QotW: What car of the Nineties will be the next sought-after classic?

11_Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 Spyder

With cars like the R32 Skyline GT-R increasing in price, other Bubble Era sleds are sure to follow suit. Though the Nineties are not quite nostalgic, we can already predict what might be the next sought-after rarities (a 320hp, AWD, 6-speed folding hardtop convertible that cost $65,000 in 1995, perhaps?). There’s even an upcoming show specializing in such machines,

What car of the Nineties will be the next sought-after classic?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What JNC design has aged better with time?” 

183-BH7425_Toyota Cressida MX73

We had many enjoyable answers this week, from the likes of DJ Steeko, who, like many, said “all of them” but said it most eloquently. Amazingly, the top two contenders both chose the Cressida, and while the impassioned words of S. Ichiban did move us, in the end we had to give it to OkieRA29, who got bonus points for humor:

Hands down for me it is the Cressida/cresta/chaser/mark II body style. From the park bench bumpers to the gentle slope of the rear window it is pure 80s goodness. At stock height it looks ungainly and grandma-esque. With a slight rake it turns downright sinister. Like somebody juiced grandma’s oatmeal and now she is out for blood. The interiors have aged well and have just enough gizmos to be cute, but not tacky. Unfortunately for most of the country, the Cressida has just slipped away into rust and rest. The few that are left are used and abused. You left coasters have it good.


Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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28 Responses to QotW: What car of the Nineties will be the next sought-after classic?

  1. Byron Chiu says:

    Two-door barbie-buggies like the RAV-4, Amigo, Sidekick, X-90 (lol), Sportage, and Vehicross…all the off-road truck qualities combined with light body, short-wheelbase, quirky tops, and rowdy 90’s colorways with solo-jazz vinyls.

  2. Chris says:

    1gen DSM’s; Exlipse GSX / Talon TSI AWD only because there were many made, so you can recognize the car, but enough that they were all horribly modified to some extent, there are very very few unmolested 1g DSM’s that are in mint original condition with low mileage. Followed by the 3000GT VR4, again most were bought, bagged and tossed in the trash, or rolled into the ditch.

  3. Evan Opgenorth says:

    My vote is for the humble Honda Beat!

    The Beat has all the charm, quirks, design hubris, and most importantly, a special story that the “next collectible from the 90s” should have. Rear-drive Hondas are special by default, but this car didn’t get attention state-side because, well, it never made it to the states! Even though the Beat is not rare by virtue of production numbers or sought after because of it’s legendary power, I think it’s important to mention that out of the plurality of designs the Honda of today could have given the green light, Honda’s top brass decided to make second incarnation RWD, Mid-engined, convertible Kei car with the S660, a path blazed boldly by the Beat. Perhaps Honda settled on the S660 because the Beat is the last car with which Soichiro Honda had given his seal of approval: a slightly off-kilter (no turbocharger, zebra cloth seats), affordable sports car for the masses. Even if the Beat doesn’t become the next nostalgic car worth collecting, I hope the Beat can have a bit of a rebirth here after it becomes importable to the states in 2016.

  4. automagic says:

    Integra Type R? Although it was made until 2001. Still pretty hard to find an unmolested one these days.

  5. Ant says:

    Echoing Byron above, I have a sneaking suspicion the first-gen RAV-4 will become sought-after, in two-door form particularly.

    It was one of a handful of vehicles that can be considered the genesis of the modern crossover phenomenon. While that might be seen as a bad thing by some, it undoubtedly nailed the formula before it became popular/fashionable.

    The styling also looks unique today, it’s mechanically solid so people won’t think twice about driving them around rather than storing them away, and the fact most were used as family workhorses has thinned numbers to a suitable degree that genuinely nice examples will soon be few and far between.

    In more conventional terms? A totally clean, unmolested EG-body Civic.

  6. Tom Westmacott says:

    Technical gimmicks excite new-car journalists, novelty giving them the material to spin a web of hype around each “revolutionary” new car that you’ve “just gotta read about”. However in the more considered judgment of history it is the basics that count; a soaring, endlessly responsive motor, a poised agility that melds the tyres’ slip angle to your synapses, and a drop-dead gorgeous body that your eyes can’t resist one last longing look at while walking away, engine ticking.

    These are the things that hook the car enthusiast, that make the owner shrug and open their wallet wide when presented with yet another four-figure garage bill, sure that it’s worth it for another hit of that sublime moment on the limit.

    And these are the things that Mazda’s third and final RX-7 has in abundance; dropping a compact, sophisticated twin-turbocharged rotary into a straightforward but painstakingly honed and lightweighted front engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis resulted in a very special car, not just a performance car but a true sports car too.

