QotW: What would you have bought if you were rich in 1990?

Today, Japan’s Nikkei stock index surpassed 30,000 for the first time in over three decades. The last time it was that high was August 1990, right before the bursting of the asset bubble, an event that would slowly sap the fun out of Japanese auto companies by the end of the decade. But let’s imagine for a moment that you’re back in 1990, with the economic boom seemingly unending. Money is flowing like sake at a karaoke bar, and all fiscal responsibility is cast out the window.

What would you have bought if you were rich in 1990?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC would you take for a race around the world?

The best answer in truth would probably be either エーイダン‘s Toyota Hilux or Angelo‘s Mitsubishi Delica, due to their ruggedness, parts availability, and ability to blend into most local automotive landscapes. emuman and HotWheelsAndFriedChicken had similar concepts of pairing a capable truck with sports car, nominating a Mazda RX-8/Toyota FJ40 combo and a Toyota T100 Baja Truck/R35 GT-R combo, respectively. My_Fairlady_ZFG went with the sleeper option of a Camry All-Trac Wagon. Brett would have been a contender with his Mitsubishi MU-2, if the rules had not explicitly forbade air travel.

The rules didn’t explicitly forbid a crew that could land a moon capsule, however, so the winner this week is Negishi no Keibajo and his Hino 500:

No mention of crew size so I’m going for a team of 3 in a Hino 500 modded just shy of Dakar. Sleeper suite, 7KW genset powering a small shop& galley, drone recovery system on the roof for scouting the path a mile ahead: Driver, Navigator, Drone Scout Operator (& cook!). Everybody wrenches.


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25 Responses to QotW: What would you have bought if you were rich in 1990?

  1. Hachi_Rogue says:

    Put it all in Enron

  2. dankan says:

    If I’m rich in 1990, but knowing what I know now, I’m probably buying a garage in the country side and stuffing it full of Hakosuka and Kenmeri GT-Rs to keep safe until the world is ready for them.

    But if I’m spending on myself, in 1990, I think the ultimate bubble car would be a Honda Legend coupe, in Alpha trim. Loaded to the gills with features, and with an over-sized motor that created a substantial tax hit. The best way to show off wealth; not even caring how much I’m giving to the government in taxes. Now that’s F-U money.

  3. BlitzPig says:

    A whole bunch of CRX SIs. 5 to 10 of them, so that when I totally used one up I could just start over with another new one. Hence, I would still be driving one today.

    Honestly the 1988 on CRX SI was, and still would be the perfect car for me.
    My ’88 was my daily driver, my autocross car, and my track day weapon. It never missed a beat, got 40 mpg on trips. It was fun whenever you twisted the key, no matter what. Going to the grocery, or showing a 911my tail lights through the “Keyhole” at Mid-Ohio.

    How I miss that car…

  4. emuman says:

    Eunos Cosmo, high tech with sat nav and of course the 3-rotor 20B. No other car is a better symbol for the hybris of the bubble aera. Failing with pride!

  5. vic says:

    Dupes of every part available for a 1st generation (1972) Celica.

  6. エーイダン says:

    I’m Rich in 1990? OK, assuming I’m living in the same place as I am here and now…..

    I’d probably not be buying a Japanese car due to me being in well, Canada where the options from Japan would be a bit humdrum compared to the JDM options list. Like always I’d have a Toyota Hilux Camper conversion (1979-1981 vintage) Because I very much doubt my interest in diecast would be any different in this alternate realm. Second? Um….probably a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. The Asüna Sunfire would still be a few years away, the Skyline R32 wouldn’t be available. The Mitsubishi Evo I would still be another year away and like the Skyline, unavailable.

  7. Jim says:

    With my heart ruling my head, one of the Australian delivered BNR-32’s in red pearl metallic please! What’s that?…Oohh we are rich now are we! well then…we’ll take another in black pearl metallic and another in jet silver metallic as well..please and thankyou!!

  8. Tim says:

    Knowing what I know now, I’d pick up an NSX and a Carrera 4. Or maybe a 2000GT and a 250 GTO, since I know I’ll never have a chance to own either.

    But if you handed 6-year-old me a bajillion dollars and told me to go car shopping? We all know the famous “Justification for Higher Education” poster. I’d probably have tried to mimic it.

    Actually, now that I look at the poster again, it kinda seems like I could almost afford the entire garage these days. It’d certainly be cheaper than an NSX and 964. Those 80s models seem to have plummeted in price.

  9. potato says:

    I’ll just buy the most expensive car offered back in those times and not worry about price appreciation etc. Because obviously for the most expensive car in the world, quantity will be limited and thus it’s value and demand will just go up over time. But rich people don’t need to think about it.

    And if i were to buy a R32 GT-R today, i will just spend the money required to acquire them. No need to think about how much cheaper it’d be if i bought 1 30 years ago when i probably didn’t want it back then.

  10. Nigel says:

    A container of R30’s and two containers of spares.

    • potato says:

      why not just buy up Nissan and force them to make R30’s for another 30 years even if you aren’t allow to sell them in Europe?

  11. MikeRL411 says:

    The contents of the Compton CA warehouse before Ghosn ordered them dumped in to the trash heap. I would then “found” the “Yokohama Tin” company [ a play on Detroit Iron] and make a second fortune as the only supplier of genuine factory parts for older Datsn and Nissan vehicles.

