1991 Acura NSX Long Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

1991 Acura NSX Long Term Road Test

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1991 Acura NSX: In Good Hands

October 29, 2012

Jim NSX.jpg

You're looking at the proud new owner of our long-term, and now smog-legal, 1991 Acura NSX. Jim is the director of product management here at Edmunds. He followed the car closely in the blogs and waited patiently until we offered it to employees.

Edmunds employees get the first chance to buy our long-term cars before we offer them to outside private-party buyers or to Carmax. To avoid any perception that we're playing favorites with employees, we offer cars to them at a "no-haggle" Edmunds private-party TMV price.

Jim is a big fan of the NSX and had always wanted to own one. He was the first to reply to the employee listing for the car and he knew more about it than I did. When the NSX failed its smog test, Jim wasn't deterred, and he helped us troubleshoot potential causes.

The selling price was $28,461. We could have sold it for more to an outside buyer, but if it means we keep car in the Edmunds family, we're OK with taking less. Plus, we'll be able to check up on the car in the future.

Jim doesn't plan on making any major modifications to the car. He wants to keep it as close to stock as possible. However, when the tires are due for replacement, he is considering getting a set of wheels from the 1997 NSX.

We wish Jim well and are happy that the car is in good hands.

Final Odometer: 58,393

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Total Cost to Sell

October 27, 2012


From the time we decided to sell our 1991 Acura NSX to the time it completed the smog test hurdles, we spent some cash. This was not a cheap car to get ready for sale:

$125 for a car wash and detail
$65 for smog test #1
$148.66 for a dealership diagnosis of the problem
$610.29 for replacement of the air temp and O2 sensors
$65 for smog test #2
$1,195.97 for two new catalytic converters, installed
$20 for smog test #3

Get out those calculators. We spent $2,229.92 to passify the government and deliver a shiny NSX to the next owner. It feels like a lot because it is. This is the most we've spent on any long-term car to prep it for sale. So why the picture, you ask?

Well, last night the Acura ran out of wiper fluid. I grabbed a gallon at the nearest gas station for a whopping $3.25. It doubles as headlight fluid, so in reality, we got a deal on the stuff. That pushes the total just over $2,230.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 58,389 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Finally Passed Smog

October 26, 2012


Our 1991 Acura NSX finally passed a smog test. It was both an educational and costly experience. Here is how the saga wrapped up...

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1991 Acura NSX: Smog Test Results, Compared

October 25, 2012


When we purchased our 1991 Acura NSX the car received a smog test. As you can see from the results above, it passed with decent marks. And we had the smog performed ourselves.

In California, a used car buyer has two options: (1) have the seller smog it first; or (2) agree mutually and in writing for the buyer to do it. We opted for #2 when we got the car. But now that we're selling it, we chose the more common option #1. That's were we encountered problems. Take the jump for all results...

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1991 Acura NSX: Second Smog Failure Diagnosis

October 25, 2012


When our 1991 Acura NSX failed smog a second time, we bit the bullet and started shopping for replacement catalytic converters. All along we feared they were garbage, but we didn't want to spend the money if we didn't have to. Take a look at this one. The other is uglier...

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1991 Acura NSX: Failed Smog a Second Time

October 24, 2012


The smog station technician pointed at our 1991 Acura NSX, and then to the word FAIL on the printout in his hand. "I think you might need new catalytic converters," he advised. I was dejected. For the past 30-40 minutes I'd been running the NSX to make sure the cats were hot and ready for the test. We hoped the sensors would do the trick. Crud.

He must have seen the look in my face. The tech tried to offer reassurance, "If you bring it back in the next 30 days it is only $20 to retest." I thanked him for his time and hit the road. Back to the drawing board. And deeper into the wallet.

Smog test: $65

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 58,290 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Trying to Pass Smog

October 23, 2012


(Photo by Ron Montoya)

Our first stop after the NSX failed smog was Acura of Santa Monica. Convenience and the hope for a diagnosis took us there. The dealer took a peek and ultimately recommended that we replace both oxygen sensors. "It could be the catalytic converters too," our advisor added, before we asked him for the keys back.

Exorbitant dealer fees were not in our budget. So we drove the car down to a shop we had used in the past, Autowave, for a second opinion...

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1991 Acura NSX: Going Back Home...Sorta

September 27, 2012

There have been many NSXs here before. But today just one.

Here is Honda's Proving Ground in Mojave, California about 150 miles from our office. It's a huge facility with a 7-mile oval, two road courses, several off road courses, including a full motocross track, a wet skidpad and much more.

When business called me to Honda's desert facility a few weeks ago, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to drive our NSX to and from the place, and of course, all around the facility. It just seemed right. And it was right. Sort of coming home for the sports car in some small way.

The NSX and I toured the place. Alone. We were completely unsupervised for 30 minutes or so. Just the car, myself and the dry desert wind. No real need for speed. This was a moment to remember for many reasons beyond the thrill of a fast car on an empty stretch of track.

We're about to sell our NSX. I'm glad I got to do this with it before it belongs to someone else.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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1991 Acura NSX: Daily Driver

September 5, 2012

You know the NSX is easy to live with. About the only things that constantly remind you that our longterm 1991 Acura NSX is indeed an "impractical" sports car are its low, low seating position and the front airdam that scrapes on everything. To be fair, the NSX' chin is less insult-prone than that sultan of scrape, our old 2002 Corvette Z06. That thing could scrape its nose at every speed bump, dip, driveway... probably even while sitting motionless.

Anyway, as the NSX was originally introduced a bit before my time, I'd always wondered whether it actually lived up to its billing as a daily-driveable exotic. My conclusion is, yes, sort of. Daily driveable, absolutely, no question about it. I see what the fuss was about.

Exotic? Depends on how you define exotic. It's imported and somewhat rare (in comparison to ordinary cars), and it has the right midengine street cred. It's lightyears more exotic than a Corvette. But the NSX has always lacked any kind of pulse-quickening styling, and there's a sense of familiarity about it that erodes the "exotic" aura. That, and the fact that Honda let it rot on the vine with only mild updates over its 15-year life meant it wasn't given a chance to continually edge the bar upwards after setting it in 1991. Honda allowed the NSX aura to dim to the point of "just put it out of its misery, fer cryin' out loud" by the time 2005 rolled around.

