The Truth About Cars » NSX The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » NSX The Beat Resurrected: Meet the Honda S660 Thu, 24 Oct 2013 12:00:41 +0000 Honda S660 01

Honda’s rear-driven products built for two tend to be motorcycles, scooters and ATVs for the most part, but every now and again the company will unveil a roadster whose name begins with an S, and ends with the number of cubic centimeters the engine provides.

Such a car is set to return soon to the showroom floor, and will make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November: The Honda S660.

The word on the street is the S660 will be powered by a 660 cc turbocharged engine placed just behind the driver and passenger, with all of its 67 ponies going to the rear wheels. Unlike some of Honda’s current and future offerings that are or will be powered by a combination of internal combustion and electric motivation, the new roadster is strictly gasoline-only.

The featherweight roadster, has its roots in the company’s EV-STER electric-only concept from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show with regard to styling, penned by designer Ryo Sugiura. That said, don’t try to tell him his roadster is the second coming of the late Soichiro Honda’s last gift to the world, the Beat:

Some people might think this will be the remodeled version of the Beat. But it is not. This is totally brand new.

The S660 is one part of a potential three-pronged attack by Honda in the sports car segment. With it and the NSX forming the outer forks, the automaker plans to forge the center fork through the introduction a mid-engined Toyabaru hunter with a price point to match the GT86/BRZ/FRS when it makes its debut. In the meantime, the U.S. domestic market may not need to wait 25 years for the S660 to come over; Honda plans to sell the roadster in export markets with a 1000cc engine and minor changes with regards to safety regulations. S1000, anyone?

The S660 will make its production debut in Japan for the 2015 model year, in time for the automaker’s return to Formula One.


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Ayrton Senna’s NSX Road Tested In Brazil Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:00:26 +0000

Fans of the Acura NSX have long wondered about Ayrton Senna’s personal NSXs. Little information was known, aside from a couple rumors on his Wikipedia page, and a few Youtube videos showing him driving both a red prototype and a white NSX-R.

While often seen with a red example, it turns out that Senna’s personal ride in Brazil was a black version (the best color, in my opinion). This 1993 model has just 5600 km on the odometer and slightly different headlamps compared to North American models. The red one was apparently kept by Senna in Portugal and was for sale at one point. The black one is under the care of Senna’s family. While the write-up is in Portuguese, running it through Google Translate won’t yield too much new information about the car. Nevertheless, it’s a cool bit of trivia for fans of Senna, or Honda’s legendary sports car.

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Happy Birthday Ayrton Senna Thu, 21 Mar 2013 13:46:55 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

Ayrton Senna would have been 53 today. To celebrate the life of an extraordinary man, here’s a video of the world’s best racing driver piloting my all-time favorite car around Suzuka.

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Generation Why: On Brands And The Success Of The Honda 2012 Civic Thu, 31 May 2012 13:21:35 +0000

“There’s only one word that’s banned in our company: brand,” Mr. Dyson said, speaking at “Disruption By Design,” a conference put on by Wired on Tuesday. “We’re only as good as our latest product. I don’t believe in brand at all.”

I agree with Dyson. Brand is an utterly obnoxious word. Brand really just means “reputation”. As we’ve seen before, “building your brand” without any substance behind it will be immediately exposed as fraudulent. But brands still matter.

Being as good as your last product has a lot of implications. It’s probably why the Honda Civic, despite being panned by critics, still draws in customers in reasonable numbers. The Civic, depending on what month we’re talking about, is the best-selling car in its segment, or close to it. The issue with the Civic isn’t that the critics are dead wrong and out of touch (in a sense, it’s true) or that it’s a dreadful vehicle (false, but it could have been much, much better) – it’s that the Civic is just good enough. To the average consumer who doesn’t live and die by double wishbone suspensions, it feels like their old Civic, but fresh and taut and not smelling like dogs and gym socks.

Just for comparison, I went and took a look at the 2000 Civic, owned by my grandmother, with a mere 50,000 miles. After driving the 2012, she vastly prefers it to her car, with the chief complaints being the dual stack cluster being a bit hard to see, and the lack of an illuminated ring around the ignition key. There is way more power from the 1.8L engine, the automatic gearbox in her LX test car has 5-speeds rather than 4, the driving position and visibility are leagues ahead of the old EK sedan – really, everything is just better, new, improved, the benefit of 12 years of technological improvements. Yes, the interior is spartan, with awful plastics and an ugly layout. Was the 2000 Civic, regarded as one of the best Civics in the car’s history, any different in terms of interior quality? Even in the “golden era” of the 1990s, certain items, like the flimsy, mouse-fur sun visors were a punchline. The game has moved on compared to its competitors, but to the people buying the car, it’s not such an affront to their dignity like some members of the motoring press would have us think.