  12. Chris says:

    I would order an Eunos Roadster with all the nice option parts that were available and soak up the atmosphere of the Eunos showroom. The best thing would be an extended road trip through Japan with a new Delica or Bongo. It’s about the experience. Imagine waking up early in the roof tent at Lake Ashi and have some Tamagoyaki and green tea.

  13. Scotty G says:

    As many Toyota 2000GTs and Sports 800s as I could afford. And, as many 1971 E20 two-door wagons as I could find, my beloved first car, bought in 1980.

  14. Lee L says:

    To figure this out I’m going to imagine myself at my current age in 1990, meaning I would have been born in 1957. My love of Japanese classic cars came from being around my grandfather’s S130 in the 90s when I was a kid.

    If I shift that back 30 years and imagine that cool Japanese cars would have been as readily available in the mid-late 60s then I would have probably fallen in love with cars like the Toyota Sports 800, the first Fairlady Z and the hakosuka (though the last 2 weren’t out until 1969). I imagine if I were a millionaire in 1990 I would probably want to own clean examples of these cars that I loved, as well as something new like an R32 GTR, a Z32, or an upcoming MK4 Supra.

    If I bought those cars in 1990 and kept them I would probably be pretty happy right now. If I were smart enough to buy a 2000 GT I’d probably be very happy!

  15. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    I’m going with Brett from the previous QoTW. You didn’t specify cars only this time! I would go for the1987 (last year model) Mitsubishi MU-2 Solitaire (that’s the short body hot-rod). I never got to fly that model but my boss at the time did. I was jealous. They were even used by the JASDF, JGSDF & USAF Weapons Controller School. Fast, impressive but really unforgiving to the point of uninsurable to even the not so novice (read: it killed a few people).

  16. Ellis says:

    If I’ve just made a killing on the Nikkei equivalent of the Gamestonk madness I’m going brand new from the dealership…

    First stop, Mazda. A 20B JC Cosmo will make a fine daily (In white naturally, it is a Cosmo after all). I’ll also need something for when the sun is shining….I could opt for an MX-5 but that won’t really let other people know how rich I am now…so instead I’ll go with a S5 FC RX7 Convertible in Blaze Red. Because red ones go faster.

    I also need something extra special for those early morning Sunday blasts… Next stop Honda to get myself an NSX in Sebring Silver Metallic. (I’m pretty sure they started production in 90 but released them as MY91 so it counts…)

    Finally for those camping trips off in the mountains I need something that can go off road….so off to the Toyota dealership. I could go for an 80 Series Landcruiser but there’s something about the J60 that just sits right with me…so I’ll go with one of those in Desert Beige.

    And an NSR250R Rothmans for the lulz, as the kids say.

    I better start working on that time machine…

  17. Samuel says:

    I would buy a new Honda NSX and spec it out with some new performance parts to boost hp, grippier tires and maybe a new aero package to turn it into a track-day tool.

  18. My_Fairlady_ZFG says:

    I’d buy a whole bunch of RB26’s and 2J’s and RB30’s. Just to have them. And then sell them now.
    I’d buy 2 RX-7 FD3S’s. One for now and one for later. And extra rotaries for when they eat the apex seals because I don’t know how to work on rotaries. Yet.
    I’d buy a whole slew of AE86’s and 240sx’s and then put them in a climate controlled warehouse to protect them from the driftbois (and gurls).
    I’d buy a bunch of 240Z’s and put them in that same warehouse to keep people from swapping small blocks into them.
    I’d buy an RX-3 because I think they’re cool.
    I’d buy 2 Landcruisers because they’re awesome.
    I’d buy a Megacruiser because I’m rich and it’s the 90’s. It’ll be flat black and put AMG G wagons to shame.
    I’d buy a Mk4 Supra because let’s be honest, I just would.
    I’d buy a Hakosuka (2 door and 4 door) and a Kenmeri GT-R because they’re such cool cars.
    I’d buy a Corona mk2 for my Dad, because he loves them.
    I’d buy a 1977 fastback Celica for my Mom, because I think she’d love that.
    I’d import all the Civic type R’s and sell them here in America. Because reasons.
    I’d import an R34 4-door skyline and GT-R swap it because screw the rules I have money.
    I’d probably buy some other stuff like a nice house and stuff and do some traveling too, but yeah. That’s what I’d buy

  19. F31Roger says:

    What would I buy “knowing what I know now…” it’s almost a what’s of of Japanese cars list.

    Speaking as my 1990 self, I remember an older guy named Tino had an older an 86 Prelude on spoke wheels, lowered and a booming system. On the rear windshield was “Asian Persuasian”.

    I thought it was the coolest car. Obviously that was the Euro rider era.

    I would have made a Euro low rider with an EF hatch.

  20. Al Gottlieb says:

    I would bought a brand spanking new 1990 Mercedes 300SL with manual transmission.
    I actually bought a 1990 300SL in 2018 (automatic unfortunately) that was a beautiful one owner (from wife of SoCal Mercedes dealer) with only 25,000 miles pampered well serviced cream puff.
    It’s a knock down gorgeous car which complements my 1967 and 1968 Datsun 1600 roadsters, 2006 Mercedes E320CDI for wife, my daily driver 2000 Subaru Forester which also serves as my towed vehicle behind my 2005 American Eagle 40 foot diesel pusher motorhome.
    Can’t have too many choices to enjoy our SoCal weather.

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