Maybe you've noticed that it's now 2015 and that means that a fresh crop of automobiles are now 25 years old. This renders them antiques in the eyes of many states as well as the Antique Automobile Club of America.
If you're not great at math, that means that 1990 model year cars are now antiques. If that makes you feel like one, well, I can't help you there. But you might want to know about some of the more noteworthy models that debuted that year.
Get ready; you're about to feel older.
Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $11,950-$16,675
Honda abandoned the three- and five-door hatchback formula that defined the first generation of this subcompact. Instead, Acura opted to produce a two-door hatchback and four-door sedan. The new Integra was larger, as was its engine: a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder matched to a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic. Anti-lock brakes were optional on the top-of-the-line GS.
Audi V8 Quattro
This was Audi's high-performance flagship sedan at a time when the marque was unfairly tarnished by "60 Minutes" unproven accusations of Audis unintentionally accelerating. Yet this luxury car boasted a dual-overhead-cam aluminum V-8 that generated a healthy 240 horsepower. It was married to a four-speed automatic transmission. Of course, Audi's Quattro four-wheel drive system was standard, as was a leather-lined cabin, a Bose audio system, cellular telephone, anti-lock brakes and a driver's side airbag.
Buick Reatta convertible
Buick's short-lived two-seat luxury coupe was joined by a handsome ragtop version for 1990, Buick's first since 1985. The Reatta was built atop a shortened version of the front-wheel-drive Buick Rivera platform and shared its mechanical components and instrument panel. Power came from a 165-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 and a four-speed automatic transmission. For 1990, Buick replaced the unpopular video screen with conventional switchgear on the instrument panel.
Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
This is the year that signaled the Corvette's return as a true high performance sports car thanks to the arrival of the ZR-1. A 380-horsepower 32-valve, dual-overhead-cam 5.7-liter V8 designed by sports car manufacturer Lotus powered the car. A six-speed manual transmission was standard, as was a wider rear body to accommodate the ZR-1's beefy tires. The car also wore square taillights, rather than round ones. An adjustable suspension, optional on lesser Corvettes, was standard.
Chevrolet Lumina APV/Pontiac Trans Sport/Oldsmobile Silhouette
GM's answer to Chrysler's domination of the utilitarian minivan market was to add a dose of style. Sadly, the style designers chose was that of a Black & Decker Dustbuster. This not only made for an ungainly driving position, it also meant the driver faced a massive 17.25-square-foot windshield that was sloped at a 66-degree angle. Performance was meagre thanks to the wheezy 120-horsepoweer 3.1-liter V-6 and three-speed automatic transmission.
The Accord saw a dramatic change this year. For the first time since its debut in 1976, the front-wheel-drive Accord wasn't available as a hatchback. In its place was a two-door coupe and four-door sedan. The reworked Accord also had exposed headlamps, rather than the previous generation's hidden headlights. A 2.2-liter engine generated 125 horsepower in DX and LX trim, 130 horsepower in the EX. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, although a four-speed automatic was optional.
This was the year that Nissan launched its luxury car line with this opulent flagship sedan. Powered by a dual-cam, 24-valve, aluminum 4.5-liter V-8 that produced a healthy 278 horsepower through a four-speed automatic transmission, the Q45 was fully equipped with the exception of two dealer-installed options — a cellular phone and a compact disc player — and one factory-installed feature — a Touring Package that featured a rear spoiler, forged aluminum wheels and four-wheel steering.
Lexus LS 400
Lexus's reputation for unparalleled refinement and solitude was established at the outset by this car. Sadly, it's one the brand is now attempting to disavow. The rear-drive LS 400 sedan ably challenged its German competitors at a fraction of the cost. A 250-horsepower 4.0-liter V-8, four-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock disc brakes and driver's side air-bag were standard. An air-suspension that automatically adjusted spring rates and damping was optional.
Lincoln Town Car
Go ahead, laugh if you want. It's easy to forget how popular the Town Car once was; it was Lincoln's best-selling model. For its first redesign since 1980, the Town Car wore styling that drew comparisons to Bentley at the time. A 5.0-liter V-8 produced just 150 horsepower, although top-of-the-line Cartier models had a tad more. Speed-sensitive power steering, a self-levelling rear air-suspension system and a redesigned interior that incorporated driver and passenger side airbags were among this car's upgrades. Big? Oh yeah. Even the trunk measured a massive 22 cubic feet.
Little more than a decade after British roadsters succumbed to the ineptitude of British-Leyland mismanagement and neglect, Mazda would successfully field a perfect replica. Unlike the cars that inspired it, the Miata always started and didn't leak. Created in the U.S., the rear-drive roadster's 1.6-liter double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine generated 116 horsepower. That was more than enough to propel this 2,182 pound sports car with gusto. Best of all, the Miata's manually folding top could be raised or lowered with one hand while seated inside the car.
This legendary two-seat grand tourer was reworked for 1990. Two versions were available. While you could opt for the 300SL with its 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, a better choice was the 500SL with a lusty 322-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8. Nevertheless, the 300SL came with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while the 500SL was fitted with only a four-speed automatic. But the car was safe. Driver and passenger side airbags were new features, as was a roll bar that flipped up from behind the seats in case of a rollover.
Mitsubishi Eclipse/Plymouth Laser/Eagle Talon
This popular sports coupe was marketed under three names and built under a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. Regardless of the name on the trunk lid, all of them rode atop a Mitsubishi Galant platform. Power came from one of three four-cylinder engines: a 92-horsepower 1.8-liter, a 135-horsepower 2.0-liter or a 190-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter. A five-speed manual transmission was standard; a four-speed automatic was optional on the first two engines. All-wheel-drive was optional.
Nissan's legendary sports car was its halo car, the one that lent the brand its sporting credentials that rivals lacked. Returning as an all-new two-seater, the 300ZX derived its power from a 222-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 or a turbocharged 3.0-liter with 300 horsepower. The turbocharged engine employed a turbocharger and intercooler on each bank of cylinders. Turbo models also had Z-rated tires and four-wheel steering. A five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission was offered with either engine. A Bose audio system was optional.
Just as midsize personal luxury coupes dominated American roads in in the '70s and '80s, so did sports coupes in the 1990s, and the Celica was among the most popular. The 1990 redesign did little to change its personality. Base ST models had a 103-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, while racier GT and GTS Celicas had a 130-horsepower 2.2-liter four. The one to look for is the 200-horsepower All-Trac, which boasted a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive.
VW offered up this front-wheel-drive, three-door hatchback as a replacement for the Scirocco. Positioned as a sports car and built on the Golf/Jetta platform, it employed a 158-horsepower supercharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. That was enough to yank the Scirocco to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. In keeping with its image a five-speed manual transmission was standard; an automatic transmission was not offered. Disc brakes were standard as well, anti-lock brakes were optional. A rear spoiler deployed above 45 mph.