- Cover Image by - Chris Sommerville

An Open Letter To The 80s & 90s

Current cars of today owe their respects and gratitude’s to cars of the 80s and 90s, and even to this day 30 years on some cant get it right, but why?

3y ago

Dear 1980, while I may not be 37 years of age or older I can feel a somewhat nostalgia coming on when I say things like Back To The Future, Pac-Man and Jaw Breakers. Significant events come to mind to like Britain's Prince Charles wedding Diana Spencer, dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller, the horrific Chernobyl accident and the queen of talk shows airing her very first Oprah Winfrey Show. Cars from that era were also significant and played a huge role to what I see today especially from that of a turbocharged nature. This was all thanks to something very few petrolheads know if even til this very day.

Group B Rally, Homologation, The Golden Era.

We must not forget, thanks to the 1980s, Group B Rally cars were born and because of that era some of the most amazing cars ever were created thanks to a number of rules. For a car to compete, X amount of cars were to be sold publicly. Group B Rally called little to no rules on technology and design, allowing certain car makers to create high-tech, lightweight, turbocharged race cars capable of producing, lets be honest, God fearing power. Sadly after a number of fatal crashes, Group B as we know it in 1986 was no more. Luckily for us mere mortals, all the heart and soul manufactures poured into Group B ended up trickling into cars, and while we all know that the first is always a flop in some cases, the 80s set us up and lay the ground work for the best years to come and for that, 1980s, I thank you. We all do.

Long Live The 90s

Image via Marcel Lech Photography

Image via Marcel Lech Photography

It was like the dawn of a new era. People became free, bold and brave. Nelson Mandela was released from Prison, things like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Boy Bands started to appear more frequently but most importantly, you gave us the best era and period of cars ever, and even as I write this people from all over the world bow in respect when a legend passes by. I am however concerned, because I know for a fact that almost 20 years on the cars of my 90s were so good they were never to be repeated again. The passion, boldness and soul of creativity seems to have been lost a long the way.

To the FD...

You came into this world in 1992 and carried with you three generations of pure genius and excitement. As the 6th of your kind you only had 1.3 liters to power yourself but the ace up your sleeve was your Wankel Rotary heart. With the addition of twin turbochargers, a small coupe frame and a low centre of gravity, you gave most European cars a run for their money, but sadly in 2002, after a cult following, crazy tuning culture and epic 10 years of existence you passed on. The name never to be revived again, and while teasers are shown, I don't think we will ever see another of your kind. You were just too good for us. I still miss you.

"You owe me a ten second car."

Seven words, Brian O'Connor and one of pop cultures most infamous car movies ever made changed everything we knew about the Toyota Supra. Paul Walker, I know you are resting well up above but I want to thank you. If it wasn't for you and the Fast and The Furious, I wouldn't of fallen in love with JDM and tuner culture in 2001. I also have you to thank for our deep love and passion for the supercar killer we know as the MK4 Supra, a car til this day that terrorizes the streets of beloved million dollar car owners. We must also thank the Ford Mustang, for if it wasn't for the Pony car that set the standard, the Supra would of never existed. Even though you lasted only 9 years, you gave us some of the best supercar spanking moments ever and while strong rumors of a successor is floating around for 2019, I doubt anyone can name a better duo than the 2JZ engine and the Supra.

Nothing like a rivalry to the death.

Birthed in the 90s like a typical sibling or family rivalry, I saw two icons go toe to toe for glory. I witnessed a family sedan undergo surgery to become a rally stage champion. It was thanks to you, I would see insane turbocharging, massive aeroplane spoilers and sports car like performance for a family car. To witness a rivalry so deep throughout the 90s was incredible, one always outdoing the other until finally in 2016, the Evo bowed out and was no more, and while the WRX STi will live on, things won't be the same anymore when you have no direct rival to fight with.

The GTR ゴジラ

There are a few things in this world that simply go well together no matter where you are, for example McDonalds and fries, America and Apple Pie, Ken Block and Gymkhana and the list goes on. You cannot however not say 90s JDM cars and not think about the iconic Skyline GTR. This is a car that defined an era and generation and if I was perfectly honest, what all the other cars I mentioned and more strived to be. Yes, there was Civics, S14s, 3000 GT's, Integra Type R's and many more, but the Skyline GTR in cartoon or anime world would be the final form and nothing greater could come further than an import than this, which is true.