Based on the experiences you've read here and elsewhere, what's your take on the NSX -- does it turn your crank, make you stay up late cruising ebay and autotrader? Or an interesting but ultimately unfulfilling experiment? Share your thoughts.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Not a Water Ski Boat

August 31, 2012

So he's been after us for like a year to drive the NSX and now things have finally come together so we decide to let him.

What's the worst that could happen? If he likes it, there's a good chance he'll buy it from us. If he crashes it, he'll have to buy it from us.

I practice holding my breath for a few minutes. Then I hand him the keys.

Just like everyone else he's taken with the driving position and the expansive field of view, and he notices that the relatively low beltline makes the view great to the sides as well as over the nose. It's just like the Formula 1 cars of the time, before drivers were buried in carbon fiber up to their ears.

The high-pitched cranking sound from the starter motor is a reminder that this is just a Honda, not a rocket ship. He's as surprised as anyone to discover that the V6 engine behind our heads is very quiet. Even though we're running with the windows down so we can hear what the engine has to offer, the sound of the exhaust is distant and unobtrusive.

That is, it's distant and unobtrusive before I tell him that you can drive the NSX all day before you remember to look down and then realize that there's 8,000 rpm to play with. And once he gets into the throttle and the tach needle swings around the dial, we both appreciate what a crisp and authoritative engine we have here.

"It's geared really tall," he says, and I remind him that this is the first iteration of the car, before the six-speed came on the scene.

"Really, all supercars are geared tall anyway, since they're made to go fast," he says. "Most six-speeds shift like crap because they just hang an extra gear in there, so you can give me a great shifting H-pattern for first through fourth with an overdrive fifth and I'm happy. Still, first gear is so tall here that you really don't have to shift until you're past 60 mph, so that's a little less fun."

As we climb into the Santa Monica Mountains on those narrow canyon roads, he's having a good time sliding the car through the hairpins, as the front washes out and then grips and then you carry the back through the rest of the corner. Though the NSX's wheelbase is rather short by modern standards at 99.6 inches, the car is long enough overall with its big overhangs at 173.4 inches so it responds predictably. The manual steering really isn't that communicative, he says, but the honest way that the effort builds up as you increase the lock through a corner represents a kind of honesty missing from current electric-assist steering systems.

"It's still kind of a big car," he says. "Too big for where I live, anyway. Every time I'd be driving into the city, there wouldn't be enough room on the way to let the car loose, and then parking would be an adventure with the manual steering and the low doors."

Predictably, we both realize that as practical as the Acura NSX is – the most practical exotic car ever, probably – it's still an exotic car, and that means it's best for running really fast where the road is basically straight and open. If you're hoping to drive it to the grocery store, you're fooling yourself, even though it can be done.

In the end, we finally figure out why the Acura NSX never sold in the numbers it deserved. Acura listened to people talk about mid-engine exotic cars and the way they would mystify things like technology and handling, so the Japanese engineers built this four-wheel science fair of lightness and innovation.

Trouble is, what people really want from a mid-engine car is a big engine that makes wicked noises and bodywork with outrageous styling. And that's all. "It's got to be outrageous," he says. "Otherwise no one cares. If it sounds like a Ferrari and goes 200 mph, then everybody understands in an instant. If it's aluminum and handling, then you have to explain."

What we decide is that really what people want in a mid-engine car is just a water ski boat. Big honking engine behind you, a hunk of plastic with a metalflake paint job, and maybe "Kelly Sue" painted on the back. They don't want an Acura NSX.

As it turns out, he doesn't want an NSX, either. "The nose is too low," he laughs. "I'd scrape off the chin spoiler just going into my driveway."

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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1991 Acura NSX: Defroster

August 08, 2012


I don't think that space between the rear windows and over the engine cover was originally designed to defrost bratwurst, but when I was running late for a BBQ and didn't take the brats out until minutes before I left, that little space did the trick.

Thirty minutes later, I was at the BBQ and the brats were thawed. Brilliant.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 57,092 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Old Honda vs. Old Porsche

July 30, 2012


You'd think it might be difficult to find much drama in a cabin with fogged up windows.

But after once sitting in the driveway for 20 minutes in a 1985 Porsche 911 while its rudimentary defrost system breathed ineffectively on the windshield like an old dog before the glass was clear enough to see, I appreciate that the NSX is an old Honda, not an old Porsche.

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1991 Acura NSX: Right in Red?

July 23, 2012

red nsx.jpg

I usually don't like bright red cars. The hue usually strikes me as too garish, too "look-at-me" for my tastes. Up until I saw this red NSX yesterday at Supercar Sunday, an earlier Porsche 911 Turbo ('76 to '89) was the only car I thought looked really nice in red, due largely to the many black components that provide a nice contrast.

Yet for some reason, I think this dipped-in-red NSX looks dynamite. My first choice for Acura's athlete would still be black with tan leather, but I wouldn't kick this out of my driveway for leaking oil.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 56,667 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Vet Trip

July 13, 2012

Maggie in the NSX.jpg

In the spirit of using a supercar as a regular old car, I used the NSX to bring Maggie into the vet today. Her usual booster safety seat wouldn't fit, so I secured her harnass to the seat belt just as I do in my Z3. This would be the benefit of a small-medium dog; I seriously doubt Caroline would be able to pull this off with Mya.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Better Left Unseen

July 05, 2012


When you put the engine in the middle of a car, it's almost de rigueur to leave the thing visible under a slab of glass or artfully vented lexan. But our NSX hides its engine under a black felt shield. What gives? What if you took off that cover and exposed the engine for everyone to see?

Enter Photoshop, and five minutes of my free time.

Ok, so it's not the prettiest engine bay of all time.

I can live with the visible ABS unit, the black plastic airbox - even the alternator. But that coolant reservoir? That's a big piece of Tupperware. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it was more practical to leave it in the engine bay and just cover everything up. I mean, the NSX is exotic, but it's not THAT exotic.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 57,812 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Valet Love

June 28, 2012


Yesterday I posted about the lack of love our NSX got at our local Cars and Coffee last weekend. Then I met a friend for dinner at a Santa Monica hot spot and was surprised when the valet kept the Acura up front for me.

True, it was a Wednesday night. And it was early, we had a reservation at six. And as you can see, the other car given the treatment is a Cadillac CTS Coupe. In other words, I'm not so sure the NSX would have been given the same respect late on a Saturday night.

