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Honda NSX: Buying guide and review (1990-2005)

Honda NSX: Buying guide and review (1990-2005) Classic and Performance Car
Honda NSX side Honda NSX front Honda NSX rear Honda NSX interior
Japan’s riposte to Ferrari was born into the era when McLaren (powered by Honda) dominated F1 and Ferrari, very much pre-Schumacher, was second best. And the NSX, Honda’s first supercar, wiped the floor with Ferrari’s 348 dynamically. It was the world’s first aluminium monocoque production car, honed by Ayrton Senna himself.
Honda did the smart thing and played to its strengths, combining a sensational, high-revving 3.0-litre V6 with a super-stiff and lightweight aluminium body, and ensuring it was reliable and easy to drive. The fact that, at the time, Ferrari was suffering with unreliability issues only helped the cause: Honda had the opportunity to repeat what it had done in F1 and beat the Italians at their own game. 
The NSX had its own purpose-built production facility in Tochigi, Japan. The idea was to separate the supercar from its other cars, maintaining sterile manufacturing conditions to ensure perfect build quality. McLaren even let Senna loose in the NSX at a Suzuka test session in 1989. He drove the development mule and suggested that, among other things, the car’s body didn’t feel rigid enough. 
With this in mind, Honda worked hard on reinforcing the NSX’s already strong aluminium shell and, in doing so, unlocked the key to better body control, ride quality and refinement. 
When launched, the NSX proved supercars needn’t be the impractical, unreliable monsters of old. The same is true today – only now the bidding starts at very ordinary money. 
Which one to buy?
The NSX was never a big seller, especially in the UK, but there is a healthy supply of 3.0-litre cars around. Imports are not uncommon, but generally don’t drastically differ in price. It remained in production for 15 years, and by 2005 the Japanese supercar was struggling to keep up with the competition. 
Early cars, which are the most common and easiest to find, came with a 3.0-litre V6 engine producing 276bhp. An automatic version was offered, and proved surprisingly popular in Japan, although power was reduced to 242bhp. 
Although no convertible NSX was offered, from 1995 a removable targa top roof panel was fitted to the NSX-T. Two hardcore models were built, the original NSX-R in 1992, and the later Type R in 2003. Both are incredibly rare and difficult to find, with only a very small number known to be in the UK. 
Later examples, especially the facelift cars, are quite thin on the ground and are the best resolved. Although the official power output remained unchanged, it’s thought that these examples were producing well in excess of 320bhp.
Common problems
• Although it is extremely reliable, the NSX does have a few areas that need to be carefully checked. 
• Certain 1990-1992 models had a weakness in the transmission countershaft bearing, with a ring that could snap, leading to eventual catastrophic gearbox failure. It’s worth checking the transmission’s VIN number with a specialist to see if it will be affected, but warning signs include a howling noise on acceleration, or jumping out of gear.
• Coolant reservoirs are notoriously leaky, but surprisingly cheap to replace. Be sure that none of the 23 coolant hoses is cracked, brittle or hard, that there’s no hardened coolant near their ends. Also look for non-original hose clips. You have to ask why they weren’t changed properly and who carried out the work?
• While it may seem obvious, it’s absolutely vital to check the oil. It should be changed at 9000-mile intervals or every year, and if it’s not clean you should question the car’s maintenance schedule.
• Servicing isn’t expensive in supercar terms, but it must be done every year. 
• The timing belt must be replaced every 90,000 miles or 72 months, so it’s something you probably only have to worry about once, although you should take that into account if you’re buying one that needs doing. It’s a good idea to do the water pump at the same time, which bumps the price up to about £1000. 
• If the car has any engine or transmission leaks, it’s definitely cause for concern, and often points to neglect. Common points of leakage are the valve cover gaskets and VTEC solenoids. 
• Because of the high percentage of aluminium used in the NSX, accident damage can be difficult to repair, so you should be careful to check the panel gaps and paint. It’s difficult to get a good finish when painting sheet aluminium, so it’s worth inspecting – although a respray isn’t always a bad thing. 
• Buying an NSX and discovering that it’s been crashed is not a nice experience. Aluminium bodyshells are much harder to straighten out than steel ones, and they almost never seem right afterwards.
• The suspension is virtually all made from aluminium, and you should treat any knocks or misalignment suspiciously. The most amazing thing about the NSX is the handling. Clunks and rattles totally defeat the car’s purpose. Question anything that doesn’t track straight or isn’t properly aligned and make sure it’s sorted before you hand any money over.
• The electrical systems are well designed, but age-related problems can crop up. Sit in the car and check that the heater fan blows at each variable speed, and the digital display works. It’s quite common for NSX climate control to only blow on the fastest speed, and it isn’t cheap to fix.
Model history
1990: Honda NSX Coupe launched, featuring a 3.0-litre V6 producing 276bhp. 
1992: Lightweight track-biased NSX-R released in Japan.
1993: Rear alignment changed to improve tyre wear; interior slightly redesigned. 
1994: Wheels changed from five-spoke to a seven-spoke design, with wider tyres.
1995: Targa-top NSX-T arrives, while all the Coupe models now have a body-coloured roof, as opposed to the black roof of earlier cars. E-PAS steering fitted as standard. 
1997: Big mechanical upgrade, with engine capacity increased to 3179cc (same claimed power, though nearer 300bhp in reality), coupled to a new six-speed manual gearbox. Bodyshell revised with increased-strength aluminium. Luxurious Type-S and more stripped-out Type-S Zero models offered in Japan.
2002: All NSX models receive a mid-life refresh, with new exposed HID headlamps in place of the distinctive pop-up units, as well as a huge number of minor mechanical improvements under the skin. New, even harder Type-R launched with the introduction of the facelift, which like the original was only offered in Japan. 
2005: After more than 15 years, Honda ends NSX production. 
Performance and specs
2002 Honda NSX 
Engine 3179cc V6, DOHC, 24-valve
Power 276bhp @ 7300rpm
Torque 220lb ft @ 5300rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Top speed 168mph
0-60mph 5.5sec
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2530mm
Length 4404mm
Width 1811mm
Height 1171mm
Kerb weight 1365kg
Summary and prices
Early high-mileage (over 100,000) cars can be found from less than £20,000, but healthier examples start around the £30,000 mark. An immaculate 1990-97 3.0-litre NSX with low mileage and a perfect service record is potentially worth upwards of £35,000 – but it would have to be special. Automatics are slightly less powerful, and aren’t quite as sought after, generally costing £2000-3000 less than a manual equivalent. 
Post-1997 3.2 cars are considerably harder to find and command a premium, generally costing upwards of £40,000. The 2002 model-year facelifted cars are yet more difficult to source, with fewer than 74 sold in Europe between 2001 and 2005. Prepare to spend in excess of £55,000 – if you can find one. 
Buying an NSX now might prove to be a good move. Later cars have already increased in value and, as earlier cars have now stabilised, the best examples will inevitably become more valuable as they become rarer. 
Honda NSX side Honda NSX front Honda NSX rear Honda NSX interior
Last updated: 15th Jul 2016
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Honda NSX
110000 174995 GBP
  • Honda NSX

