In contrast to the crazy 80s, the 90s were a time of reflection, as the prosperity accumulated during the previous decade gave way to financial instability and the consolidation of car brands. And yet, the 1990s, specifically the early years, were a time when the most ambitious engineering projects came to market, although there was not much left to sell.
These are the most amazing cars of the era that have yet to reach their full potential in the second-hand car market, and those that can be found in museum collections, rather than just garages. collectors.
Honda NSX-R (1992)
If there’s one fugu automotive equivalent, that’s all. The first generation Honda NSX, already an aluminum supercar with central body and central engine built between 1990 and 2005, was taken to a whole new level in its Type R shape. The key ingredients were not auspiciously different from the NSX standard, but its changes are delicate and very detailed to the extreme. Honda engineers designed balanced, weighted pistons, connecting rods and connecting rods for their naturally aspirated, high-speed 3-liter V6 engine, which were then hand-assembled as if it were a precision musical instrument. .
It was combined with what many consider the best manual transmission of all time (topped by a titanium teardrop-shaped gear knob) and a lightweight, sharp chassis. While all of this may seem pretty nerdy, to connoisseurs, the NSX-R is the pinnacle of precision engineering and will almost certainly end up being a museum piece in the future.
BMW 8 Series (E31) (1991)
BMW might seem to be the leader in premium cars in the global market today, but in the 1990s it was obsessed with looking for Mercedes-Benz in quality, performance and, above all for bean counters, market share. For the most part, BMW sedans and small coupes had the equivalents of Mercedes, but it was the big coupe market that was willing to break what they tried to do with it, the E31 8 series.
This was a car full of technology, which introduced things like adaptive suspension, traction control and a next-generation wiring system that laid the groundwork for the kind of complex electronics we expect in every car today. It also looked like the part, with long lines marked by a massive pillarless opening as the front and rear windows were lowered.
The capture? It wasn’t particularly fast, pleasant to drive, or desirable for the time, but with the lack of context today, only its sleek body and its silky V8 or V12 engine remain.
Maserati 3200GT (1998)
When you think of Maserati, associations with glamor and pedigree racing probably come to mind, but there are few names in the business that have had so many ups and downs when it comes to the cars they build or their financial stability. Every few decades or so, the famous Modena brand finds its feet and produces something impressive, and its post-Biturbo era, under the new management of Ferrari, produced this one, the 3200GT.
Designed by the iconic Italian master of car design Giorgio Giugiaro, powered by a 3.2-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine and with a truly impressive interior, the 3200GT pushed the brand back to importance after a period of positioning as a BMW rival, rather than the supercar manufacturer it is known mainly as today.
Driving the 3200GT was a bit hard on the edges, and today is one High performance GT which has yet to be recognized in the mainstream. But its exotic look and manly engine will no doubt find the recognition it deserves over time.
Subaru Impreza WRX STI 22B (1998)
The 1990s introduced a wide variety of coupes for a variety of reasons, but in the case of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI 22B it all had to do with the rally. Homologation, the rules that in motor sports state that a race car must be based on a road version, created some of the most fantastic cars in all sectors of the performance car market and, in this case, the 22B was no different, with Subaru wanting a shorter car. wheelbase and wider track for your World Rally Championship contender.
What Subaru didn’t have to do was hire one of the most famous car designers in the industry to run it so fantastically well. Peter Stevens, a British car designer who also has a little-known supercar named McLaren F1 on his resume, was the man behind it, giving the 22B bottle arches a perfectly proportioned rear wing and an aggressive stance that established the foundations for Subaru Design for the next two decades.
The 22B also homologated a custom-made 2.2-liter engine, creating a highly successful rally car and one of the most desirable road Subarus ever produced.
Jaguar XJ220 (1992)
The story of the Jaguar XJ220 was complicated. It was intended to incorporate a bespoke V12 engine, four-wheel drive and new chassis technology that would make a Ferrari F40 look old in comparison. Needless to say, none of this happened. But while the chassis was made of steel tube and the engine was derived from a meter, the XJ220 achieved one of its first goals by briefly keeping the world’s fastest car at 213 mph, until once again the McLaren F1 showed it all.
One thing he has not dated, however, is his pure and almost impossibly elegant style. Perhaps their proportions didn’t seem capable of producing such an impressive shape, but the short wheelbase and huge overhangs proved to matter, as their sliding headlight covers, plate-style wheels, and derailleur enclosures ‘backlighting with blinds seem as sharp as ever. did. And unlike the F1, F40 and early Diablos, today an XJ220 will make you roll back as much as a modern supercar, not a multiple of ten.