Although maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the valet was a Hondahead with an K20-powered DC2 Type R and a mural of Senna tatooed on his back.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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1991 Acura NSX: No Love at Cars and Coffee

June 27, 2012


Our local Saturday morning Cars and Coffee is one of the largest in the nation with over 500 cars of all types gathering in Irvine, CA from O'dark until about 9 am. It's fun, but it's also nearly 60 miles from my house, which means I need to start driving about 6 am if I'm going to make the party.

Last weekend our long-term NSX and I made the party...sort of. When we arrived it was clear the man at the gate didn't think the Acura made the cut and directed me to park it in what is essentially the reject lot over to the left. We found a spot between a Nissan Altima with rims and blacked out trim and a fairly generic but clean non-SS '66 Chevelle riding on Cragars.

By the way our 1985 Porsche 911 and 1984 Ferrari 308 never had this problem. Both were welecomed into the main lot many times with open arms, erect thumbs and hearty smiles.

Needless to say I was disappointed. But it was a fun morning otherwise. More photos after the jump.

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1991 Acura NSX: We've Driven it 10,000 Miles

June 25, 2012


We've driven our 1991 Acura NSX 10,000 miles. The day we bought it the supercar's odometer read 45,886. That was back in September. Ten months and 10,000 miles later I can tell you that our NSX is running better than ever.

Sure we've put some money into it over that time, including a new set of tires and several fixes, but this car is better to drive now than the day we paid for it and it has proven to be impressively reliable.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 55,886 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Exposed or Hidden?

June 18, 2012

2002 NSX.jpg

Maybe I'm just hopelessly old school and maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I dig flip-up headlights. Unlike some of today's cars wherein the headlight clusters come halfway over the front fenders, many past sports cars (Corvette, Trans Am, Miata, RX-7, Supra, MR2, Ferrari 308/328/348/355) kept 'em hidden which gave the front end a sleeker look. That said, I'll admit the C6 Corvette, Viper and modern-day Lambos still look good with their exposed headlights.

But back to the NSX. For 2002, as seen in the photo, Acura opened the NSX's eyes. And though they don't look bad, to me they visually shorten the already short nose, making it look too stubby and out of proportion to the long tail. Were I to get an NSX, I'd set my sights on a '97 to '01 model.

What do y'all think?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 55,674 miles.

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1991 Acura NSX: Still Looks Great

June 11, 2012

acura nsx r34.jpg

This has long been one of my favorite cars from a design standpoint. Low, sleek and purposeful. In particular, the Fighter-jet style greenhouse (canopy?), uncluttered side air intakes and integrated tail spoiler make the NSX, for me anyway, still a head-turner.

But that futuristic, built-in rear wing? A Chrysler that was as big as a whale had it two decades before. Any guesses before you hit the jump?

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1991 Acura NSX: Kulinary Mille?

June 05, 2012


Last year, I participated in something called the Kulinary Mille -- a celebration of gasoline and gastronomy. You can read about it here and here. It was an endless parade of excesses and I think I'm still recovering from it. Somehow, the organizers saw fit to invite me once again, and, well, I figured I'd take one for the team again. Poor me, huh?

The big question is, "what do I drive?"

I need something fast and comfortable. At the moment, the only car that meets those requirements is our long-term NSX (I think the Audi A8 is too big and "old guy" for the trip). Our Mustang participated in last year's Mille, plus it's going away soon (sniff).

What do you think? Is this the right car for the Kulinary Mille? Check them out on Facebook here.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Toyoda's Favorite

May 22, 2012


In a recent interview, Toyota president and CEO Akio Toyoda listed his favorite Japanese cars that were/are not made by Toyota. Surprisingly enough, Akio did not mention the Insight or Crosstour when bringing up Toyota's main rival, Honda, but instead took a trip in the way back machine to single out the Honda NSX. And why not? Not only is is stunning and a masterpiece of form and function, but Toyota didn't have anything to compete with it. Plus, Toyoda's a car guy and like most of us, he's got a soft spot for the NSX. I bet he likes the M3 and Corvette, too.

To see the other cars on his list, click here.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line

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1991 Acura NSX: The Aluminum Falcon

May 04, 2012

The Aluminum Falcon watermark.jpg

"You've never heard of the Aluminum Falcon? It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs!"

"You're making that up. A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. It's like saying I made it from Los Angeles to New York in 1,200 miles."

"Shut up. How about it's made out of aluminum, it has a huge cargo hold for such an exotic sports ship and it has the first hyperdrive to feature VTEC! Sure, the cabin smells suspiciously like damp Wookiee, but there's a whole closet full of my clothing available for you to wear should you need a change. I'm looking at you Lando. Oh, And pop-up headlights! Because, you know, it's dark in space and they come in super handy when you fly into a giant space worm."

Captain Han Riswick, Don't Get Cocky Kid @ 945,600 hours

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1991 Acura NSX: Movie Stark Makeover

May 03, 2012


When we drove the one-of-a-kind Acura NSX used in The Avengers movie, we naturally brought our 1991 NSX along for the ride. Here are some shots of our 1991 long-term NSX with the stunningly elegant car from the movie that is Tony Stark's personal NSX Roadster.

The NSX used in the movie was actually built around a 1991 NSX. You can read more about its transformation in this story on Inside Line:

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1991 Acura NSX: Cameo Appearance

May 02, 2012

Honda released this little commercial, chronicling notable vehicles in the company's history. Somewhere, right in the middle, is a silver NSX; just like our beloved long-termer. I have no idea what the announcer is saying, but apparently, it's overall theme is, "We won't be beaten." I'll get Frio to translate, hopefully. Click through to see the video, plus a bonus.

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1991 Acura NSX: Airdam Damage

April 16, 2012

NSX frontal.jpg

After 21 years of service, the under side of our NSX is showing some wear. Most specifically, the airdam. Photog Kurt Niebuhr mentioned in a previous post that the airdam touches down in some corners when driving aggressively on back roads.

And I'll admit the front kissed the pavement once or twice in the midst of my spirited road trip to Laguna Seca, Part 1 and Part 2.

Steep driveways have also proved problematic for the NSX, despite our best efforts to angle the car in properly. To sum up, there's been some scraping, as much as it pains us.

So Mark Takahashi and I put the NSX on our Rotary Lift to inspect the level of damage.

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1991 Acura NSX: Road Trip

April 05, 2012

NSX luggage.jpg

I'm heading up to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today for a press event that's going on there tomorrow. My ride to and from? The Acura NSX.


a) Because it's an NSX.

b) It's a real sports car.

