Published on January 26th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez2
Honda NSX 1991-1993 Used Car Review_Classic Supercar
Supercar ownership is no longer just for dreaming, as there are some bargains to be had in today’s shrinking economy. This week we are not going to take you to the Italian or German side of supercars and instead take you to the land of the rising sun and remind you of a supercar that has been forgotten by many but not little ole me. I am talking about the 1991 Honda NSX. Having tracked the value of this Japanese ‘jet fighter’ for some years hoping that on its 23rd birthday in 2014 used prices will start free falling due to its inability to be financed by all registered finance companies, I have to say that in the last 8-9 years there has been little depreciation from this car and in surprising fact, its value has risen or stabilized the last few years. The reasons for this used car phenomenon is simply because there are so few units in existence and even fewer up for sale, the desire factor for this car has made it a hit with enthusiasts and also ardent would be collectors like myself.
I have finally given up on its possible ownership and that is why I am willing to share with you its purchase proposition today. Imported in by individuals and parallel importers in the mid 1990’s, the NSX was largely hand-built with mostly aluminum panels. These aluminum panels are said to save 120kg compared to conventional panels bringing the final kerb weight of the early 1990’s model to a mere 1370kg.
The chassis won universal praise amongst all road testers. With forged aluminum double wishbones at each corner and a mid-engine rear-drive configuration, the NSX turns into corners nicely and exhibits excellent balance. This is a vehicle that can be easily driven in daily city traffic and still work as well as the rest around a racetrack. Traction control comes as standard. Interestingly, the NSX runs different diameter wheels front to rear. The front uses relatively small 15-inch alloys wearing 205/50s while the rear gets 16-inchers with 225/50s. A ventilated disc can be seen behind each of the rims with braking controllability coming from a 4-channel ABS system. The early NSX’s V6 engine boasts titanium rods, direct-fire ignition, 10.2:1 compression, variable air intake, DOHC, 24-valve heads and VTEC (variable valve timing and lift) in a capacity of just 3.0-litres. It will generate 270horsepower at 7100 rpm and 285Nm of torque at 5300 rpm. In 1997 the NSX was fitted with a larger 3.2-litre engine. We however are looking at the post 1997 version.
Driving through a standard 5-speed manual gearbox, the NSX is easy to flick through the gears and is very flexible. Traction from the torque-sensing LSD is also generous, which helps the car to accelerate to 100 km/h in as little as 5.6 seconds (claimed). The engine’s very flat torque curve helps the NSX to exit the corner apex cleanly and stay within kissing distance to some modern equivalents. Top speed is recorded at 270 km/h when and if the engine is running sweet.
NSXs have held their value, largely due to the fact that there are only a relatively small amount around. Buying a used NSX needs a full service history check, and if possible, have the car inspected by an expert to keep it a wise investment. Look for accident damage as this is better completely avoided as a damaged chassis reduces the cars performance by a large margin. Repairs to the car’s aluminum monocoque can be very expensive. Although nothing like the price of spares for some other exotic cars, NSX spares prices are high where a new clutch assembly starts at RM6,000 while a new exhaust system as much as RM11,000. Front brake pads from RM680 and a starter motor RM2,400. A new headlamp about RM4,000 and the front bumper, housing and lights at RM14,000. Sadly, junkyards do not carry parts and it is also difficult for them to source from overseas.
When doing a preliminary check start with the interior and the standard switchgear inside should still be intact as with all other Honda products unless abused. The engine should idle and rev smoothly and the exterior panel gaps should be consistently equal in all areas. Most dealers will not allow a test drive to prevent time wasters from clocking mileage. Best to bring along a competent mechanic to give the car a standing still once over until completely satisfied. Prices are very difficulty to define but look in the region of between RM130,000-RM150,000 for very decent 1991-1993 model. An equivalent Italian supercar with much higher running costs and lesser power will sell for more.