The absolute cream of the Japanese domestic market crop in the 1990s and 2000s was reserved for locals. Sure, we were teased with Skyline GT-Rs, Impreza STIs and Mitsubishi Evos, but an endless chain of awesome special editions stayed at home. And they really don't come much more special than the Honda NSX Type R.
Let’s wind the clock back to 1990 when the original NSX was introduced. Having never built anything remotely fast or driver-focused, Honda burst onto the scene with a mid-engine supercar that immediately pinned it on the performance car map. Its 274hp naturally aspirated 3.0-litre V6 was on par with contemporary rivals, such as the Ferrari 348 and Lotus Esprit, while its relatively light all-aluminium body and mid-engined layout resulted in a car that was not only quick off the blocks but also knew how to tackle the bends.
Yet, for some, the NSX just wasn’t enough. Some argued the suspension was a little too GT for their liking, and while the base car’s 1,370kg kerb weight was light, the NSX had its fair share of creature comforts weighing it down. And so for the NSX-R the focus shifted to weight reduction and optimisation, with Honda throwing out anything that wasn’t deemed essential.
The R spec cars do without cruise control, traction control and even airbags to bring down the kilos, while air con was an optional extra. The spare wheel was tossed out and sound deadening reduced, allowing more of that glorious V6 soundtrack to be heard. Overall, Honda managed to shed some 140kg with the NSX-R, while power increased (only slightly) to 280hp which, in 1992, was relatively punchy.
Honda only produced 483 examples of the NSX-R, all for the Japanese market. As with many JDM specials, a handful made their way overseas as grey imports and while there’s no official number on NSX-Rs in the UK, it’s likely in the single digits. Naturally, we’re going to drop everything we’re doing when one pops up on the classifieds, and this particular car is potentially one of the best examples on the planet. It’s covered 31,000 miles since it was registered in 1993, its Formula Red paintwork looks immaculate and the seats appear as though they've never been sat in.
That’s because they likely haven’t. This NSX-R has undergone a comprehensive bare metal restoration and might even look better than it did in ’93. Though the ad only states the paintwork has been completely redone, it seems likely the hard work has gone deeper than that. The carbon-Kevlar seats are free of the kind of scuffs we typically see on red Type R seats, while the steering wheel looks as though it’s never been touched. The same goes for the Alcantara-wrapped dashboard and mint-condition floor mats.
Okay, so the £235,000 price tag may be a little hard to swallow, but it’s not completely unreasonable for an ultra-low mileage car that’s undergone extensive restoration work, all of which has been documented. You won’t need to worry about rust either (well, not initially), which plagues Japanese cars of this era. So yes, it carries a premium over a ‘regular’ NSX-R, but in return you’re getting a box-fresh example of Japan’s first proper supercar. Which doesn't sound like a bad deal at all.
SPECIFICATION | HONDA NSX-R
Engine: 2,977cc V6
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@7,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 217@5,400rpm
Year registered: 1993
Recorded mileage: 31,000
Price new: £55,000 (1992) est.
Yours for: £235,000
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