And I will be taking good roads.

More to come...

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 53,747 miles.

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1991 Acura NSX: Trackside Support

April 02, 2012


Photo guy Kurt Niebuhr and I had a little role reversal this weekend. Normally, I'm the guy behind the wheel, and he's behind the viewfinder. On Saturday, this all changed.

Kurt had signed up to drive our long-term Miata in a track day event at Buttonwillow Raceway, which is about two hours north of Los Angeles. He asked me if I'd able to show up and take some photos and maybe help out in the pits. How could I say no?

I managed to snag the keys to our NSX for the weekend, and it performed admirably as a track support vehicle. I loaded the car with my track bags, helmets and tools (just in case) the night before and it all fit without any issue.

The early morning drive (I left L.A. at 6am) was a piece of cake. I ended up averaging 25.4 as I climbed up and over the Grapevine (a long stretch of Interstate 5 that leads you into the San Joachin Valley). As I approached the Tejon Pass at 4,160 feet above sea level, the windshield started fogging up, but the defroster had little effect. I had to turn it up full blast to finally get a clear view again. Teeth chattering, I was finally able to turn off the defroster once I reached the valley floor.

The track day itself seemed well organized and fun for all. Well, everyone who was driving on track, anyway. I felt like a puppy on a leash in a dog park, but that just convinced me that I need more track days in my future -- probably of the two-wheeled variety. Kurt will have a post on the Miata's day at the track later. Until then, here's a shot of him tearing up Buttonwillow. Go Kurt!

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1991 Acura NSX: R8 vs. NSX Revisited

March 30, 2012

NSX vs R8 jacobs photo.jpg

Photo by Scott Jacobs for Edmunds

Perhaps you remember Josh Jacquot's comparison between our long-term Acura NSX and an Audi R8? Jacquot would say, "How could you possibly not remember?"

I was lucky enough to join him for that awesome, if brief, encounter on Glendora Mountain Road. Brief because we had photos to do. As I like to say, this job would be perfect, if not for the constant need for photos, video...and writing.

But I digress. In case you haven't noticed in my recent posts, I love driving the NSX. And that day on GMR was a day I won't soon forget: Two great cars on an absolutely stupendous road.

It was also memorable because it showcased the performance gap between the 21-year-newer R8 and the classic NSX.

It probably didn't help the NSX's cause any that I drove the R8 first. Audi's supercar has been a favorite of mine from its entry into the market. Sure, it's all-wheel drive. But it acts, for the most part, like a rear-driver. I like that.

Everything is immediate in the R8, the steering is precise, there's tons of grip, loads of power. And then there's that beautiful "clink-clinking" of the gated manual. The speed with which you approach each corner is shocking, it gobbles up pavement like crazy. And the suspension tuning is perfect.

The other reason it didn't help to get into the NSX second was that Jacquot, a notorious left-foot braker, had already overheated the NSX's weak binders by the time I got into the Acura. Thanks buddy!

Other observations: The R8 is filled with feedback, the NSX even more so. The NSX's non-assisted steering is constantly changing, from heavy to light back to heavy (and it's slower-reacting than the R8's), depending on throttle input, braking and where you are at that exact second in the corner. It's fun, but certainly far more work than the R8 to drive really quickly. It's not as easy to teeter on the limit like you can in the R8.

The other big difference is that the NSX's tall gearing and lack of low-end power had me thinking I was for some reason in fourth gear in a couple corners, when of course I was in second. Hit the throttle at exit, with that V6 spinning only around 4,000 rpm, and very little happens. It almost makes you want to downshift to first for the tightest hairpins. The solution? Drive faster.

Of course the NSX's gearbox is fantastic, near perfect really.

So what's my point? The point is that I love both cars. The R8 is technically superior, utterly phenomenal in what it does, and effortless in the way it goes about its task of streaking up a mountain road. All the while, still keeping the driver heavily involved.

The NSX is considerably slower on said back road, while requiring more concentration (not necessarily a bad thing) and a good set of biceps. For me, the R8 is actually more fun, more exciting, largely because it's capable of so much stinking speed. And its brakes don't heat up prematurely and force us to slow down.

But the NSX is an invigorating and intoxicating experience, too. It's also a look back at a different time. And a look back at a company that was once all about engineering.

I'd like to have both cars in my garage.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 53,230 miles.

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1991 Acura NSX: Insert Velvet Underground Lyric Here

March 13, 2012


You can only drive as fast as you can see. And at night in our longterm 1991 Acura NSX, that isn't very far. I discovered this on a late evening run from the heart of the California desert last week.

When you're coming south on Highway 14 just out of Palmdale, you have a choice: take the sucky freeway route all the way back to LA, or take fun roads. The fun roads are Angeles Forest Highway to Angeles Crest, which spits you out in La Canada Flintridge.

No matter how late in the day, I always opt for the fun roads. Night driving here has its benefits: there's almost zero car traffic, headlights are visible long before the car they're mounted to comes into view, cyclists are rarer than rockinghorse turds.

The problem is seeing the road you're driving on. The NSX piddles little pools of yellowish splatter on the pavement directly in front of the car. High beams improve things somewhat for straightahead viewing, but on these roads high beams aren't the solution.

It's all about where the light is being distributed. What's needed here is light to the sides -- you're not driving straight; you're constantly turning into corners. In the NSX, there's just black holes off to the corners. Bew. This is why, again, you can only drive as fast as you can see. Want to go faster? Get better headlights.

On the plus side, windows down and 8000-rpm Honda V6 reverberating off canyon walls.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Hey, It's a Honda

March 01, 2012

American Honda Museum - storefront_717.jpg

Took the NSX around to American Honda’s informal museum in Torrance last night for a function honoring our friend Kurt Antonius. It was a cool thing to do since he helped determine the strategy for introducing the model back in 1990.

There we ran into Tom Elliott, former executive vice-president of American Honda, who said he had bought his own NSX. Then we saw John Mendel, current executive vice-president of American Honda, in the parking lot. He said he was still looking for an NSX to buy, and as he looked over our car appreciatively, he said that if we’d just park it in front of the museum and leave the keys in it, he might be able to solve his NSX acquisition problem this very night.

Even before we could get into the museum, Honda press vehicle supremo Brad Long came out to look over our car, and then he told us an interesting story about the NSXs in the American Honda collection.

