Iconic cars of the 90s

woman in 90's car and fashion

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If you’re a child of the 1970s or even early 80s, you’ll probably have first hit the road some-time in the 90s.

Cast your mind back to the car you were driving at the time, and you might suddenly have a yearning to get back behind the wheel of a Ford Escort or a Vauxhall Nova – either with or without a raft of modifications.

If you fit into this category, you’re not alone, as there are now a small army of grown-up boy racers also set on reliving their younger years. As a result, some of those models could be about to shoot up in value, not least because so few of the iconic cars of the 90s remain in good condition.

In fact, some of the most popular and best-loved cars of the 90s are now harder to come by than the equivalent models from the 60s, 70s or 80s. That said, if you’re looking for 90s nostalgia, there are a few gems in pretty good nick which you can still get your hands on.

Here we look at some of the firm favourite reliable run-arounds of the 90s – as well as some of the pretty awesome sporty little numbers from that decade which have gone down in motoring history.

Ford Escort xr3i

The Ford Escort is getting old now, but remains a firm favourite of mine as it’s the car I learnt to drive in. As far as I recall, our first family Escort was cream in colour, and drove like a dream (even without any modifications) – although I admit I may be looking back through rose-tinted spectacles. The Ford Escort is, perhaps, now more of a good, cheap reliable hack than a smooth, sleek driving machine. But these cars remain super-cheap to buy and run, with prices starting from just a few hundred pounds.  That said, the advice from WhatCar? for those determined to buy a Ford Escort is to focus on buying one of the later models.

Vauxhall Nova

It’s official: the Vauxhall Nova is cool once again – and for those looking for old-school colours, you might still be able to find a model in a shade such as primrose yellow or tobacco brown. This little car built up a reputation for being affordable, comfortable and good to drive, and just so you know, it’s now the SR that stands out for being retro cool. Today, you can pick up a Nova from around £10,000, according to WhatCar?

Renault Clio

Utter the words “Papa?” and “Nicole” to people of a certain generation and they’ll tell you almost immediately about the Renault Clio – the little car with a smooth engine. The Clio was actually something of a coup for French car manufacturers, as traditionally, cars from across the Channel have not fared well here in the UK. This formidable ad campaign certainly helped this little model, become one of the top sellers of the decade. Prices start from £10,595, according to WhatCar? , and most versions are still affordable to run. Et voila.

Honda NSX

This 90s little beauty handled like a dream, which may come as no great surprise given that none less than the mighty Ayrton Senna tested it, gave his feedback, and had his say in the design. This reliable model, which acquired a well-earned reputation for awesome performance, is testament to Japanese manufacturing, and its legacy as “one of the best” lives on to this day. Unfortunately, back in the 90s, these small Japanese machines did fall victims to some terrible modifications by boy racers. Nonetheless, WhatCar? dubs the Honda NSX a “super-car bargain” with price tagsstarting from around £14,000.

BMW 3 Series

This compact executive set of wheels from the German manufacturer was the follow-on from the BMW New Class. The car is all about strong performance and fine handling – but also offers excellent economy. It is BMW’s best-selling-model, and over the years, has picked up a clutch of awards. Prices start from £23,185, according to WhatCar?

Dodge Viper

The Dodge Viper was less of a car and more of a concept. Manufactured by the Dodge division of Chrsyler, this powerful roadster with powered by a truck engine, making it something of a beast. Back in the 90s, this macho motor adorned the wall of many bedrooms and featured in a multitude of video games. Put simply, this retro car with its contemporary engineering was built to be put through its paces – and was most definitely one for the bad boys.

MacLaren F1

The MacLaren F1, unveiled in 1992, was, to put it simply, a supercar synonymous with speed. It was initially built as an all-enclosed road-going Formula Racer, and featured various high-tech materials of the day including a carbon-fibre chassis and carbon body panels. Aside from these materials, car nuts also went mad for the gull-wing doors, the sleek lines, and the all-new luggage compartment. Some insist that this is the best road car ever made, and one sold last year for over £3.5 million. Time to start saving if you want to get your hands on one of these beauties!

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