The 1990s was not a decade which will be remembered for its style. In an era of over-size plaid shirts and neon boob tubes, it is hardly surprising that this lack of fashion sense was also seen in the cars which were designed and built at the same time.
US cars, in particular, struggled to make an impact, even on their own domestic market, as motorists started to appreciate the benefits of the affordability and reliability of Japan-made vehicles – although even car manufacturers from Japan didn’t always get things right when it came to the look of their automotive creations.
All of which has led to a whole host of 1990s cars, many of which are still on the road today, which were pretty expensive and exclusive in their day, but which have definitely not aged well as the 21st century dawned.
On the flip side, however, some cars from the 90s have become very collectible, despite their rather dated appearance – although the fact that most of these vehicles can still perform to a very high standard also helps too! Now is the time to buy some of these 1990s classics, before the rest of the automotive world catches onto their charms causing their second-hand prices to rocket!
Check out the list below of 90s cars which are worthless today, and those which would make a great asset to any collection.
20 Worthless - Ford Mustang Cobra
The Ford Mustang has gone through various incarnations and special editions since its launch in 1965. The 21st-century version is one of the best Fords has made in recent years, and the earliest models were stylish and powerful vehicles which contributed to the rise of the US muscle car.
However, the fourth generation Ford Mustang Cobra, which made its debut in 1994, looked far too tame to be considered a muscle or even a pony car, even though it still boasted a V8 engine under the hood. Style is just as important as performance when it comes to classic muscle cars, and the mid-90s Cobra failed to live up to expectations.
19 Worthless - Bugatti EB110
Bugatti is known as the kings of the high-performance supercar, thanks to the million-dollar Bugatti Veyron and Bugatti Chiron cars that are currently collected by Hollywood superstars and highly-paid athletes. What few are willing to admit is that even these modern Bugatti models are no oil painting – and the same goes for one of their earlier vehicles, the catchily-named Bugatti EB110.
Despite being launched in 1991, the styling of this Bugatti was very much rooted in the 1980s and was coincidentally the last car the company made before it was liquidated in 1995, prior to its triumphant return in 1998 as part of the Volkswagen Group.
18 Worthless - Toyota Supra
Japan-made cars may have been popular in the 1990s, but that doesn’t mean that every automotive import from the Far East has stood the test of time. The Toyota Supra, in production between 1978 and 2002, had little to offer drivers in terms of style or performance, though it was at least an affordable option for drivers who wanted to be able to say that they drove a sports car.
Toyota has recently relaunched the Supra, with the new, much-improved models going on sale from March 2019. No motorist worth their salt would choose to drive a 90s Supra when they could buy an updated version.
17 Worthless - GMC Syclone
Perhaps one of the most 1990s vehicles ever created was the GMC Syclone. It wasn’t just the spelling of the vehicle’s name that was unusual; the whole concept was more than a little unorthodox. At first glance, it looked like a typical pickup truck, albeit one with a bed that was so small it was barely any practical use at all. However, the GMC Syclone was one of the fastest trucks ever built, and even beat a Ferrari 348ts in a drag race!
Not many drivers who wanted a fast car were interested in driving a pickup, however, and the GMC Syclone was a fairly useless truck when it came to towing and carrying cargo.
16 Worthless - Mazda Miata
Like the Toyota Supra, the Mazda Miata was a cheap import, very loosely described as a sports car, despite its unassuming appearance and a less than impressive engine under the hood. First sold in 1989, the Miata is still on sale today, but its heyday definitely came in the mid-90s, even though that model is one of the poorest ever made.
It certainly had some kitsch value and was popular in particular with women drivers who found the car’s almost cartoonish appearance to be more attractive than the aggressive and angular sports cars which had dominated the market in the 1980s.
15 Worthless - Ford Crown Victoria
An old Ford Crown Victoria might actually make an intriguing addition to a car collection, given that many models were used as cop cars. There were some models which ended up in the hands of civilians, but without the lights and sirens, the Ford Crown Victoria was really just an uninspiring sedan.
As a cop car, the Crown Victoria was a perfectly fine choice – until criminals started to get their hands on much faster supercars, that could easily outrun these steady and sedate sedans. Today cops have to drive supercars themselves if they are going to be effective in high-speed chases!
14 Worthless - Ford F-150 Lightning
The GMC Syclone wasn’t the only 1990s pickup which was built for speed, rather than towing or carrying cargo. These days, motorists know the Ford F-150 as one of the toughest and most practical trucks on the market, but the Lightning model on sale during the 90s was much sportier. The 90s Lightning was significantly smaller than the 21st-century equivalent – and was much more petite than even the smallest 21st-century pickup truck on the market.
It may have been able to go from 0 to 60mph in seven seconds, but you would struggle to carry your groceries back from the shopping mall in that tiny bed.
13 Worthless - Acura NSX
Acura is the name given to luxury Honda vehicles made for the US market, and as the company was only launched in 1986, it was still finding its feet in the 1990s. The Acura NSX, which was known simply as the Honda NSX outside of North America, was a sports car which was first made between 1990 and 2005, before being reintroduced in 2016 – although the new model is virtually unrecognizable when compared to the original 1990s vehicle.
The original Acura NSX looked like a Ferrari knock-off, shifted only a few hundred models each year and had a poor reliability record compared to many foreign cars.
12 Worthless - BMW M5
Japan may have produced affordable and reliable cars in the 1990s, but when it came to finely engineered and designed vehicles, Europe was still the place to go for the very best in luxury vehicles. German auto giant BMW has made some great cars over the years, but the second generation of the M5 saloon, in production between 1988 and 1995, was not one of them.