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1991 Acura NSX: Funhouse Mirror

February 21, 2012


There I was driving down Santa Monica Boulevard. I check my mirror and see what looks like a Mahindra pickup truck. But no, I was mistaken, it was just a regular old Toyota.

The driver-side mirror has a little distortion in it; just near the top. It stretches images vertically, making some cars look like they have goofy-large greenhouses.

Now, I can see the use of condensing images horizontally, giving you a more expansive view of what's next to you, but vertically stretched? And near the top? Nope, I think this is just a flaw, and a minor one, at that. The passenger-side mirror doesn't distort things like this.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 52,026 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Suspension Walkaround

February 19, 2012


At long last the 1991 Acura NSX suspension walkaround you've been clamoring for is finally here. Turns out there's lots of cool stuff to see under there, even if this car is old enough to drink and play blackjack.

Let's not waste any more time with preliminaries. The NSX is racked on our 2-post Rotary lift and fully exposed.

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1991 Acura NSX: Dear Future Owner

February 17, 2012


Congratulations on your purchase of the Inside Line 1991 NSX! You'll be smitten, just like we were. I know you were hesitant to meet our asking price, but I'm glad to hear that Oldham offering to throw in one year of Takahashi maintenance/repair for free sealed the deal.

I would like to ask for just one thing, though: Keep it stock. Of course, as the owner it's your prerogative to do whatever you want to it. Supercharger, wide-body kit, big wheels and tires, truck antlers, etc. But think about this way: Acura only sold about 8,900 NSXs for the entire time the first-generation was on sale from 1991 to 2005. Of those, how many are left that are A) from 1991, like ours; B) Stock, like ours; and C) Silver, like ours. I don't know the exact answer other than "not very many."

This car is great as-is. Please keep it that way.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

(Detailed production numbers on NSXprime.com)

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1991 Acura NSX: Collectible, Schmellectible

February 16, 2012

In another post the question of the NSX's collectibility came up. I'm certainly no collector-car savant, but I question whether any NSX will really be truly collectible. Okay, maybe the NSX-R. Now, go find one stateside.

I say this not because the NSX isn't terrific and historic and relevant and special. It is all of those things.

Rather, the NSX suffers the same situation faced by every other great Japanese car -- its Japanese-ness. With very few exceptions, for right or wrong, Japanese cars do not appreciate in value over time. Excepting your Toyota 2000GTs and the recent stupidity with MkIV Supra Turbos, Japanese sports cars simply don't experience the increased valuation enjoyed by their European contemporaries. Call it snobbery or short-sightedness, whatever -- that's the situation.

Personally, I find the business of cars as investments -- and the forecasting thereof -- odd. Accept the fact that cars are depreciating assets and move on. Buy the cars you want to drive, damn the financials. Find the NSX or 911 or Ferrari or Chevrolet or Daihatsu you like, buy it and drive the piss out of it. It's better to regret something you did than something you didn't do.

Besides, you only live once, and you can't take the money with you.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 51,614 miles.

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1991 Acura NSX: Cool Past/Future Video

February 10, 2012


Hit the jump and this video will walk you through many significant milestones in the long lifespan of the first-generation NSX. Tacked onto the end is the brief video Acura released last month showcasing the new NSX's powertrain and styling.

It's worth every second. All 466 of them.

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1991 Acura NSX: A Multi-Generation Video Tribute

February 08, 2012


The Japanese arm of Honda's P.R. effort produced a video that went up on its YouTube channel last week. Considering the recent resurgence of all things NSX, this might be the right time to share this look back and look forward at the (Honda) Acura NSX. The chronological video pulls from archival testing (without the Senna footage), public-relations, and racing clips and it finishes with some pretty slick Polyphony Digital (Gran Turismo) X-ray magic revealing some more detail about the proposed 2012 Acura NSX powertrain. Click through to view...

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1991 Acura NSX: Past And Future

February 07, 2012


I pulled this image from the 2012 Chicago Auto Show site. According to the site: "Acura used the 1989 Chicago Auto Show to measure reaction to the prototype NS-X exotic sports car. The public loved it and it went on sale in the fall of 1990 as a 1991 model called NSX, minus the hyphen."

Follow the jump for a shot I snapped of the upcoming NSX at the 2012 North American International Auto Show last month in Detroit.

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1991 Acura NSX: Let's Make A Deal

February 06, 2012

nsx f34.jpg

I was recently cruising eBay and AutoTrader for NSXs. I'm not in the market, just curious to see what they're going for. That's what many of us car guys do -- look at cars we're not going to buy. And judging by what I saw, it looks like we got a decent deal on our alluring Acura.

On eBay, I saw seven of which there were four early examples. There were two with Buy it Now prices: a '92 with just 29.5k miles for $44,900 and a '91 with chrome wheels (ughh!) and 35.5k miles for $42,500 or b.o. There's also a Sebring Silver one like ours with 30k miles; the high bid is at $25,550 so far with reserve not met. Checking out the "Completed Listings" I saw a lot of unsold NSXs along with a 2002 with 24k that sold for $48,000.

Over at AutoTrader.com I saw a couple that looked close to our car in terms of year, mileage and condition. A '91 with 35.5k miles was listed for $42,500 while a '91 with 38k was listed for $34,000. Then there was another '91 with 41k miles for $28,995 but it had no photos, which to me is a red flag. Lastly, I spotted a '93 with 53k listed at $28,999.

According to the long-term intro, we paid $33,000 for our NSX with 45.9k miles on the clock. After this informal survey and all things considered, I'd say it was a fair deal.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 51,444 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Engineer Ride-Along

February 02, 2012


Our friend the ride engineer took a turn in our wayback machine, driving the 1991 Acura NSX. It took him back to the time when the 1990 Nissan 300ZX Turbo was brand new.

We didn’t find any place to drive fast, so we just pottered about in the dark for an hour or so. Since he had arrived in a Nissan GT-R, his first observation wasn’t much of a surprise.

“Sure rides good,” he said.

Naturally there was some wrestling with the un-assisted steering, but he confessed that it simply had been a long time since he’d driven anything with manual steering. He offered the impression that the steering ratio seemed a little slow, probably because the Honda engineers wanted to make sure the mid-engine package would be very stable.

“Sure rides good,” he said.