    £159,995 £159,995

    Vehicle being prepared for sale, call for details, Nouvelle Blue Pearl, Carbon Fibre Engine Cover, Carbon Ceramic Brake Discs And Calipers, Boot Cargo net, Machined Interwoven wheels , 19'' Front & 20'' Rear ContiSportContact tyres , Technology Pack, Carbon Fibre Roof, Both original Remote C/Locking Keys, Owned from new (Zero prev owners), HPI Clear (Complete with certificate), ----- Services offered:, Part Exchange welcome, Finance/PCP provided if req - ring for details, 24/7 text line:07876627581, 20'' Alloys, 4x4, Full service history

    • Mileage: 562 mi
    • Engine size: 3493
    For sale
    £159,995 £159,995
    Strafford Cars
  • Honda NSX

    £110,000 £110,000

    Vehicle Description: The Honda NSX Was First Showcased To An Eager Global Audience At The 1989 Chicago Auto Show, With This Radical New Japanese Supercar To Offer A Firm Fight To The Already Infamous Italian Competitors And Even Before The Order Books Had Opened, The Likes Of Porsche, Ferrari And Lamborghini Realised That The NSX Was To Set A Brand New Benchmark For Engineering Excellence. The Company`s Founder, Soichiro Honda Had Always Had A Life Long Passion For Motor Racing, Both On Two And Four Wheels, So This Car From Design, Development And Finish, Had To Mirror Those Thoughts And Aspirations From This Industry Great And With The Help From Some Very Important Key Members. The Honda NSX Was Truly A Motoring Masterpiece. The All Aluminium Exterior Body, Which Looks As Staggeringly Beautiful Today, As It Did Back In The Late 1980`s Was Created By A Design Team Under The Watchful Eye Chief Designer Masahito Nakano, With The Total Engineering Brilliance To Come From Chief Factory Engineer Shigeru Uehara, With Those Final Finishing Development Detailing To Come From The Late Great Three Times F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna. The Honda NSX Was The Car That Their Factory Engineers Had Always Wanted To Design, With An Ultra Lightweight Aluminium Structure, Combined With The Power Delivered From The DPHC V6 24V Engine, They Achieved Their Ambitious Targets Of Power To Weight Ratio, An Impressively Quick Top Speed And Yet Still The NSX Overturned Conventional Thinking Of How A True Supercar Should Perform, As This Was The First High Powered Vehicle Aimed At All Drivers, No Matter Their Own Driving Characteristics And Capabilities. Bar Being Effortlessly Quick, The Main Claim To Fame Was That The Honda NSX Was Utterly Satisfying, Yet Never Intimidating And With The Confident Handling, This Was To Be A Fabulous Vehicle That Could Indeed Be Used Every Day. The Final Chapter In The NSX Story Was Written In 2002 When Honda Restyled The Front And Rear Bumpers And Replaced The Retractable Headlamps With More Efficient Bubble Shaped Fixed Units, With These Rare Last Vehicles Being Highly Sort After On The Collectable Classic Circle. These Last Cars Had Been Fitted With A Transversely Mounted Three Point Two Litre V6 Twenty Four Value Engine, Which Produced A More Than Respectable 280 Brake Horse Power, Capable Of Accelerating Both Driver And Passenger From 0-62 MPH In Just 5.7 Seconds And Would Further Climb To Astonishing Top Speed Of 170 MHP, All Of Which Was Perfectly Controlled By The Independent Double Wishbone Coil Springs And Stabiliser. Chassis Number T200010 Was First Registered By Honda UK In The April Of 2004, With The First Driver To Be Non Other Than The 2009 Formula One British World Champion Jenson Button, Who Had Been Given The Car To Use When He Was In The UK By The Honda Factory. Since This Date Of First Registration Date A Further Three Private Individuals Have Been Fortunate To Take Ownership, With The Last Acquiring This Exceptional Example In The June Of 2013 As Part Of A Private Vehicle Collection. Over The Last Fourteen Years The Car Has Only Had A Mere 27184 Miles Since New, However Regardless Of This Incredible Current Mileage Reading The Vehicle Has Been Maintained To The Highest Of Standards With Historical Past Honda Main Dealer Service Visits Logged At 6054, 8894, 14706, 18473, 21051 (Timing Belt Change), 25601, 26544, 