WeAreScramblers: The ’90s Edition

I am a child of the 1980s, which meant that by the time the ’90s rolled around, two things consumed all my time: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and cars. Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars were permanently strewn across one of my play mats replicating a town (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you missed out as a kid!).

As I’ve grown older, my appreciation for the ’90s era has only increased. This decade was, in my opinion, when the last truly analogue cars existed. Think cable throttles and minimal invasive safety systems. With the rise of Group N in various forms of motorsport, the cars you saw on TV likely had a performance-oriented counterpart on the dealer floor too.

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Upon hearing that WeAreScramblers’ next theme would be ’90s cars (following the recent rally-themed ‘Brekkie Recce’), I made sure to attend. The format would be slightly different this time round, with the event in its entirety taking place in Hanger 113 at the Bicester Heritage site. Built in 1936, this colossal building with over 45,000 square feet of open space was originally designed to house aircraft such as the Bristol Blenheim bombers.

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By mid-morning, the venue had reached near capacity, with a wide variety of ’90s cars forming part of the ‘Hagerty In The Hangar’ meet. Walking through the neatly lined up aisles presented me with supercars to hot hatches and everything in between.

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One thing I noticed was that the majority of the cars in attendance were in a stock or very lightly modified condition and well presented. This seems to be a recurring theme at events I’ve attended recently.

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Two reasons come to mind: Firstly, the value. Cars of this era have in some cases increased in value 10 to 20 times what you could buy one for out of the back of a printed Autotrader publication once upon a time, with the cost of spare parts having gone up proportionately too. Perhaps those who have spent a considerable amount for the ownership experience are mindful they don’t want to diminish that value?

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Secondly, with cars becoming more and more reigned in by electronics, are buyers electing to keep them as close to the original driving experience as possible, minus some subtle updates? I’d welcome some thoughts in the comments section on this.

Hagerty brought along a couple of arcade classics for everyone to have a go at, with a prize for the fastest time on a Sega Rally stage.

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This base-spec Porsche 993 Carrera 2 was a particular favourite of mine. Everything from the solid white paint to the original 16-inch wheels and lack of sunroof made it hugely appealing. I can imagine someone buying this car new and having to omit any and all options, just to be able to purchase what was likely their dream car.

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This was in stark contrast to the 993 Carrera RS nearby, which had limited appeal when it was new because it sat in the shadow of the 911 Turbo. How things have changed, with the RS model hovering at around £250,000 now when it was only £9,000 more than a Carrera 2 when new.

I had to do a double take when peering inside this Audi RS6. These were originally only sold with an automatic gearbox, but this wagon now has a manual swap as well as a set of re-trimmed Recaro seats from a later RS4.

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A Lotus Carlton in any colour other than the model’s signature green is rare, but an example built for motorsport even more so. I’ll be dedicating a spotlight to this car because of the unique racing history it has.

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While brand collaborations have existed in the automotive space for many years, this is likely one of the most oddball. Peugeot has been a main sponsor of the Roland Garros Tennis Tournament since the 1980s, with special edition 205s one of the first collaborations. Unique colour, part white leather sports interior along with power tinted windows and a tape player made it fairly upmarket when compared to other hatchbacks of the time.

Audi UK brought along a completely original Mk1 TT; a car which I think has aged incredibly well. It is unheard of for the concept and production models of a car to bear such an incredible resemblance to one another, but the TT accomplished this with minimal changes. The more observant will notice the car is also devoid of its rear spoiler, an item retrofitted by dealers to give the car safer handling at higher speeds after an Audi recall.

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Having so many unique cars to peruse during the course of the morning – some I’d not seen an example of for years – was genuinely refreshing. Modern motoring seems to have gotten to the point where cars are treated as consumable white goods like a TV, fridge or microwave, in that they are used, then traded in for the next new model a few years later. While there are exceptions, perhaps the key to automotive culture is always going to be the past.

Chaydon Ford
Instagram: chaycore

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1

Is that a real 205 Rallye? I seem to remember there were two versions, one a cooking version with stickers, the other a homologation special with the same 1300 as the mk1 106 Rallye - except on Webers so even more of a handful in ordinary traffic than the slightly more house-trained EFI of the 106!

2

It is indeed, a proper LHD Euro spec one with the Webers!

3

Oooh lovely! I think it would have been far more worthy of a Speedhunters paragraph than the admittedly nicely presented Roland Garros, which is just a dressed up cooking pug.