The aluminum chassis felt very tight to him despite its age, and it didn’t have any of the resonance the sometimes comes with structures that are in fact a little too tight. The isolation from bumps was practically amazing, especially from a Honda of this era, when too much spring rate and too little suspension travel was the order of the day. The brake pedal was very firm, too.

“Sure rides good,” he said.

The engine didn’t get much enthusiasm from him. It seemed underpowered and it made a noise like an old even-fire Buick V6, while the clutch action was strangely heavy. The throws in the transmission’s shift pattern were very tight and the action was good even though the linkage felt like plastic. His feet were too big for the pedals and his getaways from a stop were not very smooth, as if the car felt unexpectedly heavy. Most important, all the effort levels for the controls were a little different.

“Sure rides good,” he said.

Great visibility. Interesting cabin design, especially the center console, which recalled lots of cars from that time for him. Plenty of room for a 99-percentile American male.

Car looks good, although it does seem a foot too long because of the trunk. Car feels big and even heavy from behind the wheel. Not very interesting to drive, neither alert nor alive. Car doesn’t deliver a very strong sense of where it wants to go.

Finally I asked him if it felt very unique to be driving a mid-engine car.

“To tell you the truth,” he said. “Until you just mentioned it, I really had no feeling about whether the engine was in front of me or behind me.

“It sure does ride good, though.”

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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1991 Acura NSX: A Look Underneath

February 02, 2012


We finally put our 1991 Acura NSX up on our 2-post Rotary Lift . Go to the next page to get a detailed look at its not so dirty side.

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1991 Acura NSX: Bottom Feeder

January 30, 2012


I recently put our 1991 Acura NSX up on our Rotary Lift for a little...inspection. Sure enough, something had got all up in its grille.

The offending object had been squashed flat up against the radiator in a very dark and very low place, out of sight. It had the look of something that had been there for awhile, but there's no telling.

No one has reported high water temperatures on account of the partial blockage, but it is January.

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1991 Acura NSX: Taking On The World At Fuji Speedway

January 30, 2012


Say what you will about the NSX's 15-year production run, this was shot eight years into its life (1999), which was already about double the average product cycle of most cars. And it was racing the latest, greatest hardware from all over the world -- including the brand-new R34 Skyline GT-R.

Can't afford the full 13 minutes? Skip ahead to minute five. That's where the real action begins.

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1991 Acura NSX: Not Getting Over It

January 26, 2012


After taking our NSX for a leisurely drive the other night, I realized that it's charms are not wearing off. And I mean not at all. Not even a little bit.

I still love whipping the tach around just to hear the engine. I still needlessly shift up and down because it's just so damn easy. And then sometimes I do nothing at all because, well, you can do that in the NSX and it's still enjoyable.

I keep waiting for something to really annoy me and yet nothing has happened. The more I drive it the more I like it. That's about all you can ask from a 20-year old car.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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1991 Acura NSX: Riding the Tip of the Bullet

January 20, 2012

I am totally not a mid-engine motor kind of guy, as plenty of bad things can happen when you package the lump behind you in a street car, but I have to say that I also totally love the feeling of riding on the tip of the bullet.

You see everything ahead and the view seems to sweep up and over the top of your head, like those moments when you’re trying to get out through the surf line and you duck below the water to see the turbulent barrel of liquid roll past.

Since I’m old, it makes me think of Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1 breaking the sound barrier or Steve McQueen’s Porsche 917K speeding down the Mulsanne straight, but everyone else just defaults right to the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.

This is not by accident, as the following passages from the gorgeous souvenir book given to the first owners of the first-year NSX will tell you.

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1991 Acura NSX: One Owner Reports

January 19, 2012


“So, is this one of those Japanese-made Ferraris that I’ve heard about?”

It’s not a minute after I park the Acura NSX at Cars and Coffee and as soon as I crack the door there’s somebody already harassing me about the NSX’s heritage. Frankly I feel a little guilty anyway, as if I had sneaked something not quite legitimate into this weekly gathering of the most interesting high-performance cars in Los Angeles.

Then it turns out that Barry Malone is an NSX owner, and he points across the way to his own gun-metal gray 2004 with its targa roof. He’s telling me that he’s owned dozens of zippy cars over the years and the NSX is the best by far.

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1991 Acura NSX: Thoughts on Mark II

January 13, 2012

Acura NSX New and Old Collage.jpg

When we look back at the cars shown at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, I'd argue the one that shall stand out as the most ultimately important to its segment, its manufacturer and the car scene in total will be the Ford Fusion. Unless it drives like crap (which seems very unlikely), this is the car we're going to be talking about for the next year.

At the moment, however, the biggest car at this year's Detroit show was without question the Acura NSX Concept. It was what everyone was talking about there and on the Internet as well. Our NSX Concept video on YouTube already has 500,000 views, which makes it already the most view auto show video we've ever done. People love the old NSX (you guys begged us to get one), they love the idea of a new NSX, and apparently they love what Honda came up with for its concept.

However, what does this new NSX need to do to match the success of the first and more importantly, learn from its missteps?

First of all, the new NSX needs to be a catalyst for engineering advancement throughout Honda and Acura. The 1991 NSX was the first production car to feature all-aluminum construction, titanium connecting rods and even electric power steering (on the automatic model). It was also the first U.S. production car to feature VTEC. It was a halo car that represented the world-leading capabilities that Honda was capable of back in the day. It was a Ferrari fighter from the people who brought you the Civic. Frankly, Honda has been lacking anything close to that unless you count the FCX Clarity or something.

Second, the new NSX needs to chisel a niche for itself amongst high-end sports cars. The 1991 NSX was noteworthy because it uniquely put a priority on comfort, usability and reliability as much for its performance and engineering attributes listed above. This is a priority we can attest to on a daily basis -- I never took our long-term Ferrari, I never take our long-term Porsche, I routinely take the NSX. In other words, the NSX needs to move the ball forward beyond what the Nissan GT-R, Audi R8 and others have achieved in recent years.

Third, the new NSX needs to match the original's success in its early years. In 1991, Acura sold 3,163 NSXs in the United States. That seems pretty puny compared to normal cars, but consider the first-year numbers for the GT-R and R8, which I consider to be the modern, spiritual heirs to the NSX (technological advancement, afordability, livability). Nissan sold 1,730 Godzillas back in 2008, while Audi moved only 900 in the R8's first full year.

