Let's be honest, they are and always were just mass produced mtb's like all the others, rolling off production lines along side Rockhopper's and Palisades Trail's, but they did make stock Specialized's and Marin's et al look outdated overnight with the launch of the first range.
I know that geometry was already being used by people like Brodie (seem to remember a similarly shaped Wessex Blue Mountain in about '86 - and look at those Cunninghams) but mass market wise, they were a breath of fresh air.
And it's those simple sloping steel ones I have to say, I like the look of a lot.
I think they do get a bit too much mythical status over say a Rockhopper of similar vintage, and Gump's right, many of these 'classics' are just base model steel mass produced bikes, but many Konas are nice none the less.
I don't care that much, but i do want one.