Barney and Friends debuts on PBS. Johnny Carson ends his reign on the Tonight Show. Euro Disney opens. A billion people watch televised coverage of the Freddie Mercury tribute concert for AIDS research. A woman in New Mexico is burned by a cup of McDonald’s coffee. The Bosnian War. Four police officers are acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. And you were graduating from high school, because it was the late spring of 1992.
Yes, it’s been 25 years. And now it’s time for your 25-year high school reunion. Whether you’re flying back or driving there, here are some of the cars you’ll likely be talking about, because they were the cars for which you likely lusted as high school seniors.
PS: Even if you didn’t graduate from high school in 1992, consider that those who did are now approaching their mid-40s, likely have good jobs and perhaps even disposable income and may become nostalgic enough that they’ll be able to pursue their high school dream cars in the collector car marketplace. So look for some of these cars to start escalating in value.
Ah, where to start? Well, let’s start with the Car and Driver 10-Best list for 1992. We won’t go into the entire list, but several of the 10 likely had particular appeal to those in their late teens. This group includes the Honda Prelude Si, Mazda Miata, and Eagle Talon TSi and Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX.
Also on that 10-Best list were the Ford Taurus SHO, a fast sedan but not necessarily a car with style, and the Lexus SC400, a stylish coupe — but the cool kids knew that the car you wanted wasn’t the SC400 with its V8 but the less-expensive and more fun to drive SC300 with its inline six and manually shifted gearbox.
Besides, the SC400’s $37,500 price tag — more than double the price of the average new car — was out of the range of the typical high schooler with a part-time job. But that wouldn’t have stopped you from lusting after such a vehicle, or after the new Dodge Viper, the Acura NSX, the new BMW 3 Series or even the Hummer H1. Ditto on Corvettes.
More likely — and certainly more affordable than AM General’s street-legal military vehicles — were the also brand new Saturn cars from General Motors.
Toyota was on a roll in the early ‘90s. Not only did it offer the Lexus SC, but under its own brand it had the Supra, Celica and even the MR2.
Also fun but again very expensive — at $27,465 — was the new GMC Typhoon factory hot-rodded pickup truck. However, imported compact pickup trucks from Datsun/Nissan and Toyota were very popular, and very affordable on the used vehicle market.
And for those who wanted to go off-pavement — or at least who wanted to appear to be capable of going off-pavement — there were the Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler.
Also readily available in the used car marketplace were Chevrolet Camaros and Berettas (remember that car?), Pontiac Firebirds and Ford Mustangs and Probes, and various Volkswagens.