Up until the last few years, Honda was known for being one of the most engineering driven companies in the world. Soichiro Honda instilled a remarkable spirit of innovation in his staff, driving the company to spawn amazing ideas like the CVCC engines of the mid-1970s, the oval-piston NR750 race bike and the fuel cell powered FCX Clarity. As of late, though, the Japanese automaker has been looking a bit 'behind the curve' with models like the Insight, Accord Crosstour and CR-Z lacking the cleverness, spark, and class-leading competence that made past Honda models so iconic.
Thus, it might be a good time to take a look back at what made Honda so great. One of the all-time highlights of the company's road car portfolio remains the Honda/Acura NSX. Although both Nissan and Toyota toyed with the idea of building mid-engine exotics, only Honda actually put one into production. The influence of the NSX on its market segment extended far beyond its commercial success. The NSX was the first "exotic" to demonstrate that you could combine everyday driveability and reliability with supercar performance. Before the NSX, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the like forced drivers to make all sorts of compromises in order to have their performance at one's disposal. It's fair to say that the supercars of today are far better all-around drivers today thanks to the lessons taught by the NSX. Unfortunately, Honda shelved plans for a successor model, so in many respects, one could argue that the spirit of the everyday supercar remains alive in the Audi R8.
Perhaps Honda's product planners and beancounters alike would do well to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit what once the company great. We can't think of a better way than to check out the dramatic video tribute to the NSX after the jump. Thanks to everyone for the tips.