Some people think of the '90s and picture boomboxes, sitcoms, and some of the best cereals ever. But when motorheads think of the '90s, we think of some of some of the most iconic cars to this day. Granted, cars back then didn't have nearly the power they do now, but they sure were fun to drive. Now, of course, when we say these cars are worthless in 2018, we're talking strictly about their power in ratio to today's standards because, I mean, a stock Supra couldn't run a 350Z now, but throw on some upgrades, and you got yourself a car that can easily sell for six figures today. But we aren't focusing on potential power or engine swaps or even turbocharging these cars.
It's all about base power, especially nowadays. Most cars now roll off of the factory floor with at least 200 hp, usually more. I mean, you can go buy a daily driver like a Corolla or a Camry and even get like 250 hp with the right package. It brings a very interesting question to mind, though: what's next for the auto universe? Where will we be in another (almost) 30 years? Wow, the '90s were almost 30 years ago. Anyway, with that in mind, we're going to focus on how far we've come by looking at 20 of the fastest and baddest cars from the '90s that are pretty much worthless now based on raw, OEM power.
20 BMW M5
The M series has always been BMW's top of the line, and the '90s was no different.
The M5 had a 4.9L V8 and produced 400 hp. That falls right at 200 hp under the current model. But 400 hp or 600 hp, the sounds a BMW makes never change.
The style hasn't changed dramatically since the '90s either. Sure, there are a few more curves and less sharp, box-like angles, but you can still identify an M series pretty easily, whether it's from 1992 or 2018. Maybe it's their signature style, or maybe they're just focusing more on engineering and tech.
19 Ford Mustang Cobra
For those of you born after 1998, the '90s is where the whole war between JDM and muscle really gained footing. And Ford wasn't going down easy. The Cobra Mustang had a mighty 5.0L V8 but only produced 235 hp. Today, you can get a Mustang GT with the same-sized engine with more like 450 hp, almost double what it produced in the '90s. Granted, it may have lost its muscle roots and gone to a more sport-style tuning, but it seems to be working. Either way, this Cobra Mustang doesn't hold a candle to even base Mustangs today.
18 Lamborghini Diablo
For anyone who didn't have pinup posters of this car on their wall, the Diablo was THE '90s dream car. It came with a 6.0L V12 and a stunning 595 hp. Sure, even the cheapest Lamborghini today could run this thing into the ground, but the style it had still gives us goosebumps. The Diablo was discontinued eventually as all Lamborghini models are. But even now, a Diablo will turn every head at a car show. It's one of the oddest-looking Lamborghinis but still has every signature detail that Lamborghini is known for.
17 Ford F-150 Lightning
Believe it or not, back in the '90s, trucks were really popular in the racing world. And they could hold their own, too.
The Ford F-150 Lightning may not have had the coolest name, but it did have a supercharged 5.4L V8, which produced a very nice 360 hp.
Nowadays, that soccer mom down the street has an SUV that could run the Lightning. Nevertheless, when it came out, that kind of power was pretty rare and usually came with a very high price tag. But Ford pushed that V8 to its max, and it worked out wonderfully.
16 Mazda RX-7
One of the most iconic and recognizable cars of the '90s, the Mazda RX-7 Tokyo Drifted its way into our hearts. What made it even more special was its rotary engine, which could, if tuned correctly, spit fire. Sure, this could be seen as an issue, but it looks so cool, and we motorheads are always in control, right? It produced a very respectable 280 hp. Combined with its small frame and light body, it was a great race car. And a great drift car. And absolutely stunning, with its beautiful design and crazy-sounding, fire-spitting engine.
15 Jaguar XJ200
The Jaguar XJ200 was one of the rarest cars in the '90s, and it's definitely one of the fastest cars on our list, with a whopping 680 hp stemming from a powerful twin-turbo 3.5L V6. That sounds all well and good, but this was absolutely top of the line back then. Now, "top of the line" means at least 1,000 hp. However, it's still one of the most unique-looking cars produced and had a futuristic design that was almost a tad forced. The XJ200, even with its crazy power, fell short right onto our list.
14 Bugatti EB110
The EB110 had to come up at some point. It was one of the most underrated supercars of all time, with a quad turbo 3.5L V12. That's right—Bugatti was just shoving turbos under the hood even in the '90s.
The engine size leaves a bit to be desired as does the 553 hp.
But back then, that was insane. Besides its power, the style of the EB110 was so unique. It was a "love it or hate it" kind of look, and we loved it, mostly for its power. But sadly, it still ended up on our list.
13 Ferrari 550
Just hearing the name "Ferrari" makes you think of high-pitch engine tones, sleek and smooth designs, and speed. And not much has changed since the '90s for Ferrari, except a couple new models and a lot more power. The Ferrari 550 could pass for a modern supercar, except it only has 485 hp. The 550 did have a giant 5.5L V12, though, and it seems like it wasn't quite milked for all the power it was worth. While it did make us cringe with jealousy when we saw one drive by, it still doesn't have a chance against a 2018 Ferrari.
12 Toyota Supra
Usually, when you think of a Supra, you think of it taking down Lamborghinis on the interstate or running incredible 1/4-mile times, but the stock Supra couldn't stand a chance against modern cars.
It came with a 3.0L twin-turbo I6, which produced only 276 hp.
Now, when it was released, that was nothing to spit at. And while it's one of the most iconic tuners, mostly due to Fast and Furious, the stock version just wouldn't possibly hold up to our standards of power in 2018. And that's why it's landed here on our list.