    Next year will be the twenty-fifth since the FD3S hit the streets of Japan, yet new body kits and parts are still being developed, and its pretty face still stars at the Tokyo Auto Salon, a generation later. As the ultimate rotary sports car and the lightest and prettiest of the bubble generation heroes, the truth is that it is already sought-after, and is only becoming more so as time goes on.

  7. ahja says:

    Supras, NSXs, RX7s, ITRs are all already sought after and valuable cars and all of them are appreciating noticeably. 300ZXs continue to be vastly cheaper than any of those and typically in much worse condition. I don’t see how or why that would change. Ditto VR4s. They are even more overlooked than 300ZXs. The 240SXs are not especially valuable, nor have they really appreciated at this point, although there are a lot of them that are very nicely done in good condition and SR swaps, especially the S14s. They are a timelessly attractive car, but their time might be more in the range of 5-10 years than the “next”.

    SW20s have depreciated a lot, and a lot have been blown up. In the meantime, there have always been some very nice ones kept around. With Miata-hype at all time highs, some of that attention may turn to Toyota’s rarer mid-engine sportscar; a more elite car by just about every metric. Plus pretty sexy, few would disagree.

  8. Jova says:

    I think and nobody mentions it. Is the Lancer Evo 1/2/3

    I piece of history in Mitsubishi and Rally

  9. Satori says:

    Most 90’s makes/models surviving the trends of today’s definition of “Modifiying,” will end up being more valuable as they get destroyed dragging undercarriages, getting in accidents from lack of visibility due to decals, destroyed body panels, etc.., because illest.

    I believe this method is called, “Destroy Untill Rare,” which will drive prices for clean examples as that survive.

  10. Nigel says:

    Toyota UCF 20 aka LS 400.

  11. Banpei says:

    No doubt that the Eunos (Mazda) Cosmo JC will be one of the most sought after 90s classics. I know that it was designed in the 80s and it was unveiled in 1989 but it only went on sale in 1990.

    The Cosmo is a rare beast as there were less than 9000 built, compare that against the 44000 R32 GT-Rs that were built. Also many of the triple rotor JC Cosmos have been scavenged for their engines so that did not help either to preserve them. As there are many twin rotor Cosmos available while the supply for triple rotors already dried up and this means the prices for the triple rotor cars are already quite high.

    Now that the Cosmo JC reached the age of 25 it finally becomes appreciated by the rotary fans. Also, sadly but true, Satori’s “Destroy Until Rare” will drive prices of the Cosmo JC even further than the five digit prices today.

  12. Daniel says:

    Slightly biased (aren’t we all?) but my guess will be a broad range of lesser JDM legends, GTR’s will always take the (fairly deserved) limelight, as will the NSX,S2000, FD RX7, etc. And their prices are about too or have already shifted accordingly. My guess is even the most humble MX5, S13 Silvia (i really,really hope so) and pretty much anything RWD (or a desirable FWD) that’s manual is next, even if its only a slight price hike.
    Its already happening with the so called ‘p plate tax’ in Australia.
    (yes its a boring answer, sorry)

  13. Brian Ang says:

    List of cars:
    1.)Lancer Evolution V/VI/VI TME
    2.)R32 GT-R
    3.)Eunos Cosmo
    4.)RX-7 FD3S
    7.)JDM B Series powered Honda(CR-X SI-R, Civic SI-R,Civic Type R EK9,Integra Type R DC2)
    8.)Any NSX with manual gearbox
    Basically, most of the JDM performance car of 90s will have its time soon as people who is born in 80s/90s reach into better financial position in life, they will buy their childhood/teenagehood hero
    At least i know i am one of them

  14. melvin says:

    Mitsubishi Sigma. The Mitsubishi Sigma will be the new Ferrari 250GTO.

    • Banpei says:

      You mean the Diamante based version?

      • melvin says:


        The amount of technolgies in this executive sedan (and JDM Diamante) was unique for its era. That could only be achieved and marketed during of the Japanese asset bubble.

        • Banpei says:

          There is a Diamante wagon driving around in my neighborhood and every time I see it I get jealous at the driver. 🙂
          Yes you are right: it was crammed with all sorts of options and gadgets

          • melvin says:

            JDM Diamante came with 4WD, 4WS, Electronic Controlled Suspension, Trace control (a world 1st), Traction control, navigation and more.

            The European Sigma was available with the same bar navigation and 4WD.

            The Debonair that arrived two years later was loaded with even more stuff, like active preview ECS II.

