A lot of cars from the ‘90s are awesome, but some are weird. The ‘90s seems to have been a time of great experimentation, where companies wanted to try new things and see what stuck. Most of what stuck are classic body types, smooth contours, and sharp aerodynamics, like what we see on Porsches, Ferraris, Vipers, and even Mustangs of the era.
The problem with cars from the ‘90s is that they tend to not hold up too well in terms of value. Sure, there are plenty of cars from the ‘90s still on the road, but the majority of them aren’t worth what they used to be. In other words, there aren’t too many “classics” like we see in the ’57 Chevy, the ’69 Mustang, the ’69 Triumph, ’59 Cadillac DeVille, etc.
The fact that cars from the ‘90s don’t hold up as well as their predecessors can also be a good thing when it comes to buying one. Depreciation is a real thing and it’s terrible for car companies, but great for car buyers. Many vehicles that cost in the lower six figures back in the ‘90s can now be bought for half, a quarter, even a tenth of the price, and many of those cars still look completely awesome on the road!
If you want to look rich while spending very little, here is a list of 25 cars from the 1990s that should be worth way more than they are.
25 1990 Porsche 944 Turbo (Original: $47,625 / 2018: $14,700)
The Porsche 944 was released in 1982 and was in production for nine years until 1991. It’s a front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car based on the 924 model and was available in a coupe or cabriolet style. You could get it with naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines, the latter being the one we’re talking about here.
The 944 was Porsche’s most successful car line in history until the introduction of the Boxster (1996) and 997 Carrera (1993), with over 163,000 units produced.
Though the original base price retailed at $47,625 for a 1990 944 Turbo, you can now find them on Autotrader.com and CarGurus.com for less than $15,000. Even though it’s depreciated by more than 300%, it’s still an awesome car to drive, and it looks cool to boot.
24 1991 BMW E30 (Original: $35,000 / 2018: $10,000)
The BMW E30 is the second generation model of the popular 3 Series that had a 12-year run from 1982 to 1994. The first models were 2-door coupes in 1982, 4-door sedans in 1983, convertibles in 1985, and finally wagon “estate” models in 1987.
The E30 was also the first 3 Series car to be available in 4-door wagons and sedans, as well as the first 3 Series with a diesel engine option.
In 1990, the E36 replaced the E30 coupe, but you could still buy E30s for another four years. The final E30 model, introduced in its last year before fading out in 1994 was the Touring. The first M3s were also built on the E30 platform. Though they haven’t depreciated much over the years, it's surprising to be able to get any BMW for as low as $10,000.
23 1991 Acura NSX (Original: $60,000 / 2018: $40,000)
The Honda NSX (or Acura NSX in North America) is a 2-seater mid-engine sports car from Honda’s luxury brand, and one of their most successful cars. Its success becomes obvious when you realize that they’ve been around since 1990 and are still in production today (the first generation lasted from 1990 to 2005 and the second from 2016 to present).
The NSX was the world’s first mass-produced car to have an all-aluminum body. It was powered by an all-aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, which gave it great power and the capability of hitting 191 mph top speed.
The NSX was hugely popular in the 90s. The base price for one of these bad boys started at $60,000, and today you can get an early 90s model for about $40,000.
22 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo (Original: $42,800 / 2018: $35,000)
The Toyota Supra is a pretty old car, having been produced by Toyota since 1978. (It ceased production in 2002.) During its 24-year run, Supras were quite popular because they didn’t have an outrageous MSRP. They looked cool and they were reliable. The styling of the Supra is based on the Toyota Celica but is wider and longer.
In mid-1986, Toyota stopped using the prefix Celica and just started calling it the Supra.
The first three generations of Supra were descendants of the Toyota 2000GT, using the same M engine with inline V6 aspects.
The last time you could buy a Supra in the United States was in 1998, and nowadays a mid-90s version of the car can be found on AutoTrader for around $35,000, more than a $7,000 depreciation of its original cost.
