Old And New

I see that Honda’s trying to make a go of the wonderful NSX again.  For a refresher, here’s a sample of the previous generation (+/- 1995):

…and the reincarnation thereof:

To probably nobody’s surprise, I think I prefer the lines of the older one:  more understated, yet still beautiful — especially compared to the supercars of the late 1990s, e.g. the Lambo Diablo and Ferrari 355:

In fact, given that the Ferrari 355 is generally regarded as one of Maranello’s most beautiful designs, I would suggest that the 1995 NSX compares quite well in the looks department.

The new NSX seems to have gone more towards the dramatic lines of the Diablo (and of most modern supercars, for that matter), which is fine, I guess.

(Note that I’m not talking about performance, here:  the 2019 NSX has well over 500hp, the 1995 a mere(!) 340hp or so.  Yet I would suggest that for the average, or even above-average sports car driver, 340hp should be more than adequate.)

I just prefer performance cars to look understated rather than being schoolboy racecar-poster types.  Once again, this should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.

And of course, when it comes to reliability, I expect that the new NSX will have a mean time-between-failures rate (MTBF) measured in geological time units, just like its predecessor.  And its competitors won’t.


  1. I think I would rather drive an original NSX with a hand-made gas engine and manual transmission than the new hybrid with an automatic and a bunch of electric gizmos.

  2. The new NSX is (surprise!) garbage. It’s heavy, not particularly fast, offers little more than a video game driving experience, and looks like a blender. The original NSX, which I owned back in the day, was also not particularly fast– but that was fine as it was relatively light, handled wonderfully, and was universally a joy to drive. Amusingly, it was not particularly reliable– I had numerous issues with the thing, and while they were relatively easy and cheap to fix in most cases, they really did not have the sort of Japanese reliability you could expect with, say, a Supra.

    The looks of the original were also not particularly wonderful, at least to my eye, but it had character. You could thrash that car like it owed you money at speeds that wouldn’t put you in the greybar hotel, and have immeasurable fun doing it. Honda is trying to fix the stupid with the new one by removing the electric motors and other nonsense, and upping the horsepower on the Type-R, however that one will likely go for around $200k. And if you’re buying that car instead of a GT-R for half the price, you’re utterly insane. (Or for that matter, a lightly used Ferrari 458)

    The 355, however, is not only one of the most timeless, beautiful “modern” cars ever made, it is infinitely more enjoyable to drive than a NSX of any stripe. By a lot. Hell, it’s more enjoaybe to drive than most current Ferraris. It is also quite reliable and relatively cost effective to maintain– certainly when compared with other exotics of the era.

    The Diablo was comical to drive and atrocious to live with in the early years. They finally more or less got it right with the 6.0– alas, that’s right about when Audi made them all 4WD. Still, it was relatively simple to yank the front driveshafts, and a RWD converted Diablo 6.0 with a manual is a hilariously fun thing to behold, and like the 355 was one of the best looking “modern” cars they ever made.

    1. O Leonine One,
      When I lived in the Chicago ‘burbs many years back, my neighbor’s NSX was the most reliable car I’d ever heard of. He showed me all his repair bills when I originally scoffed at his claim of reliability, and as I recall they totaled about $1,000 over five years and 60,000 miles of driving — a tiny amount compared to any supercar of the era. My abiding memory was the cost of the NSX’s (Yokohama?) tires: made specifically for the NSX, they cost about six times as much as my car’s Michelins, and wore out after about 15,000 miles of normal (not racing) driving.

      1. Back in that time frame, I was paying $200 for a rear tire, and $150 for the front, and getting 1500 miles out of the rear, and maybe 3k on the front. That was on a two valve, air-cooled 900 Ducati SSSP. Dunlop race compound street tires. Anything less was foolish, I discovered. After the first spirited ride following break-in, chasing a Suzuki GSXR, the oem tires were shredded, and a fellow Duc rider’s eyeballs were huge. A change of riding style, and tires, was mandated.

        Put on a set recommended by the tire shop. Oy! Scariest tires I’ve ever ridden on. First ride was a Keith Code beginners class at Laguna Seca. Front was sliding into corners, the rear exiting, and either end, or both, at the apex. Track was a bit wet, and there were lots of crashes, mostly in the Corkscrew. Didn’t fall, although the track workers didn’t know why, given my antics out there.
        No more cutting corners on Duc tire purchases for me! Two years later, my best friend violated that rule, and died as a result.

  3. The new NSX is a perfect indictment of today’s Acura. Actually, pretty much everything Honda makes now is utter shite. They used to make cars as reliable as an AK-47. Today? I think I’d rather have a Kia.

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