8 darlings from the '90s you need to drive while you still can

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Apr 10, 2024 | Miata, M3, camaro, Civic Si, Buyer's Guide | Posted in Buyer's Guides | From the May 2024 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Courtesy the Manufacturers

Could a decade have been any better for us? The ’90s simply gave us some of the best performance cars ever. 

Performance was up. Drivability issues were down. You could easily work on things in your own garage. No giant infotainment screens. The market catered to those who preferred shifting their own gears. The average enthusiast could, in short, buy a …

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Comments
maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/10/24 8:36 a.m.

Huh, conspicuous lack of Suzuki X-90 on that list. Maybe it's No. 9?

Apexcarver
Apexcarver MegaDork
4/10/24 9:23 a.m.

I would disagree on calling the camaro more advanced than the mustang, or at least say the discussion is much more nuanced. 

Sure, the Fbodies got a torque arm and 6 speed manual trans, but in 1996 the mustangs got overhead cams, with the cobra having 4v DOHC. Additionally, the chassis for the 4th gen was more of an update to the 3rd gen chassis, which dates back to 1982 (vs the 78 fairmont for the fox platform) Though I will grant you that the torque arm helped the camaro.  

Both had their share of success, but the mustang was lighter!

theruleslawyer
theruleslawyer Reader
4/10/24 9:27 a.m.

How did the FD RX7 not make the list? Talk about quintessential 90's car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/10/24 9:35 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

Huh, conspicuous lack of Suzuki X-90 on that list. Maybe it's No. 9?

The X-90 is getting its own feature. :) 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/10/24 9:42 a.m.
theruleslawyer said:

How did the FD RX7 not make the list? Talk about quintessential 90's car.

Perhaps they wanted to limit it to one per manufacturer, and leaving out the Miata would be hard to justify?

That said, IMHO the FD is more in keeping with the kinds of cars this magazine and forum are into than the Supra.  The Supra is iconic and has been made very fast indeed, but it's not a driver's car in the same way as the RX-7.

Oh, one other comment about the Camaros -- perhaps it's just me, but I found the A-pillar is really in the way.  I test drove a couple F-bodies in the 90s and every time I got in or out of the car I would hit my head on that A-pillar.  Same thing with the GTO 10 years later...

 

mr2peak
mr2peak GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/10/24 10:07 a.m.

I understand passing over the FD for the Miata.

But I don't like it.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
4/10/24 10:11 a.m.

I kinda wish the project to put a Duratec into an FD actually turned into a Lincoln.  

Worst car of the decade to me as the BMW M3 with the auto shifting manual.  Only car I got motion sickness just driving it.  What a horrible implementation of a technology.

deaconblue
deaconblue Reader
4/10/24 1:38 p.m.

Seriously you need to replace the 4th Gen Camaro/Firebird on this list and replace it with the C5 Corvette.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/10/24 2:01 p.m.
deaconblue said:

Seriously you need to replace the 4th Gen Camaro/Firebird on this list and replace it with the C5 Corvette.

I would argue C5 is really more of a "2000s car" than 90s, even if it came out in '97.

EmosoundM3
EmosoundM3 New Reader
4/10/24 4:39 p.m.

I guess I'm doing OK: I owned a Laguna Blue 94 Miata, a Jazz Blue 97 GTI VR6, and still own a 98 M3/4/5 in Alpine White. It's an amazingly 'connected' feeling car for being such a practical sedan. I autocrossed it and had 2 kids seats in the back!
I have to hang on to this one!
-Paul

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