21 1996 Nissan 300ZX Z32 Twin Turbo (Original: $33,000 / 2018: $15,000)
The Nissan 300ZX has a long history from 1983 to 2000, and two generations of the car were produced. We’re focusing here on the second generation, Z32 model, which was released in 1990 and ran for 10 years.
The 300ZX is a sports car from Nissan’s Z-series family, and as with other “Z” cars, it was called the Fairlady Z in Japan.
The Nissan 300ZX was given great accolades. Car and Driver put the Z32 on its Ten Best list for seven consecutive years (each year the model was available in the U.S.) and Motor Trend called it the 1990 Import Car of the Year.
The original price of a 1983 300ZX Turbo was between $12,000-$18,000, though this went up to $33,000 in its ‘90s years. Today you can get one for about the price of its original release in the early ‘80s, roughly $15,000.
20 1991 Porsche 928 S4 (Original: $77,500 / 2018: $35,000)
Another Porsche on the list, this one’s less of a sports car and more of a luxury grand tourer. This car has a long history of production from 1978 to 1995. It was originally intended to replace the iconic 911, and it became Porsche’s flagship model for a time. It was also the first Porsche with a V8-powered engine and the only coupe with a front-mounted V8.
There were a total of 61,056 Porsche 928s made during its lifetime, with 2078 of those being of the 1989 to 1991 model as pictured here.
They originally started with a pretty hefty price tag of $77,500, but nowadays you can get one for around $35,000, which is more than a 200% depreciation.
19 1998 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra (Original: $25,000 / 2018: $7,200)
The Ford Mustang SVT Cobra is a classic in its own right and the last of the great body stylings that Mustang had to offer. It was produced between 1993 and 2004 by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) as a high-performance version of the Mustang. It was top-of-the-line and considered to be above the Mustang GT and Mach 1 models.
The base models were relatively inexpensive originally at just $25,000, and now you can get one even cheaper, for around $7,200 if you look in the right places.
A race-ready version of the SVT Cobra was produced on three different occasions to take part in street races. The car was originally replaced by the 2007 Shelby GT500. The original engine on these cars was a 5.0-liter Windsor V8 which produced 235 hp.
18 1998 Chevy Camaro Z28 (Original: $20,000 / 2018: $7,000)
This Chevy Camaro Z28 is a fourth-generation sports car that was produced between 1993 and 2002. The body style is based on an updated version of the “F-body” platform, though it keeps many of the same characteristics as the first-generation Camaro dating back all the way to 1967.
This rear-wheel drive looker came available as a coupe or convertible, and in 1998, starting with this model, it was revised with a new exterior and engine.
The Camaro Z28 was officially discontinued in 2002 due to slow sales, and because the sports coupe market was falling apart as a whole. Because of that, you’d think that these cars might have gone up in value becoming collector item’s of sorts, but you’d be wrong. A ’98 Camaro Z28 that cost $20,000 upon release can now be bought for as low as $7,000.
17 1995 Buick Roadmaster Estate (Original: $28,000 / 2018: $7,500)
The Buick Roadmaster is one of the oldest cars you’ll see around, only because the first generation of the car began production in 1936 and ran until 1958. The Roadmaster would not make a come back for another 33 years when the ninth-generation model came out in 1991. It was discontinued in 1996.
These land boats could originally be bought for $28,000, but nowadays you can get one super cheap, for around $7,500 if you know where to look.
The original Roadmasters were built on Buick’s longest non-limousine wheelbase, just like Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles of the time. The ninth-gen models were also Buick’s largest vehicle at the time, being 10 inches longer than their Park Avenue car and 6 inches longer than the Cadillac Sedan DeVille.
16 1991 BMW M5 (Original: $104,000 / 2018: $35,000)
The BMW M5 has been available since 1985 in some form or another, and the production of these cars is still going strong today. The M5 is the sport sedan version ofBMW's 5 Series executive cars.
The first-generation models of the cars were hand built by BMW’s Motorsport division on a 535I chassis with a modified M1 engine. Its engine made the M5 the fastest production sedan of its day.
