Monday, March 28, 2011

Remembering the curio classics: the 1989 Honda NSX

What a car.... By Ben Whitworth 28 March 2011 12:15 I spotted the NSX heading London-bound up the A3 early on Saturday morning, on the way to attend my best mate’s stag do. It was pristine, its cherry red paintwork and unscarred five-spoke silver alloys glinting in the sunlight. Low, sleek and barrelling along at a very decent pace, it looked utterly gorgeous. I was instantly struck at just how fresh and modern it looked. For a car launched in 1989, the Honda NSX is still contemporary, clean and head-turningly handsome, pop-up headlamps and all. Honda NSX: still contemporary today Even today, the elements to the car’s development sound fantastic. The perfect distillation of its engineering prowess, it was developed as Honda basked in F1 success. Its mid-engined cab-forward styling was inspired by an F16 fighter jet. Ayrton Senna, Satoru Nakajima and Bobby Rahal honed its dynamics. It was the world’s first car to go into production with a all-aluminium monocoque chassis complete with a sophisticated extruded aluminium bodywork. The NSX's wailing 2977cc V6 V-TEC engine was fitted with titanium conrods – another world first – and it revved to 8000rpm. The suspension was fashioned entirely from forged aluminium. It had telepathic electric power steering. It was hand assembled by a hand-picked crew of just 200 engineers. It weighed just 1350kg. And, of course, the Honda NSX was a gem to drive. The NSX – a supercar ahead of the game The Honda was defined by its brilliant chassis balance and superb agility, qualities that showed its contemporary rivals like Ferrari 328 GTB and Porsche 911 the dynamic back door. Visibility was panoramic, the spacious cabin was an ergonomic delight and reliability was exceptional. But despite this deep-seated talent, the NSX never really took off. It was, perversely, not seen as exotic enough for a blue-blooded supercar. It was criticised as being mundane simply because it was easy to see out of, didn’t break down, didn’t try and spit you into the nearest ditch at every opportunity and had a straightforward cabin design. Our loss, really. I gave the driver a thumbs up as he peeled off the carriageway and he grinned, dropped a cog and nailed it up the exit ramp. The lucky bugger. I spent the rest of my trip up to London trying to figure out where on earth I could find the £40k for a low-mileage 1997 3.2-litre with a six-speed manual. Source (with better pics);

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