What is the most collectible car from the 1990 era?

The 1991-94 Mercury Capri

 We all know about the fab 1960s, some 1970s "Classic" cars, whether it is a 1966 Corvair Corsa rear engine Chevy, a 1966 Dodge Charger, a 75 Cosworth Vega (Chevy), the Barracuda, GTO, Stingray etc.

But really, since that time, what car's have REALLY stood out, were well received, yet produced in relatively small numbers that would make them a "classic". Maybe it is me, but I am scratching me head. Can a Japanese car become an American classic? I suppose. But really, time will tell, as most of the cars are still too young to be a "classic".

One exception is the 1991-94 Ford Mercury Capri. Capri has been in the Ford stables since 1970, when Mercury introduced the first Capri (which was really a Mustang in many ways). Why would this 90's car become a classic by 2020 or so?

The car was only produced four years. Only 66,000 were made. In 1991, over 20,000 were made, however by 1994, only 400 were made. The car was designed by the Italians, assembled in Australia, its engine and chassis are from a 1987-88 Mazda Protégé, which are plentiful and when maintained can reach 250,000 miles easily.  The car is a three seater with its small rear seat, which is functional(better than not having it). The engine is a 1.6L Mazda with 100hp for automatic, 116hp for stick, 132hp for Turbo.

The car , when released, was well received yet never sold well. Nearly all the motor reviews loved the car and most were good reviews. It sold for $15,000 new. All models were basically the same but for minor trim and the engine. The automatic was a dog, it was underpowered with only 100hp, it felt like it. The stick (5 spd) is a good get around car. The Turbo was the XR2. There are few today who do not like driving it. Online reviews praise the car. Some refer to it as a "chick" or "barbie" car, not sure why, maybe because a lot of women drove them.

Today, 2010, only about 30,000 remain, maybe less. It is getting harder to find them and this more true for the XR2 model. Parts are available since the 1991 model is only 19 years old. The 1994 is already a collectible sport car with only 400 made worldwide. Except for the year and tailights, they look like the other years.

Why did it fail? The Mazda Miata. It came out in 1990. Both cars used the same engine and tranny but the Miata was a different car in design and suspension. People simply loved it more, it was much quicker and agile. The Capri was simply less of a sport car, one for cruising not racing, one that is cool but not racy. It was a family sport car.

The Capri will be a collectible car from the 90s.

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Comments 6 comments

Mercredi profile image

Mercredi 6 years ago

Thanks for the great article on this Australian built rival to the Mazda Miata! I almost forgot about the Capri!


perrya profile image

perrya 6 years ago Author

Just bought an XR2!


Richard 3 years ago

Consumer Reports says the Capri suffered from much-worse-than-average reliability while Miata owners enjoyed much-better-than-average reliability. Comparing the two cars (both manual transmission), Consumer Reports recommended the Miata, while describing the Capri as a "wanna-be Miata" and failed to impress their evaluators.


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

Well, a car's value is subjective also. Before buying my Capri, I compared it to a Miata and found it to be far more practical with it rear seat, removable hardtop, turbo. Since the Capri has many Miata parts in the engine, chassis, it must be equally reliable. I have had mine for two years, and only replaced the alternator. Since they made only 66000, it is much more rare today than a Miata.


Leo Auto elect 3 years ago

I worked at a ford dealership in OZ when they were new. They suffered from poor sealing roofs and shocking NVH. Many hated them although I never minded them. The turbos were great apart from the hassle of removing alternator and aircond compressors on turbos BUT the main thing you are missing IS THE MIATA WAS REAR WHEEL DRIVE. I believe this is why it earnt more brownie points than capri


perrya profile image

perrya 3 years ago Author

Perhaps, but despite how some may not like them, being only 66,000 were made and because they are more practicable than a Miata, what other car from the 90's might be a collector car?

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