Car collectors are constantly trying to predict what will be worth money many years from now and are trying to scoop them up before they're a sought-after item. In most cases, the car will end up being worth far more than what the car originally cost, especially for a car in mint condition.
Car collectors will pay top dollar for cars that were made in limited batches, in addition to cars that are unmolested and have low miles. According to Road and Track, a 1987 Buick GNX with 362 original miles in perfect condition was sold for 165k at Barrett Jackson. The original owner clearly knew what he was doing and even kept the dealer sticker intact on the window.
Collaborations and limited-edition models are usually a shoo-in to eventually become collector’s items. Carroll Shelby collaborations are still very sought-after vehicles to this day. According to Car and Driver, there were only 1,475 Shelby Dakotas made, and even rarer is the Rod Hall that Carroll Shelby had a hand in building as well. According to The Drive, only 33 of these gems had been produced before Shelby suffered from a heart attack and ended the production of the trucks. Here are 20 examples of cars from the '90s that every car collector should buy before they skyrocket
20 1990 454 SS Truck -$15,000
Back in 1990, it seemed like Chevy was way ahead of the game when they released the first versions of their 454 SS truck almost three decades ago.
The SS was a full-sized pickup truck that came stock with a 4545 V8 that was good for 230 hp and 385 lb/ft of torque.
These made the SS capable of going from 0-60 in less than eight seconds, which was unheard of from a pickup truck at that day and age.
19 GMC Typhoon -$18,000
The Typhoon was another vehicle that was way ahead of its time, and it was only produced for one year, making it a real unicorn. According to Road and Track, the all-wheel-drive Typhoon came packed with a turbocharged 4.3-liter V6 that was good for 280 hp at 4,400 rpm and 360 lb/ft of torque at 3,600 rpm. This meant the Typhoon was able to get a quarter mile done in 14.3 seconds and get to sixty in just 5.6.
18 GMC Syclone -$20,000
Before the SRT10 and the Raptor, there was a muscle truck that came to town much earlier in the game: the GMC Syclone. According to Car and Driver, the Syclone came stocked with a turbocharged 4.3-liter engine that was capable of making 280 hp at 4,400 rpm and 360 lb/ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
Surprisingly enough, the Syclone outran the Ferrari 348ts in both the 0-60 and the ¼ mile test conducted by Car and Driver.
It wasn’t until the 0-100 that the Ferrari outperformed the Syclone, and considering it cost almost 100k less and had just a V6 was pretty embarrassing on Ferrari's end. Unfortunately, the Syclone was just too far ahead of its time and was discontinued after just one year.
17 Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender may be a well-known rig in the UK, but unfortunately, it was only available in the US for a short duration of time. With that being said, Car and Driver put the Defender up against 7 other SUVs, including the Jeep Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee Limited, the Ford F-150, and the Ford Expedition. After putting the off-road rigs through a series of tests on the trail, the Defender put up the best overall score of the trail, with the Jeep Wrangler finishing second. The biggest complaint about the Defender is its thirsty V8 that ran out of gas twice while the tests were being conducted.
16 Ford Lightning SVT $24,555
The Ford Lightning made its debut to the world first back in the early 1990s before its 2nd attempt later in the decade that most people are more familiar with.
According to Motor Trend, the first Ford Lightning came stock with an SVT (Special Vehicle Team) 5.8-liter engine that was good for 240 hp at 4,200 rpm and 340 lb/ft of torque at 3,200 rpm.
The Lightning could put down a quarter mile in 15.6 seconds, which was a whole lot more impressive in the early '90s.
15 Toyota Supra -$48,000
The Toyota Supra may have been around for less than a decade in the US, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. According to Car and Driver, the Supra was only produced for four years, with only 8,611 of them produced in total in the US, the fastest model being the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine that was good for 320 hp at 5,600 rpm and 315 lb/ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. According to Motor1, we can expect to see the Supra to make a return next year in 2019; it’s expected to make 335 hp and 369 lb/ft of torque, making it capable of going from 0-60 in roughly 4.5 seconds.
14 Acura Legend -$2,300
In its prime, the Acura Legend was the priciest car that Japan imported to the US, according to Car and Driver. The Legend was named as if they knew it was something special, and it was. It was a Japanese luxury sedan.
The Legend was just as luxurious as the high-end BMW and Mercedes but cost a fraction of the price.
According to Motor Trend, the Legend at its best came with a 3.2-liter V6 that was good for 230 hp at 6,200 rpm and 206 lb/ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.
13 Honda Insight
The next on the list was technically released in 1999 but as a 2000 model; however, we'll let this one slide. The Honda Insight was one weird-looking vehicle if we’ve ever seen one—kind of Honda’s backward version of the Reliant Robin, which was often featured on Top Gear. But according to many sources, they think this will most likely be a collector’s item down the road. According to Car and Driver, the Insight was a hybrid that has a 1.0-liter engine paired with an electric motor, making the Insight good for 73 hp at 5,700 rpm and 91 lb/ft of torque at 2,000 rpm.
12 Subaru SVX -$4,000
The Subaru what? You heard right. The Subaru SVX was a rare car that was only made for a few short years in the mid-'90s. According to Hemmings, roughly 14,000 SVXs were sold before Subaru pulled the plug on the project.
The SVX came stock with a 3.3-liter that was good for 230 hp, which was all the more impressive when the car was released in 1992.
The SVX was just a bit ahead of its time—okay, maybe way ahead of its time—but we’re willing to bet it would thrive in today’s market.
