“Anyone who fails to learn from history will no doubt be doomed to repeat it.” – Jesse Ventura (Former Governor of Minnesota, actor and retired wrestler)
What’s the first thing that rings in your mind when you hear the word Performance Car? Of course, the first thing is speed! That’s before we start looking at other features like its body design, power train and its sturdiness on the road.
You would agree with us that not every performance car is top notch. There are always a lot of flops, some Average Joes, and a few quality ones. We’ll be talking more about the flops in this article. Like the opening quote said; if you fail to learn from your history, you might as well repeat the same mistakes over again. Of course, you don’t have to own a performance car before you know about them, much less the ones of the past. If you’re a true automotive enthusiast, we don’t have to tell you the information in this article will broaden your automotive knowledge.
So, let’s take you down the memory lane of the 90s. The 90s was an excellent time for the automotive world as many legendary and innovative cars released thrilled automotive fans across the globe. Likewise, a lot vexed a lot of fans and critics.
We did our research and decided to release 25 performance cars from the 90s that were so messed up that the automakers don’t want us to remember then. But, we were able to track them down and release what they have been hiding from you. Feel free to air your thoughts in our comments section.
25 1993 Aston Martin Virage Vantage
No doubt, Aston Martin has been in the business of producing cars that impress the public; they have a reputation for technology, innovation, luxury, and quality. However, this doesn’t translate to the company being above mistakes.
The Vantage is an excellent example of the company’s mistake even though it was used in several James Bond movies. According to Autoweek, the Vantage was introduced in 1993. Compared to other supercars in its class and era, the Virage was below expectation with a top speed of 186mph. Also, it runs from 0 to 60mph in 4.6 seconds.
24 1997 Panoz Esperante GTR-1
The Panoz GTR-1 is a model that was produced by Panoz Auto Development. It’s yet another model that traveled on the quest to conquer in the racing world.
The Panoz used a 6.0-liter V8 engine that was located at the front of the car. The position of the engine affected the design of the vehicle which is evident from its long nose. The developers were disappointed with the outcome of the models, as none of them finished any of the race due to mechanical failure, according to Autoweek.
23 1998 Bizzarini Kjara
The case of this car is a little bit similar to what happens with a cloned iPhone, no matter how similar it tends to look from the outside, it’s not the same thing. That’s the same thing that happened when Giotto Bizzarini, a former top engineer of Ferrari who designed the legendary V12 for Lamborghini, tried to build his performance cars.
Of course, it didn’t go as planned for him, if not we won’t be talking about this now. According to Autowise, he placed Corvette V8 engine in his cars, so they were good on the road but poorly slow on the track. He eventually ran out of business.
22 1992 Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper is an unpredictable model that doesn’t only spit venom but knows the best way to go about it, without a chance for you to dodge. According to Motor 1, the Dodge Viper used a V10 engine that delivers 400hp and a torque of 450 lb-ft.
You may think that the figures are impressive until you notice that it has a drivability issue. As if you don’t have so much to deal with already, it positions its side exhaust to burn your legs—that’s if you haven’t learned the skill of exiting the vehicle.
21 1991 Chrysler’s TC By Maserati
The moment you hear that this model is by Maserati, your expectations may hit the roof because the company has been making luxury sports car for a long time. The Chrysler TC was born from the combination of ideas from two friends: the owner of Maserati and the CEO of Chrysler.
The duo planned to produce a sports coupe that would stand out. The model stood out as intended but in the area of disappointment. The vehicle uses a V6 engine that produces 141hp, according to Jalopnik.
20 1991 Cizeta V16T
The Cizeta is the result of three people: Marcello Gandini who’s a former Lamborghini designer, Claudio Zampolli, a car designer, and Giorgio Moroder. Marcello did the design of the Cizeta. It was expected since Marcello was the Lambo expert.
The V16 in the vehicle’s name represents the engine in the car. The engine was a combination of two flat-plane V8 engines. Despite the whole combination, the engine could only deliver a top speed of 204mph, according to Motor 1. Even though the model didn’t meet the expected specification, it was priced at $300,000.
19 1993 Ferrari Mondial T
Oh yes! The Ferrari made it to this list. We are sure that at this point, you’ve been convinced that the big brands make bad decisions sometimes. The difference between the big brands and other brands is the fact that their success usually outweighs their mistakes.
According to Jalopnik, Ferrari ran the production of the Mondial from 1988 to 1993. Regardless of how much work put into the model, it remained in the league of “underperforming cars.” The company identified their mistake, learned from it, and abandoned the Mondial T.