On paper, the Elantra, Focus and Cruze are the superior cars, packed with the latest infotainment, sophisticated drivetrains and avant-garde styling. By comparison, 2012 Civic is simple and easy to operate. The other three have a mess of buttons and cluttered interiors that drive up the sticker price and scare off techno-phobic older buyers as well as young buyers who don’t necessarily have the patience for Sync, MyLink and other in-dash hijinks. Older buyers will care more about value for money. For young people, a Ford Focus is a distant memory of a cheap rental car, and you still have to justify the purchase of a Hyundai to a few of your friends, no matter how good it looks or how much equipment it comes with. You don’t with a Civic.

The danger for Honda is that this could be the last Civic these folks ever purchase. The rough ride and the awfully hollow sound made when the trunk slams may be the sort of thing that compels consumers to look else where. The 2013 redesign will supposedly address the styling and add a CVT and direct injection – robbing the Civic of whatever mechanical robustness it still had compared to the untested, GDI-equipped, tech-laden competition.  If Civic customers end up defecting to Hyundai, Chevrolet or Ford, they’ll find a car that may be a bit more than what they wanted, but one that does look and feel more “premium”, along with a brand that’s had a few years to ripen and perfect their image. Honda’s brand is no longer steeped in the mystique of NSXs, S2000s and Type-R hot hatches. They simply are “Honda”, purveyor of durable, four-wheeled transportation. And if your brand is lost and you’re only as good as your last product, then Honda is in danger of losing them forever.

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Yawn: Honda Announces 2015 NSX. Once More And Again Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:13:55 +0000

Illustrating the state of the Japanese auto industry, and especially that of Honda, Honda unveiled its prototype of the NSX yesterday in Tokyo. The Acura sports car had been rumored for two years, and was shown at the Detroit Motor Show. Honda repeated in Tokyo what it had said in Detroit:

The car should become available in 2015. It will be a hybrid, will be built at Honda’s plant in Ohio and will be exported to Japan.

The long wait until delivery does not dissuade Honda from investing heavily into Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and a big media buy for the Super Bowl. We dare not to ask who or what did cost more. The ad tries very hard to turn the wait until 2015 into something positive.

In Tokyo, President Takanobu Ito promised the assembled yawning media that the car “will combine both driving pleasure and environmental performance.”

After the Japanese tsunami and Thai flood, Honda emerged as the hardest hit of the Japanese majors. In 2011, Honda lost 20 percent of its global production, while Toyota lost 8.2 percent. Nissan added 14.3 percent.

The rolling out of new models people can buy becomes more urgent every day. If a car that had been seen before, and that will be delivered in three years, is the topic of a news conference and a multi million dollar media buy, then Honda likely will limp along for a while.

“Alright. Can we talk about something else?”


The NSX. Picture courtesy The NSX. Picture courtesy The NSX. Picture courtesy The NSX.  Picture courtesy bgdna,com President Takanobu Ito and the NSX. Picture courtesy ]]> 16
New NSX: Get It Right, Or Don’t Bother Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:26:02 +0000

If the New York Times motto is “all the news that’s fit to print”, then the automotive blogosphere has dined out on the notion of “all the conjecture, baseless rumors and unverified whisperings that’s fit to re-purpose” since Al Gore invented the internet.

Rumors of a new Acura NSX have been one of the staples of online automotive “news”, with the first rumblings shortly after the NSX was euthanized in 2005. Normally I refrain from commenting on these sorts of matters, since they tend to lead to hypertension, foul language and apoplectic tirades, but I have a personal interest in this one.

My father worked for Honda for most of my childhood, and the Kreindler household was graced with two NSX’s. One of my earliest memories is of my mother leading me across the lawn on a sunny evening. There was a lineup of people outside my house, and beyond them, a Formula Red NSX with my father in the driver’s seat. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, and certainly not in my driveway, which constantly had some kind of Accord Wagon for my father and a white Civic sedan for my mother. A year later, my “birthday present” was a Berlina Black NSX, a company car that my father managed to finagle from head office. In true Jerry Kreindler fashion, he took me for numerous blasts around Toronto, with his Arthea Franklin tapes on the stereo, something that today’s youth would not define as “swag”, but makes perfect sense if you’ve met the man.

I was convinced that the NSX was the best car in the world as a child, and some of my grade school friends teased me when I opted for it every time when playing with die-cast cars. Why not choose the Lamborghini Diablo or Ferrari 355? I was convinced that Honda, as a company, was infallible, and the period from 1988-1996 was truly their golden age. My grandmother purchased a 2000 Civic LX sedan, at the end of the car’s life cycle, and the introduction of the McPherson strut Civic seemed to spark the company’s slow decline into mediocrity.

When my father left Honda, I was as devastated as any other child would be if their parents told them they were getting a divorce. Honda was my everything. On weekends, my father would take me to Honda Canada’s head office, where I’d get yet another brochure (according to my parents, I learned to read at age 3 thanks to my obsession with collecting car brochures) and as a working man, I can’t imagine how excrutiating it must be to have to go into the office on a Saturday morning for any reason.