The E34 M5 is the second generation of the car, produced from 1989 to 1995. These cars could reach 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, and could hit a top speed of 155 mph.
There were also four special editions of the car that were released, the Cecotto, the Winkelhock, the 20 Jahre Motorsport, and the UK Limited. Though they began at $104,000 in 1991, you can get an E34 M5 for around $35,000 now.
15 1999 Toyota 4Runner (Original: $26,000 / 2018: $4,500)
The Toyota 4Runner is one of Toyota’s longest-produced vehicles having been in production since 1984. The original 4Runner was a compact SUV—basically a small pickup with a fiberglass shell over the bed.
They’ve since undergone cosmetic changes and have developed into a cross between a compact and mid-size SUV.
In 2016, iSeeCars.com ran a study that claimed the 4Runner was the third longest lasting vehicle in the US. According to the study, roughly 5.2% of these vehicles currently on the road have run more than 200,000 miles.
The 1999 4Runner a third-generation model and was first made into a mid-size SUV. It was the first significant redesign of the 4Runner since its inception. What started at around $26,000 can now be purchased for dirt cheap, around $4,500.
14 1992 Subaru Alcyone SVX (Original: $73,000 / 2018: $7,000)
The Subaru Alcyone SVX, or just the Subaru SVX as it’s known in Japan, is a two-door grand tourer coupe that was produced and sold by Subaru from 1991 to 1996.
Subaru is the car manufacturing division of the Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries. These cars were FHI’s first attempt at entering the luxury and performance car market by combining comfort and performance (something that was unheard of at the time).
Though FHI had high hopes for these cars, they obviously didn’t do too well, because they only were produced for five years and what was once $73,000 can now be bought for around $7,000.
The name “Alcyone” is in reference to the brightest star in the Pleiades star cluster (which Subaru’s logo is also based on).
13 1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 (Original: $62,700 / 2018: $4,900)
The Mercedes-Benz S500 is part of the Sonderklasse (“special class”) or S-Class from the German automakers. The Sonderklasse is a series of luxury flagship cars built from the car division of the German company Daimler AG.
Predecessors to this car date back all the way to 1952, but the S500 in its modern form began production in 1972 and is still in production.
Many of Mercedes-Benz’s newest innovations were first featured on S-Class models, including drivetrain technologies, new safety systems, and interior features.
The S-Class is the world’s best-selling luxury sedan, and they come in an assortment of modes: a standard and long-wheelbase version, I4, V6, V8, V12, diesel, and hybrid versions. This 1995 S500 would have started at around $62,700, but can now be bought for around $5,000.
12 1990 Mazda Miata (Original: $15,000 / 2018: $5,000)
The Mazda MX-5, or simply the Miata as it used to be called, is a lightweight 2-seater roadster with rear-wheel-drive and a front-engine specification. These cars debuted in Japan as the Eunos Roadster in 1989, conceived as a small roadster with minimal mechanical complexities. These cars are fun to zip around in and they’re only limited by safety requirements.
The Miata is considered a “spiritual successor” to British sports cars from the ‘60s and ‘50s, such as the Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey 100, MG MGA, and the Lotus Elan.
This second year model was from the first generation of Miata. As of 2016, over one million MX-5s had been built and sold around the world, even though production of the car plummeted in 2013 to just 14,000 units because of the world financial crisis in 2008. Nowadays you can get one of these sporty cars for just around $5,000.
11 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT-VR4 (Original: $31,400 / 2018: $14,000)
The Mitsubishi 3000GT, also called the GTO in Japanese markets, is a sports car that was produced between 1991 and 1999. In the US it was also imported and sold as the Dodge Stealth by Chrysler of North America.
Though there were minor exterior details that differentiated the two cars, they were practically identical. That’s because Mitsubishi Motors and Chrysler partnered up to create the 3000GT.
Throughout its existence in Japan, the GTO was sold exclusively at a retail chain called Car Plaza, which had big road tax costs added to the sale of every car because the exterior dimensions of the GTO didn’t meet “compact size” regulations.
These cars are both fast and sleek looking. They originally sold for around $31,000, but now you can get one for half that, or about $14,000.
