Thursday, 6 May 2010

Honda NSX

‘We only have one future, and it will be made of our dreams, if we have the courage to challenge convention.’ The words of Soichiro Honda flow through the creative quarters of the Honda Corporation, the perfect embodiment of which being the NSX.

When it was unveiled at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, it was met with genuine confusion. A Honda that wanted to be a rival to Ferrari? How unlikely. But Honda were deadly serious - it may have shared a badge with your mum's Civic, but the NSX had a few tricks up its exquisitely tailored sleeve. The all-aluminium quad-cam VTEC V6 mounted amidships produced an urgent 270bhp at 7300rpm, which was more than enough to overwhelm the rear tyres in a shell weighing 1340kg. The chassis was specifically designed to offer a sublime duality for the driver: supercar tactility with Civic-esque ease of use, making a hero of the average driver.

Ayrton Senna himself helped to develop the car with Honda, and there is absolutely nothing cooler you can say about a car than that. He even used one as a promo on race weekends, famously being pulled over for speeding in his NSX en route to the British Grand Prix.

Sadly for Honda, cachet is a significant element in the supercar matrix and they were never likely to coax too many people from Ferrari showrooms, no matter how capable the offering. In a surprisingly lengthy sixteen-year production run, less than 20,000 examples were sold. With second-hand prices currently around the £25k mark in the UK, their scarcity affords the owner a key aesthetic feature of supercar ownership - that, should you decide to remove the 'H' badges, most people won't know what it is - while, of course, it's a Honda. So it won't break down.

A cheap, reliable supercar with genuine racing pedigree? That's the holy grail, isn't it?

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