The Acura NSX might be one of the most important Japanese cars ever created. The Land of the Rising Sun had already established that it could make very competent performance vehicles when the NSX debuted in 1989, but Honda's two-seater was the first one that looked to the world like a true contender against Ferrari and Porsche, thanks to its cutting-edge technology. The Acura had an all-aluminum monocoque chassis, a beautifully low-slung body and a quick-revving V6 with an 8,000-rpm redline. This quintessential Japanese sports coupe celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and Autoweek recognizes it in a fantastic piece chronicling the model's US launch.

The story begins in February 1989 at the Chicago Motor Show where the car debuted. The day before the show opened, the concept still didn't have a name. The Japanese development team referred to it as New Sports, and the American Acura executives decided to add eXperimental to the end. The moniker NSX just stuck afterwards.

The article paints a fantastic portrait of the car and the company at the time. Honda had something to prove with the NSX. To succeed, the coupe had to be the best, and when the American press finally got a hold of it, they drowned it in accolades. Of course, Acura has a new American-built NSX on the way, and it has colossal legacy to live up to. This piece is definitely worth reading to understand why.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 68 Comments
      KO
      • 7 Months Ago
      Granted I'm biased (mine's 15ft from where I'm typing this), but in so many ways it's hard to believe it's been 25 years. What's been telling is that recently I've spent some time with members of the car club at the university I work at, all of whom weren't born when the car debuted. They've grown up with all the impressive machinery of the last decade, yet love and respect and know everything about the NSX as equally as a GT-R or R8.
      sundude
      • 7 Months Ago
      The 1990MY was a good year for sports cars. The Acura NSX hade its debut, as did the Nissan 300ZX and the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Each one was a standout product in its segment.
      Not me
      • 7 Months Ago
      This era of cars were the best in my lifetime IMO SUPRA TT 300ZX TT RX7 3000GT TT SKYLINE TT M3/M5 C34/E55 And a few others I forgot
      cbamft
      • 7 Months Ago
      AB, can you please add photos of an actual Gen1 NSX? Seems like that would be more appropriate.
      brmintz
      • 7 Months Ago
      classic!
      snoop augie dog
      • 7 Months Ago
      Yes buy dismantling American cars and copy them.
        domingorobusto
        • 7 Months Ago
        @snoop augie dog
        Lol, please show me this late 80's aluminum monocoque, transverse mid-engine American sports car.
        clquake
        • 7 Months Ago
        @snoop augie dog
        Actually, that's what Cadillac did to the 3 Series. Wasn't even a secret, they flat out said that's what they were doing.
        AP1_S2K
        • 7 Months Ago
        @snoop augie dog
        yes of course, it's obvious that they dismantled the mid-engine, aluminum bodied Buick sports car to develop the NSX.
        bubba_roe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @snoop augie dog
        Lol! Copying American cars. Thats a good one.
      imag
      • 7 Months Ago
      No matter how good it is, I think it will be hard for the new one to have the same splash. The original NSX caught Ferrari and Porsche at a time when they were resting on their laurels, creating upgraded and unreliable versions of cars from years earlier. Now, the NSX will have to compete with the GT-R, the R8, and a very good 911, while the supercars are more diverse and impressive than ever. I wish they were sticking with the NSX philosophy of a pared down mid-engine driver's car, but then the Cayman is in that segment and it isn't exactly burning up the sales charts.
        chanonissan
        • 7 Months Ago
        @imag
        They were competing with the GTR for a long time in Japan, but now the competition is also in USA market, but the GTR always wins.
        Carpinions
        • 7 Months Ago
        @imag
        The NSX didn't exactly set sales records.
      chanonissan
      • 7 Months Ago
      Honda NSX is a very very remarkable car, but when you said "NSX debuted in 1989, but Honda's two-seater was the first one that looked to the world like a true contender against Ferrari and Porsche, thanks to its cutting-edge technology" As a two seater I will agree, but as a car, only in America, but to the world No, I have to disagree, the NIssan Skyline GTR was kicking Ferrari and Porsche ass in Europe, Australia and New zealand, that is how it got the name Godzilla, in Australia from 1989.And back home in Japan it was kicking the Acura NSX ass too winning 29 victories out of 29 races.
        chanonissan
        • 7 Months Ago
        @chanonissan
        The Nissan SKYLINE GTR car was named at the time by BBC's Top Gear as the only true Japanese contribution in the line of supercars, and by Jeremy Clarkson as one of the best cars in the world.
          • 7 Months Ago
          @chanonissan
          [blocked]
      justaddafan
      • 7 Months Ago
      The NSX was a great car, but I think it's significance may be a bit over exaggerated. Toyota sold the 2000GT and Mazda had the Cosmo and Lexus and Infinity were challenging the world on the big-dollar luxury front. So in reality it wasn't the first of anything, just a great step in the progression.
        domingorobusto
        • 7 Months Ago
        @justaddafan
        It was the first world challenging supercar from Japan. The 2000GT was great for the era, but production was ridiculously limited and it was still not a true challenge to the Ferraris of the time. Everything else you listed was a Grand Touring car, not a supercar. The NSX was the first time that Japan really made a stab at the top of the supercar foodchain.
          clquake
          • 7 Months Ago
          @domingorobusto
          I'm a Top Gear fan, but if you take Clarkson seriously, you need some time away, in a padded room.
          chanonissan
          • 7 Months Ago
          @domingorobusto
          That was never said about no other japan sport cars in history, yes the GTR stands for grand touring racing but it was the only car to beat the ferarri and porsche in their back yard. Facts are facts, you may not like nissan but it is the facts.
          • 7 Months Ago
          @domingorobusto
          [blocked]
          • 7 Months Ago
          @domingorobusto
          [blocked]
        MechE
        • 7 Months Ago
        @justaddafan
        Gotta agree.
        chanonissan
        • 7 Months Ago
        @justaddafan
        I agree
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 7 Months Ago
      Ahh the glory days... back when Acura used to build stuff that was cool.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 7 Months Ago
      Always look forward to a good laugh at chanonissan.
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Those were the glory days of Acura.
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