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Tom Norris and daughter Julia look inside his 1987 Cadillac d'Elegance Brougham with its plush interior and fuzzy dice at Oblivion Car Show in Milton on Aug. 25, 2018.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

It sits forlorn in an arena parking lot that's doubling as a classic car show venue, looking totally out of place in a field of flashy sportscars and somewhat more celebrated vehicles.

Yes, the lumpen 1986 Hyundai Pony, the butt of many jokes from the time of its debut, is still providing laughs three decades later at a show in Milton, Ont.

"Original paint, engine, trans, rear end and air in the tires," a sign on its windshield proclaims. "One of too many made – only 3 left. Faster than a riding lawnmower."

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But the joke may no longer be on the Pony, whose main selling point 30 years ago was that it was the cheapest car on the road. It's riding a new wave trumpeting those oft-unloved models from the 80s and 90s – the Rodney Dangerfields of the auto world, most of which are now littering scrapyards across the world, rusted out long before their time.

Car lovers celebrate the cars of the 80s and 90s at the Oblivion Car Show in Milton on Aug. 25, 2018, taking pictures of a DeLorean converted into a 'Back to the Future' movie time machine replica.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

"The cars we're celebrating have been banished into oblivion, never to be seen again," says Justin Sookraj, whose Wells Auto dealership in Milton sells '80s DeLoreans. "But now we're bringing them back to life."

Sookraj organized the first Oblivion Car Show last month to pay respect to those cars "banished to oblivion" and to ride what he says is a growing tide of Gen Xers and millennials who are showing the kind of love for the cars of their youth that Baby Boomers save for 1962 Bonnevilles and 65 Mustangs.

"We can't get into a lot of car shows because they say they're not classics," Sookraj says. "But they were built 30 years ago, so they are."

Not all of the 80s and 90s cars are in the Pony's somewhat lower class.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

Not all of the 80s and 90s cars are in the Pony's somewhat lower class. The show included Ferraris, Porsches, Jaguars, Celicas and Daytonas that turn admiring heads.

But there's no denying there was an awful lot of mundane metal churned out in that era (remember the K-Car?)

The love for these cars is mostly about nostalgia, says Jerry Vo, an automotive writer for Doubleclutch.ca.

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"For those older than us, it's the muscle cars they loved in high school," he says, standing near his beloved 1997 Acura Integra. "But these are our cars. This era speaks to us."

Justin Robinson (a DeLorean owner himself) shoots a picture of a pair of Camaros at the Oblivion Car Show in Milton on Aug. 25, 2018.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

There's more to it than that, says fellow writer Zak Zeraldo. They're simple enough to work on without having to buy expensive software and sensors, unlike today's computer-driven models.

"They're a good mix of that classic impracticality and driveability," he says. "A lot of the older cars aren't.

They still have throttle cable. That's when driving was driving."

The show featured a vast array of the good, bad and ugly from the 80s and 90s. There was an 88 Honda Civic wagon, an 87 Toyota Celica, an 82 Porsche 911, an 86 Supra and a couple of classic IROCs.

The show featured a vast array of the good, bad and ugly from the 80s and 90s.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

The rarest included an 88 Honda Prelude with four-wheel steering and only 44,000 original kilometres and an 87 Dodge Omni GLHS – rare because it has a Shelby turbo engine and even rarer because it didn't turn into dust after a few bouts with road salt.

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Then there was the DeLorean "time machine," tricked up to resemble the one from Back to the Future.

"Back to the Future was so big for me," says owner Ken Kapalowski, who bought it for $16,500 20 years ago from its original owner in Buffalo, N.Y. "I saw (the movie) when I was 7 and told my parents I wanted it. My mom said it's not a real car. When I brought it home she said, 'It is real'.

Rain had car lovers scrambling as they celebrate the 80s and 90s and its cars at the Oblivion Car Show in Milton on Aug. 25, 2018.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

As a testament to claims that those 80s cars are making a comeback, Kapalowski says a DeLorean in good condition would cost $50,000 today.

Then there's the Pony, as unloved a car that ever laid rubber on Canadian roads.

Owner John Kane admits he bought it earlier this year for the shock value.

"Why would I drive around in something everybody else has?" he asks. "Everybody has Chevelles and Mustangs, but nobody has a Pony."

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General Lee from the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard gets photographed at the Oblivion Car Show in Milton on Aug. 25, 2018.

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

With only 92,000 original kilometres on it, the Pony is Kane's everyday car. And while it's not the finest ride on the road, Kane says it has a certain grace.

"Younger people ask me if I imported it from Japan," he says. "First, I tell them it's from South Korea and then I tell them that if it wasn't for this car and the other 5,000 they made, Hyundai would not be in Canada today."

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