The Acura NSX, from the first moment folks laid eyes on its wild shape at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, captivated enthusiasts. Various car titles just keep writing retrospectives on a vehicle that has rightfully earned a reputation as a performance icon even as its successor lives on with less fanfare. The car that famously made Ferrari and Porsche quake, the reliable supercar, a car that Ayrton Senna honed—there’s a lot of myth and mythos around the NSX, and decades of history. But beyond all that, there’s still a car—a car that, to this day, is an experience even without all that context.
And this well-preserved example, going up for auction this weekend at Mecum’s Houston event, shows that an NSX in a good color combination and in great shape can still coax salivary glands into action. Red over tan and black—a classic combo, and very 1990s. The contrasts inside really highlight the radical (at the time) cabin arrangement, with the flat, wide, heavily sloped center console that flowed into the dash and over the passenger partition. The cabin may have looked dated for a while, but we think it’s now aged into a graceful, classic middle age—something that can be said for the car itself, with those long-departed pop-ups and the integrated, swooping rear wing.
With just 28,190 miles, the 3.0-liter V-6 out back is barely broken in, and purists will note it’s the last year that the original mill was installed. For 1997, displacement was pumped to 3.2 liters, and goodies like a six-speed transmission and an LSD were added. Just as usable and reliable as any Honda from the era, the DOHC, VTEC-equipped mill can likely survive 10 times that mileage with appropriate attention and care. Speaking of which, Mecum says the car was overhauled last year, with that essential timing belt and water pump service taken care of. That’s one headache job the new owner won’t have to sweat about.
Even though NSX prices have been creeping up over the years, from nearly a bargain at their $40,000 low point to hovering around or above six figures now, we maintain that these are driver’s cars, and should be driven. Pop out the removable roof panel, crank up the stereo, get comfortable in those ergonomic seats, and point that 270-hp beauty down the road. You won’t regret it.
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