Honda NSX Type S | Spotted

Two years since the launch of the second Honda NSX and the boost to the original model's desirability still hasn't tapered. Actually, according to used prices it's done the opposite, because in 2019 you'll need at least £40k to enter the NSX market and almost £10k more to find one with a manual gearbox. Honda's first supercar remains in hot demand; and rightfully so, because arguably now more than ever, it's a proper icon, the polar opposite of the lap time chasing performance metal seen in 2019.

The late 1990s cars in particular, with the more muscular 3.2-litre V6 and pre-facelift pop-up headlights, look to offer the greatest mix of tradition and power, retaining the look of the original but with 290hp. The 200cc-larger mid-mounted V6 benefitted from thinner cylinder liners to increase capacity and a freer-flowing exhaust.

By modern standards those numbers are barely sports car, let alone supercar, but the NSX was still capable of 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and the top speed was 170mph. What really secured the NSX's status, anyway, was the way in which it drove. Even those of us not wearing loafers at Suzuka could appreciate its balance and the fizziness of the engine, which has enough low-down grunt but really comes alive above 6,500rpm - as per usual VTEC loveliness.

The location of that engine and sweetly matched chassis setup makes all NSXs a joy to steer, each variant offering all the feedback and responsiveness that you might hope from the layout; but which nobody expected from Honda before this car. The all-aluminium structure NSX (an innovation back in 1990) was famed for working its four corners evenly to provide the neutral mid-corner balance we all so desire, with accompanying throttle adjustability so it felt properly alive - particularly so when that 3.2-litre was added with its extra punch.

Honda did little to change the NSX formula through the NSX's 15-year life until 2005 - aside from the addition of a few 21st century mod-cons and flat headlights, of course - although it did produce several special editions, the best of which were sold in the Japanese domestic market. The two Type Rs were the most extreme, with savage weight reduction for both and a racier chassis setup, as well as incredible rarity. They are both now highly coveted cars.

A slightly softer, more rounded offering to the original 1992 Type R came five years later with the Type S, a sort of halfway house between the regular car and R. With the larger 3.2 V6, engine work took power to 290hp while weight was reduced to 1,320kg without removing things like air-con or sound deadening (a later S-Zero ditched these to lose a further 50kg). It created a usable but more focussed NSX, although Honda restricted production to 248 cars and never exported the model outside the country. Still, that didn't stop three making their way over to Britain in the following years.

Appropriately, one is now advertised on PH by Silverstone Auctions, going under the hammer at its sale on July 28th. It's immaculate in the pics, too - just look at the leather on those Recaro buckets, the freshness of that steering wheel skin and the shininess of the gear lever knob. You could eat your dinner off the engine it's so clean in the bay, and the silver paintwork appears equally as fresh. The estimate is £75-£85k, which represents a premium over standard NSXs of the era - see this yellow JDM car at £60k - though a Type S is a more special proposition, for all the reasons listed above.

That estimate still places it below the late NSXs, too, prices for which have been sky high for a while: this car has less than 20,000 miles. On the day, however, nobody knows what might happen with the Type S; two dedicated buyers might push that initial estimate closer to £100k. The classic JDM bubble shows little sign of bursting, basically, this NSX a fine exponent of all the we love about the genre. Could there be a place in your garage for it?


Engine: 3,179cc V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 290@7,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 224@5,300rpm
0-62mph: 5.7sec
Top speed: 170mph
MPG: VTEC dependent
CO2: Hmm
Recorded mileage: 58,748
Price new: £59,995
Yours for: £75,000-£85,000 estimate

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Comments (59) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Evil.soup 22 Jul 2019

    Never really understood the hype around these, i do appreciate the handling abilities but always thought the design was a little 80's and the performance average, certainly not supercar numbers. At the same time the likes of Mitsubishi and Subaru were making saloon cars with simular power and performance figures but in a user friendly package and for significantly cheaper. A supercar should be blasting saloon cars into the weeds!

  • mackie1 22 Jul 2019

    You can get saloon cars today that will keep a super car honest in a drag race so not much has really changed in that respect.

    Don’t forget too that the Ferrari 348 and Porsche 993 were in the same ballpark at the time

    Edited by mackie1 on Sunday 21st July 08:17

  • gforceg 22 Jul 2019

    That looks great (although silver is a bit dull). Judging by where the pictures were taken I wonder if Torque GT brought the car in or are selling it through that auction.

  • Evil.soup 22 Jul 2019

    mackie1 said:
    You can get saloon cars today that will keep a super car honest in a drag race so not much has really changed in that respect.

    Don’t forget too that the Ferrari 348 and Porsche 993 were in the same ballpark at the time

    Edited by mackie1 on Sunday 21st July 08:17
    Very true, but the types of saloon cars that can keep up with todays supercars are far from blue collar money. It kind of shows how far behind the likes of Mitsubishi and Subaru have fallen because both companies are capable of producing competitive cars.

  • Diesel Meister 22 Jul 2019

    These are so much more than the sum of their still impressive constituent parts. I seem to remember that they are more expensive to run than you might credit but not disproportionately so when you consider it as a 911 alternative. They sound and go beautifully without being frightening and just work as a tool for keen drivers. I have never owned one but but have enjoyed a few brief drives - there’s space for a Type R in my fantasy garage 😎

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