  15. Tom says:

    The R32 GTR’s little brother – N14 Pulsar GTI-R. Because I love hatchbacks and rally infused vehicles – for that reason I will also nominate the BG Familia GTR, plus the N15 Pulsar VZR N1 on the side. . . and I just noticed that smiley face at the bottom of the page :).

  16. Ed7_owner says:

    any top of the line car. or a prestine 240sx sil80 silvia!!!!

  17. dickie says:

    the 3000GT is an excellent example of a car that should be collected, because the best way to truly enjoy one is to NEVER DRIVE IT.

    As much as I hate to see good cars going bandwagon and having their values rise astronomically and their availability plummet, I feel like it’s safe to suggest that the SW20 MR2 is a TRUE 90’s classic, and destined to find a broad appeal to margin-hungry “collectors” in the near future. It’s such a sure thing that there’s no point in keeping it a secret so I can hurry and snatch one up before the average price doubles again.

    They already have a following made up of dedicated owners and tuners and fanboy dreamers who placed it high on their “cars I will own someday” lists. But there are a lot of aspects about the second gen MR that set it apart from the “already sought after anyway” and the “should never be sought after because they suck so hard” crowds. For our purposes here today, I’ll attempt to recreate what a layman’s first impression would be if they were to encounter one on the street.

    Mr. Deux, a well-dressed young professional toting a laptop in an expensive looking leather bag and a cardboard coffee cup in hand:


    “I wonder if they’ll fix the slow toilet at work today. I’m tired of getting my shoes covered in sh–

    Hey, that’s a neat-looking car. Kind of exotic. The front looks clean, not a lot of busy fake openings or auxiliary lighting. No angry catfish mouth either. Popup lights? T-tops? Definitely 20th century stuff here.”


    “Wow, that’s a crazy low hood line. I wonder if it’s a boxer engine… It looks even sleeker in profile. I didn’t realize how small it actually is.”


    “Yeah this definitely can’t be anything mass-produced, there’s no back seat at all. This has to be some kind of sports car. And what a weird-looking trunklid.”


    Merdeux! This is… the engine is behind the driver?! Okay, clearly this is something different. Maybe an early Noble or something? Okay, now I’m intrigued. What is this thing?”

    ANOTHER MAN seems to materialize from nowhere. He’s dressed in quintessential 90’s attire and looks – like the car – to be an anachronism next to Mr. Deux and the setting.

    “Hey bro, respect the bubble. Just detailed her yesterday”

    Mr. Deux:
    “Oh, apologies, I was admiring your car but I can’t for the life of me tell what it is. Did you import it from Europe or–”

    “No waaaaay man, this is a ‘Yota. Bought this car off the ‘lot with zero miles back in ninety-three and it’s only got three hundred kay on the clock as it sits. It’s called an emm arr two.”

    Mr. Deux:


    THIS is a Toyota?! I am suddenly compelled to buy one. In fact, I work as managing editor for Sought After Classic Cars by Decade, and your car is without a doubt the MOST SOUGHT AFTER CLASSIC of the 1990s. As the preeminent authority on the subject, there’s no way any other vehicle even comes close to the credentials represented here.”


  18. Kevin says:

    I’m going to go with the AE92 GT-S Corollas. I’ve only ever seen one for sale on craigslist, and though it’s a 4AGE car, no one seems to even notice them. They are usually beat to shit and neglected as disposable daily drivers (just like all of the current JNC’s were) and finding one in good shape in 5 years will likely be very difficult. Just like the beloved 86, they were sold in a few different varieties, even a menacing supercharged version was sold overseas! I am always on the lookout for the little guys, as I can only imagine that they’re a blast to drive. (my daily driver is a run of the mill Geo Prizm 4afe model, and a sporty version of my car could only be a wonderful thing)

    Heck, I guess you could say that all of the AE8X (86 excluded) and AE/EE9X Corollas have gone relatively unnoticed. (probably because they can’t be slid into things as easily as the older ones) But once people realize that a “wrong wheel drive” mentality is just a super lame way to think, then I can see an appreciation for these chassis in the future. The Sprinter Marino and Sprinter Cielo of early 90’s are actually pretty nice looking cars too! If I wasn’t a broke ass 21 year old, I’d be hoarding FX16’s through AE92 GT-S’s, as well as their brethren, as a future investment.

    (I apologize if I got any of the chassis codes wrong, trying to remember them all makes a convoluted mess of my thoughts.)

    • Yoda says:

      In high school I got rides from a girl who drove her mom’s AE92 GT-S. My first choice would’ve been a Prizm GSi hatchback though. easily the best-looking car of its’ time.

  19. Robin says:

    EG9 Ferio… im being biased haha because i drive one.

  20. ylee says:

    90-91 turbo Supra. Harder and harder to find a clean example.

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