The Truth About Cars » NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:00:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Historic Acuras, Future BMWs Heading To Monterey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/historic-acuras-future-bmws-heading-to-monterey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/historic-acuras-future-bmws-heading-to-monterey/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 19:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119369 Acura and BMW are heading to Monterey Automotive Week with vehicular examples old and new. Both automakers will show vehicles at several events during the week, including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordan McCall’s Motorworks Revival, and Carmel-By-The-Sea. BMW will reveal two world premieres at its annual press conference at the […]

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Comptech Racing Spice Acura GTP Lights Race Car

Acura and BMW are heading to Monterey Automotive Week with vehicular examples old and new.

Both automakers will show vehicles at several events during the week, including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordan McCall’s Motorworks Revival, and Carmel-By-The-Sea.

BMW Concept Teaser for Monterey Car Week

BMW will reveal two world premieres at its annual press conference at the BMW Villa in Pebble Beach. The unnamed vehicles will be shown to the public later at The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering, Legends of the Autobahn Concours d’Elegance, Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Acura will have a much more involved presence at this year’s events as the premier automotive sponsor for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. At The Quail, Acura will showcase the new NSX along with examples of the first-generation supercar.

The Comptech Racing Spice Acura GTP Lights race car, pictured at top, will make its inaugural run at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Also at the event, Gil de Ferran’s 2009 Acura LMP1 race car and the new NSX will also be on display.

HondaJet will sponsor Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, featuring the new NSX and a replica of the 2015 McLaren-Honda MP4-30 Formula 1 car.

At Carmel-By-The Sea Concours on the Avenue, Acura will be the event’s exclusive sponsor, showcasing — surprise, surprise — first- and current-generation NSXs.

The events start August 10 and run to August 16.

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American Honda Boss Knows, But Tight-Lipped, About ‘Baby NSX’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115137 American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting. Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup […]

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American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting.

Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup that’s decidedly missing a sports car.

When asked if there’s room for a driver’s car, Mendel responded: “Absolutely there is.”

Details on the renderings released last month are incredibly murky. The smaller car wouldn’t likely get the NSX’s twin-turbocharged V6 with three electric motors to help propel it, but it could get some assist from electrons. Honda engineers were feverishly testing electric powertrains at Pikes Peak this year, including an all-electric CR-Z in the exhibition category.

The Civic Si is the automaker’s lone performance car in the U.S. The 305-horsepower Civic Type R is destined for U.S. shores, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

Production of the two-seater S2000 ended in 2009. Production of the CR-Z continues.

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Piston Slap: What’s so Hellabad about Hellaflush? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100985   Casey writes: Hello Sajeev, I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said […]

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Nice, Slammed, eXtreme? (photo courtesy: www.nsxprime.com)

Casey writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said it was supposed to be like that. I have seen other cars running the negative camber and I’ve seen cars that were lowered without. So question, is there a reason to run extreme negative camber or is this just a bad lowering job? 

Sajeev answers:

I agree with your assessment. Very few, if any, performance cars come from the factory aligned aggressively enough to wear tires that unevenly. I reckon that NSX was lowered, tweaked to reflect well upon the Stancenation. To live the Hellaflush lifestyle! To embrace the image of performance, without necessarily improving actual performance.

No seriously, facades are awesome like that. Because I’d be a hypocrite if I said otherwise.

New Cadillacs and Lincolns = Cooler in Houston

Now to make inferences, and foolishly justify them.

There’s always a reason for this: a subtle lowering can improve performance and stance at the same time. On an NSX? Probably not, since it isn’t a buffalo-butted, blunt nosed family sedan jacked up to the sky by the factory. I reckon the fastest NSX on a less-than-perfect track has the factory ride height with a slightly more aggressive wheel alignment. A hellaflush NSX will lose…if that was the point.

