The 90s were a magical time for sports cars, especially in Europe. Lotus made the Esprit with its futuristic styling while the Lancia Delta Integrale was the rally car to beat. Although this is a strong decade for sports cars, many have fallen through the cracks. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Maserati all built cars that didn’t get as much attention as other models like the Mercedes-Benz E500 and Audi Quattro.
Nonetheless, these cars offer scintillating performance and timeless style. Here are some of the most underrated European sports cars of the 1990s and their current prices.
ten 1996-1999 Audi S8 – $ 12,493
Audi’s S8 was a treasure in the mid-90s. European markets got the S8 in 1996 while North Americans would have to wait until 1999. Although it took some time to cross the Atlantic, the S8 had Still an impressive powerhouse in its 4.2-liter V8, which produced 355 horsepower and got the 4,000-pound sedan to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds.
Audi offered the S8 sport suspension and speed-sensitive power steering. According to Classic, the average price of an Audi S8 from the 90s stacks up to around $ 12,493 at the time of this article.
9 1993-1998 Mercedes-Benz SL 60 AMG – $ 44,355
Mercedes-Benz graced the 1990s with the SL 60 AMG from 1993 to 1998. It used a 6-liter V8 that produced 380 horsepower at the rear wheels, bringing the car to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. It had a wedge-shaped, angular front end that tilted to a liftable rear end.
The SL 60 AMG had two doors and customers could get it with an automatic or manual transmission. The non-AMG 600SL had 6-liter V12s, but they were much heavier and only produced about 10 more horsepower. For the moment, Classic lists the average value around $ 44,355.
8 1996-1999 Porsche Boxster – $ 15,137
The first-generation Porsche Boxster didn’t turn many heads when it was released. However, now that he has attained an affordable price, the extent of his genius is starting to surface. Porsche built the Boxster with a solid balance. Steadfast in the corners, the Boxster feels planted and secure, the manual shifting feels deliberate, and the steering response is quick.
Acceleration is lacking, especially in the base model, but if it had more horsepower it could disrupt what Porsche was looking for. The Cayman feels stiffer thanks to its hardtop, but the Boxster is much more affordable. The classic has the Boxster first generation, at the time of this writing, valued at an average of $ 15,137.
seven 1990-1992 Lotus Carlton – $ 61,574
The Lotus Carlton was the ultimate European sleeper of the ’90s. Lotus made the Carlton for just a few years, from 1991 to 1993, and is a departure from much of what Lotus produced in previous decades. To fight against other sports cars in its class, the Carlton was fitted with a 3.6-liter inline-six with two turbochargers, which sent 377 horsepower to the rear wheels.
It only came with a 6-speed manual transmission and weighed just over 3,600 pounds. It had four doors and Lotus fitted the exterior with a large rear spoiler and a wide body kit. Classic currently has the average quoted price of the Carlton of $ 61,574.
6 1991-1995 Porsche 968 – $ 31,852
Porsche manufactured the 968 from 1991 to 1995 as the predecessor to the 986 Boxster. It was sold as a rear-drive coupe or convertible, and although it took many design and drivetrain elements from the popular 944, the 968 had its unique styling and received many upgrades, which made it greater than 944.
The 968 used the same 3.0-liter inline-four, but was lighter overall and had a high compression ratio of 11: 1, increasing horsepower to 277. Porsche also gave it Brembo brakes and a six-speed manual transmission. speeds. the average price of a Porsche 968 is $ 31,852, according to Classic.
5 1990-1995 Lotus Elan – $ 13,169
The first generation Lotus Elan was a sports car masterpiece. Weighing less than an F1 car, the Elan was rear-wheel drive, used a 1.5-liter inline-four engine and double-wishbone front suspension. Lotus only built the first Elans until 1975, and resurrected the name in the 1990s, to the tune of an entirely different platform. Called the M100, the Lotus Elan returned as a front-wheel drive convertible, with styling similar to that of the Mazda MX-5 Miata.
While not as popular without rear-wheel drive, it’s easy to forget that with a sufficiently short wheelbase, a front-wheel-drive car can handle almost as well as a rear-wheel drive, and in all respects. the Elan M100 was exquisite. According to Classic, the Elan M100 has an average value of $ 13,169.
4 1990-1996 Maserati Shamal – $ 72,267
Maserati made the Shamal from 1990 to 1996, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Straight out of the 1980s, the Shamal has a long hood that dips straight into a narrow grille emblazoned with the Maserati logo. On the exterior side, the Shamal screams the classic Maserati, with side skirts and a dynamic front bumper, and a rear end with a wide, low spoiler.
Under the hood, Maserati installed a twin-turbo 3.2-liter V8 mated to a six-speed manual transmission, sending 320 horsepower to the rear wheels. This brought the Shamal to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. The Shamal holds its value surprisingly good at $ 72,267 on the Classic website.
3 1990 Volvo 780 Bertone – $ 5,823
Enthusiasts refer to the 850-R as the quintessential Volvo sports car, but they forget the 780 which was rear-wheel drive. It got a self-leveling independent rear suspension and ultimately, albeit briefly, a 200-horsepower turbocharged inline-four.
The majority of the 780’s tenure was in the 1980s, but it landed in the 1990s for a year. If you are looking for a classic and sporty Volvo, the 780 is more than affordable, because Classic currently lists its average value at just $ 5,823.
2 1994-1999 Caterham 21 – $ 37,400 (2015 price)
The Caterham 21 was a car that unfortunately fell under the radar. Imagine a Caterham Seven, but with more bodywork and wheel arches. It was a beautiful car and extraordinarily light at 1466 pounds.
With truly unique styling, the Caterham 21 was quick enough to hold its own, until it was plunged into obscurity by models like the Honda S2000 and the BMW Z3. Classic has one of Caterham 21 most recently sold listed at $ 25,243 in 2015.
1 1990-1991 Alfa Romeo Sz – $ 64,524
For just a few years, Alfa Romeo made the SZ, a rear-wheel-drive coupe sports car. It is shaped like a right triangle with curved contours and a wedge-shaped front section leading to a narrow front grille. The rear end is a flat vertical wall, with a large wing protruding from the rear windshield. Alfa fitted the SZ with a 3.0-liter V6, developing 207 horsepower via a 5-speed manual transmission.
It wasn’t quick, hitting 60 mph in 7 seconds, but it had racing suspension and weighed just 2,778 pounds. They currently hold their value well, as the average price of Classic for the SZ is listed at $ 64,524.
The European sports cars we feature in this article will never be cheaper than that, so now is the perfect time to buy one!
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