The automotive industry has seen a huge change in the way cars are manufactured. Right from the early 1980s, major overhauls have been done either on the engine, bodywork or style. The ‘80s were a great time for the automotive industry but the 1990s didn’t continue with this trend. There were a lot of muscle cars that were manufactured in the ‘90s that were just not up to the mark. It would be either the engine that caused the problems or just the bodywork.
Either way, these are the 10 worst muscle cars of the ‘90s that have been relegated to the backbench.
10 The 1995 Chevy Monte Carlo
Chevy was a great car that was discontinued way back in 1988. The Chevy Monte Carlo came up in 1995 but was quite different from the earlier version. Now the Chevy had two Lumina models like the sedan and the coupe. The coupe was called the Chevy Monte Carlo and this was very different from the old version.
The old Chevy was a two-door car with a V8 engine and a rear-wheel drive. In contrast, the new Chevy Monte Carlo had two V6 engine options like the 160-horsepower 3.1-liter or 215-horsepower 3.4-liter. The transmission on these cars was a four-speed automatic.
9 The 1996 Ford Thunderbird LX
Thunderbird was a great two-seat convertible car in the 1980s that had some potential. By the time the 1990s approached, the Thunderbird lost its thunder. What started out in the ‘50s as a two-seat sports car and turned into a large luxury car. It was now a four-seat car with two doors that could be called a coupe. Since it was large in size, it was advertised as luxurious.
By 1996, Ford made some modifications to the V6 engine that had 230 horsepower. It now had a V6 engine with just 140 horsepower in a 3.8-liter model or a V8 engine with 205 horsepower. Right enough, the thunder was lost from the car and it was happily forgotten.
8 The 1993 Chevy Camaro
The Camaro of the 1980s had a boxy design that was iconic. At the beginning of the 1990s, a complete overall was done of the exterior, giving it a rounded look that didn’t quite sit well with purists.
The only similarity was the chassis that was an F-body style from GM. The engine in the Chevy Camaro was a V6 with a 3.4-liters and only had 160 horsepower. So even though you got the style of a muscle car, there was just not enough horsepower to sustain the model. There were two models – a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.
7 The 1994 Ford Mustang
In 1978 Ford created the Ford Fox and it was this version that was redesigned into the Ford Mustang in 1994. The problem lay in the lack of a complete overhaul that included the engine and the torque.
With just the 145 horsepower that the V6 engine could deliver, this car really didn’t have the required muscle for a so-called muscle car. The 3.8-liter engine had a torque of just 215 pound-feet. The V8 GT engine was a much better choice than the V6. Ford Mustang was really just a show-car that didn’t pack enough punch to make it ride into the 2000s.
6 The 1993 Pontiac Firebird
Another muscle car that didn’t quite make it to the big leagues was the Pontiac Firebird that was introduced in 1993. This was quite similar to the Chevy Camaro that was also launched in the same year and had a 3.4-liter V6 engine.
The horsepower from this engine was just 160 and this was one of the reasons for its demise. The Pontiac Firebird had headlights that popped-up. So even though the exterior design of the Pontiac Firebird was iconic, the underlying problems still existed. With such a minimal engine power, it was just a car waiting to ride into oblivion.
5 The 1999 Mercury Cougar
The 1960s Mercury Cougar was a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. This was redesigned into the 1999 version and converted into a coupe with front-wheel-drive. Just like other cars in this period, Mercury removed the V8 engine and fitted the Cougar with a V6 engine. The problem with this was the horsepower that ranged from 125 to 170.
Either way, the car didn’t have enough muscle to last through the workout. So even though a change from the 1980s version was better in terms of design, the 1999 version lasted just a year or so. By 2002, Mercury completely shut down the production of the Cougar.
4 The 1998 Chevy Corvette Convertible Pace Car
One of the main reasons for this muscle car to lose its muscle was the really hideous color choice. The Chevy Corvette Convertible pace car was introduced in 1998 and it was ugly from the get-go. The choice of color for the car, along with the wheels was just not something everyone loved.
Purple and yellow seemed to stand out too much, especially the yellow wheels. The 5.7-liter V8 engine had a 345 horsepower and this was a great improvement from its older version. But the color scheme did not help to bring this car into the 21st century.
3 The 1999 Ford Mustang
With the 1994 version of the Ford Mustang, not making it too good on the charts, Ford came up with a refreshed model for its 35th anniversary. Here the design was quite iconic and the sheet metal used on the exterior gave it a tough look. This 1999 version also did not do well since the changes were only superficial.
The V6 engine still was the same 3.8 liters with just a modest increase in horsepower to 190. It was better than the 1994 version but still not up to the mark. So the “New Edge,” as it was dubbed, wasn’t quite edgy enough.
2 The 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass
The 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass was a four-door sedan with a four-while drive that could comfortably seat five. With a V6, 3.1 liter engine, the car had a horsepower of just 160. Some of the technology used back then was cruise control, hands-free phone, and a navigation system.
With great entertainment kits like an MP3 and CD player, the Cutlass was good for the young generation. The Oldsmobile Cutlass didn’t make it to the top mainly due to its engine. Too, this big car just didn’t appeal to young buyers who would appreciate the new tech. It just didn’t have the muscle power to keep it going into the 21st century and was then shut by 1999.
1 Ford Probe
The Ford Probe was one of the models that, one of the richest car companies, Ford manufactured while in collaboration with Mazda. It was a coupe with a V8 engine and front-wheel drive. This car had a horsepower of just 145 and this was the reason why the Probe didn’t make it for long.
It was discontinued in 1997 and other versions like the Cougar surfaced. It was made to take on the Mustang but really crashed due to bad marketing. It just could not compete with the Japanese brands that were entering the market at that point in time. Soon Ford changed its strategy and came up with other models.