It’s totally not the point. We all have a need to look cool, even those who claim otherwise in the comments section below. To wit, I put 1.5″ front lowering springs (factory spring rate) from these guys on my Fox Cougar to both look cool with my 17×8.5″ reproduction Cobra wheels and retain factory-like ride/handling traits. The rears have a small (1/8″) spacer because of the mishmash between wheel offset and new axles from a rear disc brake conversion. All this effort for a modest lowering job is important on a suspension as half-baked as a Fox body Ford.

I avoided the “improper” or “bad lowering job” you mentioned. Well, at least I think so.

Some folks think more aggressive suspension and wheel/tire modifications add extra cool factor to their lives. Perhaps I might be one of them, even if I bristle at the sight of most Hellaflush rides. But Hellaflush riders certainly don’t give a shit about what you or I think.

So let your coworker buddy enjoy his cool looking NSX. If you can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, take him to a track day and let serious racers give him an education that he might deserve. Or not.

UPDATE: TTAC commentator “Sketch” corrected me about the NSX’s factory tire wear issues, sadly my Google-fu failed us all. My apologies. 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Patent Filing Reveals Smaller Sibling To Honda NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/patent-filing-reveals-smaller-sibling-to-honda-nsx/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 20:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090761 While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing. Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The […]

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While the Honda S660 may never see these shores, the automaker may have a baby NSX in mind for the U.S. market based on a recent patent filing.

Seven CAD illustrations culled from the filing show a vehicle pulling cues from both current and first-gen NSXs with some S660 for good measure, AutoGuide notes. The illustrations are said to have been created in Honda’s U.S. design studio.

Based on is there, the model may likely have either a mid- or rear-engine layout; whether it will follow in the NSX’s hybrid tire tracks — a setup featuring a twin-turbo V6 and three electric motors good for 550 total horsepower — with its own version remains to be seen.

For now, though, this is close as anyone is going to get to a U.S.-market Beat or S2000 revival. It also wouldn’t be the first time Honda has contemplated such a vehicle, as the automaker has been working on similar designs since at least 2012.

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[Image credit: Honda]

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Attack Of The Orphaned Acuras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042906 My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend […]

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My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. And he is currently searching for a Vigor 5-speed in Arcadia Green.

Hugie clearly has a case of ADHD – Acura Definite Hyperactivity Disorder.

So naturally we had to take his orphaned Acuras along with the greatest discontinued Honda ever – a S2000 roadster, my 2008 with 32,000 miles – for a run up Tucson’s twisty Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon and bemoan the demise of these late, great Honda cars. All in the name of automotive research, of course.

We were joined by the owner of a 144,000-mile 1993 NSX 5-speed and a group of Southwest auto writers credited at the bottom of this post. We tried in vain to find an example of the other great discontinued Acura, an Integra R or GSR. We recently wrote about this 1997 R in Phoenix, but it was in the process of being sold for $43,000, and every other one we spotted on Craigslist had aftermarket rear wings too tall for the low hanging trees on our drive. Apparently original 1990s Integras are as rare as original 1990s Legends.

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Kulikowski joked about us doing a running Le Mans start to see who could grab an NSX for first leg. I hopped in Hugie’s 1992 and was first struck by how low the car sits; I was actually looking up at the S2000. The mid-engine NSX is simply sensational to drive, with 270 horses over your shoulder, the precise Honda stick shift and near-neutral cornering. Said Jason, “The NSX was intimidating to me at first but in typical Honda tradition, the car instantly felt familiar and easy to drive. Everything feels raw and mechanical. This is a sensation you just can’t find anymore.”

Both NSXs had over 100,000 miles on their clocks but you could barely tell, a testament to Honda durability. They were rock solid with not a squeak or rattle to be heard. I doubt there are many 100K Ferraris to be found in such condition. Whether you fall into the “it can’t be an exotic because it is a Honda” camp or the “it is built by Honda so it is an exotic that will not break” group, most will agree that the NSX is one of the greatest sports car ever sold in America.

