You Can Still Buy These Great 90s Sports Cars In Singapore Today
The 90s were defined by a return to a more minimalist lifestyle, spearheaded by fashion - capri pants, acid-wash jeans and tube tops were toned down apparels compared to printed blouses, ankle boots and polka dotted dresses made popular a decade ago. We’d argue that this trend trickled down to car designs - focus on curves and need for speed made 90s sports cars look and feel great, even more so in this era where brands seemingly place full-fledged automation as the main objective.
Perhaps now is the time where cravings for a more analog feel are amplified, so much so that Porsche reminded us that there are still side-mounted air intakes behind the headrests of a 718 Spyder RS, and BMW keen to assure enthusiasts that they can buy a new M2 with a manual transmission.
Let’s remind ourselves the first web browser was invented in 1990, and text messages arrived a couple of years later. The first Playstation was launched in 1994, and the first batch of DVDs found homes in 1996. Some will argue that it’s this mishmash of analog and tech that made the 90s appealing, but for sure this “confusion” made car manufacturers revisit rulebooks to produce some of the coolest sports cars we’ve ever seen.
Porsche Boxster (first-generation)
Cayennes and Macans might have boosted Porsche’s sales figures the past decade, but they had the first-gen Boxster to thank given that it single handedly resurrected a brand on the brink of bankruptcy. More fact finding resulted in praises for Mazda and the NA MX-5 in particular, as its popularity (and foresight) nudged Porsche engineers and designers to rethink production timelines to manufacture a fun, mid-engined model. It’s the Boxster’s 30th anniversary this year, and boy did it thrive when faced with adversity.
Toyota MR2 (second-generation)
While initials of the MR2 often referred to its dynamic configuration (mid-engined, rear-wheel drive), it stood for “Midship Runabout 2-seater” - an appropriate name for a car company known for mainstream offerings, but more recently proved that they can also create cracking sports cars. If we could turn back time, Toyota in the 90s meant serious business - the Supra turbo, Celica GT-Four homologation special and Caldina GT-T wagon were far from anaemic. And then we have the 2nd-gen MR2, with a production run that spanned a decade. You might have chosen it on Gran Turismo on Playstation over the Mitsubishi FTO in 1997 - now’s your chance to relive this memory in reality.
Honda CR-X (third-generation)
If you’re a millennial (like me), there’s a chance for you to be mesmerised by a lime green Honda CR-X passing through, while you prepare to alight from the school bus. It looked way ahead of its time, even though it bears the soul of an EG Honda Civic. Squint and the front end might even draw some resemblance to the Alpine A110. In some markets, the 3rd-gen CR-X was known as the del Sol, with its targa top design. This example might have undergone an extensive body conversion, but underpinnings remain well intact. It’s a manual too, so you can wring its neck and watch the rev counter needle swing with old school, naturally aspirated VTEC fury.
Mercedes-Benz SL (R129)
Alright, we’re cutting corners here because the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL was launched in 1989. But we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt - its production ran the entire decade, throughout the 90s, only to be replaced by the R230 successor in 2001. That’s a feat worth celebrating, and reasons to justify its longevity are nothing short of breathtaking. It had an automatic roll bar that deployed in 0.3 seconds in the event of an overturn. Perhaps that paved the way for SL engineers to let their hair down on the performance department, with the range-topping, V12-powered SL 73 AMG inspiring enough to power the Pagani Zonda. This 300SL-24V’s cylinder count stops at half a dozen, but it’s no less appealing for sure.
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