12 of the Coolest Cars of the 1980s

By Aaron Stone

The 1990s were an amazing decade for the automotive industry. Automakers brought innovative new technologies, cutting-edge designs, and world-class performance to the mass market. In a relatively short span, iconic cars emerged that would define 1990s car culture for generations to come. Let’s take a nostalgic ride through 10 of the coolest cars that the 1990s gave the world.

Lamborghini Diablo (1990) 

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The Lamborghini Diablo set the automotive world ablaze when it was unveiled in 1990. Here was an exotic Italian supercar built for blistering speed – it could hit over 200mph, making it the fastest production car in the world at that time. Its menacing looks lived up to its name, with angular styling and scissor doors that looked like they belonged on a stealth fighter. Under the hood, the Diablo packed a monstrous 5.7-liter V12 pumping out 492 horsepower. For many, the Diablo embodied all that we love about Lamborghinis – outrageous styling, massive power, rare exclusivity, and stunning performance.

Mazda RX-7 (1993) 

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When the third-generation Mazda RX-7 debuted in 1993, it showcased the best and most refined execution of Mazda’s revolutionary rotary engine. In an era increasingly dominated by heavier piston engines, the RX-7 stayed true to its roots – a lightweight and nimble sports car powered by the high-revving rotary. Producing up to 276 horsepower from just 1.3 liters, the twin-turbo FD3S RX-7 had world-class handling and became the defining Japanese sports car of the decade. It was so good, it even starred in The Fast and The Furious.

Acura NSX (1991)

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The original NSX shook up the supercar world when it was introduced in 1991. With F1 legend Ayrton Senna consulting on its development, the NSX had razor-sharp handling and exotic car performance but was reliable enough to be an everyday driver. Its high-revving 270hp V6 featured advanced Variable Valve Timing tech that made exotic car maintenance a thing of the past. The NSX showed the world that supercars no longer needed to be finicky or expensive to own. It stood toe-to-toe with Ferraris that cost three times as much and beat them.

Toyota Supra Turbo (1993)

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The fourth-generation Toyota Supra Turbo took the raw power of its famous 2JZ twin-turbo inline-6 engine from the racetrack to the streets when it debuted in 1993. Packing 320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft torque out of 3 liters, its engine produced more power per liter than anything else at the time. And did we mention the twin turbos? This gave the Supra Turbo world-class thrust that could hang with far more expensive sports cars. The Mark IV Supra Turbo became the definitive Japanese sports car of the 1990s and a tuner favorite.

Mazda Miata (1990)

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If the Supra Turbo embodied raw power, the MX-5 Miata captured the pure driving joy of lightweight two-seat British roadsters of the 1960s for a new generation. As fun to drive as it was affordable, the pop-up headlights and smiling grille on the first Miata made the world fall in love. At just over 2,000 pounds with a 116hp engine, it delivered razor-sharp handling, near-perfect balance and a drop-top for weekend cruising. The Miata revived the small roadster and proved modest sports cars still had a place in a world of bloated luxury cars.

Dodge Viper RT/10 (1992) 

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When Chrysler wanted a modern iconic halo car, they told Dodge to stuff a massive V10 truck engine into a lightweight roadster body. The result was the outlandish Dodge Viper – part hot rod, part Le Mans racer, all attitude. Making 400hp and 465 lb-ft torque, there were no nannies – no traction control or ABS here. Just huge power in a street-legal cage. It was an instant poster hero for car-crazy youth and showed old-school American muscle still had a place in the world.

Ford Explorer (1991) 

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One of the most influential vehicles of the decade wasn’t a sports car – it was an SUV. Combining the passenger comforts of a family wagon with the rugged utility of a truck, Ford struck gold with the Explorer. It quickly became America’s best-selling SUV and defined the modern non-truck based SUV blueprint that still dominates today. Before the Explorer, SUVs conjured images of expedition vehicles or armored personnel carriers. After it, SUVs could be the family cruiser taking the kids to school.

BMW M3 E36 (1995)

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BMW perfected the sports sedan formula in 1995 when its iconic M3 performance badge was applied to the versatile and handsome E36 3-Series coupe body style. The resulting M3 E36 blended razor-sharp handling, a buttery smooth straight-six putting out 282hp, functional interior appointments, and timeless styling cues. Versatile enough to drive comfortably on long road trips yet track-capable right off the dealer floor, the E36 M3 became the ultimate jack-of-all-trades performance car package of the 1990s.

Porsche Boxster (1997) 

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By the mid-90s, Porsche’s once-proud sports car lineage needed revival. With the mid-engine two-seat Boxster, Porsche nailed the formula for the modern roadster. The Boxster brought classic Porsche style, enviable handling, and six-cylinder power at an attainable price. It saved Porsche from obscurity, ignited sales, and affirmed that the sports car still had bright days ahead. Porsche sold nearly a quarter million Boxsters in the 90s, introducing the brand to a new generation.

McLaren F1 (1992) 

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The 1990s culminated with what many consider the definitive supercar – the McLaren F1. Conceived with advice from racing legends, the F1 threw out the supercar playbook. Featuring an insane 627 horsepower V12, carbon fiber construction, driver-centric cockpit, and zero extraneous distractions from driving, designers and Gordon Murray created the ultimate distillation of speed. For the better part of a decade it was the world’s fastest production car at 240mph despite no electronic aids. Just raw talent, passion, and innovation without compromise. The F1 showed what was possible when designers had one single-minded goal – to create the best driving machine the world had ever seen. The 1990s bred iconic cars across segments that have transcended generations. These pivotal automobiles made huge strides in technology, performance, and iconic styling that still inform car culture today. We all have our favorites, but no one can deny the incredible vehicles born in this vibrant decade. What’s your favorite 90s icon? Let us know!

10 Best Cars of the 60s

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Join us as we take a nostalgic ride through the streets of the ’60s and explore the unforgettable cars that still captivate enthusiasts and collectors today. These timeless classics continue to evoke the spirit of an era when every drive was an adventure, and every car was a symbol of style, freedom, and innovation. 10 Best Cars of the 60s

Exploring the 10 Most Iconic Cars in Automotive History

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From the revolutionary Model T to the sleek lines of the Aston Martin DB5, these cars not only left tire marks on the asphalt but also etched their names into the collective memory of car lovers worldwide. Welcome to a celebration of automotive artistry and the unforgettable vehicles that continue to ignite our fascination and admiration. 10 Most Iconic Cars in Automotive History

Classic Cars That Outclass Today’s Tiresome Trends

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The allure of classic cars transcends time and geography, captivating enthusiasts worldwide. These automotive gems serve as a testament to the ingenuity and vision of their creators, embodying the pinnacle of design and engineering from bygone eras. Their sleek lines, powerful engines, and rich histories have cemented their place in automotive folklore, making them objects of desire and admiration. Classic Cars That Outclass Today’s Tiresome Trends

10 Cars That Divided Boomers’ Opinions

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At the heart of this generational divide are ten specific car models challenging established norms, ranging from compact electric vehicles to groundbreaking hybrids. These automobiles have become focal points for heated discussions among Baby Boomers, sparking debates on performance, design, and practicality. 10 Cars That Divided Boomers’ Opinions

Stunning Cars That Rely on Looks Alone!

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While some cars are designed to push the boundaries of speed and power, others are crafted to be visual masterpieces. But what happens when aesthetics take precedence over performance? Let’s explore specific cars that might be more about the show than the go. Stunning Cars That Rely on Looks Alone

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