10 1990 Honda CR-X Si (Original: $11,500 / 2018: $3,750)
The Honda CR-X, originally called the Honada Ballade Sports CR-X in Japan, is a front-wheel drive sports car that was manufactured by Honda between 1983 and 1991. It was eventually replaced by the CR-X del Sol in 1992. The most commonly accepted acronym for the CR-X is “Civic Renaissance X.”
In the US, the CR-X was marketed as a sports Kammback, a car style from Germany that is distinguished by smooth contours and a sharp cutoff at the end. These cars were well-known for their good fuel economy, their performance, and their swift handling.
The 1991 CR-X Si is the second generation of the car, with a significantly changed chassis compared to the 1988 version. These cars, which were already cheap at around $11,500, can now be had for $3,700 or so.
9 1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (Original: $30,500 / 2018: $9,000)
The Pontiac Firebird is a legendary American pony car built between 1967 and 2002. During its 35-year run, the Firebird competed most frequently with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro (with which it shared the same platform).
The name “Firebird” was also originally used by GM for their General Motors Firebird (1950s) and some early concept cars.
The 1999 model pictured here is a fourth generation, which received a refresh with a new hood and front fascia and dual intakes, retracting quad headlights, fog lamps, air vents, and a lower door, among other changes. This was done to try and compete with the fresh new Camaro.
The Firebird Trans Am was given a derivative of the Corvette’s 5.7-liter V8 engine. These cars, which were once sold new for $30,500, can now be bought for less than $10,000.
8 1990 Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR-1 (Original: $59,000 / 2018: $11,500)
Speaking of Corvettes, here we have the 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, part of the C4 series of Corvettes produced from 1984 to 1996. This car in particular, a new generation model from 1990, would set the new record for the highest 24-hour-5,000 mile land-speed, by going over 175 mph.
Despite a completely new chassis and redesigned, sleeker styling, prices for the ZR-1 increased, which led to decreased sales. The last C4-generation Corvette was produced on June 20, 1996.
What we have here is a ZR-1 that was built smack dab in the middle of its production, right after General Motors acquired Group Lotus from the UK and came up with the idea of developing the world’s fastest production car. A C4 ZR-1 that was once $59,000 in 1990 can now be bought for around $11,500.
7 1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo (Original: $29,000 / 2018: $8,000)
The Toyota MR2 Turbo is another fast sports car, a 2-seater, mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, that was produced between 1984 and 2007. Over its 23 years, the MR2 went through three generations. The one pictured here, a W20, is part of the second generation (1990 to 1999). The MR2 has the distinction of being the first mid-engined production car from Japan.
The MR2 was conceived as a small, sporty compact car with straightforward design and independent front and rear suspensions. It uses a transverse-mounted inline-4 engine.
The name MR2 stands for “mid-ship, run-about, 2-seater,” as well as “mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-seater.” These flashy sports cars started at $29,000 in 1993, but have fallen in price since then due to further sports car developments. You can now get an MR2, turbocharged, for around $8,000.
6 1994 Aston Martin DB7 Volante (Original: $150,000 / 2018: $35,000)
The Aston Martin DB7 is a grand tourer that was first introduced by English automakers Aston Martin in 1994. They were produced for 10 years (until 2004) as either a coupe or a convertible (Volante).
The V6, which was based on a Jaguar non-supercharged AJ6 engine, was given a more powerful V12 Vantage engine in 1999.
The DB7 was originally known as the NPX project, and it was made with financial backing from Ford (who owned Aston Martin from 1988 to 2007) and with resources from Jaguar (whose XJS makes the platform for the DB7). It became Aston Martin’s most-produced car, with over 7,000 being built before being replaced by the DB9.
These high quality tourers were originally very pricey, starting at $150,000, but you can now find one for less than a quarter of the cost, around $35,000, if you take the time to look carefully.
