3 February 2014

Forgotten 90s Greats

The 1990s had a fair amount going for it, in terms of both pop culture and automobiles. And while you can argue the merits of Nirvana and Green Day over Duran Duran and White Snake all day, nearly every car on this list is a vast improvement over its 1980s counterpart. Here are five of our favorite forgotten 1990s cars:

  1. 1996-99 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi: GM’s H-body platform made for a more than competent front-wheel-drive full-size sedan. It took Pontiac to actually make it a driver’s car. The marketing slogan “We build excitement” was actually true in the case of the Bonneville SSEi, one of the few American sedans to sport a factory supercharger. Although both the SSE and SSEi were available with an Eaton supercharger that raised the output of the GM 3.8-liter V-6 to a massive 240hp, the latter had all of the options and trim. While the Ford Taurus SHO is remembered by nearly everyone, the Bonneville SSEi has sadly been purged from the puny ’90s vintage 1GB hard drives of all but the biggest fans of the era. In theory, less than five grand buys a great one, although we have to confess, our cursory search revealed no decent examples. 
  2. 1990-95 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible: Oldsmobile got a convertible version of the W-body, and it was somewhat rare with only around 25,000 built. And while front-wheel-drive and its inherent understeer aren’t exactly the first choice of many enthusiastic drivers, the Cutlass Supreme convertible did come with a high-output version of GM’s Quad Four and double overhead cam 3.4-liter V-6, and it was available for two years with a very rare Getrag five-speed manual transmission. Inexpensive four-seater American convertibles with decent performance are thin on the ground at this price point. Around five grand for a good one; a bit more for one with a manual transmission.
  3. 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra R SVT: The Cobra R may have been the ultimate Fox Body Mustang: It was a track day special with stiffer suspension, and power steering, A/C and rear seat were deleted to save weight. It sported about 30 more horsepower than the standard five-liter GT and was capable of near-13-second quarter-mile times out of the box. Sadly, it has been left in the dust by more recent Shelby and Boss 302s. Only the most dedicated Mustang fans remember the ’93 Cobra R, and for now, they’re a bargain.
  4. 1992-94 Porsche 968: Porsche devotees have only grudgingly accepted the concept of water cooling. Engines in the front are for those who simply must have a Cayenne or a Panamera. Sadly, this means that truly great sports cars and GTs like the 944 and 928 don’t get much love. Perhaps the saddest case of this prejudice is the 968. Barely remembered by anyone, it combined much of what was great about the 944 and the 928, and was likely the best front-engine sports car that Porsche produced. Built both in coupe and convertible form, these cars are rare and not particularly expensive — at least for now. At some point, the world is bound to catch on. With a small rear seat and the ability to carry more than a toothbrush, between this and a used Boxster, we think there’s no contest for about the same money.
  5. 1990-1999 Mitsubishi 3000 GT VR4: That this car wound up on a “forgotten” list is painful in and of itself. Perhaps it’s more a function of Mitsubishi’s status in the U.S. market than a commentary on the inherent goodness and cool factor of this car. Twin turbo with all-wheel-drive and four wheel steering with nearly 300hp, it’s essentially a well-built V-6 F-body Camaro or Firebird with all-weather capability. If you can’t deal with the stigma of driving a Japanese nameplate, the same car was sold in the U.S. as the Dodge Stealth.

14 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Elkosteve Elko, NV February 5, 2014 at 13:13
    I would have added the 94-96 Buick Roadmaster to this list. The Impala SS got all the hype (and the Caprice to a certain extent) but the RoadMaster is a great combination of power (260hp,330torque), and luxury. The last of the big RWD GM sedans/wagons.
  • 2
    Jim clinton, ma February 5, 2014 at 12:37
    What about a 1993 Caddy Allante? Great auto but forgotten by most everyone.
  • 3
    Mike IL March 13, 2014 at 14:29
    What about the 1st Gen Ford F-150 SVT Lightning? From 1993-1995 only 11,563 made.
  • 4
    russ g philly March 23, 2014 at 09:51
    2002 Taurus / Sable with aluminum 24v dohc engine is a better car than either Bonneville or cutlass
  • 5
    Jay Tx May 24, 2014 at 02:27
    Grossly misinformed article about the Cutlass convertible. The Cutlass convertible was NEVER offered with a manual transmission. The convertible also never received the Quad 4. Only the 1993-94 3.4 DOHC cars were 4 seaters. I'm sure this will bring out all the low I.Q. people that will say their daddy's uncle's boss's girlfriend's monkey had a 4 cylinder 5 speed Cutlass convertible with rear buckets but that happens...But I've done research on these cars for many years.
  • 6
    Jay Tx May 25, 2014 at 00:42
    Grossly misinformed article on the Cutlass convertible. They were never offered with a 5 speed nor a Quad 4. They were only 4 seaters for 2 years (1993 and 1994) and that was only offered with the 3.4 DOHC.
  • 7
    Justin Alberta November 23, 2014 at 01:30
    You are all stupid how are any of these forgotten mustang are one of the most modded cars of all time and ask any one that knows something about cars knows 3000gt I know at least 6 people in red deer with one this is the worst forgotten car list out there
  • 8
    Alex W. Wisconsin April 29, 2015 at 19:38
    I think the Bonneville SSEI definitely deserves to be on this list, this car came with so many amazing features I have a 95 SSE the non supercharged bonnie and its still a magnificent car I'm actually looking for an SSEI in the future as a summer/ classic they may not be incredibly popular like a firebird but one things for certain these cars kick ass and are one of my all time favorites
  • 9
    Ralph BC September 15, 2015 at 16:41
    Again more stupid then the last stupid !! Read the angel wright up on line about the Oldsmobile Cutlas Supreme ..The real story
  • 10
    Edward Lisicki Las Vegas February 10, 2016 at 18:53
    2 cars that should on top of this list 87 - 93 Allante and the 89-91 Chrysler TC by Maserati They are unique 2 seater sports cars.
  • 11
    Don Gallatin, Tn February 10, 2016 at 19:10
    Once again, no love for the third generation Camaros. One of the best looking cars made (up until 1992) and a performer!
  • 12
    tom mirande langhorne, pa February 10, 2016 at 19:17
    had 2 ssei's the heads up display was way ahead of its time you never had to take your eyes off the road very relaxing & exhilrating to drive
  • 13
    Dan OH February 11, 2016 at 08:24
    ...content of the article aside, it cracks me up how the people on here talking about how stupid the people are that wrote this article, yet they can't event put together a coherent sentence and spell anything correctly.
  • 14
    Mike IN December 18, 2016 at 14:02
    Well I have owned several 94 &95 Cutlass Supreme Convertibles from the 3.4 & the 3.1, Like the best 3.4 I own 2 at the present time, & have one for sale the 3.1 red/white/white, & not for sale is My Pride a 3.4 & rare color, light Cloisonne Blue Metallic, White top & interior & quad seats, owned for over 10 years just over 100,k original paint,top & interior & shines like the day I purchased it. Like now when I'm out for a drive, Gets a lot of thumb up, love the car shows, what years did they make this, P.S. over all them I've owned I like the 94's the best !

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