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Acura NSX Concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

January 09, 2012


Acura unveiled the new NSX Concept at the Detroit Show today. According to Acura's Web site, "With an NSX Concept based on the efficiency of hybrid power and all-wheel drive, Acura once again shows that ultra-high performance is at the core of our DNA."

Read Josh's Acura NSX report from the Detroit show floor.

Do you like it? Or do you prefer our 1991 long-termer?

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1991 Acura NSX: Slight Height Difference

January 06, 2012


Last night, all manner of mundane driving was on the menu, but I knew our long-term Acura NSX would bring small moments of joy so I signed it out without hesitation. It was the right move. The steering in this car is just fantastic -- seriously, maybe the best I've ever experienced. The way it speaks to you so lucidly and fluidly as you're cruising down the freeway is unreal.

One of my stops along the way was the grocery store, and as I glanced to my right to start backing out, I noticed this car and thought, "oh, hey, nice steel gray X3..."

But nope, that's not an X3, just somebody's E60 5 Series sedan. But from the NSX cockpit, the Bimmer sedan looks so tall. Its door handle is roughly at eye level.

And that gets at my only qualm about driving cool old cars like the NSX. They're just so short compared to today's machines. Were I to get broad-sided by this 5 Series, and survive my injuries, I still might not be smart enough to blog anymore.

Do you waste time worrying about height incompatibility when driving older sports cars, or is that just one of the concessions of being a car guy?

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1991 Acura NSX: Outakes #2

January 02, 2012


I've shot our NSX several times. Though being 20 years old, people still stare, take pictures and love this car. It's a testament to how great this car looks.

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1991 Acura NSX: NoSX Design?

December 28, 2011


I remember driving the Acura NSX when it was new. Everyone liked driving it, but it never got any respect for style. It was the Acura NoSeX.

We said it looked like the designers got to the B-pillar and suddenly found out that the rest of the car had to be done by Friday. Pininfarina might have done the early concept sketches for the NSX, but the finished car looked asleep compared to a Ferrari 348.

Of course, now the NSX has miraculously become much better looking. What is it about the way that Honda does its designs – so bland at first glance — that enables them to live on with a freshness that cars from other brands can never manage?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

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1991 Acura NSX: We Did It!

December 27, 2011

NSX 50k milestone redo.jpg

That's right folks, we reached 50,000 miles with our 1991 Acura NSX. And yes, I know, I missed being exact by 7/10ths of a mile. Kinda difficult when you're driving along the 91 freeway. Still, I was closer than Jacquot with the Infiniti M56. That guy was way off!

Had a really good time with the NSX over the weekend. Did notice a sporadic rattle coming from behind my head though...

This trim piece turned out to be the culprit. Why was it rattling? Because of the three clips that hold it in place, one is completely broken off, a second is about to break off and is basically useless, and one is still intact.

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1991 Acura NSX: All I Want For Christmas...

December 23, 2011

NSX side view.jpg

Is an NSX. Well, that wasn't actually what I wished for, but I'm happy to have it from now through the weekend. It'll be nice to get to know it during general driving around over the next several days, as opposed to the slog of a commute from the office and back.

I'll also be a little curious to see what The Wife thinks about riding around in our holiday sled. She's generally not as appreciative of older cars as I am. It's one of her few faults.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 49,855 miles.

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1991 Acura NSX: Neat Detail

December 21, 2011


I drove our long-term 1991 Acura NSX for the first time this week. And like most others on staff, I'm still on Cloud 9. What amazing *manual* steering this car has... save for the low-speed effort, this is the kind of weighting and feel that automakers try to replicate today with hydraulic pumps and/or electric motors. (Obviously, most of today's cars aren't mid-engine, but still, you can tell that this is the ultimate standard, at least for Honda.)

But really, I was excited about the NSX before the key was even in the ignition. I opened the door to find this cool metal sill plate stamped with the last eight digits of the car's VIN and I knew it was going to be a good drive. Note the prominence of NSX and Honda Motor Company. No Acura branding here, because this is a world car from an earlier time -- more of a statement about Honda engineering than a phase in the luxury-division marketing plan.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 49,786 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: School Drop Off

December 15, 2011


I took my daughter to her preschool today in the NSX. It was humorous to see it parked in the school lot next to the normal group of beast of burdens. It's rare, of course, but the NSX also looks out of place since it sits so low.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Chivalry is Dead

December 13, 2011

arm nsx.jpg

Just because Takahashi was careless enough to break our NSX it doesn't mean I have to waste my time getting out and opening the door for the girlfriend.

Though I'll certainly get out to take this picture of her nearly dislocating her wrist.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line

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1991 Acura NSX: Date Night Choice

December 12, 2011


You've got these two cars in the garage. You're taking your significant other out on the town Saturday night. Which one do you choose?

I chose the NSX, as that's the whole point of us testing it. It felt like the more "exotic" choice as well. The NSX also helped out with its forced chivalry door handle. And, having read Caroline's Ladies' Guide to Exiting, I was at the ready to dispense advice on exiting to my skirt-wearing wife.

The NSX also rides surprisingly well. The only date night downside I noted was that the heater didn't (or couldn't) put out as much warm air as my wife would have preferred.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 49,153 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Blessing and a Curse

December 10, 2011


"Hey, you're responsible. Want to drive the NSX?"

This was Mike Schmidt, our Vehicle Testing Manager on Friday. We need to put some miles on the NSX's new tires before we subject the car to our battery of instrumented tests.

Hmm. A week with the NSX, but no shenanigans. It'll probably feel a little like going out for the high school prom with a really hot girl but stuck with my mom as a chaperone.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Measure Twice

December 08, 2011


My math skills are so poor (surprise, art student!) that there's no way I would have been able to pull off the math necessary to get these brakes to fit inside our NSX's 15 inch wheels. And still get them to rotate.

I guess there is a practical application for math after all!

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 48,560 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Night Lights

December 02, 2011


It's been a while since I set up a beauty shot at night. I had a little time to kill so I decided to suction-cup my camera to the rear window and set it to bracket three pictures every 5 seconds. It looks like I just engaged hyperspace in the Millennium (aluminum?) Falcon, but I'm barely breaking 30 mph.

OK, enough artsy stuff. See how the radio only shows the station info? James noted earlier that the rest of the head unit doesn't light up, so I decided to look into this in the morning.

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1991 Acura NSX: Enthusiasts. They're Everywhere.

November 23, 2011


Some days on this job are better than others.

