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Tuesday 25th September 2012

Spotted: Honda NSX

Chris Harris muses on the investability of Honda's Ferrari 348 rival



Are NSXs over-priced at the moment, or should we be stashing good ones away in preparation for a march towards six-figure territory?

276bhp V6 under here
276bhp V6 under here
They are pretty Marmite things for the simple reason that you need to have quite a specific list of motoring proclivities  – Japan, motor sport, Senna – to worship at the altar of something with only a fraction of a 348’s glamour. Naturally, I am the undoing of my own theory, because I’m sort of an NSX fan.

The engineering side is exceptional. The greatest automotive adventures are those defined by makers forcing themselves into new sectors - direct assaults on the perceived superiority of others. Think Lamborghini taking umbrage at Enzo, Ford building the GT40 to spite, er, Enzo, and then Honda deciding to apply its searing engineering intelligence to, wait for it, have a pop at Ferrari. My weak grasp of statistics is spotting a trend here.

I have never quite understood the hype surrounding the NSX driving experience. It was always good so long as you didn’t push too hard. Then it became a serious handful. The engine was a revelation – so free and musical  - and the gearchange made anything from Ferrari and Porsche feel like a 1981 Mini. In so many ways it was streets ahead of the competition.
Cabin perhaps a little too sober
Cabin perhaps a little too sober


But if we now look back at the NSX era, it’s hard not to see the car as a failure. History shows that Honda launched the car at simultaneously the best and the worst time: a global recession was lurking, but Ferrari was on its knees. The 348 was (and is still) widely regarded as the worst car the company had built in years. That was Honda's one chance to knock a hole in the Ferrari myth, but they never quite applied the coup de grace.

These are beautiful pieces of engineering though. Robust, easy to drive, dripping with interest and a perfect machine to cherish and appreciate. Best of all, whatever Honda does next, it is unlikely to smoulder for 20 years with the legacy of Senna.

In yellow, yes please.

Chris Harris
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Author Discussion

james_gt3rs

Original Poster:

3,344 posts

79 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
One of my favourite cars ever, in red with pop up lights please!

DanDC5

9,147 posts

55 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I'd have one tomorrow if I could.

MarJay

1,874 posts

63 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I always thought that NSX's were legendary... Until I found out that they 'only' had 276bhp and from a V6 of all things.

I at least expected a 300bhp V8... Not sure why.

scholesy

143 posts

50 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Until mentioned I never really noticed how boring the cabin in a standard NSX is (too busy looking for an NSX on ebay), the type R is a good deal more exciting though.

em177

1,742 posts

52 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Hmm ... lick

Although can't help but think I'd feel better hooning a slightly higher mileage example. Would seem wrong to properly abuse that one!
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tommy vercetti

8,424 posts

51 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
One of my all time favorite cars

y2blade

54,729 posts

103 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I see one of these most Friday afternoons...dark green one.

cloud9


nagsheadwarrior

2,316 posts

67 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I Rather like these, even if I had the money it certainly wouldnt be at the top of the must buy list but if the 6 numbers come up if would be a must have in the garage and a handy day to day supercar!

On a more likely note I used to have a MK3 Prelude that was great and the number of styling cues borrowed from the NSX is amazing with the interiors being very similar too although this is more a slight on the utterly dull NSX interior than a compliment to the Prelude!

TaylotS2K

767 posts

95 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Let's hope we see a new NSX in the not too distant future. Iconic car. Likewise with the S2000.

RobPhoboS

3,434 posts

114 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
Stunning machines, I still badly want to own one but the prices are utterly, utterly ridiculous . It's as if the few owners have had an email telling them to chuck on a few more thousands each year.
Bugger it.

Captain Muppet

8,191 posts

153 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
I was slowly saving up for one and the early ones were slowly falling in price, then they stopped making them and the prices went up. I'd got close, but now I'm thousands away from getting a nice one. So I've given up.

Dark green for me, 3.2 with pop-ups. There used to be one I'd see every few months and it was gorgerous. I've been in a later car, but the lack of pop-ups kill it a little for me.


I remember reading a review in which Senna was driving and the journo said that half way round a corner, sideways, he was in enough control and so little drama that he had time to wash the windscreen. I often wondered if the screen wash button was something you could clip by accident when flailing at the wheel trying to impress a journalist, or whether it was deliberate as reported.

DanDC5

9,147 posts

55 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
MarJay said:
I always thought that NSX's were legendary... Until I found out that they 'only' had 276bhp and from a V6 of all things.

I at least expected a 300bhp V8... Not sure why.
They're a japanese agreement '276bhp' and check out the weight numbers of an NSX. They really aren't all that heavy.

Garlick

40,601 posts

128 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
RobPhoboS said:
Stunning machines, I still badly want to own one but the prices are utterly, utterly ridiculous . It's as if the few owners have had an email telling them to chuck on a few more thousands each year.
Bugger it.
It's not unusual for good condition, almost classic-status supercars that were built in small numbers to appreciate though is it? If there aren't many for sale the price will rise.

The NSX, along with a 964 RS and a pagoda Merc, is a car I should have bought when affordable, but I don't begrudge the rising values.

hussein

46 posts

110 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
You can't have an NSX article without this video (view HD and Fullscreen for best results):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlaWp4bCl1A

Chris, consider a challenge to make a better video about the NSX than this guy. Probably the best 9 minutes of car video on YouTube.

Edited by hussein on Wednesday 26th September 10:20

Derek Chevalier

873 posts

61 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
"I have never quite understood the hype surrounding the NSX driving experience. It was always good so long as you didn’t push too hard. Then it became a serious handful."

In your 2002 test, I recall you saying that it was very close to the 996. As an aside, I wonder what happened to that NSX press car as it certainly wasn't standard.

C.A.R.

2,048 posts

76 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
MarJay said:
I always thought that NSX's were legendary... Until I found out that they 'only' had 276bhp and from a V6 of all things.

I at least expected a 300bhp V8... Not sure why.
Like all Japanese sportscars then?

It's the 280PS thing - marketed as such but generally these things produced a lot more power at the 'fly than they were "supposed" to. Basically Japan attributed high-powered cars with this 'Gentlemans Agreement' to not exceed 276bhp / 280PS in the domestic market.

When exported, however, the cars often had a higher output. See the JDM-spec cars vs. their UKDM counterparts. Often, the 'restriction' was either not really there in the first place or easily removed (rumours have it JDM cars were 'detuned')

I'd wager that the NSX in the article above even has more than 276bhp...

LaurasOtherHalf

8,641 posts

84 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
damn you harris!

i'm desperately trying not to push the button on one of the few that are up for sale at the moment, this does not help!

pagani1

637 posts

90 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
For me let down by the heavy handed rear wing styling and the utterly plain plastic interior.
Nevertheless a Mk 1 coupe (no no no targa) in red with a black roof is miles better than a 348 and a lot cheaper to run too. As for the Senna connection enough said, we are not worthy.
So for me an 8/10.

Captain Muppet

8,191 posts

153 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
scholesy said:
Until mentioned I never really noticed how boring the cabin in a standard NSX is (too busy looking for an NSX on ebay), the type R is a good deal more exciting though.
Is it really much more dull than the 348 inside?


GranCab

542 posts

34 months

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Tuesday 25th September 2012 quote quote all
There's nothing exciting about the inside of a 348 either .... time and dashboards have moved on !


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