Youngtimers magazine celebrates iconic sports cars of the 1990s!

For the 10th consecutive year, Youngtimers magazine is taking part in Rétromobile. For this 45th edition, the monthly dedicated to the cult cars of 1970-2000 shines the spotlight on iconic sports cars of the 1990s, with one representative from each nation: Renault Clio Williams (France), BMW M3 GT E36 (Germany), Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0 24V V6 Cup (Italy), Lotus Elise S1 (Britain), Honda Integra Type R (Japan) and Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 (USA).

Renault Clio Williams (1993-96)

Clio Willimas - Rétromobile 2020

The first title won by the Williams-Renault stable in late 1992, with Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese, gave Renault an opportunity to enter the lists. In April 2009, the Clio Williams made its entrance. This model was destined on the one hand to exploit Formula 1 successes commercially and on the other, to homologate the car in Group A, hence the production of an initial 2,500 numbered examples for the road. They received the 1,998 cc FR7 engine developing 150 bhp. The Williams was also distinguished by its Blue Sport paintwork (ref. 449), gold 7” Speedline aluminium rims, special upholstery, blue carpet and Williams logos. A total of 12,100 units were produced, 5,417 of which were phase 1 numbered examples and 6,683 phase 2 (including 500 “Swiss Champions”).

BMW M3 GT E36 (1995)

BMW M3GT - Rétromobile 2020

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in late 1992, the M3 E36 began its career with a 2,990 cc 24-valve straight six engine developing 286 bhp. Its release made a great impact at the time because it was competing with the contemporary Ferraris and Porsches whilst at the same time offering greater versatility at a very favourable price. In 1995, a more highly tuned production model was developed to meet racing requirements: the GT, of which 356 units were produced (10 of them for France). It was identified by its unique British Racing Green paintwork, the adjustable lip added under the front and rear spoilers. Under the bonnet, the S50 had more higher-lift camshafts and an optimised Vanos dynamic timing system. Its power climbed to 295 bhp and its temperament became still more explosive. The suspension was also strengthened to further improve the handling and provide greater feel.

Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0 V6 24V Cup (2001-02)

Alfa GTV Cup - Rétromobile 2020

In late 1999/early 2000, every Alfa Romeo customer was offered the chance to take part in a competition. All they needed to do was enter at one of the brand’s dealers then cross their fingers and hope they would be chosen to be among 160 amateurs selected to take part in the GTV Cup, created especially for gentlemen drivers. The cars did not receive much media coverage, and that could have been the end of the series. But that was not allowing for British Alfa enthusiasts, who were besotted with them, to the point of ordering a small special series from the parent company! And that is how 155 Alfa Red right-hand drive 3.0 24V V6 coupes (numbered 1-155) crossed the Channel in 2001. 264 additional left-hand drive Cups were subsequently assembled for the rest of Europe.

Lotus Elise S1 (1996-2000)

Lotus Elise - Rétromobile 2020

When the Elise made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1995, a number of observers were astounded at its weight: 690 kg, even though the final figure for the first production examples came to around 720 kg, just a little more than a basic Citroen AX! In fact, the 118 bhp of the Rover K-series engine were sufficient to propel this little honey of a car to over 200 kph, going from 0 to 100 kph in 6.2 seconds and covering 1,000 metres from a standing start in 27.5 seconds. Times that would make many of the era’s more powerful sports cars green with envy. A total of 8,613 units were produced, some of which were special series.

Honda Integra Type R (1998-2000)

Honda Integra - Rétromobile 2020

A coupe that is little-known but nevertheless idolized by those who have owned or driven one. Because the Integra Type R (DC2 type) was a comet, marketed for scarcely three years by Honda France. It was launched only in white, with a range of 15” Enkei rims, a Momo Daytona steering wheel and red Recaro SR bucket seats. The not-very-discreet spoiler also emphasised the colour. And under the bonnet nestled a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine with a staggering output: 108 bhp/l without a turbo! The motor came alive at 5,700 rpm and flew to the red line, at 8,400 rpm. The transmission and drive chain were in perfect unison. In France, only 430 examples found buyers ...

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 (1990-95)

Corvette ZR1 - Rétromobile 2020

In 1986, General Motors acquired Lotus and decided to entrust the British engineering outfit (which included Harvey Jones and Tony Rudd among its ranks) with the design of a new engine designated the LT-5. In recognition of its heritage, the capacity (5.7 litres) and crankshaft centre distance were retained, but everything else was changed: an aluminium block and cylinder heads machined by Mercury Marine, light-alloy cylinder liners treated with Nikasil and twin overhead camshafts per bank. On the menu: 375 bhp. Launched at the Geneva Motor Show on 7 March 1989, the ZR-1 was only officially marketed the following year. In six years of production (1990-95), the statistics show that 6,939 Corvette C4 ZR-1s were produced, to which should be added 84 pre-production examples (1989 models), which were never sold. Of the latter, 12 were used for press road tests in France at the time then were repatriated back to the USA. The last ZR-1 left the factory on 24 April 1995. NOTE: the ZR-1 was never imported into France and only 20 or so are estimated to be on the road in.