Honda is both ruthlessly practical and convinced that whatever they are doing is the only correct way of doing things, a combination that can lead to brilliance or despair depending on who’s in charge. Not making another NSX is probably the right thing to do – Toyota can eat the losses of the LFA by using it as a rolling R&D lab for carbon fiber technology, but Honda would be bleeding like a teenager at a Dashboard Confessional concert if they had to carry the burden of developing a highly advanced supercar for nearly a decade.

But in the best Japanese fashion, they can’t bear to lose face now that the LFA and Nissan GT-R are on the market. The first NSX was designed to annihilate the Ferrari 348 and Porsche 911, and while it had none of the prestige, it proved to be a serious motivating force behind the development of the Ferrari 355, subsequent P-Cars and even the McLaren F1. I can’t help but think that Honda would miss their mark with a new version of the NSX, based on the utter adequacy (and nothing more) of their current lineup. I haven’t driven the NSX for the same reason – some things exist better in your mind, and with 270 horsepower and 20 years of wear and tear, I can’t help but feel that I’d walk away disappointed.

Before I was jaded, I attended journalism school, and in September, 2009, I got a chance to drive the S2000, the last journalist in Canada to do so before Honda retired their press loaner. The day I was due to pick it up was the first day of senior year. I was due to meet with my internship co-ordinator, who would help me find a work placement that would determine a large part of my grade, but instead I made the easy choice to skip it and go get the S2000, painted New Formula Red. Driving it back to campus through the sweeping curves of the Don Valley Parkway was one of those rare moments of unadultered joy, and as I exited the Bayview Avenue ramp into a brief underpass, the VTEC system engaged at 6000rpm and the sound blared through the tunnel as I up-shifted into 4th.

No Honda product since has made me spontaneously erupt in gleeful laughter like I did at that moment, but maybe in a few years, I’ll get an invite to Honda’s Tochigi test track to drive the next NSX, just like my father did in 1992 when he took an NSX around the high-speed test course while touring the facility. Or, maybe there will be no new NSX, and I’ll have the funds to buy a Berlina Black 1992 example. For all I preach about avoiding the pitfall of romanticizing the automobile, the NSX will always have a peculiar claim on my heart, even if the world is a much more dangerous, polluted and volatile place than it was when I was 4 years old, barely able to see over the door panel and oblivious to the beauty of aluminum space frames or titanium connecting rods.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Acura’s Avenger Edition Thu, 08 Sep 2011 17:51:27 +0000 Is this car, photographed on the set of the upcoming Avengers film [via], a glimpse of a new Acura NSX re-boot? Acura tells Motor Trend

The open-top sports car you are referring to is a one-off fictional car that was created just for the film and is not intended for production. The only thing that we can confirm is information that our CEO has already publicly stated, that we are studying the development of a new sports model.

That development is said to be based on a “flipped” Accord chassis, with a 400 HP mid-mounted V6 and SH-AWD. And it wouldn’t be too terribly surprising if the results looked something like this concept when it starts hitting the car show circuit. In any case, Tony Stark looks nearly as at home in this as he does in an Audi R8. That alone is the most promising sign we’ve seen from Acura in some time…

the avengers film set 4 020911 acuraconcept2 Acura's Avenger? (courtesy:  Ivan Nikolov/


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Down On The Street: 1992 Acura NSX Braves Streets of San Francisco Fri, 11 Feb 2011 22:00:00 +0000
Every time I see an early NSX— which, sadly, isn’t often— it reinforces my belief that the early 1990s were a golden age for the automobile. You had decent electronic engine controls instead of carburetors (and primitive might-as-well-be-carburetors 80s EFI), model bloat hadn’t gotten totally out of hand, and the SUV revolution hadn’t yet caused cup holders and other McMansion-esque gear to metastasize from every interior surface of every vehicle. Sure, we’re now living in the Golden Age Of Engines— there’s no arguing with the horsepower and efficiency numbers we’re seeing from internal combustion these days— but I’ll take the early 1990s. And the NSX.

I shot this car in San Francisco a couple of years back, while in transit to the nightmarish Gumball 3000 kickoff, and I was reminded of the photos when I spotted a black mid-90s NSX cruising through the snow in Denver earlier this week.

While the Miata’s “like an MGB, only you can actually drive the thing” concept inspired legions of worshipers, the NSX never really inspired the same sort of passion among North American car freaks (even given the $65,000-versus-$13,400 price tag comparison in 1992).

Speaking of price tags, the ’3,010-pound/270-horsepower ’92 NSX listed at about a grand more than the 3,031-pound/250-horsepower ’92 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 coupe. You could also get a ’92 ZR1 Corvette for a few hundred bucks more than the NSX, which would have given you a mighty 375 horses in a 3,465-pound machine; sure, the build quality might not have been in the same universe as the Acura or the Porsche, but what a deal! Say you were time-machined back to 1992 with a suitcase full of cash and had to choose, which would it be: the NSX, 911, or ZR1?

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