2 October 2015

Looking for a modern classic? Here are cars you can buy now

25 years ago, these cars were just rolling of showroom floors for their excited new owners. Now they are reaching the quarter-century mark and becoming more collectible every day. A quick look on eBay this morning delivered a fun lineup of cars that helped define the class of 1990.

Nissan 300ZX

New in 1989, this generation of the Nissan Z-car was an instant hit and is now an icon of its day. We think the styling is timeless and with 300 horsepower, these twin-turbos were rockets on par with the 8-cylinder Ferraris of the time. Hard to find in original condition, we prefer these in unadulterated form and these three listings meet the bill:

Bentley Turbo R

If the horsepower rating of the regular Bentley and Rolls-Royce sedans at the was officially “adequate,” the Turbo R was certainly “more than adequate.” This performance variant helped to differentiate the Bentley brand at a time that the two marques were brand-engineering twins. Immensely fast and expensive, dare we say these are now just used cars? We highly recommend a solid pre-purchase inspection and some savings for what are likely to be very high running costs. For a brave new owner, this could be quite a ride.

Chevrolet 454 SS Pickup

Truck fans also had something to celebrate in the form of the special-edition 454 SS based on the regular cab short bed C1500. Available only in black with red velour interior, Chevrolet sold approximately 17,000 of these over three years. 230 horsepower doesn’t sound like much these days, but 385 ft-lb of torque is nothing to sneeze at. A good supply of rear tires might not be a bad thing to keep in the garage.

Ford Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible

1990 was a good year for the Mustang but, frankly, the lighter-weight and less tacky LX 5.0 always floated our boats a bit more than the overwrought GT of the time. Why so many of these convertibles sported white tops and leather is beyond us now. Then again, while driving top down enjoying the rumble of the legendary 5.0 V-8, you don’t have to look at the seats.

BMW 325i Convertible

The 1980s were just about over but young upwardly-mobile professionals weren’t. Their car of choice was the BMW 325i and car enthusiasts of the time wouldn’t have argued too much about that decision. How about a nice clean 5-speed convertible to blow back your razor-cut hair and raise the collar of your polo shirt?

Mercedes-Benz 300TE

While the aforementioned BMW was the choice of yuppies, nothing whispered “old money” more than a Mercedes-Benz wagon. The 124-chassis cars were expensive heirloom-quality cars at a time that Lexus and Infinity were redefining the luxury class and changing customer expectations about value. This listing for a low-mileage and extraordinarily clean wagon had us shaking our heads in disbelief. Family truckster, indeed.

Buick Reatta Convertible

The Reatta coupe never quite became the halo car Buick managers intended, and sales of around 22,000 over four model years were a fraction of what they predicted. Though production was delayed for a couple of years, we think the convertible version was the one to have. 2,132 were sold in 1990 (out of a total of only 2,437 over two model years before the car got the axe during a truncated 1991 model run).

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Phil Edwards 18013 October 8, 2015 at 12:33

Join the Discussion