11 Ford Crown Victoria
The Ford Crown Victoria or Crown Vic is most commonly used as police cars. Obviously, the cops aren't rolling around in stock Crown Victorias because now, they wouldn't stand a chance against even the slowest race cars. It did sport a hefty 4.6L V8 but only had 210 hp. But back in the '90s when the car was released, it gave the police a pretty big advantage over a lot of cars you'd find on the road. While they're still in use as patrol cars today, they've been mostly taken over by Chargers because 210 hp isn't catching anyone now.
10 GMC Syclone
Here again, we see another race-style truck. The GMC Syclone was pretty rad back in the day, with a clean 280 hp coming off of a turbocharged 4.3L V6. It didn't exactly look like anything special and could even pass for a work truck, but the Syclone could hold its own for sure. That power wouldn't hold up today, as even base-model trucks come with at least 300 hp. But the Syclone did have a small, lightweight body style that accented its power rather nicely. Unfortunately, not well enough, and that's landed it on our list.
9 Mazda Miata
The Miata is another one of those iconic cars from the '90s that are still pretty popular today among tuners. However, believe it or not, back in the '90s, the Miata could actually hold its own in a race.
It sported a 1.6L I4 and produced 115 hp. It's one of the smallest sports cars, and its power-to-weight ratio was actually really impressive for its time.
But of course, everyone also loved the convertible top and the reasonable price tag on it. The Miata may not hold a candle to even the most basic modern car, but it did create a legacy for itself.
8 Nissan Skyline
The Skyline is one of Nissan's most famous line of cars to this day with some of the most iconic cars in the tuner world. The R33 Skyline is one of the lesser-known models than say the R34, but it sure was amazing when it came out. The R33 came with a twin-turbo 2.8L I6, which pushed a very respectable 280 hp. While that wouldn't stand a chance against most production cars today, the R33 Skyline was one of the most iconic tuner cars, even in its own time, and that hasn't changed over the past 20 years.
7 Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper has kind of fallen to the side with all of the rage from hellcats and now, the Dodge Demon, but in the '90s, the Viper was one of the baddest, meanest, leanest, and fastest muscle cars on the block. It had the same body that it has today but with significantly less power.
The Viper did sport a hefty 8.0L V10 that commanded a staggering 400 hp.
But it hasn't really hasn't changed on most other levels. It still looks the same and sounds the same, but we're not saying that's a bad thing at all.
6 Mitsubishi Eclipse
Okay, obviously, this bad boy had to make it on here. You can't talk about '90s cars without mentioning the ever-iconic Eclipse. Sure, the Eclipse we motorheads think of is neon green with some livery, a big ole spoiler and a lot of NO2, and that's the best way to remember it. The Eclipse came with a 2.0L I4, which produced a very acceptable 210 hp. Now, obviously, we have to address the reason it's on our list, and that's because it just doesn't hold up to our standards now. But it still has a special place in our hearts.
5 Ferrari F50
The Ferrari F50 is still talked about widely today, just as it was when it came out, and that's because it's one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever made. And what made it even better is that it came with a crazy 4.7L V12 engine and created a jaw-dropping 513 hp. Sure, even today, that's pretty powerful—but not nearly as powerful as the newest Ferrari models. That's why we have to mention it here today. Even though it would get stomped by a 2018 Ferrari, the F50 is still widely sought after today by collectors.
4 Acura NSX
Ahh, the Acura NSX. What needs to be said about one of the coolest cars of the '90s? It had a style all its own and the power to match that sporty style.
The NSX had a pretty standard 3.0L V6 that produced a wonderful 300 hp. That was more than enough power by '90s standards but doesn't come close to our 2018 standards.
The NSX, alongside the Toyota Supra, is also one of the '90s cars they chose to recreate recently. The new NSX would gap its predecessor by bus lengths on any track.
3 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
The Corvette seems to always make its way onto our lists, and here we are again talking about it. The '90s ZR1 had a 5.7L V8, which is only slightly smaller than the engine in the 2018 model, which has a 6.2L V8. However, the '90s Corvette ZR1 only had 375 hp, whereas its newer model has a crazy 755 hp. Of course, that power shift came with a lot of other changes, such as the style, which has gotten more supercar-ish. It's had an increase in price as well—and a pretty big one—which is also to be expected.
2 Nissan 300ZX
Nissan was a huge name in the '90s, as you can tell. Along with Mazda and Toyota, they pretty much led the JDM revolution. The Nissan 300ZX was nothing to be messed with. It had a turbo 3.0L V6 and made a very mean 300 hp. Along with its slim, small frame, the 300ZX sure made a name for itself in the racing scene. Unfortunately, a lot of the '90s Nissan models have been discontinued, and they've turned out fewer and fewer sports cars. But the ones they do have would leave the 300ZX in the rearview mirror.
1 McLaren F1
You can't talk about fast cars without mentioning the McLaren F1. It was the model and inspiration for the world-renowned P1, and it wasn't so bad itself. The F1 came with a powerful 6.2L V12, which made a staggering 618 hp. Power aside, the style of the F1 was so different from anything else in its time, and you can see that reflected in the P1. However, we do have to point out the fact that the F1 would get totally stomped on by its younger siblings and by most, if not all, supercars today.
Sources: topspeed.com, complex.com, anythingaboutcars.com