I was reminded of this yesterday at the track as I sat in the NSX and watched the sanitation manager service the chemical toilets. After appreciating his handywork, we were off to the mountains for some driving and shooting.

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Ladies' Guide to Exiting the 1991 Acura NSX

November 22, 2011


With a low-seated car like our 1991 Acura NSX, exiting the vehicle with your grace intact can be a tricky proposition when you're wearing a dress. You don't want a knickers-baring Paris Hilton-esque scandal. So here are some tips I picked up over the weekend since I had to dress up for a wedding and the NSX was my ride.

By the way, what's great about the current forced chivalry of our Acura is that it means someone has to open the door for you and then will be there to assist you out of the vehicle. Which makes it much easier and if worse comes to worse they can block you from paparazzi.

1) Before the door opens, make sure to pull your dress down as far as it will go, especially important if you're wearing a mini skirt. Dresses do tend to ride up during a trip.

2) Once the door is open, with knees together and legs stretched out, swing them out and over the door jamb. Or you can also, with knees together, bring one leg out and quickly follow it with the other one.

3) With both feet placed firmly on the ground, steady one hand on the seat (don't grab the roof or the side of the car) and grab hold of your gentleman's hand.

4) Dip your head down before exiting the car so you don't hit it on the way out.

Now, getting into the NSX is another matter, but I suggest enlisting the help of your gentleman again to help ease you into the seat.

On a side note, as a sporty conveyance the Acura NSX was the best of both worlds of comfort and fun. The ride was comfortable and smooth, seat was cozy and the cabin was surprisingly quiet. I likes it.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Poster Child

November 16, 2011


I was driving through a mall parking lot on Saturday, and as I pulled away from a stop sign a kid, no more than 7 years old, tugged on his mother's hand as I drove by and yelled, "Mommy, that's a car from a poster!"

The only thing that would have made this any cooler was if I had been the photographer who took the photo which was hanging on that kid's wall.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 47,626 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Suddenly, Errands

November 12, 2011


I have an NSX in my garage.

Of course there's a reason why I was "given" the car for the weekend (more on that later), but for now... there's an NSX in my garage. I will now commence running errands at 7,000 rpm.

What would you want to see when you walk to your garage this weekend?

Kurt Niebuhr @ 47,444 miles

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1991 Acura NSX: Does This Make Me Look Fat?

October 26, 2011

nsx weight.JPG

Vehicle capacity weight: 400 lbs. T'was a simpler time in the late 80s.

According to a study by the CDC, the average weight of the American male between 1988 and 1994 was 181.3 pounds. By 2002, that number swelled to 189.3 pounds. Today? 194.7.

But the dudes weren't alone, the average weight of women has jumped from 153 in the '88-'94 study to 164 today.

This means that if you put two average American males in our 1991 NSX, you'll have an additional 10 pounds of wiggle room for luggage or some food and water. An average man and woman gives you a sweet 40 pound buffer. Which is about equal to Riswick's garment bag.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Inside Line

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1991 Acura NSX: Ayrton's Car

October 22, 2011


For those who have followed Formula One or the evolution of the NSX, this will come as no surprise to you. For the rest, I hope this helps confirm why the NSX is special.

The man driving the silver Honda NSX above is Ayrton Senna. This Brazilian driver is one of the best the sport has ever seen, winning three drivers championships and 41 races until his tragic death in 1994. He was brash, narrowly focused and incredibly intense; often raising the ire of fellow competitors and race officials. And he had a hand in the development of the NSX.

As the story goes, Senna was at the Suzuka International Racing Course (built as a Honda Test track in the 60s), testing his Honda-powered McLaren F1 car. At the same time, the NSX was being tested before it went into production. The engineers handed the keys over to Senna and he came back with some critiques; most notably saying it felt fragile. To the engineer's credit they took him seriously and went back to the drawing board to increase the chassis' rigidity. Senna also chipped in on the suspension and handling prowess -- something I hope to explore sooner rather than later.

For the uninitiated, this would be akin to having Mario Batali running your backyard BBQ or getting the Rolling Stones to play a few songs at your 40th birthday party. Senna was a magician behind the wheel and was as exacting a driver as there ever was. His soul lives on in this car. Honda gave him a few NSXs as a thank you, one of which is still in the family's possession. If any of his NSXs were to go up for sale, I'm sure it'd fetch a tidy sum.

In 2005, I visited the memorial to Senna at the Imola Circuit in Italy, the site of his tragic last race. It was not a race day and everything was eerily quiet. Still, there were fresh flowers adorning his bronze statue.

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1991 Acura NSX: The Rumored "Titanium" Key

October 21, 2011

NSX Normal Key.jpg

A friend of mine told me that the early Acura NSXs came with a titanium key that was very expensive to replace and couldn't be cut by an ordinary key machine. This piqued my interest, so I did some research on it in the NSX Prime forum, which was once again an excellent source of information. It turns out that the key isn't actually made of titanium, but rather a nickel alloy called "Monel".

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1991 Acura NSX: The Wash

October 20, 2011

NSX Wash_01.JPG

Like our long-term Porsche 911, I prefer to wash our NSX myself. And like the 911, I found a few flaws during its time at Takawashi. The exterior is in remarkably good condition, with just a few nicks and chips that you'd expect. The one area that I paid particular attention to, however, was the trunk.

In an effort to track down the source of the water leak, Magrath and Riswick suggested I lay down something called Noooozpaper in the trunk (apparently it's a 17th century internet). I took their advice and after I was done drying off the car, I slowly opened the trunk, looking in as I lifted the lid so I could see what was dripping.

Turns out, nothing was dripping. My guess is that there needs to be air and water flowing at speed to get it to intrude past the weather stripping. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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1991 Acura NSX: Fear, Loathing & Racing in Las Vegas

October 14, 2011


In the spirit of gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Riswick and I will be heading out to the Indy Car race in Las Vegas in our new/old long-term NSX. We'll see what it's like on the highway for the four-hour trips and probably discover a few flaws that we're not currently aware of. I've been told that the air conditioning is on the weak side. Great. Magrath seems to thinks it's a bad idea, saying the ride is harsh and it's loud. Wimp.

Any predictions? Will a Burmese Tiger fit in the NSX? Will I lose the car in a game of poker? Will we see Will Power's famous double-bird salute? James will be tweeting when lucid (@Jriswick). Stay tuned.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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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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Past Long-Term Road Tests