18 1992 Subaru SVX
The SVX launched into the performance market in 1992. The future looked bright for the model considering that Giorgetto Giugiaro designed it and it had other exciting features.
Asides the car having a drag coefficient of about 0.29, it was powered by an engine that could have a top speed of 154mph and accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 7.3 seconds. It also had an optional four-wheel drive, according to Jalopnik. It had prospective buyers that anticipated the model, but its price repelled them.
17 1993 Mosler Consulier GTP
Mosler Automotive manufactured the Consulier GTP. The model looked like one that would have interested consumers, but for some reason, the race car never made it to production. According to Motor 1, the vehicle was made of the skeletal interior and a fiberglass exterior. It didn’t even look like a model that was ready to proceed to the production stage.
To make matters complicated, the manufacturer never paid attention to the complaints made by reviewers about the car having difficult handling—maybe the company was too confident in their creation.
16 1990 TVR Griffith
The TVR Griffith was a car that moved to the league of performance cars the moment manufacturer unveiled it in 1990. It had some great features like fast and responsive steering. It also had a speed that would satisfy any speed demon.
However, according to Autoweek, the significant feature wasn’t fantastic enough to take people’s attention away from the issues the car faced like a stiff suspension setup, and the much noise. Reliability was another issue that wasn’t adequately addressed; using this model translated to frequent repairs on the roadside.
15 1993 Lister Storm
The Lister Storm looked like a car that was built tough because the body was made of aluminum. Despite how the Lister looked, it was a lightweight race car that had bumpers made with Carbon-Kevlar.
According to Jalopnik, the model used a 7.0-liter Jaguar V1 engine. The engine delivered 550hp and had a top speed of 211mph. Even though it was built for races and had the speed to complement it, the car wasn’t able to complete most of the races because of mechanical issues.
14 1992 Jaguar XJ220
According to Motor1, Jaguar designed the 1992 Jaguar XJ220 to become the modern version of the famous Le Mans race cars of the 50s and 60s. In 1988, the automaker revealed the prototype in a car show to get reviews. It’s apparent they got the wrong reviews, or they chose not to build on the genuine reviews they got because the production car was nothing to write home about.
Jaguar played a fast one on many of their customers when they released the prototype version as a V12 engine, only to bring out a V6 engine XJ220 at the production car debut.
13 1993 Audi Sport Quattro
If you’re familiar with German engineered vehicles, you will agree with us when we say they are famous for their precision and quality based cars. For the 1991 Audi Sports Quattro, it was a different case entirely as many fans wondered what indeed went wrong.
Before it was built, the automaker made automotive fans believe via media that the car was going to be a rally and road beast at the same time. The car fell so short of its praises even though it came with a turbocharged five-cylinder engine. According to Jalopnik, cutting the car’s weight by using Carbon—Kevlar panels created an under-steering mess.
12 1995 Ford GT90
In 1995, at the Detroit Auto show, Ford released the GT90 for the first time. The plan was to make the GT90 become the successor of the GT40, so Ford tried to improve the styling like the doors becoming part of the car’s roofline, but Ford didn’t see the car as a good idea.
According to Motor1, they canceled the production of the GT90. Many Ford aficionados believe that the automaker robbed its fans from experiencing one of the most significant performance cars that ever existed.
11 1991 Bugatti EB 110
Bugatti is a big name in the automotive industry today especially when it comes to performance cars. Bugatti supercars like the Bugatti Veyron or the Bugatti Chiron, which was the successor of the Veyron, were highly praised and loved by fans all over the world.
While Bugatti enjoyed all the love and patronage from the above models, it faced criticism for one particular model. Of course, it’s not a typical model, so you won’t be judged for not knowing it: the Bugatti EB 110. According to Autowise, the car debuted on September 15th, 1991 with only 100 productions before stopping its production.
10 1991 Venturi Atlantique 260
It’s safe to say the French are not so supercar centric, considering that they can’t do without their Peugeot which is their trademark car. Well, they proved us wrong when they produced the 1991 Venturi Atlantique 260. A Monaco-based automaker was responsible for the Venturi; the production lasted for nine years (from 1991-2000).
According to Jalopnik, the 2-door coupe comes with a 2.8 Liter twin-turbo V6 engine, powerful enough to accelerate from 0-60mph in the space of 5.2 seconds, plus it has a maximum speed of 167mph.
9 1991 MTX Tatra V8
Still, in the atmosphere of Europe based performance cars, we introduce the MTX Tatra V8. Václav Král, the Czech automaker released the car in 1991 with its pop-up headlights, sleek design, and scissor doors. The Tatra went beyond looks to come with an air-cooled 32v V8 DOHC motor engine which produced 302 horsepower and a maximum speed of 152mph.
