Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s

As we predicted, the voting in last week's Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1980s poll was a bit more competitive than that in the Ricardo Montalban-dominated Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1970s. The Black Gold 280ZX made a strong showing, but the Cocaine Factory Duster takes the prize, with 32% of the votes. Now we're moving into the decade of Operation Desert Storm, grunge, and Pets.com, which brings up the question: is it possible to feel truly nostalgic about the decade right before the current one? Make the jump, cast your vote!


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s

10: 1991 Ford Escort GT
Have you got a hunger for power? The front-wheel-drive power to go with an incredibly plasticky grille? If so, the '91 Escort GT, with its 127-horse Mazda engine, was the car to drive as you watched gas prices soar during the turmoil of Gulf War I.


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
9: 1992 Toyota Starlet
Apparently all the weirdness that the relentlessly conservative suits at Toyota expunged from their vehicles got forced into their home-market ads, judging by this brain-scrambler for the '92 Starlet. Yes, that's a laugh track.


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
8: 1994 Honda VTEC engine
Why don't we get ads for engines in North America? Honda put together this nerve-rippin' 24 Hours of Le Mans-themed ad for their then-fairly-new VTEC system, and we could listen to that engine wail all day.


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
7: 1991 Ford Escort RS2000
They were building a much different kind of Escort over there in Yurp back in '91; while the Detroit version was based on the same platform as the Mazda 323, the Yurpean version was all Ford. This UK-market ad uses the "Rocky" theme song, for reasons that may or may not have made sense to the marketers at the time.


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
6: Volkswagen Bus Syncro
VW decided to go with the Worst Song Ever — peppered with incomprehensible Afrikaans terminology — to pitch their hot-rod, Audi-powered, four-wheel-drive Transporter to the South African market. Miscreants attempting to escape down the track in a handcar? The VW Bus Syncro will catch up!


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
5: 1990 Isuzu Pickup
By 1990, everyone knew that the Toyota pickup would outlast the cockroaches when the apocalypse started a-comin' down, but Isuzu figured they were poised to brush Toyota aside with their truck. Hmmm... when's the last time you saw a Third World warlord's troops riding through the desert in the bed of an Isuzu?


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
4: 1991 Oldsmobile Silhouette
What's the best way to sell a minivan that looks like a Dustbuster vacuum cleaner? GM figured it would be logical to get the daughter of world-renowned poet Leonard Nimoy to make the pitch. Yes, the future will be all about 5-foot-deep dashboards!


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
3: 1990 Plymouth Acclaim
OK, no Ike jokes here — this is Tina Turner shilling for the memorably forgettable '90 Plymouth Acclaim, which featured all the diamond-tucked fake velour that could be glued into a K Car. Like Tina, the Acclaim was built for comfort .


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
2: 1990 Geo Tracker
Mullets were still mainstream in 1990, judging from this ad for the rebadged Suzuki Sidekick. Note the fascinating variety of sketchy-looking stalker types drawn to the Tracker's profile, including a couple that literally emerge from the depths of the sea.


Top Ten Best Car Ads Of The 1990s
1: 1992 Lada Samara
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lada suddenly needed to play the capitalist game and advertise its products. What better way than to use the Rappin' Red Army to hawk the Samara? Give 'em clarinets and guitars instead of AKs!