveted models (via Supercars).

1984 Mustang SVO
Photo Credit: Car and Driver

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the Mustang SVO because the 5.0 GT models have been exploding in price. The SVO is an often forgotten model that you can find for a cheaper price. Sure, you don’t get the power of a V8 engine, but you do get exhilarating performance that will throw you back into your seat.

Photo Credit: Redline GTI

1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

The Trans Am that came out in the 1980s is probably most fondly remembered for being ‘Kitt’ on the TV show, ‘Nightrider.’ But the Firebird also carved its own path different from the Camaro and the Mustang. The Firebird came with completely different styling and interior, which was, in some ways, an improvement over the Camaro. The performance of the turbocharged Trans-Am models is often above what you can find with the Camaro and Mustang. The Trans Am is not the Firehawk and it’s not the Camaro. But the Trans Am had a different type of consumer to target (via Supercars).

1989 Firebird Trans Am
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

Surprisingly enough, this generation of the Firebird is the most affordable to get your hands on. Many of these models have been well taken care of, and they come with great features like the removable T-Tops. There was a lot to like about the Firebird, and if you have ever considered getting a muscle car from this era, the Firebird is worth looking at.

1999 Ford Contour SVT
Photo Credit: Hot Rod

1999 Ford Contour SVT

The Contour SVT was not a hot seller for Ford in the ’90s as the car was often compared to the Escort. But the Contour did have one unique model that gained a lot of attention. The Contour SVT was a performance version of the model and one of the few SVT-badged cars that came out in the 1990s. The performance was top-notch, and the car drove much better than the factory models did. The SVT Contour would be sold for a few years and it caught the interest of collectors (via Supercars).

Ford SVT Contour
Photo Credit: Car Domain

With a few modifications, the Contour SVT can become a fun ride. The handling is one of the best attributes of the car, and the interior is also a more upscale option. In recent years, the Contour has become more sought after as the market for these used SVT models starts to grow. Many drivers are looking to reminisce on their childhoods, and they are seeking these cars out, but you can still find one for an affordable price if you know where to look.

Photo Credit: Rich McCoy

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

The 1993 Camaro was a complete redesign for the car and the first new and modern Camaro model. The look and feel of the car had changed dramatically and the Camaro now had the same modern LT1 motor as the Corvette. Enthusiasts were quick to point out drivers got Corvette power for half the price. The car was among one of the fastest production cars on the road, which made it highly sought after even in today’s market (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Camaro Z28

The Z28 was the go-to model for most people, but there was also the SS model, which was built in limited numbers. The Camaro has a long and storied history in the muscle car market, but the fourth-generation models were quite fast. This was also the last generation of the Camaro, which was discontinued until 2010 when the model returned once again.

Syclone
Photo Credit: GM

1991 GMC Syclone

The GMC Typhoon was a success, but that was not the only supercharged GMC to come out in the early 1990s. The company took the same formula for success and brought the GMC Syclone to the market. This time it was a supercharged two-door truck based on the Sonoma truck. Even by today’s standards, the performance of this truck was groundbreaking. There was a short period where this was the fastest production vehicle on the market (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: GM

The Syclone has only continued to increase in value as the years have gone on. There is just something about the truck that people love. The performance is still exhilarating, and most of these models have been kept in great condition. The GMC Syclone was one of the original sports trucks on the road and one that can still hold its own today.

Photo Credit: Auto WP

1997 Dodge Viper

If you grew up in the 1990s, you remember seeing the Dodge Viper for the first time. There was nothing else like it on the road. The Viper was a halo car for the Dodge brand, and it was introduced to the market as a supercar. The Viper is not a direct competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette, because this car was lightyears faster at the time. The original Viper was also a stripped-down car that didn’t even have air conditioning, but by 1997 the car was a bit more modern (via Supercars).

Dodge Viper
Photo Credit: Autoweek

The 1997 Viper achieved a bit more success than the original model because it was more modern and had a few more luxury amenities to make the driver comfortable. On this model of the Viper, you could use the air conditioning and lock the doors, whereas on the original model, you could not.

via: Hemmings
Photo Credit: Hemmings

Plymouth Prowler

The Prowler was initially released as a concept car but gained so much traction with the automotive press that Chrysler brought it to the market. The Prowler was a letdown for consumers because it didn’t have a V8 engine, instead, you got the same engine in your mom’s Dodge Intrepid. But all laughs aside, the Prowler was surprisingly fun to drive and the unique exterior of the car always caused people to turn their heads when you drove by (via Supercars).

via: Motor 1
Photo Credit: Motor 1

The Prowler has gone up in value in recent years but it is still an affordable collector’s car. With the unique look and cheap availability of parts, the Prowler is a decent car that you can take out on the weekend and have fun. The styling of the Prowler is still beautiful to this day, and it was one of the last authentic Plymouth models released.