Acura Fanatic: Tyson Hugie's 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

Tyson’s Corner: Acura fanatic Hugie’s 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

I had one of the first Gen 2 Legend Coupes as a “demo” back in 1991 and I still remember what a sensation it was at the time. I doubt I will ever drive a 500,000+ mile car as strong as Hugie’s coupe. We only drove the car briefly due to a dying clutch. The suspension was also a little iffy but the silky 6-cylinder motor pulled as willingly as the sedan’s. Amazingly, this Legend has only been towed once – when its original fuel pump let go at 399,750 miles. The car has been through seven timing belts and Hugie’s goal is seven more.

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It is no surprise that everyone loved the S2000. I told the gang that below 6,000 RPM, the Honda is the World’s Crappiest Miata: rough-riding, loud and not much torque. At that point the VTEC kicks in (yo!) and the motor screams towards its 8,200 rpm redline. This may be Honda’s greatest engine ever: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower in the original AP1 version, 237 horsepower from 2.2 liters in this second-generation AP2, or 7 more than in the Legends’ engines.  All agreed the convertible was the best car for the serpentine and smooth Catalina Highway and the sunny 70 degree weather we enjoyed.

As for that lack of low-end umph: I did have a ride in high school that had less torque. I don’t remember the model but I remember it was made by Schwinn.

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We all agreed on the car that surprised us the most: the 147,000-mile Legend Sedan. The last flagship Acura sedan available with a manual transmission, it was quiet, quick and comfortable. Said Pawela, “The big glass greenhouse and low dash made for an excellent view out. When it came time to toss this big boy around some corners, I was amazed how composed and level the body remained.” Thanks to Acura’s designers and its stealthy Desert Mist Metallic paint, the sedan was also voted the car “Most Likely to be Ignored by the Highway Patrol.”

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Both Legends came standard with a cool now-discontinued feature: AN ACTUAL NAME rather than being an “Acura RTIGLX.” Stop me if you have heard this one before: if Acura had kept the name “Legend” and stuffed a V8 under its hood, the luxury car landscape would be vastly different today.

Our chase car was a new Lexus RC350 (which we all loved for its great seats alone), allowing us to put the cars in perspective. Said Lee, “Having the Lexus kind of gave a unique experience – here, you have all these cars designed to be “driving” cars; there was a certain connection between the driver and the car. As the driver you felt a sense of control; in fractions of a second you have to decide if you need more or less steer, adjust your throttle or your braking. Going between the NSX, S2000, and the Legend 4-Door and then back into the Lexus you can see a massive difference in how and what a car is suppose to do.”

NSX in Mirror

Honda and Acura still sell mainstream cars with a sporty twist, but none like these. There is a revived S2000 and NSX on the horizon but they will feature turbos and hybrids, be bluetoothed and 27 air-bagged, and probably even have power steering which two of our testers lacked. In other words: the days of basic (read manual transmission and normally aspirated) unique, fun luxury and sports cars are dwindling due to the realities of today’s auto business. Build a screaming 4-cylinder convertible that only gets 18 mpg in town today? No way due to CAFE regulations. Put a stick shift in a luxury coupe? Who would buy it? Build an exotic mid-engine sports car? Sure, that will be $150,000 please – or more like $250,000 after Acura dealers are done ADMing the new NSX.

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The greatest compliment we can pay these classic vehicles is this: go check out the soaring prices being asked for clean, unmodified examples.

We plan to do Part Two this fall and it may take that long to find decent copies of an Integra GSR, CRX Si, CRX HF, and 4th generation Prelude. Or if Honda drops the CR-Z as they did recently with the Crosstour and Hugie finds his Vigor, we will find a Honda del Sol and take all four cars on another run – the Crappy Orphaned Hondas Tour…

Thanks to Tyson Hugie, James Lee, Jason Pawela, Peter Kulikowski, Kelvin Chang and photographer Beau MacDonnell for making this event happen!

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:05:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982401 Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line. According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s […]

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Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line.

According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s annual production. No word thus far on how many will leave Marysville per year.

