The supercars of the 1990s are identifiable by their face-melting performance and groundbreaking design. They were the unabashed embodiment of the most cutting edge technology of the time, focused entirely on driving excitement. In no particular order, these are some of the coolest.
The stillborn OX99-11 was a V-12-powered supercar built by Yamaha with tons of F1-inspired features. Though it never made production, three prototypes exist, and they sound phenomenal.
The Lister Storm was built to go racing in Le Mans, but a handful of street cars were built as well. Powered by a Jaguar V-12, its design is unmistakably '90s.
At first glance, the ZR-1 looks like any other C4-generation Corvette. But look a little closer, and you'll begin to see some changes. The body is wider, and the tires are too. Under the hood sits a DOHC V-8 designed by Lotus making 375 horsepower. It could get to 0-60 mph in under five seconds, which was damn impressive for the time. Here's one you can own right now for under $20,000.
If you don't remember the Elise GT1, we don't blame you—Lotus made just one street legal example to qualify to race in Le Mans. It used the same DOHC V-8 found in the Corvette ZR-1 of the time.
Like the Elise, the R390 street car was built to satisfy homologation requirements. Sporting a mid-mounted twin-turbo V-8, only two exist, and one is still owned by Nissan.
In addition to the wonderfully cool quad pop-up headlights, the V16T had—you guessed it—a 16-cylinder engine. And that "T" doesn't stand for turbos—it stands for "Transverse." The engine sat sideways behind the driver.
It might be based on a Porsche 911, but the Ruf CTR2 is far from a typical German sports car. It makes over 500 horsepower from its Le Mans-derived twin-turbo engine, and sports a super-cool one-piece wing.
Some might not consider the original Dodge Viper a supercar, but with looks like this and a 450-horsepower V-10 engine under the hood, we'd say it deserves a spot on this list. Here's one you can own right now for under $30,000.
Strange looks aside, the Vantage Le Mans is one serious machine. It has a twin-supercharged V-8 making over 600 horsepower, and a top speed of over 200 mph. It also sounds great.
The NSX is not the fastest car on this list, but arguably, it's the most influential. This was the first truly reliable supercar—as fast as a Ferrari without the drawbacks. It was also a favorite of designer Gordon Murray, who benchmarked it for his McLaren F1. This first-year model painted in red can be yours today.
Aixam is a French maker of microcars and quadrecycles you can operate without a license. For some reason, it also made the Mega Track, a mid-engine off-roader powered by a 400-hp Mercedes V-12. Only five exist.
Okay, so this car was based off the Porsche 962 race car, whose bones date back to the early 1980s. But, in 1994, Dauer built a handful of 962s that could be registered on the street so it could take the car to Le Mans in the GT class. It won outright.
The Vector W8 was the bizarre, incredible dream of American entrepreneur Gerry Wiegert. It was one of the fastest cars R&T had driven when we tested one in 1991.
Of course, the W8 wasn't the only car Vector built in the '90s. The M12 was its replacement, with less sharp edges and more wing. It still had pop-up headlights, though, which is a major plus.
Despite being able to hit 216 mph and having a quad-turbo V-12, the EB110 Super Sport was comfortable and luxurious on the inside. It set the stage for the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, which also marry crushing speed with luxury.
The F50 occupied that middle spot between two of Ferrari's legends: the F40 and the Enzo. However, it was still wickedly fast and rare—only 349 were made.
The world's first fully carbon fiber car, Jaguar only made 53 examples of the XJR-15, which had 450-hp race-derived V-12. We imagine it's quite loud in the cabin at speed.
Powered by a twin-turbo V-6, the XJ220 produced 540 hp. It held the world record for fastest production car, until it was beaten by the McLaren F1.
The Diablo could run in excess of 200 mph and produced 543 bhp. The VT-version was Lamborghini's first AWD V-12 halo car, a setup that remains a Lambo hallmark today. It's also a car every kid had on their bedroom wall. This one is up for bidding on eBay right now.
The Esprit V-8 produced 350 bhp and had a five-speed manual gearbox. The engine was twin-turbocharged and was Lotus's very own all-aluminum design. The last generation of Lotus's wedge-shaped supercar, we think it was the greatest. Here's one you can own today for under $50,000.
More race car than street car, the CLK GTR produced 604 bhp. Does it look expensive to you? Good, because at the time, the Guinness Book of World Records noted it as the most expensive production car ever built, at a list price of $1,547,620.
The three-seater F1 produced 627 bhp from a BMW V-12. It held the record for fastest production car from 1993 to 2005 at 240.1 mph, and was finally beaten by the Bugatti Veyron. The greatest car of all time? We think so.
"Strassenversion" means "street version," and this 911 GT1 made 537 bhp from a 3.2 liter twin-turbo flat-six. Approximately 25 exist worldwide, so your chances of seeing one are pretty slim.