Author4

The owner brought it out to the Brekkie Recce event a few weeks ( http://www.speedhunters.com/2022/02/taking-subaru-wrc-car-breakfast/ ) prior where I briefly touched on it. Granted the RG cars may not have been that special mechanically, it was still something really unique

5

Cheers, I'll check out that article.

6

Opening sentence made me smile, wow the 80's/90's was such a long time ago. I'm getting old :( . We could not afford satellite back then. I remember begging my mom to go to the neighbors to watch (she would let me on the rare occasion). I used to be mental about the TMNT. . . . . hahahahaha being a kid is fun.

7

On another note, the car world is gone to shite. I have read PVW, Maxpower over the years and England has had it good with cars Cossies, Carlton etc and the list is endless plus I think the import laws are lenient i guess that from all that reading (importing cars from Japan for long time).

Here in South Africa import laws are absolute bull dust. We hardly got anything good, yes there were some very good factory limited edition cars from the 90's but they were limited and are now unobtanium.

Regular E36 BMW 318is is now fetching BMW M3 money here, people have lost there marbles.

90's car's. . . . . . . . . . . . . .My favorite memory was that there engines were so stout. . Corolla engines, VW 8V engines, BMW 6 cylinder you could drive them hard and they would stay intact.

8

On the one hand I find it sad that the 90's cars are so valuable now, but the flip side is that we still get to see them. If the government etc had their way, then these would have all been scrapped and swapped for a new car. We lost some great and rare stuff to those 'scrappage schemes' :(

9

Too true. Reading up the published list of cars that were scrapped was rather upsetting!

10

WOW ! That original TT is clean, and really hits different, thats a rare one to find these days. Makes me really want one even though i already wanted one. Gated shifter, small coupé... i mean thats a future special that

11

Keeeeeen for more on the Carlton!
As far as modifying modern classics goes I think that often it depends on whether the owner bought the car when they were relatively inexpensive or for the prices they're currently selling at. I, for one, wouldn't dream of hacking into my cars the way I do if I'd paid what the market value is now. 10 years ago these cars were a cheap bit of fun but now they're investments. It's a double edged sword.

12

Agreed. When I bought my first AE86, it was around £3000 and ever since if I've sold one/bought another its been at the current market value, so to me they're still a £3000 car. When I owned an E46 M3, even though that was cheaper than the AE86, I felt like I had to be so careful because it seemed a more expensive car.

13

1 thing that deffers 90's (and late 80's) is: homolagation at its best.

14
Vincent Conker Auger

Great stuff Chaydon ! Filled up on wallpapers for that one. Can't wait 'till our first similar meet in Montreal. It's called Epicure classics (Epicure being a local food store) and it is reserved for 80 and 90s cars. Some of the best oddballs of Montreal are showing up there and people are definitely more interesting than at regular car shows.

15

Sounds awesome. And a whole host of different cars to what we would see here in the UK

16
Vincent Conker Auger

There's a lot less french vehicles (because outside of the odd Renault 5 or Alliance, we never truly had french vehicles here) but the rest is mostly euro and japanese. There's a couple of american cars (like mine) but not so much. We did have a genuine F40 last year and there is stuff like an Alpina 3.3L E46 or heavily modified (and rare around here, they literally disappeared in rust with out winters) Datsun 510 that shows up to spice things up.

17

Thx for the review!
Any chance there is a picture of Subaru Legacy that’s parked next to the yellow bmw 3?

Author18

I can likely help with that. Drop me a message on instagram

19

Any 309GTIs hiding in their somewhere?

Author20

Sadly none on the day!

21

Making too many modifications to a car can ruin its original character. The trick is to make modifications that are easily reversible but also make the car your own.
I prefer to drive my car every chance I get. Packing the camping gear in the back of an r53 JCW MCS, check. Softening the adjustable coilovers a tad for the gravel roads, check. Drive for weeks on end travelling thousands of kilometres, check. The day after arriving back home spending the whole day cleaning the whole thing, check.
The day you start viewing the car as simply an investment is the day you should find something else to turn your attention to.
So many people today view a car as simply a way to get from a to b though I must admit many people are driving the roads I travel on in fully kitted 4x4's which are lot more practical than my mini.

22

that safety re-call was for sudden brutal lift off over steer. the car makes lift due to its retro shape and cars were flying off the road backwards.the problem was this happened about 40-50 mph. which is b-road average speed

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