Honda NSX – 1990

Don’t go looking for one of these super sports cars in Hong Kong or North America, where the moniker of choice was the Acura NSX. But everywhere else an enquiry for a Honda NSX will be met by the sharp intake of breath that acknowledges that something rather special has been mentioned.

This mid-engined, rear-wheel drive coupe had supercar looks and performance to match, propelled by Honda’s aluminium V6 engine — initially a 3 litre and subsequently a 3.2 version (from 1997). Anyone looking at the low, wide NSX would assume that it was styled in Italy . . . and would be right. The ubiquitous Pininfarina studio designed the HP-X prototype that became the NSX.

The NSX reflected Honda’s all-conquering presence on the world’s Grand Prix circuits. This beautifully styled, low-slung performance car was the first all-aluminium production car and was renowned for excellent manners, with great ride quality, precise handling, rugged reliability and meticulous build quality… not to mention an A+ in the street cred stakes. Honda had produced an everyday supercar that could justifiably claim to be the equal of the rival Ferrari 348 — no mean feat.

But while Ferrari moved on to the 355, 360 and 430 models, Honda merely produced evolutionary versions of the NSX — beyond the point where it was a technological marvel of the 1990s and became a reminder of past glories in the 21st century. That’s not to say that versions like the NSX-R track racer, NSX-T targa top, NSX-S performance special or NSX-R GT were in any way inferior — far from it, especially as the NSX received a major facelift in 1997 and further tweaking in 2002. But by the time it was discontinued in 2005 only a few hundred NSXs were being sold annually. Its time was up.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Japan

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1990 (until 2005)

ENGINE:

2,977 cc or 3,179 cc DOHC V6

PERFORMANCE:

With 3.2 I engine — top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.7 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The Honda NSX’s passenger compartment was finalized after studying the American F-16 jet fighter’s cockpit. Pre-production models were extensively tested by Formula 1 drivers Ayrton Senna and Satoru Nakajima and subsequently modified to reflect their recommendations.

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