Was 90s the best automotive decade?

thevictor390

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The RX-8 and to Toyaburus are two examples of vehicles with electric power steering that are praised for their handling. Plus it's one less fluid to leak :dunno:
 

prizrak

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The RX-8 and to Toyaburus are two examples of vehicles with electric power steering that are praised for their handling. Plus it's one less fluid to leak :dunno:
S2000 as well, but I still dislike that trend. I basically dislike electronics in my driveline components, I'm not a fan of of TBW or VDC/ESP/TCS etc.. I'll give you an example of a car I actually like, my Z, it has TBW and as far as I can tell there is no lag in the response but it's not linear. Butt dyno is not the most accurate measurement but far as I can tell I get full throttle at about 75% of pedal travel. Or another one, despite having a vLSD I have EDLs* that I cannot turn off**, which makes no sense whatsoever to me since there is already a mechanical device doing the work.

*I'm using the Audi name because that's what I know them as but essentially it just brakes a slipping wheel to move torque to a non slipping wheel.
**Turning VDC off doesn't actually turn them off.
 
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captain_70s

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I find most cars of the 1990s to be tediously dull. Vastly superior in terms of reliability and safety than the cars they replace but utterly devoid of anything interesting.

Granted, some excellent stuff did come out of Japan and it produced one of my favourite Ferraris, the 355, but most the mention of "1990s" with regards to cars makes me think of the Mk3 Astra, Rover 200, Ford Mundano and the K11 Nissan Micra...

Although that may be in part due to the fact the 1990s aren't yet tinted with nostalgia for the most part, I don't really consider it to have a proper identity as a decade yet. Also the fact the cars were all pretty reliable and well built means they never get to the "so bad it becomes amusing in it's own right". I was looking at some cheap 80's Corolla or Datsun on eBay a while back and it was suggested the sheer lack of any interesting features would in itself be so typical of the average Japanese family car of the mid 1980s it would go full circle and become interesting as an ode to dullness.
But then again, I don't like cars for normal reasons. My Corsa would outperform the Yaris it replaced in every way yet I found the 'Yota far more entertaining because of it. The Triumphs grip the road like a block of soap on an ice sheet, the 1300 has a 0-60 time measured on a calendar and the gearstick throw between 3rd and 4th gear is the size of Belgium yet when given the choice between driving one of them or the Corsa they'd win out every time...

I also think this is also a cultural thing, Europe never had the huge safety/emissions deal that the US had that managed to destroy most domestic 1970s and early 80s cars. For the 90s the madness of the hot hatch got mellowed down, rwd died out, cars started getting fatter and growing in size/weight, the SUV and people carrier suddenly became a thing. If one thing was in their favour I'd say I'd rather have a 90s car than a newer one as they tend to be lighter and prettier and there is no doubt they are more reliable and drive better than their predecessors, I just don't find them interesting.
 

TC

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The freedom car builders had before the 70's resulted in the most beautiful vehicles ever made, or ever will.

Of course newer cars might drive a lot better than old cars, and be more efficient, safe, and reliable, but that only makes cars from the 90's a compromise. Not as good looking as old cars, not as good to drive as newer cars. I'd rather have a brand new car and a proper classic, than something from the 90's, budget permitting.
 

prizrak

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Cap,

I find it interesting that while I (and a few others in this thread) concentrate on cars that gearheads would like, you and a few other Europeans only think about the boring everyday stuff.

TC,

That's very strange thinking there, every decade produced great looking cars and ugly cars. Also despite the "freedom" you are talking about there are plenty of very specific design characteristics that are found in 60's cars (hence being able to say that a car is from the 60's). That's true for every decade though, and there are also plenty of ugly cars from each decade.

This is of course all opinion based but I'm not really sure why you think that a 90's car would be a compromise between looks and reliability (not all of them were all that reliable mind you, DSM comes to mind) there are plenty of 90's cars that are beautiful in their own right and are also known to be great to drive (NSX and RX-7 are my go-tos)
 

TC

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TC,

That's very strange thinking there, every decade produced great looking cars and ugly cars. Also despite the "freedom" you are talking about there are plenty of very specific design characteristics that are found in 60's cars (hence being able to say that a car is from the 60's). That's true for every decade though, and there are also plenty of ugly cars from each decade.

