The case for investing in the Acura NSX

Buy it now, because more than likely it won’t be getting any cheaper.

By Whitney Ellis

As we all know now, it took way too long for Acura to come out with its second-generation (if you can call it that) NSX. When the first generation ended its run in 2005, it was long in the tooth, but still a more than capable machine on both road and track – and was as reliable as any other Honda. We were promised the second generation by 2010.

Economies change, and the “Great Recession” halted many things – including the new NSX. When it finally debuted at the North American International Auto Show in 2012, most fanboys (and fangirls) were sporting hard-ons from the design. And yet, we still waited. And waited. And… heck, are they even in showrooms now?

Let’s focus on the first generation. There aren’t many ’90s supercars (heck, even the present generation supercars) you’ll be able to find that have been driven more than 200,000 miles, but for the NSX, it happens.

There were a couple of things going for the NSX in the 90s. Honda – based on the trust it received from its reliability – was able to go do something different and challenge Ferrari, Porsche and others to build a true sports car. One that was on par or better with what was out there.

Or, as the NSX Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara put it, “What we need is a midrange, midship car that provides superior performance yet requires equally superior driving skills in order to be controlled. We can then maximize the dynamic performance of this car to a degree that’s as close as possible to an F-1 machine.”

Enough of the history lesson. Let’s focus on a couple of reasons why this should be a fairly good investment if you’re able to pick one up:

• Honda reliability. Look, I know it’s been talked about before, but that’s not a bullet you can just skim past. The 3 liter (and later 3.2 liter) V6 were (for the most part) bulletproof, as long as you performed the scheduled maintenance. The engine and drivetrain shouldn’t have any issues. The biggest issue – and one you should run from if noticed – is the aluminum frame. Yes, technology has come a long way and it could be repaired… but no.

• It was better than Ferrari (at the time). Yes, this is an opinion piece, I know, but there was a reason that Honda thought it could enter the market where it did. When the NSX debuted, it was challenging the 348, and then the 355. When Car and Driver did its sports car comparison in 1990, the NSX was so far ahead of the Ferrari – and even the previously-written about Corvette ZR-1. And… see the first bullet.

• It was a driver’s car. So… now it’s time to rant a bit. Nowadays, the hybrid technology is weighing everything down. That, and the late 2000’s horsepower wars, are putting insane amounts of tech and horsepower in a car when you really don’t need it. The second-generation NSX has more than double the horsepower than the first generation. It also weighs 3,803 pounds – nearly 800 pounds more than the early versions of the model. Now, everyone seems to love the lightweight racers, but they can’t drive worth a crap. If you notice Uehara’s quote up there, it needed “superior driving skills to be controlled.” For the most part, folks in this country can’t drive worth a crap. So, you can either find one that’s been treated right… or beaten to hell.

• It remained unchanged. Why mess with perfection, right? It was sold for 15 years, and other than the engine/transmission changes (3.0 to 3.2 liter, five-speed manual to six-speed manual), the body remained very similar all the way through its span. Now, I do like the flip-up headlights, but the fixed lights were more practical.

• The design is still timeless. See the previous bullet for this. The NSX still – more than 25 years after its debut and more than 10 years after the final version – that still catches your eye when you see it driving down the street.

• The second-generation is coming. Seriously, is this thing out already? I heard Rick Hendrick, the one that purchased the first one at the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, drove his off the assembly plant in Ohio, but come on. I’ve seen more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and even the Porsche 918 in person.

• The second-generation is unattainable. At a starting price of $156,000 (and prices with options near $200,000), Honda/Acura is putting this in the category of better than a McLaren at a lower price. However, that lower price is still much, much more than a lot of people can afford. Once you start seeing more of the new ones on the road, people will start thinking about the first gen – and prices will start to climb.

• The second-generation isn’t really the second-generation. So… in doing my research for this, I found out that the first generation NSX (short for New Sportscar Experimental) is different than the second generation NSX (short for New Sports Experience). After a 10-year wait, I’m less than enthused, but I guess we’ll have to see.

A quick search of Autotrader finds the first generation NSX finds 36 for sale across the country, from this 2005 at nearly $140,000 to this 1991 version for nearly $85,000. While those are nice, and they are in collectible quality, I’d be content with this 93,000 mile model.

Seriously, without a worldwide economic collapse these aren’t getting any cheaper any time soon. If you can pick one up, it might be the one of the better decisions you’ve made in a while.


Image Credit: 2005 Acura NSX Image Source: hondanews.com