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The Honda NSX: A tribute

Honda NSX history
PHOTO: Honda

If you mention JDM legends of the ‘90s, chances are, the Honda NSX is on your list. The NSX was short for New Sportscar eXperimental, and it arrived at a time when Japan was going sports car crazy. To say that Honda nailed the everyday supercar concept the first time is an understatement, making it a legend in its own right. But today is a sad day for the NSX. For the second time in its life, Honda has pulled the plug on its mid-engined supercar.

The final NSX Type S rolled off Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. Finished in Gotham Gray matte paint, the final second-generation NSX, badged #350 of 350. As the NSX sails off into the sunset, now would be a good time to take a quick look at this model’s history.

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Honda NSX NA1 (1990-2001)

Honda NSX NA1


One could say that the first-generation NSX was the embodiment of “The Power Of Dreams”. After all, Honda wasn’t really known for high-performance sports cars in the ‘80s. Sure, there were a few hot Civics at the time and success in Formula 1, but a supercar? A supercar wasn’t really the first thing that popped to mind when someone mentions Honda in the ‘80s. Undeterred, Honda embarked on the ambitious project in the early ‘80s with two goals in mind: To give the European establishment a scare while offering the ease and drivability of a standard road car. The targets? These were the Porsche 911, Ferrari 348, and Chevrolet Corvette.

To do that, Honda sent development mules to racetracks all over the world and fine-tuned the car for over six years. Not only that, a certain Ayrton Senna helped in the development of this NSX too.

The final product was unveiled during the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, went into series production in 1990, and the rest was history. The first models had a 3.0-liter V6 packing 270hp and VTEC. A few years down the line, that engine was upsized to 3.2 liters with 290hp. Oh, and let’s not forget that the NSX was the birth of the Type R badge with the 1992 NSX-R.

Honda NSX NA2 (2001-2005)

Honda NSX NA2

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The NSX soldiered nearly unchanged for over a decade. But the new millennium meant Honda needed to do a few tweaks to their supercar. The result was the NA2, and there are far more changes than meets the eye. Of course, the most obvious change was the removal of the pop-up lights and replaced them with fixed units. But Honda did extensive changes to the underchassis as well. Spring rates, dampers, and other bits were changes, and there were subtle tweaks to the body to make it more aerodynamic. But just four years after its launch, Honda dropped the NSX in 2005. We would wait for more than a decade for a new NSX.

Honda NSX NC2 (2016-2022)

Honda NSX NC2

It took eleven years for Honda to roll out the second-generation NSX. With that, the acronym also carried a new meaning, New Sports eXperience. While it still had a mid-mounted V6 engine, that was the only thing it had in common with its predecessor. The redesigned NSX had all-wheel drive, a pair of turbochargers, and a hybrid system to go along with it. Honda really wanted to create a new experience with the reborn NSX.

Stats? You're looking at 573 hp, 645Nm of torque, 0-100kph in under three seconds, and a top speed of over 300kph. In other words, it was light years ahead of the old NSX. Despite that, there weren’t a lot of takers for the new NSX and, because of that, production stopped in 2021. But that’s not the end of the NSX story, at least at the time. Honda did try to send the model off with a bang this year with the result being the Type S model.


Honda NSX Type S

The NSX Type S used an updated twin-turbo V6 hybrid that made 600hp and 666Nm of torque, up by 27hp and 21Nm from the standard version. The chassis also received updates and upgrades, along with aero tweaks, carbon-ceramic brakes and other lightweight bits. With the last NSX Type S completed, it closes the book on Honda’s supercar.

At the moment, it doesn’t seem likely that Honda will dip their toes in the exotic market again or express interest in making a successor in the near future. But who knows? Maybe it’ll come back as a pure electric model.

For now, though, the fastest Honda you can buy is the Civic Type R. It's no low-slung supercar, but given how well the outgoing version performs and how promising the all-new model is, that’s not a bad thing at all.

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PHOTO: Honda
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