Supercars of the 90s: From Acura NSX-T to McLaren F1 GT
Although the era of supercars continues, there were many exceptional editions to this class of automobile throughout the 1990s. Many of the cars introduced during the 90s were genuine beasts from a performance perspective, and those innovative designs paved the way for supercars well into the future. The 90s supercars were pure and unedited creations of car designers, with so much power that they easily sweep away the competition even today.
Honda released the NSX-T as a targa top version of its NSX model in 1995, and marketed it under the Acura brand name. Originally, the NSX-T was a special order option in Japan, but it soon became the only version offered in the United States. The roof was colored rather than black, and the NSX-T differed from the coupe version, sacrificing weight and some chassis rigidity in exchange for an open cockpit. It also had smaller sway bars in the front, stiffer front springs, firmer shock dampers and softer rear springs. The NSX-T was very powerful with a 3.0-liter, V6 engine that produced 270 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. It could accelerate to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The NSX quickly became an icon, and many enthusiasts list it as one of the best 90s supercars.
Bugatti EB110 SS
Bugatti produced the EB110 Super Sport from 1992 to 1995, one of which was built for the Sultan of Brunei. For the second year of production, the company lightened the body and added an adjustable rear wing for an exterior that is still fresh 20 years later, but it kept the refined all-wheel drive, manual gearbox, and power steering. Under the hood, the EB110 SS has a 3.5-liter, quad-turbo V12 engine that generates 603 horsepower. This power makes the car accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.35 seconds, and its speed tops out at 217 mph.
Dodge Viper GTS Coupe
Manufactured between 1996 and 2002, the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe has an aerodynamic body, a roof inspired by the Shelby Cobra Daytona, which won the 1965 FIA GT Championship, and a ducktail rear spoiler. The ’96 RT/10 model is often referred to as generation 1.5 because it uses parts from both the first and second generations. This Viper is powered with an 8.0-liter, V10 engine that produces 450 horsepower. With a top speed of 180 mph, the car can reach 60 mph in four seconds.
From 1987 to 1992, Ferrari made 1,200 F40 cars, although only 399 were originally planned. It was built with a deep nose cone for as little surface area as possible, all panels, and a carbon-Kevlar tub. The F40 was equipped with a 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine with 472 horsepower, a top speed of 201 mph and an acceleration to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. The car became a legend because it was the last car to be presented to Enzo Ferrari in the year he died. In 2015, a ’92 Ferrari F40 sold at auction for about $1.22 million in Nurburgring, Germany, which was a record for the car at the time.
Jaguar released a limited number of the XJR-15, only 53, between 1990 and 1992. It was the first road legal car in the world to have a chassis and body entirely made of carbon fiber and Kevlar composites. The car is fitted with a 6.0-liter, V12 engine that generates 450 brake horsepower. This allows the car to reach 191 mph and accelerate from zero to 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds.
On the heels of the XJR-15, Jaguar manufactured the XJ220 between 1992 and 1994. It’s believed that the car was spiritually inspired by the C-Type and D-Type cars that raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the ’50s. After creating a concept, Jaguar decided to remove the scissor doors.
The car was given a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 engine with 540 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. This made it hit 60mph in 3.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 213 mph. It also made the XJ220 the world’s fastest production car in ’92, although it was originally going to have a V12 engine. Jaguar never sold the car in the United States, but two units were transported to the country. The owners spent more than $100,000 to make them street legal in compliance with U.S. regulations.
Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
Named after a bull from the 19th century, Lamborghini made 200 units of the Diablo VT Roadster with carbon-fiber elements from 1990 to 2001. With a rear fascia that sweeps up and a front bumper that juts out, the car has a modern, racing design. The Diablo VT Roadster has a 5.7-liter, V12 engine with 492 horsepower and a top speed of 204 mph. In 4.4 seconds, it can accelerate from zero to 60 mph. However, Lamborghini later tweaked the engine to produce 529 horsepower and reach 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.
McLaren F1 GT
Produced from 1992 to 1998, the McLaren F1 GT features stock from prior race cars. In 1997, however, the company redesigned the car to include a longer rear section and nose, a rear spoiler that fuses with the fascia, a larger wing, and wider fenders. These changes made the car faster, and a larger roof-mounted snorkel fed more air into its engine.
The road-legal variant had a 6.1-liter, V12 engine, which generated 627 horsepower, 480 pound-feet of torque and the world’s fastest top speed of 240 mph for a production car between 1993 and 2005. It could accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. At the time, it was also the most innovative supercar because it featured a center-mounted driver’s seat and a carbon-fiber monocoque.
Mercedes CLK GTR
Mercedes only released the CLK GTR in 1997. The following year, it upgraded the car and renamed it the CLK LM for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The project came to a close in 1999, and Mercedes-Benz replaced it with the CLR Le Mans prototype. The CLK GTR was one of the highest-priced production vehicles in the world, and only 26 units were manufactured: six roadsters and 20 coupes. It was primarily designed as a race car, so changes to its design had to be made to make it street legal. The body was entirely carbon fiber, and it was equipped with a 6.0-liter, V12 engine that produced 604 horsepower and 572 pound-feet of torque.
Porsche 911 GT1 Straßenversion
In 1998, Porsche manufactured only 25 of its 911 GT1 Straßenversion cars, the street-legal version of its 1997 911 GT1 Evolution Race Car. It was brought to the market to compete with the Mercedes CLK GTR and McLaren F1 GT, the latter of which was its inspiration.
To make it comply with European emissions regulations, Porsche had to de-tune the engine. The car had a 3.2-liter, flat-six engine with 537 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, rather than 600 horsepower. The 911 GT1 Straßenversion could reach 62 mph in only 3.9 seconds and had a top speed of 191 mph. Porsche also had to improve ground clearance and make the suspension more compliant in the road-going version. As the only one brought to the U.S. market, it sold at a 2012 auction in Monterey, California, for $1.17 million.
90s Supercars Remain Highly Valued
From the fastest to the most innovative, carmakers continue to improve upon car technologies. However, the outstanding performance of these beasts from the 90s gives them the status of supercars. Since many of them were limited production vehicles, they have soared in value and are auctioned for millions. If you could afford one of these beauties, which would you choose?