1988 Callaway Sledgehammer ZR1 Corvette
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

1987 Chevrolet Corvette

The C4 Corvette is often one of the most overlooked models in the lineup, and part of the reason for this is that it was one of the least performance-oriented models. This car was released at a time when GM dealt with all kinds of new regulations, and as such, the Corvette was one of the first models to suffer. The C4 had a completely digital instrument panel and came with all the features that you’d expect out of a Corvette (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

Unfortunately, the Corvette C4 didn’t gain the attention of buyers because the car was too hampered by smog and emissions equipment. Nowadays, the C4 is one of the most affordable Corvette generations that you can get, and it performs like a Corvette too. With a few modern enhancements, you can get a lot of juice out of this model. There is a lot that the C4 has to offer, and this is one of the most underrated but over-performing Corvette models you can still buy.

Photo Credit: Bring A Trailer

GMC Typhoon

A performance-oriented SUV is nothing new GM did it way back in the 1990s. Those who know remember the GMC Typhoon, which was a superpowered GMC Jimmy. Nothing about this SUV was average, from the wild factory paint colors to the off-the-line performance. For a short period, this was one of the fastest cars sold on the market. The Typhoon was expensive and only the elite got their hands on them. The Typhoon has kept its value all these years later, and you can find them in pristine condition (via Supercars).

GMC Syclone - GMC Typhoon
Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Contrary to popular belief, the Typhoon had excellent performance and was also a usable SUV. The interior was spacious considering it was a two-door model and the amenities were decent. Drivers got leather seating, air conditioning, and many other features. The GMC Typhoon is one of the best and most fun-to-drive vehicles to come out of the 1990s, and you’ll definitely want to get your hands on one. The Typhoon will only increase in value as the design and performance of the SUV are both good.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

Ford F-150 Lightning

The first generation of the F-150 Lightning was built in response to the Chevrolet 454 SS. The idea behind the truck was the same, cram a large V8 engine into a short-bed truck and supercharge it. The resulting vehicle became immensely popular, and the Lightning has been a staple in the Ford lineup ever since. The ease of availability when it comes to finding parts and the affordability of the first-generation truck make it great for collectors (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

The F-150 Lightning has become well known in movies and media, but the first generation is seemingly lesser known. Nevertheless, the F-150 Lightning is a great truck that still provides an exhilarating driving experience. And there are many factory modifications that you can get for this truck directly from Ford Racing. The original Ford Lightning is a great truck. It has performance and the styling that you’d expect. There are quite a few F-150 Lightning trucks that have been well taken care of.

'80s and '90s
Photo Credit: Motor Week

Ford Taurus SHO (1998)

The Taurus SHO was a revolution for the Ford brand, offering a reasonable amount of performance and a completely different design. The car appealed to folks who wanted something fun to drive and still family oriented. The automotive press praised the SHO for its wonderful on-road driving manners and off-the-line acceleration. The engine used in the SHO was also exclusive to this car, and it packed a serious punch. The SHO is still a great sports sedan, there is a lot to like about the car. The Yamaha engine is one of the best power plants Ford has used (via Supercars).

'80s and '90s
Photo Credit: Motor Week

Instead of seeking out a car like the Mustang, the SHO offers a similar collector’s value but for a much more affordable price. You can find these cars all the time and many of them have been well cared for. The Taurus was one of the best-selling cars in the world, so parts are plentiful and the repairs are generally affordable on this car. The SHO is the definition of fun. There are not many cars that can offer that same type of reputation or quality. The SHO will put you back into your seat.

Ford Thunderbird S/C
Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

Ford Thunderbird S/C

The Thunderbird of the ’80s and ’90s was a stellar car. It was rear-wheel drive, had a V8 engine, and offered a lot of comfort. But the S/C instead used a supercharged V6 engine, which helped the car compete with the likes of the Buick Grand National. While the Thunderbird S/C is not as well known as the Buick, it provides a fun driving experience. The notable thing about it were its reliability and build quality (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Bring a Trailer

There are literally thousands of add-ons sold for this generation of the Thunderbird. Doing an upgrade on this car is easier than many collectors cars, because of the wide availability of parts. The Thunderbird S/C is a piece of Ford history that should not be ignored as it offered a great value and even better performance for the price. The V8-powered Thunderbird has become highly sought after because of its engine. The S/C model has largely retained its value.

Photo Credit: Car Domain

Monte Carlo Z34

While this generation of the Monte Carlo is generally considered one of the worst, it is also one of the most affordable. There were special editions of this car worth seeking out if you are a collector. The pace car editions came with a special paint job and interior, and most can still be located in mint condition. With leather seating, the Monte Carlo was a comfortable car to drive, but you weren’t going to win any races with the factory engine (via Supercars).

