1991 Acura NSX: The Way It Should Be
January 09, 2012
Looky here at the roof of our longterm 1991 Acura NSX. You'll notice something's missing: a sunroof.
And that's The Way It Should Be.
Sunroofs are pointless contraptions in any car, and in sports cars they're flat-out wrong. They gobble up precious headroom, add some 40 or 50 pounds (!) at the absolute highest (aka worst) point of the car, degrade the chassis' stiffness (it's a giant hole, after all), and in time they're prone to leaks, sticking and generally sucking more than they already do.
So I'm endlessly pleased that our NSX does not have one. It speaks to the car's purity of purpose.
What it has in place of said evil device is well thought-out -- the square panel depressions in the headliner you see allow a bit more headroom, which is admittedly on the snug side in the first place. My 'do brushes the NSX's headliner as it is, so I can't imagine what it'd be like if some jackalope put a sunroof in it.
In 1995, though, all standard-issue US-market NSXs were equipped with an even more offensive Targa-style removable roof panel. This baffling decision signaled the tone-deafness of Honda's US product planning, a tradition that's continuing to this day.
Today, it's hard to find any sporting-type car that doesn't have a sunroof. For years you couldn't get, say, any 911 lesser than a GT3 RS without one. However, the tide might be changing - Porsche will offer the bog-standard 991 stateside without a roof-hole if the buyer so desires.
The NSX replacement (the concept of which was just unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show) will undoubtedly usher in heaps of heresy (AWD, hybrid, etc). But we will know that a glimmer of the sharp thinking that created the original NSX lives on if they simply offer the new car without a sunroof.
--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor