Unquestionably one of the best vehicles to come out of Japan is the original version of the Honda/Acura NSX.
It fought against the performance of automobiles made by far more expensive rivals worldwide.
Honda could do this for less money than its rivals at the time because the NSX was much more usable and dependable.
Looking for Reliable Cars: Check out the Best Reliable Model Acuras
VIDEO: Acura NSX Buyer’s Guide
Acura NSX Best and Worst Years
The 1997–2001 NA2 coupe, which includes the 1999 Zanardi version, is the strongest year for the Acura NSX. Many claims that the best NSX models are the 95+ vehicles without power steering. The ideal year to buy is 2017, and for additional in-depth details on the Acura NSX, it is advised to consult the Honda/Acura NSX Buyer’s Guide & History.
The Acura NSX’s Ancestry
One of the biggest surprises in the Japanese auto industry was the Honda NSX.
Nobody expected something that could compete with brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche while being more affordable and valuable, even though the nation had already developed several fantastic automobiles like the Toyota 2000GT and the Nissan GT-R.
History of the NSX
Honda’s NSX was initially intended as an experiment. The Japanese manufacturer sought to establish a more prestigious brand by developing a concept representing a potential sports automobile.
To develop the new sports concept, they sought the assistance of the renowned design firm Pininfarina. Pininfarina also contributed to well-known creations like the Alfa Romeo Sider and the Ferrari F40.
A 2.0-liter C20A V6 engine from the legendary Honda would power the vehicle, later known as the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental). The management of Honda was motivated to continue creating a high-end sports automobile by this initial design.
So as they revealed their proposal to the company’s engineers, they instructed them to build something that would be just as quick as anything coming from Germany or Italy.
The Ferrari 328 and, later, the Ferrari 348 were their primary targets. In addition to wanting to outperform these two Ferraris in terms of performance, Honda’s executives, engineers, and designers also wanted to achieve it while making something that was straightforward, enjoyable, and even useful.
Pininfarina was once more enlisted to assist with the design of the “New Sportscar eXperimental” or “NS-X,” which would eventually develop from the HP-X idea.
The product was given to the most eager engineers and designers at Honda, including Chief Designer Masahito Nakano and Executive Chief Designer Shigeru Uehara.
Honda NSX First Generation Buyer’s Guide
Let’s look at the buyer’s guide now that the history and specifications have been covered since that is what you came here to see.
The original NSX is a relatively durable and dependable machine, primarily if it is carefully maintained, but if problems arise, they can be costly to replace.
So make sure the one you get is in good shape, and you should have a vintage Japanese sportscar that will give you many years and miles of driving enjoyment.
What is a Honda NSX from the First Generation Worth?
The Honda NSX was never an inexpensive automobile, and the same is true of the current model. Answering the query, “How much is a first-generation Honda NSX worth?” is challenging because a car’s price depends on various factors, including its features, condition, and location of sale.
One of the first-generation NSXs sold in 2020 for about $300,000, even though they typically sell for between US$50,000 and $150,000, according to bringatrailer.com.
We advise you to visit your local auction/classifieds website or dealer websites to search for any NSXs for sale because there is a wide range of sales prices.
It would help if you got a general sense of how much you need to spend by looking at the costs for the condition level and model you want. Naturally, you will have to make a larger down payment if you want an NSX-R instead of an early automatic NSX that has logged a few more kilometers.
The Honda NSX of the first generation: Classic or Future Classic?
The Honda NSX of the first generation is considered a classic.
The NSX is unquestionably one of the most adored Japanese automobiles of all time, as we noted above, and some of these cars’ prices have reached some rather absurd levels.
Although prices have increased significantly over the past ten years, there is no assurance that this will continue.
Is Maintaining a Honda NSX Expensive?
The amount of work you are willing to do and who you take the automobile to for maintenance will determine the cost. Don’t expect to operate a first-generation NSX for the same price as a basic Civic because even then, the car wasn’t inexpensive at launch.
Yet, the first-generation NSX is more cost-effective to operate than virtually all of its rivals from the time.
It is always a good idea to see a qualified mechanic or specialist familiar with the first-generation NSX rather than a dealer if you are concerned about operating costs.
When buying a Honda NSX, we also advise you to have about US$5,000 in reserve because used car maintenance is nearly always more expensive.
To reduce the likelihood of unforeseen maintenance costs, it is wise to buy a used NSX in as good a condition as possible.
How Safe is an Acura ILX
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have not conducted crash tests on the 2022 Acura NSX (IIHS).
However, the MDX, RDX, and TLX are other Acura vehicles that have achieved five stars from the NHTSA and are IIHS’s Top Safety Choices.
Finding a Used Acura NSX
The First Icon
The first-generation NSX from Acura is no longer the pricy mid-engine sports vehicle it once was. Even you can afford one for around the same amount as a decently equipped Jetta.
Unfortunately, owning and maintaining one is more expensive than you may think, and buying the incorrect NSX can make you wish you’d gone with the Jetta.
Because aluminum, not steel, was used to make the majority of the NSX, the damage you can’t see will cost you more than you think, and using a magnet to search for body filler won’t ever work because aluminum is still not magnetic.
So, examine the body in broad daylight; if it’s dark outside, wait until tomorrow. In addition, aluminum frames are much less tolerant of damage than steel ones are, and repairing them practically never restores them to their previous condition.
The parts of each seat that expand and compress when reclined and the side bolsters on older NSX models are sure to exhibit signs of wear.
Unfortunately, cracked leather is commonplace here, so if you don’t want to put up with it, save up the money for the priciest Recaros you can find—they’ll still be less expensive than anything from the NSX parts bin.
Has the front bumper’s secret tow hook ever been employed? Better ascertain the reason. Though they are infrequent, tows that can be attributed to the powertrain occasionally occur.
The timing belt and water pump on Hondas with belt drives should be changed every 90,000 miles (105,000 miles for NA2). Plan to perform it immediately if you need help obtaining proof that it was completed.
But Honda is conservative with its suggested service intervals, so once you cross that point, don’t anticipate your timing belt to suddenly shred into pieces or your water pump to seize up.
As it turns out, regularly driven automobiles are more likely to get life out of their belts and pumps than non-driven ones, implying that a 15-year-old NSX may require more maintenance than you’d expect. Honda also recalled the water pumps for the first NSX.
Find out if the automobile you’re considering got the replacement, and if not, learn why.
Certain NSX cars from 1991 and 1992 have a defective snap ring in the transmission countershaft bearing that might eventually cause catastrophic gearbox failure.
Verify the VIN of the transmission, which is situated on its upper side, to see if it is within tolerance. The problematic five-speed transmissions range from J4A4-1003542 to J4A4-1005978. If the one you’re considering has, either receive documentation proving it has been corrected or prepare to do it yourself.
Transmission pop-outs or growling sounds made during acceleration and braking are symptoms.
This is likely not a problem for transmissions with more than 100,000 miles on them because the damage has already occurred. Before you forget, ensure the clutch is engaged correctly and free of any potential slippage.
The brakes and suspension
The NSX’s suspension is its best feature. Picking up something that rattles or clanks is never a good idea. Anything that tracks unevenly or needs to be correctly aligned should be questioned. The brakes should be inspected similarly to how any other car would.
There are no odd sounds, modulations, or pedal vibrations when braking forcefully. Problems can also arise with older NSX ABS systems. Check to see if there are any leaks, strange noises, vibrations, and any problem indication lights on the system.
Early Honda ABS systems frequently cycle when first started up, but anything more than that is cause for concern. Check both the clutch and brake master cylinders. One of them is shot if fluid puddles inside the cabin close to the pedal assembly.
Inside the Hood
As the engine and transmission are located in the back, there isn’t much going on underneath the hood. Ensure the radiator’s front side isn’t worn down from years of rocks and other debris striking it.
Check for wear or shoddy crack repairs on its end tanks. Is there a spare tire? It ought to be directly between the firewall and the radiator.
What is the correct battery? The incorrect battery can put its terminals in a risky position next to the chassis, which is a good sign that something else may have gone wrong.
Although purchasing an NSX is thrilling, avoid letting your feelings rule your actions. You should never buy a car without taking it for a test drive because they are always vital.
Find out whether the vendor will let you take it out on your own or, if he arrives, ask him to be quiet and turn off the radio.
Start the engine right away and check the coolant and oil temperatures. Ensure that the check engine light turns on when the ignition is turned on.
Before making a purchase, find out why it doesn’t. It’s a good idea to listen for any unusual noises that might disappear as the engine warms up if you start it cold.
Acura NCX FAQ’s
Which Honda NSX model year is best?
Although the Honda NSX has always been a great car, the figures start to show how uncommon it is. With 3163 copies sold, 1991 was by far the most popular year. Moreover, less than 250 were sold annually by 2005, contributing to the original NSX’s scarcity.
Which Acura NSX is the best?
The pinnacle of its class is the 2022 Acura NSX Type S. Its strong V6 hybrid powertrain is a technological feat, and it is both thrilling and calming to drive quickly every day.
Are Acura NSX vehicles dependable?
When compared to other new automobiles, we anticipate the NSX to have approximately average reliability. This forecast is based on Acura’s past performance.
Which NSX is the most valuable?
Predictably, the most desirable NSXs are also the rarest; examples are the Type R (483 built, with the original 3.0-liter engine), NSX-R (140 made, but with the later 3.2-liter engine), and “Final 12” vehicles.
What Acura NSX model is the rarest?
This hue is an homage to the same-named NSX color that was available from 2002 to 2005. One of the most uncommon hues in NSX history is back on the 2021 Acura NSX. Only 88 Long Beach Blue vehicles were produced and sold from 2002 to 2005. The Long Beach Grand Prix, whose title sponsor is Acura, is commemorated by the color.