10 Most Iconic Cars of the Past 25 Years

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PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- When you think of iconic cars, how many were made in the past quarter-century?

There is a large portion of the gearheaded public whose hearts will always lie with the original Volkswagen Beetle, the earliest incarnations of the Ford Mustang, rusty relics of Ford and Chevy pickups, red Corvettes and the Italian supercars whose posters lined the walls of their childhood bedrooms. Those vehicles, and countless others with a model year tacked to the front of their make and model, are The Icons -- kept forever on the auto world's altar and shielded eternally from the blasphemous suggestions of the generations that followed.

That, of course, is absolute nonsense. Any auto enthusiast who had his or her engine revved by The Fast and The Furious films might have a soft spot for street cars 13 years old or younger. Yes, there are plenty of '70s Chevelles, Challengers and Camaros in those films -- and the late '90s Ford GT40 in the fifth installment is pretty sweet -- but some of the sweetest rides in that franchise are relatively new. The same goes for the collections in video game series including Gran Turismo and Need For Speed, which have done just as much for auto worship in recent years as Steve McQueen films did more than 40 years ago.

The folks at auto website Cars.com realized that the automotive ring of honor could probably use some updating. An iconic car doesn't have to be famous, flashy or even well-liked: It just has to set trends, have a unique sense of style or bring enough muscle to the mix to burn itself into drivers' memories.

"Aside from Hollywood, there's no industry that creates as many icons as the car business," said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com's editor-in-chief, said in a press release. "With so many to choose from, we decided to narrow our focus to cars from the past 25 years, and we looked at which cars truly made a statement."

The following 10 cars all left their mark on automotive history, for better or worse. They may not all be posterworthy, but they've all been really difficult to forget: