It almost seems like yesterday that the motoring press and hot rodders everywhere were raving about the all-new all-powerful fuel-injected motors and vehicles coming out of Detroit. Gearhead magazines of the 1990s focused a lot of time and effort showing fans of modern muscle how to modify the likes of 5-liter Mustangs and LT1 Camaros for better performance, and over the years, OEM manufacturers have regularly raised the bar, offering previously unheard-of levels of power from the factory. There’s now renewed interest in the cars of the 1990s, and you may well wonder which ones are now ripe for buying.
Fortunately, the best cars to buy from the 1990s are a short list. Even though millions of factory muscle cars were built in the 1990s, those EFI powerplants came in precious few body styles and you’d have to be a real car nut to remember such intricate details. Fortunately, we have compiled the best 90s cars you could still buy.
The McLaren F1 was unveiled in May 1992 and was the company’s first road-going production car. The idea was born in the late 1980s, when Gordon Murray, the technical director of McLaren’s Formula One, began sketching F1 as a three-seat supercar. It was unlike any other supercar launched up to that point. It had a race-inspired design, a three-seat configuration with the driver seat in the middle, and a comfortable ride for a vehicle of its kind.
It was also the first production car to use a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and the first to bring high-tech and expensive materials such as titanium, magnesium, Kevlar, and gold under the same roof. Some 25 years have passed since its introduction, and the F1 is already considered a classic. Regularly changing owners for millions of dollars, the F1 is one of the very few multi-million-dollar supercars built in the 1990s.
Chevy C4 Corvette
Lightweight, a large tire contact patch, and severe-duty brakes make the C4 Corvette a standout among ’90s cars to buy, and when you score one with the 300hp LT1, or better yet, the one-year-only 340hp LT4 of 1996, you’ll be pinching yourself over how much performance you can get for the money.
The C4 Corvette is positively a slot car compared to the full-sized B-body, and in stock, trim could click off low 13-second timeslips all day long. They were even better on the road course, where they regularly lapped cars that were twice their price. When equipped with the slick-shifting 6-speed ZF gearbox, heel-and-toe downshifting was a breeze.
Before Audi bought Lamborghini and became a bit more mature, the company and it’s car’s design language was truly bonkers. The Diablo was the last car it produced as a Chrysler-owned manufacturer and had tough boots to fill in the form of the legendary Countach. It was powered by a ferocious 5.7-liter V12 at launch, allowing it to be the second production car (behind the Ferrari F40) to hit 200mph while looking wild at any speed.