This is of course all opinion based but I'm not really sure why you think that a 90's car would be a compromise between looks and reliability (not all of them were all that reliable mind you, DSM comes to mind) there are plenty of 90's cars that are beautiful in their own right and are also known to be great to drive (NSX and RX-7 are my go-tos)
Yes, each decade has both good looking and bad looking cars, but the 50's and 60's had a better ratio of good-to-bad. Even vans, family cars, wagons, pick-ups, were beautiful things to look at. Once the environmentalists and health&safety folks teamed up and set out to destroy the heart and soul of automobiles, things were never so good. Back in the day they could design whatever they wanted with complete disregard to safety or pollution. Every time one of those Top 10 Most Beautiful Cars Of All Time lists come out, they are dominated with cars from the 50's and 60's, with maybe a car or two from the very early 70's. I'd say there were more probably beautiful cars in 1969 alone then in the 2 decades that followed. :lol:

I believe as cars became more modern, they improved in ways that made them more reliable. That's not a definite rule of course, some older cars could be said to be more reliable than modern cars, through the sheer simplification of it's components. But in general some of the most reliable cars of all time were from the 80's and 90's, from Japan, mostly. And I do love the NSX and RX-7, as well as the Supra, Skyline GTR's, etc. There were some definite gems, but they seem so few and far between.
 
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prizrak

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I see what you mean and I do have to somewhat agree, worst example I think is concept cars of today. They always look so bad ass but the end result usually is a let doen
 

bone

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If one thing was in their favour I'd say I'd rather have a 90s car than a newer one as they tend to be lighter and prettier and there is no doubt they are more reliable and drive better than their predecessors, I just don't find them interesting.
i'm ashamed to admit, that when i get in an older car, i miss the BT, automatic AC, central locking, automatic lights & wipers, ...
 

JimCorrigan

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I agree with prizzle and grizzle. I wouldn't be ashamed of the conviences in newer cars. I LOVE having bluetooth and an automatic climate system in the vehicle.
 

bone

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ok then. now i feel all better about myself :D
 

geeman

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not as good to drive as newer cars.
This depends on how you look at it. Modern cars might drive better in the way that they are faster, easier and safer. But not necessarily in a enjoyment kind of way, not even when you are talking about supercars. Electronic driving aids and electronic power steering has made cars more dull to drive. Even turning all the aids off (if you can) might not help if the car is designed to work with the aids on.
Yes, each decade has both good looking and bad looking cars, but the 50's and 60's had a better ratio of good-to-bad. Even vans, family cars, wagons, pick-ups, were beautiful things to look at.
I partly agree with this. Designers had free reign to do what they want, even some times resulting design that made the car not work properly! However a lot of 50s and 60s cars looking good has to do with them being the right kind of old. They are not yet that old they seem weird and obsolete (like 40s and earlier cars these days), but they are old enough that you get nostalgic about them. I am pretty sure if you had asked someone in the 80s if the 60s cars were the most beautiful cars ever they would have said no, they were just old cars back then. And it will continue like this, people are already pretty nostalgic about 80s cars and 90s cars will eventually follow.
 

prizrak

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And it will continue like this, people are already pretty nostalgic about 80s cars and 90s cars will eventually follow.
I honestly know of very few people (one really) who like 80's cars in general or at the very least have the majority of cars they want be from the 80's. I think the 80's were too much of a transitional period for the cars to be desirable. It's not to say that 80's cars aren't desirable there are a few that are as with every decade (Testarossa for example) but they are not 60's desirable.
 

Der Stig

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I love me some '90s cars and often think the same thing. If I could, I'd have an X300 XJR, E39 M5, E38 740i Sport, 993C2S/964 RS America, a Range Rover County, and my current bike :D


Also:
the Jaguar XJS :p





and this mental thing from before Lancia jumped off the deep end:
 

Spectre

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...followed by an XKR, both of which were based on the XJS platform.
Which in turn was built off the short wheelbase XJ sedan of 1968. :D





The 90s were the decade in which the XJ platform and most of the derivatives had their final heyday and bowed out. You had the last version of the original XJ sedan in the form of the 1979-1992 XJ12 reaching its ultimate development and then termination. You had the XJS in heavily facelifted form still kicking around until 1996, being replaced by another modified XJS in the form of the XK8/R which in turn ran until 2006. You even had the XJ41 inspired but XJS-based DB7 being introduced in 1994 and running through 2004 - which turned out to be the most numerous Aston in history not to mention probably the most reliable and easy to fix.

The most shocking thing about the XJ platform is that every single model that used it was still competitive in the marketplace against its rivals right to the very end of production. Not bad for a platform that was originally supposed to have been discontinued by ~1978. A 1968 design that was still competitive against newer clean sheet designs from Germany and Japan almost 40 years later - not bad at all.
 
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