11 Mazda RX7 -$16,900
The Mazda RX7, like many cars on this list, was just way too ahead of its time. Mazdas have always been known for their amazing rotary engines, and according to Car and Driver, the Mazda RX7 came packed with a turbocharged 1.3-liter that was good for 255 hp and 217 lb/ft of torque. The RX7 came track ready, with a limited-slip differential along with a stiffened suspension. In the mid-'90s, the Mazda RX7’s price tag was well over 30k, which was very pricey for the time and likely one of the reasons that the RX7 was discontinued after 1995.
10 Honda Del Sol -$4,000
The Honda Del Sol was a bit of a unicorn in the US, as it was only produced for three years before being discontinued. The Del Sol had a simple design, a small-door passenger coupe.
Some notable features on the Del Sol were the removable hard top that would transform the Del Sol into a convertible and the back window that was power operated, allowing it to go up and down.
According to Motor Trend, the Vtech model was the fastest of the bunch, with its 1.6-liter engine that was good for 160 hp at 7,600 rpm.
9 Impala SS -$11,000
The Impala is an iconic car that's been around since the '50s and that was eventually discontinued in the mid-'80s. Luckily, the Impala didn’t stay nonexistent for too long, making a return in 1994. According to Hot Rod, the SS Impala came stocked with an LT1 V8 that was good for 260 hp and 330 lb/ft of torque. If that wasn’t enough power for you, Callaway offered a Supernatural package that made 404 hp, making it capable of running a quarter mile in 14 seconds flat!
8 Audi Rs2 Avant -$35,000
Back in 1994, the Audi Rs2 Avant made its debut to the world when Porsche and Audi decided to do a collaboration, and now, almost 25 years later, it’s still worth talking about.
According to Road and Track, true to Porsche fashion, the engine was located in the rear in addition to containing parts straight of their 964 Turbo.
The Avant came standard with a 2.2-liter five-cylinder engine that was good for 311 hp at 6,500 rpm and 302 lb/ft of torque at 3,000 rpm, which meant the Rs2 could go from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds!
7 1996 Dodge Viper GTS -$35,000
While the Viper made its debut earlier, the 1996 GTS is something a bit more special than the inaugural model. According to Edmunds, what makes the 1996 year so special is the fact that the Viper was the official pace car of NASCAR. A special edition of the Ram was made to celebrate the honor also that year. The Coupe had just a bit more power than its convertible version with its massive 8.0-liter v10 making 450 hp at 5,200 rpm and 490 lb/ft of torque at 3,700 rpm.
6 Nissan 240sx -$6,500
The 240sx was one rare car that was once only available as a JDM and that made its way to the States for a few years.
While the 240sx was sold for less than a decade, it's still a very sought-after vehicle in both the tuner and the drift scene.
According to Motor Trend, the 240sx didn’t produce impressive numbers, its 2.4-liter engine was only good for 155 bhp at 5,600 rpm and 160 lb/ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. It was the rear-wheel-drive suspension that set the 240sx apart from the others at the time, and it's the reason why it's still a sought-after vehicle for drifters.
5 Mercedes-Benz SL -$9,995
The Mercedes SL is an iconic car that's been around since the '50s and, by the '90s, was in its 4th generation of production. According to Motor Trend, the SL500 came stock with a 5.0-liter V8 that was good for 302 hp. The 4th generation SL is when Mercedes added the 600SL, which came with a 6.0-liter V12 that was good for 389 hp. In 1999, the SL received upgrades to its braking and stability system, upgraded wheels, and a more efficient engine.
4 Nissan 300sx -$6,995
The Nissan 300sx was the Mazda RX7's (the car mentioned earlier on the list) biggest competition. Both were overpriced imports that were much more sought after long after they were discontinued. According to Car and Driver, the rear-wheel-drive 300sx had the option to come with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that was good for 300 hp and was able to reach a top speed of 155 mph, which are still impressive numbers over two decades later!
3 BMW M3 E46 -$8,500
The BMW M3 E46 was the second generation of the M3, but the 1995 model year, in particular, was really something special. According to Motor Trend, the introduction of the second generation brought new options for the M3, as it was available not just as a standard coupe but also as a sedan and a convertible with the option to upgrade to an automatic transmission as well.
The 1995 model was the only year that they offered the Coupe Sport Lightweight (CSL) where serious weight reduction took place.
The CSL was stripped of its AC, radio, and luxury leather seats, while aluminum doors, a strut tower, and carbon-fiber parts were added.
2 Ford Mustang Cobra V -$29,995
Next up on the list is the Ford Mustang Cobra SVT, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Special Vehicle Team decided to take the Cobra name under their wing in 1993 and gave the Cobra the performance it always deserved. The Cobra package was offered prior to this, but it was more of an appearance package rather than a performance one. Under the SVT influence, the 5.0-liter received upgrades to its powertrain, gaining 30 hp and 5 lb/ft of torque, afterward being capable of 235 hp and 280 lb/ft of torque. The following year, the body style changed, which makes the '93 a sought-after vehicle for fox body enthusiasts.
1 Acura Integra Type R -$26,900
The Acura Integra Type R is still a sought-after vehicle to this day. According to The Drive, one recently sold at Barrett Jackson for a whopping $63,800! The Type R had 1,191 original miles on it and was #37 of the 320 that were made in the inaugural year.
While you can find some far cheaper than this, expect it to have far more miles and to most likely be far from stock.
The Type-R came with a 1.8-liter engine that was good for 195 hp at 8,000 rpm and 130 lb/ft of torque at 7,300 rpm, making it capable of getting a quarter mile done in 15.2 seconds.