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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Top 5 Forgotten Convertibles of the ’90s



When people think of convertibles from the ‘90s, they tend to think of five cars: the Mazda Miata, the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, the BMW Z3, and then the Mazda Miata again.

 While all four cars defined the decade, there are a few noteworthy drop-tops that have a tendency to escape our memories.

1997 Plymouth Prowler

Few cars exude the same notion of “Holy crap, that car existed,” quite like the Plymouth Prowler. Was it a real hot rod? Not really.

Chrysler let its engineers run wild with the design, which still turn heads these days (perhaps out of surprise), but dropped-in a ho-hum 3.5-liter V6 and four-speed automatic. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with a frown behind the driver’s seat.

1990-1991 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet

There are those who scoff at the thought of a front-engined Porsche. We like to call those people – ‘wrong.’ The 944 S2 Cabriolet fitted Porsche’s large 3.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, good for 208-horsepower and 0-60mph in under six seconds.

It could even hold its own against Porsche’s air-cooled elite, though admittedly it did share more than a few parts with Volkswagen and Audi models.

1990 Dodge Dakota Convertible

Back in the ‘80s, Dodge stumbled onto a hit with its first-generation Dakota, but sales began to trickle off by 1989 and – like any automaker would do – Dodge decided to offer a convertible version.

 Sarcasm aside, it’s an epic little weekend hauler, especially for those not looking to haul all that much. The anemic 2.5-liter four-cylinder produced just 117-horsepower, but there’s something so enviable, so ‘90s about its looks.

1991-1993 Toyota Celica GT Convertible

If you wanted a quick little Japanese coupe in the early ‘90s, you bought an Acura Integra, but if you needed a drop top – it had to be the Toyota Celica GT.

 It remains a strong looker, shared the roost with the rare Celica All-Trac Turbo, but was too light on power to get out of its own way, much less every other Celica that came before.

1995-1996 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 Spyder

The 3000GT was a car of polar opposites. In base trim, it sported a tame V6 and front wheel drive. But in fully loaded VR-4 Spyder guise, this convertible was a 320hp twin-turbo rocketship, and it needed to be.

 The Spyder weighed in at a staggering 4,123 pounds, packed to the gills with four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steer, and dozens of other gadgets. It’s a fat guy that can run the mile in four minutes, and we love it.