1991 Acura NSX: Decades

1991 Acura NSX Long Term Road Test

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1991 Acura NSX: Decades

October 13, 2011


Last night was my first time in our NSX. Actually, it was my first time in any NSX. And for the most part, it was worth the wait, especially since our long-termer looks and feels fairly fresh. Unexpectedly, it also stirred up a lot of nostalgia.

As soon as I slid into the seat, I was surprised by the low ride height. The center stack's shallow angle, blending into the center armrest was also a bit of a surprise. Once I closed the door, I noticed that the beltline is much lower than today's sports cars. To me, I instantly thought of how Formula One cars in the 1990s were much more open, while today's F1 cars effectively surround the driver up to his eyeline. Yes, I imagined for a second what Senna might have thought of the NSX.

Then I fired up the engine. Whoa. That's a lot louder than I imagined. It also idles a little rough, but not in a bad way. I turned off the air conditioning and that quieted and smoothed things out significantly. Clutch in and reverse. Hmm. That clutch pedal has a lot of travel from the floor before you finally get to the friction zone. And that friction zone is pretty wide, too. Mentally noted. The shifter, on the other hand, is as good as it gets.

I only had a few opportunities to really open up the throttle on the way home, and it was a lot more raucous than I had expected. There's a pleasant mechanical growl accompanied by a lot of high-pitched whine. I can get used to this. I can't wait to see what it'll do on my canyon roads. Soon.

All the way home, though, I was preoccupied with the last twenty years. In 1991, the NSX was the "it" car for me. I was in the beginning stages of transportation design and my instructor actually designed the NSX's seats. Then I remembered what that time was like, and how I wished I could've contacted my former self...

Dear Mark,

This is your future self writing to you. You know all of the stuff you're learning about car design, photography and graphic design? Pay attention, they'll come in handy later. You're going to walk away from all this in a few years, but trust me, it's a good thing. You're in for a couple of rough patches here and there, but don't worry, it will all work out in the end. Don't let the people around you tell you how to live. Just live and have fun. Don't be afraid of the big decisions. Don't be afraid of starting over. It will define you in later years.

You may not believe it now, and at some point in the next twenty years, it will seem impossible, but you're going to drive an NSX. And you're going to get paid to do it. It's as good as you imagine. Also, keep riding motorcycles and don't get pressured into anything you don't want to be a part of. Keep reaching for things that are obviously out of reach. Don't settle and never give up.

I think I met our future self a few weeks ago. Things look to continue in a most wonderful trajectory.

Enjoy the ride,

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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