Time always seems to be accelerating. Every year you hear people say: time just flies by. It seems almost surreal that we are already in the year 2020. With that in mind, we wish a very happy 30th birthday to a few motoring icons.

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Modern classics

For many of our readers it will feel as though these cars were launched fairly recently. In reality they are all now eligible for classic status. That is according to FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens). FIVA is a worldwide organisation dedicated to the preservation, protection and promotion of historic vehicles and related culture, as well as their safe use.

The list of modern classics grows every year, but this year a few notable models were added. Two Japanese legends debuted in 1990: the universally lauded Honda NSX and the Mazda MX-5. Honda showed the world that you could have practicality, performance and pace in one usable package. The V6 mid-engined two-seater received rave reviews from all who drove it. The first-generation Mazda MX-5 (NA series) was an affordable roadster that the world wanted. Also known as the Miata, it went on to become the best-selling two-seater convertible in history. We share a great deal of MX-5 content on our site as we are fans, and we even own an NA racecar.

High-speed dream machines

The Lamborghini Diablo was a favourite with many teenagers who grew up in the 1990s. Its wedgy profile adorned the walls of countless bedrooms. It was powered by a mid-mounted V12 that provided a top speed of over 320 km/h. Almost 3 000 units were sold across the world. Learn more about the famous bull in the video at the bottom of this post.

Catch all our Lamborghini content at this link.

The Vauxhall Carlton was an ordinary saloon but the chaps at Lotus helped create one of the most fearsome performance cars of the era. A hefty bodykit gave some of the game away. Under the bonnet was a twin-turbocharged V6 that produced 280 kW and 560 N.m of torque. It could famously outrun many true sportscars of the time with its 283 km/h top speed.

Other birthday models

There are many other vehicles that turn 30 in 2020. Among these are the Renault Clio, VW Transporter T4, the first with the engine in the front, Aston Martin Virage Volante, BMW E36, Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, Nissan Primera, Land Rover Discovery five-door, Maserati Shamal, Suzuki VX800 motorcycle and many more.

In his own words

“There’s no magic rule to say when a vehicle becomes a ‘classic’,” says Tiddo Bresters, president of FIVA, “but reaching 30 years of age is one of FIVA’s clear criteria.

“In 2020 we’re delighted to welcome a whole new raft of 1990 classics to the fold, as they celebrate their 30th birthday, thanks to their caring owners. Historic vehicles don’t have to be hugely rare or valuable; the ‘new classics’ range from supercars to city cars to motorcycles – but all are important milestones in the story of our motoring heritage.”