27090 And 27143 Miles, With The Last Completed By Listers Honda Of Solihull In The May Of 2017. As Part Of Our Vehicle Presentation We Are Delighted To Confirm That The Car Will Be Offered To The Next Lucky Custodian With The Full Booklet Pack Set, Written Confirmation Of The Jenson Button Connection, An Extensive Past A4 History Invoice File, A Fully Cleared Hpi Certificate, A Full Tool Kit Set, A Fully Functional Key Set To Include The Red Master Key And An Original Sales Brochure, All In Place For The Next Person To Enjoy And Cherish, During Their Own Time Of Ownership. Exterior: The All Aluminium Body Is Presented In The Highly Desirable Long Beach Blue Metallic (B501P), With This Colour Finish Perfectly Demonstrating The Now World Famous NSX Exterior Lines And The Powerful Honda Curves. Further Detailing Is Presented With The Unmarked 17" Seven Arm NSX Alloy Wheels Which All Sit On Branded Tyres, The Chromed Tipped Twin Oval Exhaust Pipes, The Reflective Back Light Panel That Dominates The Rear Decorated With The Honda Chromed H, The Gloss Black Engine Vents That Sits Neatly On The Boot Lid, The Blackened NSX Embossed Door Handles, The Glass Domed Rear Window Which Lifts For Easy Engine Access, The Face Lifted Bubble Head Lamps, The Blackened Mesh Lower Front Mesh Grille, The NSX Embossed Brake Calipers Finished In Factory Gold, The Colour Coded Sculptured Rear Wing Side Engine Vents, The Infamous Rear Boot Lid Spoiler And Decorated With A Subtle Chromed H On The Bonnet. From Every Given Angle The Honda NSX Looks Remarkable And Would Be Well Suited Outside A London Town House Or Travelling Through The Open Countryside. Interior: Like Any F1 Car, The Interior Of The Honda NSX Wraps Around Both & Passenger, Creating A Totally Focused Driving Environment, But Still Offers A Generous Cabin Space, Incredibly Equipped And Elegantly Comfortable. From Factory Build This Example Was Finished With The Black Leather Sport Seating Beautifully Complemented With Unmarked Black Twin Needle Stitch Detail, The Black Fabric Roof Lining, The Black Leather Trimmed Dash That Wraps Around This Signature Cockpit Interior, The Black & Dark Grey Leather Trimmed Door Cards, The Black Leather Bound Centred Cabin Tunnel, The Chassis Numbered Embossed NSX Door Sill Plates, The SRS Embossed Three Spoke Black Leather Bound Steering Wheel, The Dark Grey Carpets That Have Been Protected With The NSX Over Mats And Decorated With The Blackened Interior Trim Panels, That Finalise This Inviting And Exciting Environment Off Perfectly. The NSX Was Also Built With High-End, Class Leading Technology, Meaning That Whatever The Distance Of Your Next Journey, The Cabin Is Effortlessly Controlled And Highly Enjoyable, Time And Time Again. Specification: We Are Delighted To Have Availble For Sale Chassis Number T200010 Onto Our Exciting Vehicle Inventory. Registered In The April Of 2004, This Stunning Example Has Covered A Mere 27184 Miles And Boasts Factory Options To Include Unmarked Silver Finished 17" Seven Arm NSX Alloy Wheels Which All Sit On Branded Tyres, Dual Zone Climate Control, Unmarked Black Leather Trimmed Sport Seats, Cruise Control, Electric Seat Adjustments, The Three Spoke Leather Bound Steering Wheel, Xenon Head Lights, Bose Factory Radio Cassette With RDS, Six Disc MP3 CD System Housed In The Boot, Four Wheel Anti Lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control, Twin SRS Air Bags, Front Centre Armrest With Storage Compartments, Remote Central With Category One Alarm, Electric Windows & Mirrors, NSX Embossed Over Mats, Twinned Oval Exhaust Pipes, NSX Embossed Brake Calipers Finished In Factory Gold And So Much More. Offered With The Entire Booklet Pack Set, An Extensive Historical A4 History File, A Full And Complete Tool Kit, A Fully Cleared Hpi Report And A Fully Functional Key Set. For Further Details On This Special Find, Then Please Contact Either Jonathan Or Mark On 01623 622627 Or Via Email: sales@parkwayspecialistcars.co.uk The Car Is Located In The UK, With Options And Costs To Ship Worldwide, Available Upon Request... We Welcome Your Inquiry Very Soon...

