Whether you call them “modern vintage,” “young timers cars,” or something else, automobiles from the 1990s and early 2000s are trending right now. Most enthusiast cars from that period have made the crucial leap from “used” to actually “collectible” in the previous few years.
But, what does it take for a classic car to be considered underappreciated? Vehicles are frequently inextricably linked to feelings, experiences, and eras in our life from a cultural standpoint. This means that the success of certain models doesn’t always depend on their quality.
In this list, we’re focusing on ’90s sports cars that offer incredible value for the money but have nevertheless been ignored by most enthusiasts over the years, mainly because they fell outside of the restricted definition of what was desirable owing to their power, history, beauty, or even place of origin. Despite that, the following ’90s sports cars were one-of-a-kind icons and fantastic but far too scarce to be remembered. Let’s take a trip down memory lane with 10 overlooked sports cars of the 1990s.
Mitsubishi 3000GT / Dodge Stealth
Dodge based the Stealth on the Mitsubishi GTO, which was easily one of the coolest Japanese cars of the ’90s. The Stealth’s VR4 variants have a twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, active-aero, adjustable suspension, and exhaust. You also get a 0-60 time of fewer than five seconds along with the spaceship-esque styling.
This car looks like they produced it today, but it was made 30 years ago. It has a beautiful wing positioned at the base of the back window that looks just as weird today as it did when it was new.
1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
Given its regal appearance and cop-car origins, the high-spec Impala SS is easy to overlook. However, it’s one of the coolest sleeper cars you could get in the ’90s. It came with a 5.7-liter V8 and produced 260 horsepower from the factory.
The Chevrolet Impala SS was significantly more powerful than a normal Caprice, reaching 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and completing the quarter-mile in 15.4 seconds, easily outrunning modern four-door muscle cars.
BMW M3 Lightweight
One-of-a-kind performance BMWs are a hit-or-miss proposition. Collectors now can’t get enough of these limited-production German automobiles, and they’re prepared to pay top cash for them. The E36 M3 is well known, but did you know BMW also produced a super-limited lightweight version?
It was called the 125 M3 Lightweight and came with a more sporty suspension, a stripped-down interior, a large back wing, and Motorsport artwork. Moreover, Fast & Furious alumnus and gearhead, late Paul Walker had one in his garage! Prepare to pay a significant premium if you can find one.
Ford Taurus SHO
In the late 1990s, Ford made history with the first-generation Taurus and Taurus SHO. FoMoCo produced a new generation and improved the SHO for 1992. Under the hood, a Yamaha-designed 3.3-liter V6 engine with 220 horsepower and a rev limit of 7000 rpm lurks.
It’s linked to a Mazda five-speed manual transmission, which drives the front wheels. This may not seem like much today, but it had respectable power 28 years ago and it was successful in propelling this large sedan into muscle car territory.
Porsche 968 Club Sport
The 968 Club sport was the hottest Porsche ever sold to the public, according to most Porsche enthusiasts. They produced only 14 Turbo S variants in 1993, and they produced only four 968 Turbo RS models between 1992 and 1994.
Its predecessor overshadows the Porsche 968, the 944, and its replacement, the Boxster. The 968 Club Sport was likely the best non-turbo version of the 924/944/968 range, yet it was overlooked. It could be one of Porsche’s best front-engined cars ever.
1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
Even if you were aware of it, you may have forgotten about the Lincoln Mark VIII. Its moniker was a throwback to the terrible times of Lincoln when aircraft-carrier-sized personal luxury barges were carrying owners to the disco. It was the first deployment of the so-called Modular Engine Family, a rear-drive, front-engined luxury automobile with a 4.6-liter V8.
The Chevrolet Camaro, a cross-town rival, has pushrod V8s beneath the hood. The fact that the same engine has been available in Lincoln’s showrooms for several years received less attention.
1991-1992 Isuzu Impulse RS
When Japanese automobiles flaunted all of their features in their sleeves? “DOHC 16-VALVE,” “VTEC,” and others boldly displayed such phrases on the rocker panels. With its back panel blaring: “ALL-WHEEL DRIVE INTERCOOLED Turbocharged,” the Isuzu Impulse RS might take the title for the most long-winded decals on Japanese automobiles sold in the United States. And every single one of them is correct.
The second generation was designed in-house by the owner GM. And while the Geo Storm was popular for a while, the second-generation Isuzu Impulse was little noticed by enthusiasts. They shipped only 800 of these to the United States.
1989-1995 Lotus Elan M100
People adore the original Elan, but the front-wheel-drive variant from the 1990s is hardly mentioned. It was nevertheless a blast to drive, even if it didn’t quite live up to the mythology.
The M100 was handled incredibly well, with fantastic balance, but the issue of being FWD was one the M100 couldn’t overcome—especially considering the release of the Mazda MX-5 Miata around the same time, which was a superior Lotus Elan at a tenth of the price. But if you decide to give the Elan a go, you’ll find it to be actually pretty good!
1993-1997 Honda Civic Del Sol
Ever since its debut, people have wrongly contrasted the del Sol to the segment-leading Mazda Miata. Because of its conventional appearance and enthusiast-oriented rear-wheel drive, the Miata has won the hearts of the press.
The del Sol is a good value and performs well. The del Sol offers advantages over its competitors in terms of usable trunk capacity and enhanced body rigidity. The Del Sol is also inexpensive and entertaining to drive, thanks to the 160-hp VTEC-equipped B16 engine.
1992-1996 Mazda MX-3 V6
The MX-3 debuted in 1992, less than two years after Mazda released the Miata’s predecessor, the MX-5. Although the MX-3’s size was modest, the engineering was not—most notably in the motor, which had a V6 with the smallest displacement on the market at 1844cc.
With 130 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque, it’s not quite the powerhouse you’d expect from a six-cylinder engine. The MX-3 was one of several new Mazdas introduced in the decade, including the new FD-generation RX-7, a reworked MX-6, and the 929 near-luxury cars.
If you like the MX-5 but think it’s too mainstream, the Barchetta could be the car for you.
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