9 August 2019

More than an old car #113: Honda NSX

Although Honda is rather well-known for making the typical passenger cars we travel in/use today, they have a long-standing reputation of pushing their limits in creating machines that appeal to speed-lovers. It was with some surprise that I saw this 1992 Honda NSX randomly at a parking lot!

The NSX was first conceived in 1984, when Honda commissioned Pininfarina to create a sports car that could rival those from Italy and Germany, specifically Ferrari's 328 model. Initially known as the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental), its name was changed to NSX (New Sports eXperimental). Many engines and designs were analysed in order to achieve the desired level of performance and reliability. Shigeru Uehara, the chief engineer for the project, was inspired by the 360-degree visibility available in the F16 fighter jet: the result was a impressive 311.8-degree horizontal view from the driver's seat. Furthermore, it featured a revolutionary aluminium frame, reducing the weight by some 200 kg.

It was unveiled to the public in 1989 to much positive reviews and was on sale from 1990 onwards. It was initially assembled at the Tochigi plant up till 2004, where it was moved to Suzuka for the remainder of its life. Some units were subject to rigorous testing on the track, notably done by the famous race driver Ayrton Senna: he provided feedback such as further stiffening of the chassis that led to the success of the NSX. In the US, it was rebranded as the Acura NSX, in a bid to be perceived as a luxury car. In 2002, the pop-up headlights were changed to fixed headlamps in order to modernise its look. Units were initially powered by a 2997 cc Honda C30A V6 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 260 km/h, with an acceleration of 6.7 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4430 mm long and weighed 1390 kg, despite looking rather massive at first.

Production of the 1st-generation NSX ended in 2005, with around 18,000 units sold over its lifetime. This unit is 1 of 5 remaining in Singapore, although a post-facelift unit existed some time back before being exported. I understand this is owned by a CEO of a public hospital here. According to its VIN, it was equipped with an automatic transmission and power steering. Interestingly, the NSX first debuted here in the 1990 Singapore Motor Show, although there is no information to indicate it was officially sold here. It is certainly a rare kind here, although you may have a higher chance of seeing this on the road from what I heard!

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