Nineties Collectibles: Mazda RX-7, Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, GMC Syclone/Typhoon
- TOM DREW,
- AARON KILEY, AND
- THE MANUFACTURERS
America’s “Lost Generation” of doggy cars (1974–1990) officially came to an end with the introduction of the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 in March 1989 in Geneva, Switzerland. Suddenly, fast was good again and an 85-mph speedo was 100 percent too slow. The performance cars produced during the 1990s are new enough, safe enough, and well built enough to drive daily. Two decades later, their prices are bottoming out and collectors are snapping up the best. Here are some choice picks:
A gorgeous, lightweight, short-lived, twin-turbo rotary-engine sports car that proved to be too extreme and too expensive. Heavily discounted from mid-$30K when new; good ones are hard to find. The spoilered R1 competition package is coolest, but the ride is brutal. It’s a durable rotary, but underhood heat can cook vacuum hoses. The manual is a must. Thirsty if driven hard (and you will); 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
One of the best sports cars of the ’90s is still largely underappreciated. It is powered by a Lotus-designed, all-aluminum, DOHC 32-valve 5.7-liter V-8 making 375 horsepower. The ZR1 package added a whopping $27,016 to the Corvette coupe’s $31,979 base price, and no one has gotten their money back yet. A 1993–’95 upgrade boosted output to 405 horsepower.
Based on the Sonoma pickup, the Syclone arrived in 1991 with a 280-hp, 4.3-liter turbocharged V-6; all-wheel drive; big wheels; a body kit—and a 500-pound cargo limit. Weighing 3600 pounds, production versions ran 0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds. The GMC Jimmy–based Typhoon SUV replaced it in ’92 and ’93, gaining five horses in the final model year. You’ll have to look hard, but only buy the best unmodified example.
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By PAUL DUCHENE