The 1990s were a very busy decade for General engines. Through its major auto divisions, it released new models over the decade and improved existing ones. Despite making losses and cutting production significantly in 1990, GM unveiled the General Motors EV1 (Impact) concept car. It was a zero-emission car that eventually went into production in the 1997 model year. Another model that debuted in 1990 was Pontiac’s first minivan, the Trans Sport.
Other new arrivals in 1990 included the first Buick Reatta convertible and the Chevrolet Lumina. In 1991 Cadillac introduced the Northstar engine series which remained in production until 2011. These powerful engines were used in 1990s cars such as the Oldsmobile Aurora, the Cadillac Allante and the Eldorado. To round out the decade, the Silverado was released in 1998, while the Escalade followed in 1999 as GM’s answer to the Lincoln Navigator. Here are 10 of GM’s best cars from the 1990s.
10 1996 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6
The fourth generation of the Firebird came in 3 versions with 4-wheel ABS, power steering and several non-rusting composite body panels. In 1996 the Trans Am got the WS6 performance package with a functional “Ram Air” dual intake hood. Engine power was boosted from 285 hp to 305 hp, while torque rose to 335 lb-ft.
Furthermore, it got oval dual exhaust tips, while Bilstein shocks were offered as options. It could reach 60 mph in about 5.8 seconds and max out at about 159 mph.
9 1997 GM EV1
Following the 1990 introduction of the Impact electric concept car, the production EV1 arrived in the 1997 model year. The 2-seat coupe was powered by a three-phase induction AC motor powered by a 16.3 kWh lead-acid battery. The output was 137 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque while the driving range was 79 miles.
The EV1 took 15 hours to fully charge on the regular 110-volt outlet. On the other hand, the 220-volt MagneCharge only took three hours to fully charge. Weighing in at 2,970 pounds, the 1997 GM EV1 could hit 100 km/h in less than 9 seconds. Despite positive reactions and protests from customers, GM discontinued the EV1.
8 1997 Chevrolet Corvette
The C5 Corvette debuted with the 1997 model and featured a hydroformed box frame. Moving the transmission to form an integrated rear-mounted transaxle gave it perfect weight distribution front and rear, improving handling.
The all-new 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine under the hood, with a torque tube hooked to the transaxle, delivered 345 horsepower. The 1997 Corvette was only available as a coupé and was good for a top speed of 175 hp. Thanks to the improved structural platform, it was a stronger and quieter car than the C4 models.
7 1991 Chevrolet Lumina Z34
Available from 1991 to 1994, the Z34 was the high-performance variant of the Chevrolet Lumina. Offered only on the coupe, the Z34 trim sported lower side skirts, a louvered hood and a rear spoiler to show its sporting intentions. Underneath, it got the FE3 sport suspension package and dual exhaust.
Addicted to the standard five-speed manual transmission, the 3.4-litre V6 engine under the hood delivered 210 hp. He could run the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds and corner with confidence. Equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes, it also had strong braking power.
6 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
With its understated appearance and four-door body, the 1996 Impala SS was a real sleeping car in the 1990s. Thanks to a boosted LT1 V8 engine with an OBD-II computer control system, it had ample passing power. The retuned 5.7-liter engine, with cast iron cylinder heads, produced 260 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque.
Mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission, it sent the Impala SS to 60 mph in 7 seconds and a top speed of 142 horsepower. Despite the sporty shocks, the big Chevy sedan delivers a comfortable ride quality.
5 1990 Chevrolet Silverado 454 SS
The 1990 Chevrolet Silverado 454 SS was developed as the high-performance variant of the Chevrolet C1500. For better driving dynamics, it was equipped with an improved suspension with Bilstein gas shock absorbers and a stronger front stabilizer bar.
Under the hood was a massive 7.4-litre V8 powerplant mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission to produce 230 horsepower. While it doesn’t sound like much by today’s standards, it was the bomb at the time. Decked out in black, the 454 SS had body color bumpers/mirrors, a gloss black grille and bucket seats.
4 1991 GMC Syclone
The 1991 GMC Syclone is only available in black and was jointly produced by: GMC and Manufacturing Automotive Services (PAS). It was powered by a 4.3-litre V6 turbo engine that fed the 4 wheels through a 4-speed automatic transmission.
With 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, it could hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and cover the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds. Not only was it the fastest production truck in 1991, but it was also the first production truck with four-wheel ABS. Anyone who opposes the Syclone does so at their own risk.
3 1992 Cadillac Seville
The Cadillac Seville entered its fourth generation in 1992 as a beautiful new sedan. Offered in 2 trim levels, the new Seville was longer and wider than the 1991 model. Under the hood of both models, they had a 4.9-liter V8 engine delivering 200 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque.
Paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission, it sent the STS model to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Although the Seville got even better in 1993, the 1992 model received rave reviews from car magazines and enthusiasts.
2 1992 GMC Typhoon
The GMC Typhoon is a 2-door high-performance SUV that went on sale in 1992 and 1993. Under the hood he hid a 4.3-litre V6 turbo engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission and 4WD system. With 280 horsepower and 350 lb-ft on tap, the Typhoon could hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.
Other features include a BorgWarner 4472 transfer case, upgraded brakes and a pneumatic self-levelling rear suspension. While it certainly looks aggressive in the driveway, it’s downright terrifying as it hurtles down the tarmac.
1 1998 Camaro Z28
Built on the F-body platform like the Pontiac Firebird, the fourth generation Chevrolet Camaro Z28 debuted with a 275 horsepower engine and rectangular twin tailpipes. With a facelift in 1998, the Z28 got an all-new 5.7-liter V8 powerplant. Mated to a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, the LS1 produced 305 horsepower.
Zero-60mph happened in 6.8 seconds. The 1998 Z28 also had a working coolant temperature gauge, while braking power came from 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS. Also on the menu were stability control, cruise control, traction control and remote keyless entry.