Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Welcome to the first volume of Horizon Automobile Weekly, the semi-regular car review journal written by yours truly. Before we get to this week’s car, I’d like to outline the goals of Horizon Automobile Weekly. First, I’m Aech40; Meet host, Mountain Rush Leader, and lover of Hondas. The goal of this article is to dive deep into a car and highlight what makes it special. We all love cars, and this journal gives us an opportunity to learn what makes our favorite vehicles tick. This includes, (but is not limited to), History, driving impressions, and nostalgic retrospective. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce this week’s subject, The 1992 Honda NSX-R.
I can already hear the groans. Of course, Aech chose a Honda for his first review. I mean, what did you expect from me. Just be thankful it wasn’t a Civic (although we’ll get to those in due time). To be truthful, The NSX is the reason I wanted to start writing this paper. Not only is the car gorgeous, the story of Honda’s “New Sport Xperimental” is one of the greatest in the industry. Before I give my thoughts on the car, let us talk briefly about that great story .
Our test car parked outside of a business in Playa Azul. Photo credits: Aech40
The NSX can trace its existence back to a little-known design firm by the name of Pininfarina. Yes, That Pininfarina. In 1984, Honda teamed up with the firm to develop the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental) concept. The goal of this project was to perform like a supercar, (Honda was gunning for Ferrari 348 performance), but set itself apart from the likes of the prancing horse in two ways. The first was simplicity. 80s Ferraris are complex beasts, and Honda felt that the driving part of a car was more important than its flash. The second was Reliability. Of course, a vehicle coming from the Honda Motor Company needed to be reliable. With these two philosophies in mind, the engineers set out to make the concept a reality.
The design and engineering team can only be described as an automotive dream team. The important players were the following men. Chief Designer Masahito Nakano continued to work with Pininfarina to develop what woulds become the iconic silhouette of the car. Executive Chief Engineer, Shigeru Uehara, and his team crafted the drivetrain and engine of the vehicle. Finally, the Legendary Aryton Senna was brought on to test the prototypes and give feedback on handling. Just as an aside, if you havent seen Senna driving early prototypes at Suzuka, please watch this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUVkVB3SUf4) video.
So, the stage is set. A solid goal, A dream development team, and the crazy determination of Honda. What did that result in? Well, the world would find out in 1990. The release of the Honda NSX (Acura for us dumb Americans) would mark several firsts for Honda. This was the first time the legendary Vtec system was used in North America. This was the first RWD sports coupe Honda had released since the “S” line of roadsters in the 60s . Finally, and arguably most importantly, this was the first time a Japanese company went toe-to-toe with the Italians.
With all of the History out of the way, it’s finally time to plug in my wheel and boot into Horizon 5 for this week’s review. This particular example was the 92’ NSX-R. The R was a special edition of 483 units between 1992 and 1995. This would pave the way for the later Type-R Hondas. Our test car is powered by the DOHC VTEC C30A v6, producing 270 BHP at 7,300 RPM and 210 ft-lb of torque at 6,500 RPM. Redline is a screaming 8,000 RPM. Mated to the engine is a 5 speed manual transmission that sends power to the rear wheels.
Shot of the engine of our test car. Photo Credits: Aech40. Edited by Ash Momin
The interior of this beauty is way better than your average Civic. The bucket seats hold you in nice and tightly, without feeling overbearing. The wheel is pretty, yet provides a clear view of the analog gauges, which can be read with little issue. The shift-knob is aluminum, which is an absolute joy to throw around. Clutch feel is stellar, as most manual Hondas are. Not enough people talk about Honda Manual transmissions. Every one I’ve played with is simply perfect. If I had to nitpick on the interior, creature comforts are sparse, but it’s about the driving, not the air conditioning. Roll down the windows if you’re hot. Or buy a later NSX-T (T standing for Targa). Anyways, the car is a joy to be in, which brings us to the main show. How does it drive?
NSX interior. Photo Credits: Aech40. Edited by Ash Momin
Our testing process consisted of all forms of driving. We bombed down the highway, took the twists and turns of Copper canyon, and cruised in La Selva. We drove in and around Playa Azul, and everywhere in between. The results are unsurprising. The Honda NSX drove amazingly. Despite being a midship rocket, she handled light and surefooted. The balance was immaculate. The car particularly excelled in lower speed, twisty roads. Despited having less than 300HP, the vehicle felt speedy. Ultimately, the NSX is 90s fast, and gets blown away by modern standards. What I loved so much about her was how simple she was. It’s just you, the wheel, the shifter, the pedals, and the open road. It was a no-frills driving experience. It’s a shame to see Honda abandoning this simplicity to chase modern technology.
The NSX in motion. Phot Credits: Aech40. Edited by Ash Momin
This week has been a joy. They say to never meet your heroes, but the NSX has disproved that. It is a beacon of simplicity in an era of technology. The wizards at Honda got it right the first time and it really shows.
As for this article, I would like to thank Capybara for allowing this to be possible, and the fine folks at Meet and Cruise for making this community what it is. I look forward to continuing this, and I urge readers to suggest cars for future issues. I would like to end with a little hint for our next vehicle. We will be tackling another competitor of old man Enzo. But this one is a little more… wild. For the special edition first issue of Horizon Automobile Weekly, this is Aech signing off.
The NSX on a wet evening. Photo credits: Aech. Edited by Ash Momin