Sports Cars Countdown: What are Your Favorite Models from the 1990s?


For me, the 1990s will be memorable for four things: the Gulf War, the death of Princess Di, the Clinton / Lewinsky affair and the Oklahoma City Bombing. There was a lot more to this decade, of course: the highest grossing film of all time (Titanic), two white rappers (Eminem and Vanilla Ice), the collapse of the Soviet Union, the release of Nelson Mandela, Dolly the Sheep, the Columbine Massacre...

But it’s those four that stick in my mind. It was both a great decade and a sombre decade, and also one that produced (possibly) some of the best cars the world had ever seen. I class ‘90s cars as those that were launched between 1990 and 1999, and also a few that were launched in the late ‘80s (’88 or ’89) and gained popularity / infamy in the latter decade.

Let’s start with Japan. If the Germans owned the ‘80s in terms of automotive excellence, then the ‘90s were all about Japan. Mazda brought us the lightweight and fun Mazda MX-5 / Miata and the defining moment in rotary engine tech: the third generation Mazda RX-7. The boys from Nissan brought us not one but three generations of the phenomenal Nissan Skyline GT-R, solidifying it in the minds of street racers around the world. Nissan also gave us the slickly styled 300ZX, probably the best Z car since the original 240Z.

The rest of Japans automakers weren’t resting on their laurels though. Toyota had its Supra, Honda / Acura its NSX and Subaru stunned and shocked us with its “way out” SVX. Speaking of the latter, what would the ‘90s be without these two turbocharged, AWD four-doors: the Subaru Impreza WRX and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution?

The Yanks gave the world the still-awesome-after-19-years V10 Dodge Viper, the insanely styled Plymouth Prowler (really the last gasp of a dying brand), the final iteration of Pontiac’s Firebird and the Lotus tuned C4 Corvette ZR-1.

The Bavarians had the 8-Series, the last bastion of ‘80s excess in a world that was rapidly realising that greed wasn’t so good anymore but the real news was in Italy, where Lamborghini made a comeback with the awesome Diablo, their first new car in almost sixteen years. Two other Italians: the Alfa Romeo RZ and the Chris Bangle designed Fiat Coupe, proved that the ‘90s could be just as wild as the ‘80s had been at the time.

And last but not least, the Brits showed the world how it was done with not one, but two extraordinary hypercars: a God (the McLaren F1) and a dog (the Jaguar XJ220). They also brought us the Lotus Carlton, the result of taking a boring, poor selling sedan and handing it over to those mechanical mavens at Lotus. The result was a car that was quick on the straight, slick around the bends and totally badass to look at.

So, is your favorite on this list? If not, tell us! The comments section is open and ready to serve your every need.

By Tristan Hankins

*Read our 1980s Sports Car Countdown here



Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Here is my take on the 90s always have and always will have a f-150 at home ( 87,91,94), i have a 1994 f-150 4.9l with 73k on it and pampered ! but in 94 i needed something also and it came down to the miata or the del sol, having owned a few hondas before i was biased and chose it cause the miata could not bring home groceries .. 80k and only oil changes later i traded it in my on 99 maxima , cause i hated the 2000s mutant rear end look . lol

Jesterhead45 said... »December 04, 2010

For me, I person found the 90s to be pretty dreary, it seemed that most people were simply awaiting the new millennium.

Anyway, there are quite a few favorites already on the list, so off the top of my head here are a few of my favs that have not yet been mentioned.

-Hot Hatches-

Citroen AX GT
Citroen Saxo VTS
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
Ford Fiesta Zetec S
Nissan Almera GTi
Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
Peugeot 106 Xsi / GTi / Rallye
Peugeot 306 GTi-16 / Rallye
Renualt 19 16v
Renualt Clio Williams
Rover 200vi
Rover Metro GTi
Skoda Octavia vRS


Alfa Romeo GTV
Ford Puma
TVR Cerbera
Volkswagen Corrado VR6


Fiat Cinquecento Sporting
Peugeot 405 Mi16 / T16
Volvo 850 T5-R Estate

M Sherif said... »December 04, 2010

Mercedes R129 SL73 AMG! Crazy engine, awesome understated looks.

Amalio said... »December 04, 2010

The best car of 1990s and the best car ever for me -> Toyota Supra!

Tom said... »December 04, 2010

XJ220 without a doubt...

Lupul said... »December 04, 2010

My top 3 of the 90's

1. BMW 850i
2. Nissan 300ZX
3. Dodge Viper

I really liked most of the cars from the 90's so this was a hard pick but, nevertheless, they are my winners.

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Nissan Skyline GTR is awesome!

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Mazda Miata
Alfa Romeo 156

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Mclaren F1 is the best car of all time!!! no argument about that !

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010


Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

For some reason, the twin turbo Mazda RX7 held a great appeal for me. The bizzare looking Bose sound system that required half of the hatch space, the unique ability of the rotary engine to create a lot of power from small displacement, the light weight and the overall exotic nature of the car that came from a pedestrian manufacturer just seemed appealing. Yeah, it had it's shortcomings, but more than likely you would be the only one in your neighborhood to own one.

