Certain times throughout automotive history there are cars that seem to fall by the wayside and are not appreciated for their true groundbreaking nature till years have passed and they are rediscovered. The Acura NSX is a perfect example of this.
Prototyping for the NSX began all the way back in 1984 but it wasn’t until 1990 that production version was unveiled. Meant to compete directly with the V8 engined Ferraris of the day, it was the first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminum body. An all-star design team was assembled, including F1 superstar Ayrton Senna, and a special factory was built in Japan to handle production. Originally the car was fitted with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and 5-speed manual transmission with a SportShift 4-speed automatic being optional. Reviews of the car in period were extremely positive, touting the fantastic chassis and handling of the car. The NSX underwent various changes throughout its 15-year lifespan but dwindling sales in the early 2000’s caused Honda to cancel the program and it would be years before the second generation would be released. In total, a little over 18,000 NSX’s were produced worldwide with a total of approximately 8997 ending up in the United States.
This particular NSX, Chassis number JH4NA1151MT001938 is a 5-speed manual transmission example finished in the rare color combination of Berlina Black with an Ivory interior. Approximately 474 cars were finished in this color combo for 1991 out of a total of 3163 produced for the year. The CarFax for the car shows only one owner with the car first being registered in Cleveland, Texas on May 30, 1991. The original window sticker which is included with the car shows a price of just over $61,000.
It was driven sparingly, showing 9300 miles by 1994 and 24,292 miles by 2005. The 30K service was completed by Streater Smith Honda on 12/18/2006. There are a few more records for general service showing the car was well cared for and looked after. It appears to have changed hands to Porsche of North Olmstead in Ohio on 8/11/2017 and was sold to the current owner in early 2018. The car as it currently sits is well maintained and represents an excellent driver quality early NSX, finished in desirable colors and ready to be enjoyed.
Included with the sale of the car are the factory spare, tools, jack, books, and original window sticker.
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Body And Paint
The Berlina Black paint is smooth and consistent from front to back with a dark rich luster to it. The car has been enjoyed and utilized and it shows in the form of normal road wear, especially in the front of the vehicle which contains some small stone chips from normal road debris. There is a hairline scratch on the leading edge of the front bumper and the passenger side flip up light has a small paint chip along the housings edge. There is a small scratch on the driver side front fender about an inch long and two smaller ones on the passenger side rear fender. Minor stone peppering is present on the side vents as well as on the side view mirrors. Overall the all-aluminum body is in excellent shape with smooth straight metal and quality door and panel gaps.
Glass And Trim
The glass appears to be original throughout and has no real issues to note. The Theft Deterrent System sticker is still present on the drivers side window, a good testament to the all-aluminum nature. Headlight flip-up with ease and are clear and bright with no pitting or cracking in the lenses present. The rubber trim appears to be supple and solid around the whole of the car.
The five-spoke wheels are fairly clean with only a few spots of very minor rubbing on some of the wheels. The center caps have bright legible “Acura” inscription in place.
There is a small scratch on the driver's side front fender, two small ones on the read passenger fender, and a hairline scratch on the front lip. There is a bit of peppering in the paint from road debris on the front bumper as well as on the side vents.
Seats And Surfaces
The ivory white interior provides a stunning contrast to the dark exterior of the car. Overall the interior has been very well kept and shows minimal issues. The VIN branded door sills are in good shape with very minimal scuffing on the driver's side. The door cards are in good order, nice and tight with no separation. The driver's side seat has some wear and creasing forming on the door side bolster but is overall good condition while the passenger side seat remains in excellent condition. The white carpets are fairly clean with only a small spot stain here and there but good consistent color throughout and minimal wear marks, even in the driver side footwell. The leather-trimmed dash is tight and a rich black with good stitching. The central stack and console plastics have good color to them and all labels are easily legible. The fabric cover on the small speaker placed on the back wall in between the two seats is coming undone a bit but would be an easy fix if one desired to. The headliner is nice and tight with good color to it.
Functionality And Accessories
This car was driven but well cared for and it shows in the functionality and appearance of the interior. In typical Honda fashion, all buttons and switches appear to be in good working order. The power seat adjusters move the seats with ease and the windows regulators move both windows up and down appropriately. The gauges are all bright and clear with good color to them and all appear to read their requisite functions as they should. The steering wheel is clean and tidy with no pulling seems or cracking present. Interior dome lights work as they should.
There is some minor wear on the driver's side bolster, nothing to be alarmed about but worth noting. There is also a few spot stains on the white carpets.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
The engine bay cover has some minor staining and areas where it appears the fabric has been rubbed. The engine bay itself is overall very clean, tidy and appears to have been well cared for. All appropriate stickers are in place where they should be, painted surfaces are smooth and consistent. Hoses, cables, clamps, and wires appear in good condition with no cracking or aging present on any of the components. The VTEC branded engine cover has some fading of the white paint on the lettering.
Inspection of the front “trunk” area finds the factory spare held in place with the correct screed in tie-down. Factory correct stickers are all in place and overall, surfaces and components are clean and free of any visible issues. Factory paint markings are still present on some of the components. The rear trunk contains an NSX branded mat that has a bit of staining on it but is in good condition still. The rest of the rear trunk area is clean and tidy. Tucked underneath the floor mat, the factory tools and jack are neatly tucked away in their styrofoam holder.
The 3.0 liter V6 comes to life with a quick turn of the key in typical Honda fashion. It settles into a smooth idle and revs freely. Out on the road, it makes good power and while quiet, the exhaust note emanating from the rear end sounds excellent.
The clutch feels fantastic, with good positive pickup, nice engagement and a smooth and light pedal travel. The transmission moves easily through gears and revs through its range beautifully.
Brakes And Suspension
The brakes feel excellent, bringing the car to smooth and controlled, issue free stop. The suspension is one of the areas these cars always shined in and this example does not disappoint. The ride is appropriately firm with good road feedback and minimal body roll. The suspension feels very compliant and there are no odd noises or road manners present.
The tires are Yokohama Advan Neova on all four corners. The fronts are 205/50/15 while the rears are 225/50/16. All four tires have good tread and plenty of life left in them
Upon entering the car you immediately realize how much time must have went into designing the cabin. It is a fantastic place to sit and it truly feels like you are wearing the car. There is good visibility out of the front and side windows and plenty of light to provide a nice airy feel to the cabin. Out on the road, the intoxicating free revving nature of the 3.0 liter V6 is immense amounts of fun. There is a tendency to want to push the tach needle towards that redline at 8,000 rpm’s even during the most mundane of driving. The car handles extremely well and is so easy to point and go. It feels light and immensely responsive behind the wheel. The NSX was game changer when it was first introduced and for a period it was a bit lost to history but as of recently it is once again receiving its deserved praise. This car represents the perfect opportunity to thoroughly drive and enjoy an early generation NSX finished in an understated and fantastic color combination.