According to Motor1, Václav Král started production after the car debuted in October 1991 at the Prague motor show, where he got almost 200 pre-orders. Unfortunately, the factory caught fire, causing the production to stop indefinitely.
8 1998 Shelby Series 1
Carroll Shelby is known to be the father of great US cars. Shelby is the creator of Shelby Mustang and Shelby Cobra. No doubt, Shelby is a super legend among motorheads. Nevertheless, it didn’t exempt him from making silly automotive mistakes.
According to Autowise, in 1998, Carroll released the Shelby Series 1 which came with a 4.0L V8 engine that had both naturally articulated and supercharged versions. However, Shelby faced a lot of odds with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, so it never had a chance to shine.
7 1993 Zender Vision 3
According to Motor1, Hans-Albert Zender introduced the Zender Vision 3 in 1986 as a concept car at the motor show in Geneva. About seven years later, the automaker released the first production car in 1993. No doubt, the Zender Vision 3 “wowed” a lot of fans when it came out with an engine that generated 300 horsepower.
However, its ability to accelerate from 0-60mph in 6 seconds wasn’t impressive enough considering that it was a performance car, but not so bad because it was produced in the early 90s. Unfortunately, it didn’t do well.
6 1993 Detomaso Pantera
When Ford brought in the Italian made car, Pantera in the early 70s, they didn’t make much of an impression. So, it wasn’t much of a big deal when Pantera merged with Ford to produce the 1993 Detomaso Pantera with the Ford 351 Cleveland engine.
According to Motor1, the car’s 304 horsepower and maximum speed of 146mph didn’t stop it from being phased out in 1995. The Pantera had a lot of issues and complaints from customers; if it wasn’t its shoddy rust roofing, it was the fact that it lacked headroom.
5 1992 Aixam Mega Track
Supercar and Donk don’t go in anyway, not yesterday, today or tomorrow. It’s just a perfect no-no!! The automaker for the 1992 Aixam Mega Track didn’t see anything wrong with that, if not why did he proceed? Again A French-based automaker was responsible for the production of the car.
According to Autowise, the supercar had a 6.0 Liter Mercedes-Benz V12 engine, which generated 400 horsepower. The car was able to hit a maximum speed of 155mph despite its heavy weight of 5,000 pounds. Unfortunately, automotive fans weren’t fine with the car.
4 1992 TVR Chimaera
The production of the TVR Chimaera ran from 1992 all through to 2003, but it wasn’t able to get dedicated die-hard fans like the way we have die-hard fans for the Ferraris, Lamborghinis or the Bugattis of this world. The automaker planned to make the car more of a grand tourer than a full supercar but failed.
According to Jalopnik, the TVRs are not reliable, even though the word “Chimaera” means a lion-headed, goat-bodied, fire-breathing monster with the tail of a serpent, the model doesn’t live up to expectations.
3 1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i
The Commendatore 112i is one of the rarest cars in the world considering that it’s challenging to find an image of the car and anyone you come across maybe those taken at the Frankfurt Auto show in 1991 when the car was introduced.
According to Motor 1, the model is powered by a Mercedes-Benz V12 engine that delivers 408hp. It sprints from 0 to 60mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 205mph. Because it was expensive to produce, the company went bankrupt—making it the first and last of its kind.
2 1997 Nissan R390 GT1
When Nissan decided to create the Nissan R390 GT1, they had one purpose in mind: to build a car that would win the 24 Hour of Le Mans. The model used a twin-turbo V8 mid-engine. The engine produced 641hp, but it wasn’t enough to save the car from all the troubles it encountered.
According to Motor 1, the three versions of the 1997 Nissan GT1 needed modification at the last minute. To worsen matters, two out of three models were waived as a result of mechanical failure while the third model made it to the finish line only to face gearbox changes later.
1 1995 Vector M12
Did you notice that the Vector M12 resembles the Lamborghini in a way? Oh yes, it does, after all, it has some features of the Lamborghini Diablo. The Vector was a hand-built car produced from ’95 to ’99 by Vector Motors. The model used a modified Diablo engine and chassis, according to Jalopnik.
Even if it boasted of delivering 492hp and a torque of 482 lb-ft, it didn’t live up to expectation in reality. The idea behind this model was to come up with a racing prototype that could hit 13 mpg, but things didn’t go as planned.
Sources – Motor1, Jalopnik, Autoweek