New cars used to be simple. It was easy to fix, fun to live with, and comfortable – with just enough kit for safety and comfort. They are smart investments today, even though they were popular in the 1990s.
One time new cars were easy to fix, simple to use, fun to drive, and had enough safety and comfort features to make them comfortable and safe. This was in the 1990s. They are smart purchases today
The 1990s seem like yesterday to some people. They were simpler times, Britpoppy times with dial up internet. They were also brilliant. They were not only charming and entertaining but also safer than any cars.
ABS, crumple zones, and power steering made them more manageable. Today, they are still easily fixable and not dependent on any kind of chip. How many ’90s survivors can you find when you walk around a parking lot? They are disappearing quickly and are owned only by the eccentric or poor.
You can look into the official registration statistics and find that a lot of models are rarer than any Ferrari ’90s you want to mention. Modena officially produced just 349 F50s in 1995, but compared with a bottom-of-the-spec-sheet Citroen ZX 1.4 Avantage, well, just two of those are knocking around on the Queen’s Highway. A Ford Mondeo Aspen, an alternative base model, which peaked at 11,615 in 1998, has now been reduced to 12 registrations with the DVLA.
What happened to the ’90s cars then? A car’s lifespan can last 20 years or more. Cars last an average of ten years. According to the latest SMMT figures for 2015, the median age at which a car was scrapped was 13.9. While there is always some waste, as cars fail their MOTs and are written off, many perfectly roadworthy motors were also destroyed.
This brings us to the 2009 tragic scrappage scheme. It claimed at least one Honda Integra Type R’s life. The scheme was funded by PS300 million of taxpayer funds. Manufacturers also matched the amount for vehicles registered in the UK prior to 31 August 1999. It was also used to increase business in the auto trade, which had been suffering from the 2008 global economic downturn. All told, 390,000.00 cars were removed from circulation. Forever.
Lastly, E10 petrol’s recent arrival has made it impossible for cars to drink it, making them more expensive than cars made before 2002. If you are willing to spend more for super-unleaded fuel which ’90s models should be saved for posterity?
111, 1999, 55,000 mile, PS15.995: Lotus’s remarkable return to its lightweight roots. It is also one of the most outstanding back-to-basics roadsters. It’s like climbing on a race car to get into the tub. It’s so focused. Despite its mediocre MG 1.8 engine the Elise still managed to produce 118 bhp. The original concept has been reworked endlessly to produce performance models.
2.5, 1998. 41,000 miles, PS9000. This affordable roadster is full of 911 DNA. Although it has some mechanical problems, this package is not compromiseable and looks great. This is one of the most popular routes to serious sports car ownership. A 3.2 S and a 2.5 engine were added later.
DC2 Type A, 1999, 121,000 Miles, PS12,495 Car manufacturers once understood that less (it weighs 1140kg), is more. You can choose from black, red, or white. Just 500 UK cars, plus private imports. Almost all hand-built, with a VTEC uprated, thinner windscreen glass, and no creature comforts. It was all about performance.
Peugeot 106 GTi
106 GTi 1998, 72,000 Miles, PS12,190 This market was created by the French and is the best. It is small, lightweight and practical. Although the Rallye is expensive now, the GTi remains a good value for money. You might also consider the XSi. This range was updated in 1996. Excellent handling, steering, and gearshift with plenty of grip. Front seats are half-decent.
Seat Ibiza GTI
GTI 16v 1999, 95,000 mile, PS1650 The VW Group created a Polo-based fast hatch, lighter and more efficient than the Golf GTI. You can choose between a 2.0 8v and 16v. You can also choose from the more powerful and larger-wheeled Cupra models. The Cupra models are close to extinction. Many of them have been modified to the point that they are almost extinct.
Renault Clio Williams
Williams 2, 1994 111,000 miles, PS14,000 A Clio 16v equipped with more power and F1 badgework might have been an ordinaire, but this homologation was something special. Although there were 390 originals available, the enjoyment of the 2 almost identical copies will not be diminished by the fact that they are nearly identical. They are rightly praised.
Peugeot 406 Estate
1.8 LSD, 1998, 104,000 Miles, PS600: A great saloon that is hardworking, but it’s best to enjoy as an estate. It is extremely comfortable and offers a wonderful ride. The rear seat can be folded down to reveal a large area. Although the 1.9 turbo diesel engine is basic, it’s a great option. The 2.0 HDi petrol, which is more advanced, is also excellent. Be aware of corroded radiators, worn suspension bushes and rusty brake discs.
1.8Verona 5dr 1995, 66,000 mi, PS3495 The Mk1Mondie was the most powerful Ford of all time. It worked hard all week and was capable of running up and down the motorway. It also did all the important family stuff on the weekends. Have you seen one lately? Many were destroyed. Great handling. The 1.8 petrol is both economical and lively. The V6 is quite fun.
1.9 TD SX7 seats, 1996. 164,000 miles. PS400: People Carriers were huge back then in both the literal and the figurative senses. This model was also available with Fiat or Peugeot badges. You get sliding doors, an old-fashioned diesel engine and plenty of space in the box that can hold up to eight people. Watch out for leaking fluids, an iffy clutch or potentially MOT-failing corrosion.
1.3 1998, 45,000 mile, PS1995 The ’90s were a time of fabulously cool styling, with a fashionably modern exterior and interior. The pinsharp chassis that was connected to the Anglia-derived engine was the best part. It was a joy to drive it in relative safety. It was the ultimate first car for teens. The car is tough enough in mechanical terms, but the real killer was the rot.
1.0 Spree 1994, 36,000 Miles, PS3495:Featherweight shopper. It is a cube full of simple goodness. Amazing fuel economy, especially with the 60mpg diesels. They are easy to maintain and have a great GT. The revised range is available from ’91 to ’99 – if one is still available. It is bright and airy in the interior. It is a foe.
1.2 1994, 83,000 mile, PS1999 This is not an official import but it’s what a city vehicle was meant to be. It’s small, cute, affordable, and easy to live in. Although it is left-hand driven, that’s not a problem. There are both 8v and 16v options. 1998 mild revamp. It’s worth a weekend trip to mainland Europe to obtain one.
BMW 5 Series
528iSE, 1998, 110,000 mi, PS1995Fact. 1996 was the year that the Bavarians created the perfect business express. The E39 generation was the best 5 Series, and it came with several decent engines. The six-cylinders could be used to power smooth, powerful petrols or frugal diesels. V8s were smoother and more powerful. These models are technically last of the truly repairable.
Alfa Romeo 156
V6 24v 1998, 96,000 Miles, PS4999 This was a surprise. This was a beautiful saloon from Italy with amazing engines. This specification included everything you need, including climate control. There were always issues with the equipment, including faulty oil pumps, malfunctioning airflow sensors, and malfunctioning Selespeed gearboxes. You got a stylish package that was at most different than the Germans.
2.6V6 SE, 1996. 125,000 miles. PS1495. When the A4 was introduced, the BMW 3 Series had an immediate rival. It is a compact saloon and Avant estate. And it can also be converted to impress. Audi raised the bar for fit and finish to a new level. Every executive who went somewhere needed one. There were many great engines available, including V6s and diesels as well as the more powerful RS4.