UK Stu said... »December 04, 2010

Rover's Tomcat, Vauxhall's Astra Gte are missing. As is the 5dr Civic 1.8-DOHC Vetec.
Err had all of those 'working' class motors?

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Nissan 300ZX
Acura NSX
Nissan GT-R Skyline
BMW 8 Series

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Lotus Omega!

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

i think the best one is porsche 928

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

BMW 8 Series
Mazda RX-7
Nissan GT-R Skyline
Porsche 928 GTS
McLaren F1
VW Corrado
Renault Clio Williams
Lotus Omega
Ford Escort Cosworth
VW Rallye Golf G60

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

BMW Z3 M Coupe

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Diablo SV

Everything else is just a waste of energy.

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

The Honda NSX is the best car of the 90's.If it wasn't for Senna's masterpiece,the world of sports cars would be in a dark,dark place...

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

Good list. I would add
Opel Calibra
Alfa Romeo SZ
Lancia Delta HF Integrale

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

"If it wasn't for Senna's masterpiece,the world of sports cars would be in a dark,dark place..."

It should be noted that there already are things in dark dark places, namely what remains of Senna's skull.

Oh what? Too soon? Pbbth.

Illarion said... »December 04, 2010

Audi 80 S2 coupé deserves a mention as well as Ford Escort Cosworth. Other notable mentions Toyota Celica, Saab 900 turbo, BMW M3 E36, Maserati Shamal, Peugeot 406 coupé I probably forgot a few...

Ricardo said... »December 04, 2010

MX5 miata
300zx Twin turbo

Anonymous said... »December 04, 2010

I hate to admit it, but 2 of my 3 cars are from the '90s. My daily driver is a Ford Aerostar and it is at the bottom of the barrel as far as handling and style, but it is still on the road, never gives me problems and can carry a 4x8 sheet of plywood. Can you say the same about any of the cars mentioned above. Therefore it is my favorite car of the 90's.

para said... »December 04, 2010

The 300ZX comes in first for me...probably the most beautiful GT of the last three decades.

The NSX is a close second.

The third very memorable car for me personally would be the Merc SL (R129).

steve said... »December 04, 2010

1st generation oldsmobile aurora. It was a beatiful car then, and still is today.

James said... »December 05, 2010

1990-1991 GMC Syclone
1992-1993 GMC Typhoon

Anonymous said... »December 05, 2010

A couple more memorable ones are -
Series 1 Lotus Elise
Renault Sport Spider

Anonymous said... »December 05, 2010

Why is the 3000GT not even mentioned?? Still a head-turner today if you ask me.

Anonymous said... »December 06, 2010

VW Golf VR6 is missing... it deserve a salute in here... owned one before.. and raced out a holden commodore and won... its still a performance car in todays standards...

Anonymous said... »December 06, 2010

Why there no Porsche 944? Why there no Porsche 993?
underdog: Honda NSX
ultimate winner: F1
best value: Mx-5
coolest at a russian disco: BMW 850

Anonymous said... »December 06, 2010

except for the fast and ugly Porsche and Supra, everything else I like.

Anonymous said... »December 07, 2010

The nineties Sporties are even better today, with low purchase costs and insurance. There just can't be a better fun value for the money then a Nineties Sports or GT car.

Mx-5/Miata wins over all, hands down. 800,000+ and growing is indisputable support of this, a gift from the automotive gods.

Anonymous said... »December 07, 2010

McLaren F1
Ferrari F355 and F50
Porsche 993
Lotus Esprit S4S
Acura NSX
Lambo Diablo
VW Corrado
Nissan 300Z
The 90s were awesome for car enthusiasts!

Anonymous said... »December 08, 2010

You guys throw up a Miata but not the hottest sport coupe legions drooled after (including myself)... the beautiful yea menacing 3rd gen Mazda RX-7 (twin-turbo nonetheless like the guy above said).


Supra's were amazing too, legendary bulletproof engines, but a bit too common for my liking.

Anonymous said... »December 08, 2010

850i..a v12 design and performance masterpiece for its time..i remmember wen i was a teenager and saw it for the first time in 1991 .All the people in the street were astosnished!..much better than the failing ugly z8

Anonymous said... »December 08, 2010

Miata over rx7 u guys are pussies

Anonymous said... »December 08, 2010

McLaren F1 FTW!!!

alberto tutto said... »December 08, 2010

Guys... c'mon:

--> MCLAREN!!! <--

Ok maybe also a F50 to go buy some bread on Sundays...
Maybe also a Clio V6 for fun... and a Williams for the kids.
And for the rain (you don't speak about it?) a little Sunny Gti-r.


Anonymous said... »December 09, 2010

To stay realist: 928 and 300ZX.

Sergejs said... »December 11, 2010

Bugatti EB110

some more good ones: BMW Z3 M-coupe, Porsche 928GTS, Aston Martin Lagonda shooting brake, Jaguar XK8, NSX, GT-R E34...

Anonymous said... »February 23, 2011

I can't believe noone has mentioned the Lexus LS400/SC400 - absolutely incredible design and attention to detail!

Anonymous said... »February 19, 2013

I like the Nissan exa Turbo UNO turbo an VW corrado VR6

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