All the way up to its final form the Nissan Skyline GTR received subtle changes with the R34 being the swan song. This car cemented JDM desire and it soon became the most sought after 90s car ever made. Til this day it remains respected and feared and with soaring prices of models going up each year, the Skyline GTR soon became a collectors item. This car was well and truly the last of it's kind because shortly after its final run in 2002, things changed and so did the heritage and legacy cars of this kind carried from the 90s.

Gone, but not forgotten.

Image via Top Gear Malaysia

Image via Top Gear Malaysia

I know we live in a modern era, handbrakes are electronic and manual gearbox cars are now an option and while technology has replaced the essence of cars soul, some manufacturers have lost their 90s touch. Don't get me wrong, you are all currently great but I feel that sometimes the modern versions of past legends have been ruined. We are teased and shown concept cars left right and centre but once made into production, these so called iconic badges become horrible crossovers or B Grade material run around cars or worse yet, they never come back into production at all.

Image via Petrolicious

Image via Petrolicious

Did we all take for granted the golden era of cars? I think we all did. Current cars and technology make things easier and yes, electric and hybrid cars and stupidly fast but they all lack that unique and special character the kids from the 90s had. I wish I could back to the good old days and relive that magic season. Sometimes, I can still feel your era rub off at a car show or meet when someone pours heart and soul into restoring you. Please know that even when manufacturers refuse to make you again or reincarnate you as a horrible science project, I still think about the good times you brought into this world. The 1990s was really a one off period in time we won't see again so thank you for being you, we love the 90s.

Sincerely, Everyone.

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Comments (65)

  • The subject of soul is open for debate but stock car figures are not! Some of the cars on the list always gave German and Brittish sport car power houses headaches despite being low on actual hp figures out of the box. This mentality of making a low power car FUN and exhilirating is sadly lost today. We are in a constant horsepower hype war. We have family saloons pumping easy 600 hp. The word supercar has lost its allure, we no longer start convulsing when we hear the words quad turbo 375 hp. This is a figure easily attained today by a diesel saloon. Supercars have been replaced by hyper cars (bc of course they have). Your hyper car is considered garbage unless it comes with AT LEAST 800 ponies out of the box. All the while motorists around the world still have to drive 50kmh around town and 100kmh out of town, and 130kmh on most highways (Germany is ONE exception, bound to oblivion soon, because noise and environmental pollution created at 250kmh +). So, in looking at photos comparing grandpa cars to new kids (1964 911t vs 2017 Carrera, Hakosuka vs GTR, E30 vs F30 and so on and so forth) I have to wonder... why did fat and bloated become cool? Why do they insist that it is better to drive a fast car slow than a slow car fast? Look at the BRZ... 200 hp of lighthearted, very controllable, exhilirating FUN. Total financial letdown for the makers. What is the number 1 issue the general public brings up? Needs moar powa. Needs turbo(s). But WHY? So you can land in jail sooner? Does everyone drive 90% at racetracks and 10% in heavy almost standstill traffic? I know it's the exact opposite for me... I go back to my comparison of old to new taken to the weekend country road fun and despite thinking an F30 would be killer there, somehow the E30 would be my choice if fun were the actual comparison, not safety ratings and hp figures. I would choose the R32 over the GT-R. I would choose the 200SX over the 370Z I would choose the old NSX over the new any day.

    I wonder why auto makers have managed to convince us that driving a fast car slow is better than driving a slow car fast, or if this is just another unpopular opinion...

      4 years ago
    • Great points Zsolt 🙌🏽 very very convincing argument and very valid. You have more fun driving fast in a slow car 🙌🏽

        4 years ago
    • Well most of todays young drivers don't care about cars a such. They only need a car from A to B, and they are very good ground to sell what ever they want. As opposite a few of us that actualy know what we want is a problem, because all new cars are...

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        4 years ago
  • There were only japanese cars in the 90s, or?

      3 years ago
  • Great post! Promoted it to the Best of Classics :)

      4 years ago
  • Miata was from the late eighties too and I think they kept the same spirit in their latest models. Thumbs up to Mazda.

      4 years ago
  • This.. Exactly this. All that’s missing in today’s cars. Wonder if in 30 years somebody will write an article about today’s cars.

      4 years ago