Right now, the NSX is undergoing final validation prior to production, but Acura announced that the exotic’s twin-turbo hybrid V6 system is expected to deliver at least 550 horsepower. As far as price of admission goes, nothing firm has been confirmed, though one insider says the brand is shooting for a target of $150,000.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX Revealed At Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-revealed-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-revealed-last/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:30:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978529 Two years after the concept bowed — and 25 years after the original — the production-ready 2016 Acura NSX has finally arrived [Live photos now available – CA]. Power for the hybrid exotic comes from a twin-turbo DOHC V6 paired with the three-motor Sport Hybrid system, two of which power the front axle while the […]

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Two years after the concept bowed — and 25 years after the original — the production-ready 2016 Acura NSX has finally arrived [Live photos now available – CA].

Power for the hybrid exotic comes from a twin-turbo DOHC V6 paired with the three-motor Sport Hybrid system, two of which power the front axle while the third is located between the V6 and its nine-speed dual-clutch automatic, and aids in acceleration, braking and shifting. Alas, horsepower and torque were not mentioned at this time.

The body is composed of carbon fiber, ultra-high strength steel and aluminum, and is covered by panels made of aluminum and sheet molding composite.

Inside, the driver is greeted by Acura’s Human Support Cockpit, aimed at making driving easier while maintaining the performance expected out of the NSX. The system includes a dynamic TFT instrument cluster display, intuitive controls, and improved ergonomics.

Price of admission will be announced at a later date. Acura will begin accepting orders this summer, with deliveries to commence later this year. The NSX will be assembled by 100 employees at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.

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Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943465 The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall. Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an […]

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The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall.

Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.” While the flagship — the NSX — is set to leave Ohio beginning next year, the reincarnated Integra/RSX would likely begin its return to the showroom floor in 2017 at the earliest.

Though Marek couldn’t be more specific regarding the supporting actor, he did acknowledge that Honda went the wrong way in making Acura too upscale, not at all helped by the Great Recession that turned what would have been the next NSX into a non-homologated Super GT combatant.

Meanwhile, Acura will debut a refreshed ILX next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which he says is a harbinger of things to come:

There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming. It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction. There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.

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The Beat Resurrected: Meet the Honda S660 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-beat-resurrected-meet-the-honda-s660/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-beat-resurrected-meet-the-honda-s660/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=632914 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 […]

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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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/ayrton-sennas-nsx-road-tested-in-brazil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/ayrton-sennas-nsx-road-tested-in-brazil/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485257 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 […]

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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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/happy-birthday-ayrton-senna/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/happy-birthday-ayrton-senna/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 13:46:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481936 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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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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/generation-why-on-brands-and-the-success-of-the-honda-2012-civic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/generation-why-on-brands-and-the-success-of-the-honda-2012-civic/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 13:21:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444442 “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 […]

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“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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/yawn-honda-announces-2015-nsx-once-more-and-again/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/yawn-honda-announces-2015-nsx-once-more-and-again/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:13:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=429447 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 […]

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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 responsejp.com The NSX. Picture courtesy responsejp.com The NSX. Picture courtesy responsejp.com The NSX.  Picture courtesy bgdna,com President Takanobu Ito and the NSX. Picture courtesy kyodonews.jp

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New NSX: Get It Right, Or Don’t Bother http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/new-nsx-get-it-right-or-dont-bother/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/new-nsx-get-it-right-or-dont-bother/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:26:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=411385 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 […]

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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 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-acuras-avenger-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-acuras-avenger-edition/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2011 17:51:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=410723 Is this car, photographed on the set of the upcoming Avengers film [via superherohype.com], 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 […]

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Is this car, photographed on the set of the upcoming Avengers film [via superherohype.com], 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/WENN.com)

 

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Down On The Street: 1992 Acura NSX Braves Streets of San Francisco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-street-1992-acura-nsx-braves-streets-of-san-francisco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-street-1992-acura-nsx-braves-streets-of-san-francisco/#comments Fri, 11 Feb 2011 22:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383663 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 […]

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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?

DOTSB-WhiteNSX-17 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-01 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-02 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-09 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-12 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-15 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-16 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-08 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-03 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-04 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-05 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-06 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-07 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-11 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-10 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-14 DOTSB-WhiteNSX-13 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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