The company has made some wholesale changes to the car over the years, and drivers would be far better off saving up to buy a new model than slumming it in a BMW M5 from the 1990s.
11 Worthless - Nissan Skyline GT-R
The Nissan Skyline name had been used by the company for a range of compact cars, executive cars, and sports cars since the 1950s, but it was the Nissan Skyline GT-R which really caught the eye in the 1990s. It may have been described as a sports car, but the ride's very boxy appearance would make it stand out a mile on today’s roads.
It was an incredibly powerful car for its time and remains an impressive performer today; almost a little too impressive, as with a top speed of well over 150mph, the Nissan Skyline GT-R of the 90s was a temptation on wheels.
10 Collectible - Ferrari F50
For every car that should be left back in the 1990s, there are a few diamonds in the rough that would make a great addition to any car collection – and many of them can be picked up for a surprisingly small amount of money! While the Ferrari F50 doesn’t exactly come cheap, they are still a bargain as far as many car collectors are concerned, as there were only 349 models ever built between 1995 and 1997.
Any limited edition vehicle is going to instantly rocket in price, but in the case of the Ferrari F50, even the design and engineering still pass muster 25 years later.
9 Collectible - Acura Integra Type R
For a 90s car which is a bit more affordable, it might be time to look to Japan – or at least to Acura, the US luxury division of the car manufacturer, Honda. While the Acura NSX has not aged well, its fellow Acura creation, the Integra Type R, still has the power to turn heads well into the 21st century.
Designed initially as a car for motorsports, Acura/Honda kept many of the Integra’s best racing features when they created a model for the ordinary motorist, which meant that this car was already streets ahead of many of its rivals and could even take on some of the best 21st-century cars and win.
8 Collectible - Jaguar XJ220
The British have always had the knack for making timeless classic cars which would look at home in any decade; which makes the Jaguar XJ220 a fantastic vehicle to add to your collection – if you have a spare $500,000 lying around, of course. Built between 1992 and 1994, only 271 models of the XJ220 were ever made, making it an even rarer find than the Ferrari F50.
At the time, it was the fastest production car ever made, having recorded a top speed of 212mph at a test track in Italy, and still manages to look stylish when compared to similar cars today.
7 Collectible - Subaru Impreza
Another 90s car from the Far East has managed to retain a lot of its street cred going into the 21st century. The Subaru Impreza is a compact car which is still in production today, but second-hand models from the 1990s can be picked up for less than $5,000 – a great option for motorists looking for a reliable and cheap ride, as well as a potential automotive investment for the future.
As long as models have been well maintained, a Subaru Impreza from the 90s is only going to increase in value, as the number of models on the road dwindles.
6 Collectible - Lamborghini Diablo
Anyone who has ever dreamed of having their own car collection has probably also dreamed of having a Lamborghini take prime position in that collection. Lamborghini isn’t just one of the most desirable names in motoring, but they also made a 90s car which has stood the test of time in the Lamborghini Diablo.
Yes, it’s square nose may look a little dated today, but the rest of the vehicle is still competitive against 21st-century supercars and is substantially cheaper than most brand new models. Just over 2,800 Diablo models were made by the Italian company between 1990 and 2001 and it was the first Lamborghini production car to go over 200mph.
5 Collectible - Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Before fans of US-made cars start complaining about their absence on this list, there were some great cars built in the US in the 1990s – including the second generation Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 which was in production between 1984 and 1996. The original Corvette had been made in the late 60s and early 70s, so this was a bold attempt by Chevy to relaunch a vehicle which had become something of an automotive classic.
Luckily, they did a great job, and 90s Chevy Corvettes are still very much in demand.
4 Collectible - Ford Mustang Foxbody
The Ford Mustang Cobra may be one the list of 90s cars to avoid, but there was one 1990s Ford Mustang model which would make a great addition to any car collection. The third generation Mustang, built between 1978 and 1993, was built on the Fox platform which Ford had developed for its sedans of the same era, and the pony car subsequently became known as the Ford Mustang Foxbody.
It has become something of a cult classic in motoring circles, and they are only continuing to grow in popularity. Pick one up now, if you get the chance before prices start to skyrocket!
3 Collectible - Dodge Viper
Another all-US car from the 1990s which could make for a great investment opportunity is the Dodge Viper. The Viper was born in the 90s and Dodge only ended production on their classic sports car in 2017. While 21st-century models can easily set you back $100,000 or more, if you are willing to look a little further back in time, then you can pick up a real bargain.
And though there have been some slight modifications over the years, the Dodge Viper of the 90s still boasts many of the same features found on the last model to roll off the production line.
2 Collectible - McLaren F1
Motoring aficionados, especially fans of motor racing, would love to get their hands on a real Formula One car and take it for a spin. The next best thing to a real Formula One car is the McLaren F1, a production supercar made by the racing team between 1993 and 1998. Only 100 models were ever built, and this exclusivity, combined with the car’s exquisite styling and cutting edge engineering, means that only the super-rich are going to be able to afford one of these for their collections.
But they are an investment that is almost guaranteed to only ever increase in value…
1 Collectible - Mercedes-Benz SL500
If you don’t have a spare $25 million to spend on a collectible 90s icon, then you could always pick up a bargain Mercedes-Benz for less than $5,000. Modern Mercedes-Benz cars may be considered the height of luxury, but the 1990s version of the SL500 fell out of fashion around the turn of the century – but its timeless style is bound to have its day again, and that $5,000 will soon seem like money well spent!
The 1990s SL500 was labeled a sports car, but was more like a sporty sedan, with plenty of room in the trunk and the cabin and a more sedate performance when it came to acceleration.
Sources - Car and Driver, Car Buzz, Motor 1, Top Gear, Auto Guide