During their Formula One haydays, Honda was something of a complicated legend. Japanese bred underdogs they were but being underestimated served only as their advantage. Supplying engines and running Formula One teams since 1964, they’ve had a pretty chequered history. They did however have a pocket of glory from 1983 to 1992 where they supplied engines to numerous teams. It’s during that time, the era of Aryton Senna, where Honda birthed a Japanese Ferrari. The Honda NSX.
Setting a stallion in their cross hairs is as bold as calling out Micheal Jordan for a one on one but Honda weren’t going to go in without doing their homework. There are aspects to building a near sports car already established by the heavyweights at the time and Honda ticked all the boxes. Not only did the NSX have the sleek looks, it had pop up headlamps. Tough to not love a car with pop-ups! Pop the hood and you’ll only find an empty space reserved for your hand carries’ because this sports car is mid engined. And what an engine it is.
Honda have always been the arbiter of naturally aspirated engines with VTEC and wild formula one engines, so it only makes sense that they brought both worlds together in developing the NSX’s engine. The engine, a 3000 cubic centimetre V6 stood out among all performance engines of the time thanks to its relatively miniscule displacement, unbelievable weight and astonishingly high output. It put out 270hp and 285Nm of torque and revved up to a lovely 8000rpm thanks to titanium connecting rods. All this meant that the NSX took a mere 5.5 seconds to hit 100km/h from standstill. The performance was on par with Ferrari’s 328 and it shook the world over and Honda now had everyone’s attention. The NSX became a highly sought out sports car.
The handling was even more of a shocker. Aryton Senna, then Formula One God and Honda driver, played a pivotal role in the NSXs driving dynamics and helped significantly sharpen and stiffen the chassis to be able to react to razor sharp driving. Can you imagine how everyone reacted when the plucky underdog nerdy NSX-R managed a 7.56 around the Green Hell. Once again matching the lap time set by a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. This was in part thanks to a 3.2L V6 and road legal weight reduction. Regardless, the Honda still was down by 100 ponies compared to the Fezza. Nuff Said.
The NA1 and NA2 NSX are most easily distinguished by the headlamps. Pop up for NA1 and fixed for NA2. I consider myself lucky to have driven both and gotten a whiff of why the NSX stands as a reminder for what the 90’s were all about. My personal pick of the two here is the blue one, probably because it’s a manual and has a LSD fitted. Call me biased. Together with the LSD, the 5 speed transmission has an OS Giken 4.4 finaldrive. Treated to Buddy Club coil overs and 17″ authentic Enkei GTC wheels, the fitment is juuuusttt nice.
The engine is left untouched, aside from a complete Taitec exhaust & Pride headers for symphonic music and a Spoon ecu to breathe new life into the old horse. The interior is kept simplistic with a Nardi Deep Corns teering, Mugen pedals, HKS Comp Assist meter and subtle Recaro SR3 seats. The colour, for those who are still drooling, is a custom blend called Diamond Blue Paint. Adding to the modern look are LED rear tail lights, and a complete Marga Hills bodykit plus bonnet. Wraps her up in a bow and she’s the perfect present.
The red one you see here may anger some purists but bear in mind guys, it still is a bonafide sports car. It’s a four speed auto. Granted the transmission isn’t the best. I drove this one after the NA1 and it was tough to adjust and give an unbiased opinion but I managed. As it’s blue sibling, the NA2 has minimal engine modifications. A custom carbon fibre airbox feeds air into a HKS intake and subsequently expelled via a Trust titanium exhaust with Akra 5″ tips for added badassery.
Seeking more performance, this NSX sits on BC coilovers and uses SSS 500 degree front brake pads at the front while Bendix Metal King for the rears. The wheels are staggered Work Emotion CR2P, 18″ and 19″ front to rear. The red paint job is meant to mimic an italian supercar brand but not the prancing horse. The colour takes after Lamborghini’s Super Trofeo Red.
The NA2 is peppered with interior and exterior garnish making up for its transmission. Despite being a two seater, there is a proper Hertz audio system in the car with an amp and a pair of 6 inch subwoofers. The occupants will face custom upholstery and a cool as NXS-R horn button. Outside, the headlamps are from the NSX-R and ROute KS panels are sprinkled all around the car, completing the show car worthy look. While I was never a full on NSX fanboy, I can still appreciate its uniqueness.
Car: Honda NSX (NA2)
Engine: Spoon Radiator Cap, Trust Titanium Exhaust With Carbon Akra 5” Tip, HKS Intake, Apexi Neo Air Flow Converter, Custom Carbon Fiber Airbox
Transmission: Stock Automatic
Suspension & Chassis: Bc Coilovers
Brakes: Endless SSS Front Brake Pads 500degrees, Bendix Australia Metal King Rear Pads
Wheels & Tyres: Work Emotion CR2P 18”/19” Staggered Wheels
Interior: Momo Tuner 350mm Steering, Honda Nsx-R Steering Hub, Honda Nsx-R Horn Button, Kenwood Double Din Player, Hertz 4 Chanel Amplifier, Hertz Crossover Tweeter & Mid Bass, Steelmate 6” Subwoofer X 2, Reverse Camera, Full Dynamat Sound Proof, Custom Upholstery
Exterior: Custom Car Shop Glow Rear Lamps, NA2R Front Headlamp, NA2R Rear Carbon Spoiler, Route KS Carbon Bonnet, Route KS Front Bumper, Route KS Carbon Front Splitter, Route KS Carbon Front Canard, BS Design Side Skirt, Marga Hills Rear Diffuser With Custom Canards, Rosso Mars LZ3M Pearl Paint (Lamborghini Super Trofeo Red) With High Gloss Glasurit Black Paint
Car: 1991 Honda Nsx 5speed Manual (NA1)
Engine: Spoon Ecu, Taitec Exhaust, Pride Headers, Mugen Engine Cap
Transmission: Os Giken 4.4 Finaldrive And Lsd
Suspension & Chassis: Buddy Club Coil Over
Wheels & Tyres: 17” Enkei Gtc Rims
Interior: Hks Comp Assist Meter, Mugen Pedals, Nardi Deep Corn Steering, Recaro Sr3 Seats
Exterior: Led Rear Lights, Na2 Nav Pod, Marga Hills Bodykit, Marga Hills Bonnet, Custom Diamond Blue Paint