The Honda NSX was the original practical supercar, and it looks set for a significant price rise
Instead of sitting here writing about them, I have a horrible feeling that I should be phoning someone – anyone – who currently has a Honda NSX for sale and buying it sight unseen. This is because, in a world of £5million McLaren F1s, £500,000 F40s and £250,000 XJ220s, an NSX for around £30,000 is an absurd bargain.
Yes, we know it doesn’t have a prancing horse on the bonnet or a cleverly stylised ‘M’ on the bootlid. And, with more than 18,000 built during a 15-year production run, it isn’t exactly a rarity. But look at the substance. The NSX’s alloy bodywork is based on the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet. The car has a near bulletproof V6 VTEC engine developing around 270bhp, which has to propel just 1370kg. And the chassis and suspension set-up (and this is a little-known fact…) were developed with advice from Ayrton Senna. It’s even got a decent boot.
There’s been talk of a new-generation NSX for almost a decade now, but it finally looks as though the hybrid will make production in 2015. When it does, the original versions are almost certain to assume the full-blown classic status they have long deserved. Factor in that the NSX will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2016 and the stars seem very much in alignment for a serious price hike. In fact, some cars are already being advertised at £50k-plus.
An especially appealing aspect of buying an NSX is perhaps that there aren’t myriad variants to choose from. Mainstream models were either the original 3-litre, five-speed, 266bhp version (1991-96), or the later 3.2-litre, six-speed, 276bhp car (1997-2005). An automatic was also available, but had a 252bhp version of the 3-litre engine throughout. A targa roof was offered from 1995, and the pop-up headlamps were replaced with fixed units in 2002.
Now I’ve calmed down a bit, I’ll take back that remark about buying ‘sight unseen’. There are, of course, plenty of bad ones out there, lots of imports and any number that have had a hard life. So, as usual, caveat emptor. But if you can buy right, this ‘sensible Ferrari’ never looked so good.
Ferrari F355 - Also mid-engined, but with more power (374bhp) and a more desirable badge. Available as coupe, targa and convertible, with prices starting below £50k.
Porsche 911 (996) - Obvious, perhaps, but for a good reason. Plenty to choose from, with prices from as little as £10k.
Lotus Esprit Turbo/V8 - Hethel’s mid-engined supercar can now be picked up for £12-20k in Turbo form, or from £25k for a V8.
Words: Simon de Burton