    • Year: 2004
    • Mileage: 27184 mi
    For sale
    £110,000 £110,000
  • Honda NSX

    £159,950 £159,950

    Variant name:Nsx Coupe ,Variant: 3.5 V6 Hybrid 2dr Auto Leven Car Company Proudly Present this Stunning Honda NSX 3.5 V6 Hybrid 2dr Auto finished in Curva Red Paint with Ebony Leather/Alcantara Interior. Contact Us for Further Information or an HD Video. Tailored Finance Packages Available on Request.The heart of the NSX's powertrain is a 75-degree, twin-turbocharged V6, which drives an all-new nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. On top of this, the NSX's sport hybrid system incorporates three electric motors. The total system output is 550bhp at 7500rpm, with torque rated at 406lb ft. 1 of Only 100 Cars for UK Market.

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 21 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
    £159,950 £159,950
  • Honda NSX

    £162,950 £162,950

    Variant name:V6 ,Derivative:NC ,Variant: 3.5 V6 (AWD) 9EDCT Honda 3.5 V6 (AWD) 9EDCT finished in berlina black metallic with beige leather interior Specification includes Alloy Wheels, Tyre Pressure Control, Front Electric Windows, Gears Steering Wheel Mounted Controls, Rain Sensor, Anti-Lock Brakes, Driver, Passenger And Front Side Air Bags, Traction Control System, Front Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners, Alarm, Immobiliser, Rear Spoiler, Electric/Heated Door Mirrors, High Beam Assist Exterior Lighting, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Front Head Restraints, Power-Assisted Steering, Heated Rear Screen, Glovebox Interior Lights, Cup Holder, Floor Mats, Driver/Passenger Seat Height Adjustment, Head Up Display On-Board Monitor, Bluetooth Interface Telephone Equipment, Chassis, Chassis and Safety System and Safety System.

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 150 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
    £162,950 £162,950
  • Honda NSX 3.2 SC


    Honda NSX 1991 Engine and transmission: 6-speed 3.2 NA2 C32B with 50000 km Bash Boost kit with Paxton supercharger, 380 hp @ 0.3 bar Chargercooler with Popoff Tial Koyo aluminum radiator. AEM ECU Sachs reinforced clutch Baffle oil pan- Tein Superflex coilover OZ Alleggerita wheels front tires 245/35/18 rear tires 285/30/18 R888 Movit complete front and rear brake system 6 pot (very expensive) Route KS time attack complete bodykit with front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts, front and rear fenders Carbon front splitter Carbon rear extractor Carbon bonnet Carbon rear trunk Carbon roof Carbon Motor dome (replace glass) Front tail conversion Momo steering wheel (not in photos), and much moreThe car is in amazing as new conditions, i believe it is the only one in Europe with 3.2 engine, 6-speed gearbox. The car has never made track or race. It was used only for promotional / advertising purposes. German documents.

    • Year: 1991
    For sale