'80s and '90s
Photo Credit: Motor Week

For sheer collectors value, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bargain than the Monte Carlo of the 1990s. The car had a lot to offer in terms of interior comfort, even if the exterior was nothing more than a Lumina. The Z34 Pace Car editions of this Monte Carlo are the definite way to go if you are looking for one. The Lumina-based Monte Carlo was not the most popular model, but it did have a good run on the NASCAR circuit, so the value is there.

Photo Credit: IMDB

5: Ford F-150 Lightning (Second Generation)

The second generation of the F-150 Lightning was released in 1998 to much fanfare. The new and more modern truck was based on the redesigned F-150 model. The performance of this Lightning was some of the best of the generation and it is still a highly regarded truck to this day. While the value of this truck has remained steady, you can still find them for a deal from time to time. The Lightning was only available in a two-door model and it offered great deal of value for the price (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: IMDB

The Ford F-150 Lightning was a great truck and the second generation is still a modern-feeling super truck that provides a ton of excitement. Between the supercharged engine and the short wheelbase, the F-150 Lightning provides a stellar driving experience. While the price is continuing to rise, you can still find affordable examples from time to time. You cannot get a more fun-to-drive pickup truck than the Lightning.

'80s and '90s
Photo Credit: Motor Week

Mercury Cougar

Released in 1999, the Cougar got a complete redesign from the ground up and had many features to offer. The design was part of the “New Edge” design language Ford used on all their cars. The underpinnings were shared with the Mustang, although there was no V8 option anymore. The Cougar was now being marketed toward a female demographic, and as such, the car was designed to have sharp lines. Considering the car was V6 powered, the performance was still promising for the time (via Supercars).

'80s and '90s
Photo Credit: Car Domain

There was a lot to like about this new Cougar and the resale value of the car is still affordable. The unique thing about the Cougar is that it was one of the first cars to introduce the “New Edge” styling to the market. This car had a lot to like, and although it was different than the previous Cougar models, it is still one that provides a fun driving experience. Even though the Mercury brand did not survive into the new decade, the Cougar was one of the last original cars.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

3: Pontiac Fiero

The Fiero is one of the best-known sports cars that GM put out in the 1980s, and it’s not because the car was a particular success either. The styling of the Fiero was so iconic that it has been featured in all kinds of publications and TV shows. The car was also marred in controversy when it was discovered that there was a defect in the design that caused engine fires. The Fiero planned to take some market share that the Toyota MR2 controlled (via Supercars).

Photo Credit: Edmunds

The Fiero was discontinued shortly after the recall. At that point, GM worked out the kinks. The final models of the Fiero are some of the rarest and most appealing. With the mid-engined design with a few modifications, the Fiero is a fun-to-drive car and the prices are still affordable for used examples. The Fiero had a lot to like about it, which is part of the reason the car has continued to pique interest. You won’t find a better-looking mid-engine car from the 1980s.

Shelby CSX
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Shelby CSX

Carroll Shelby had a long-standing partnership with Ford, but what many people don’t remember is that he also had a relationship with Chrysler in the 1980s and early 1990s. The fruits of this partnership between the two were a few rare vehicles, such as the Dakota Shelby and the Shelby CSX. If this compact sports car looks familiar, it’s because the car was based on the Dodge Shadow, but now it had a turbocharged engine and an aggressive stance. The Shelby CSX is fast, even when you compare it to the new Dodge image (via Supercars).

Shelby CSX
Photo Credit: Hagerty

The Shelby CSX has increased in value over the past couple of years as more drivers look to old classics for fun. There were a few cars from the 1990s that are as fun to drive as the CSX. With the turbocharged engine and the branding of Carroll Shelby, you won’t find a more unique compact car from this era. The CSX took the technology Carroll Shelby put forth and improved a dated platform. The Shadow is not fun to drive, but the CSX is.

Dodge Spirit R/T
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Dodge Spirit R/T

The Chrysler K-Cars completely changed the landscape of the automotive industry and saved Chrysler Corporation from an untimely demise. There was a need for fuel-efficient cars, and domestic automakers were having a tough time adjusting. The Dodge Spirit was a gas-efficient car that also provided a comfortable driving experience. The smooth V6 engine gave the Spirit the power of a much larger sedan in a compact and comfortable package. The interesting thing about the Spirit R/T is it can seat six people in addition to notable performance (via Supercars).

Dodge Spirit R/T
Photo Credit: Car Domain

Dodge built on this winning formula by building the Spirit R/T, which added a sport sedan feeling to the car. The red or white paint scheme covered in R/T decals gave the car a menacing look. The Spirit R/T is a rare car. A driver will search high and low to find the car in clean condition. When it comes to one of the ultimate sleepers, you can’t go wrong with the Spirit R/T. The Dodge Spirit R/T is probably the best cheap performance car of the 1990s. The Spirit R/T did performance right, which is why the car was popular with collectors.

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