5 1995 Lotus Esprit S4 (Original: $76,000 / 2018: $35,000)
The Lotus Esprit is an awesome sports car that was produced between 1976 and 2004 as one of the first “folded paper” designs by car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The designer originally wanted to call the car “Kiwi,” but Lotus had a tradition of starting all the names of their cars with the letter E, so Esprit became the moniker.
With a production life of almost 30 years, it’s no wonder the Esprit went through seven different generations. The 1995 model pictured here is an S4S, or Series 4 Sport. It was the first Esprit with a rear wing. Its engine was a 2.2-liter 910-series I4, and it was also given a turbocharger, cylinder head mods, and enlarged inlet ports. The last four-cylinder Esprit here retailed at $76,000 at release, but you can get one for less than half that now, for around $35,000.
4 1997 Dodge Viper GTS (Original: $66,000 / 2018: $45,000)
The Dodge Viper is a sports car manufactured between 1992 and 2017 (with a brief hiatus between 2010 and 2013). Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne of Chrysler considered ending production totally in 2010, but they announced a new model in 2012.
The Viper has been named one of the top 10 “Most American Cars,” meaning over 75% of its parts were made in the US.
The 1997 GTS here is a coupe model (as opposed to the RT/10 convertible.) This GTS had an 8.0-liter V10 engine which gave it 450 hp, and the GTS was also the first Viper with power windows and air bags.
For what many consider to be a supercar, the Dodge Viper has never been too expensive (unless you get a racing version like the SRT Viper GT3-R, which costs $459,000). A ’97 GTS started at $66,000 and can now be bought for around $45,000.
3 1999 Porsche Boxster 986 (Original: $41,000 / 2018: $7,200)
The Porsche Boxster has a pretty long history of production, first being released in 1996. The Boxster is a 2-seater, mid-engined roadster, named after its flat “boxer” engine and 2-seater capacity.
The first-generation 986, which was produced between 1996 and 2004, was inspired by the 356 Cabriolet and the 550 Spyder. In order to slash costs, Porsche consulted with Toyota in order to share parts. It’s widely speculated that the introduction of the 986 helped save Porsche from acquisition.
All 986 Boxsters use an M96 engine, a water-cooled, “flat” V6—and the first water-cooled, non-front engine car that Porsche made.
Unfortunately these engines had quite a few failures, which often led to slipped or cracked cylinder liners. That didn’t help the depreciation of the car, either, for what was once $41,000 can now be bought for a little over $7,000.
2 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL600 (Original: $130,000 / 2018: $40,000)
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is a grand touring model that is one of Mercedes-Benz’s longest running cars. These cars have been around since 1954, originally conceived as a toned down Gran Prix car to attract post-WWII American markets. The American market is still the primary market for these cars, which have been around for 64 years.
The SL600 is part of the fourth generation of SLs. They run on 6.0-liter V12 engines (after which the car is named), with 394 hp, and they top the range of the SL-Class models.
In 1995, AMG sold an extremely rare SL 73 AMG, which had 525 bhp and the most powerful V12 engine ever put on an SL car (until the even rarer SL 70 AMG came along with a 7.0-liter V12).
A regular SL600 that used to cost $130,000 now can be bought for a third of that, or $40,000 give or take.
1 1997 Ferrari F355 Spider (Original: $137,000 / 2018: $70,600)
Finally we have the Ferrari F355 Spider, a sports car that was evolved from the Ferrari 348. These sports cars were produced between 1994 and 1999 as a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, v8-powered coupe, convertible, or targa (semi-convertible).
The main difference between an F355 and a 348 is the 3.5-liter engine that had a 5-valve cylinder head instead of eight. This allowed for better intake, creating a stronger engine that produced 375 hp.
This car also went through over 1,300 hours of wind tunnel analysis to make it as aerodynamic as possible.
The Spider (convertible) version of the car started at $137,000, but you can get one for as low as $70,600 on AutoTrader and CarGurus. Its value doesn’t come close to a Ferrari F50, of which a 1995 model originally sold for $480,000 and is now the highest-priced car on AutoTrader at $3,600,000.
Sources: jalopnik.com; roadandtrack.com; wikipedia.org
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