Honda NSX - Toybox

By: Alex Affat, Photography by: Brooklands Classic Cars

Presented by

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Despite its sublime driving and engineering reputation, the NSX struggled to sell when new, but does it make more sense as a classic buy today?

 

Honda NSX

Despite a recently dizzying market for 1990s-era Japanese performance cars, the notion of a collectible or especially valuable Japanese car (especially one with a plastic bumper) seemed almost farcical at one point.

This was something perhaps felt more acutely by Honda’s NSX. Unlike say Nissan’s GT-R or Toyota’s Supra, the NSX was a tall-standing plain-as-day swipe at Ferrari and its competitors.

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This was a truly hand-made car

And for many motoring press and owners at the time, it bested the Italian supercar makers in both performance and comfort, while proving more reliable and costing less money.

| Read next: US special edition Honda NSX sells for AU$385,000

Hand-built on its own production line, 18,658 NSXs were produced and sold between 1990 and 2005. According to worldwide data, 3163 were sold in 1991, but dwindled rapidly to 1271 in 1992, and then again to 598 in 1994. In 2005, the final year before production was axed, Honda sold just 206 worldwide.

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A dramatic design for Japan

If anything, it deserved better. The NSX was to be the fruition of Honda’s 40-years of amassed motorsport experience, having previously fielded a team of V12 and V8-powered Formula One cars in the 60s, and having returned to F1 by the NSX’s development, engaged in a historic partnership with McLaren. In fact, the NSX’s claim to fame has long been its connection to Ayrton Senna, who tested the car and provided feedback during development.

| 2020 Market review: Honda NSX/S2000/Insight/Acty 1984-2006

An innovative all-aluminium semi-monocoque construction with an alloy frame allowed the NSX to weigh in at 1370kgs. Blended with its mid-engine double-wishbone suspension configuration, the NSX yielded tremendous torsional rigidity under dynamic driving, yet was afforded unrivalled suppleness in casual driving.

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The first boatload of NSXs arrived in Australia late in 1990, priced at $159,000 for the five-speed manual, or a whopping $165,900 for the four-speed auto. Honda’s pricing perhaps aided declining sales, rising to over $200,000 by 1995.

Throughout the 1990s fewer than 150 Honda NSXs were officially locally delivered, however Japanese-market cars have been imported and are generally worth up to 30 per cent less than local examples.

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Ergonomic supercar cabin? Unheard of

This Formula Red example caught our eye at Brooklands Classic Cars in Melbourne for its factory presentation and well-kept condition.

Desirably specified with the five-speed manual gearbox, and with minimal wear and degradation observed throughout, this original NSX might be worth investigating for the Japanese sporting enthusiast.

Find it at brooklandscc.com

 

From Unique Cars #445, Oct 2020

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