Motor Trend - February 1990: Top TenNovember 1990

It’s hard to believe that 1988 is a quarter of a century behind us. That was the year Motor Trend magazine started a somewhat short-lived tradition of publishing annual lists that itemized the top ten ranking vehicles in a variety of categories.

I happened along the 1990 issue and it did a nice job of painting a statistical picture of the era’s automotive scene. So, I thought I’d share some of that information here.

Top Ten Car Investments
Motor Trend’s staff thought the following cars were the ten best investments that were “easy to locate, purchase and drive.” Precluding obvious exotics from the list, the cars were affordable and capable of being used for everyday transportation.

The cars in this list weren’t numbered or listed alphabetically, so I am presenting them in the order they appeared. I’ve included pictures for all the cars from the magazine (except for one, having been split between two pages, which is a stock photo). Accompanying the photos is text from the article.

1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am

“The ’89 Turbo Trans Am Indy Pace Car was General Motors’ dream car of the ’80s. At long last, it got GM’s best powerplant, the turbo intercooled Grand National Buick V-6, together with the best platform, the latest-generation F-body. Only 1500 cars were produced, and they carried a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of approximately $33,000. This is truly a high-water mark car, and low-mileage excellent-condition models are presently selling for $22,000-$26,000.”

1987 Shelby Charger GLH-S1987 Shelby Charger GLH-S

“The Dodge Omni GLH-S was the quickest car built by Shelby automobiles, but the ’87 Charger is sportier and will be worth more in the long run. For the ’87 model year, 1000 cars were produced, and they featured the 174-horsepower turbocharged/intercooled powerplant that, along with a sport-tuned suspension system, provided quick and sure-footed performance. In spite of the low production numbers, prices range from $3500 to $7500. This could be the next Shelby Mustang. Shelby chargers have an impressive racing history, so finding and purchasing one of the original race cars would be a worthy endeavor.”

1988 Pontiac Fiero GT1988 Pontiac Fiero GT

“Many people are talking about the investment potential of Fieros. The only sure bet is the ’88 GT. It has the suspension fixes that make it a fun car to drive. The Fiero’s styling will be timeless, and the investment value will continue upward because they’re out of production. Try to find the mostly optioned car available and in a good color like red or black. Other Fieros may appreciate, but not as quickly.”

1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC

“While Camaro IROC production is high enough that many would question its investment potential, the ’90 has the distinction of being the last and best IROC. Here, we would designate a 5-liter five-speed version with 16-inch wheels and four-wheel disc brakes as the most desirable car. It’s extremely wall balanced and is the most sophisticated-looking F-body. It’s unlikely Chevrolet will ever have another IROC model, enhancing the value of this car. An IROC convertible would be an excellent second choice.”

1976-1991 Jaguar XJS1976-1991 Jaguar XJS

“Jaguar’s sleek, 12-cylinder coupe is as fresh and timeless as the day it was introduced in 1976. It’s received constant refinement every year, but the high cost of ownership has kept most resale value within reach of most enthusiasts. Where else can you find a 12-cylinder exotic sport coupe going for under $10,000? Our local auto trader has several early ’80s models listed for under $10,000. Buy the best car you can afford, because parts and maintenance are fairly expensive. Then just wait for prices to rise like they have for early ’70s 12-cylinder E-Types.”

Motor Trend’s 1990 Top Ten continued on page 2, below.

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