While not in the same league as Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche, Honda's all-aluminum take on the mid-engine sports car has its fans. Now Nice Price or Crack Pipe wants to know if Accord money would put you in an NSX?
There have been some complaints that NPOCP has been throwing nothing but crack pipe of late. The 1970 Bonneville that stepped up to the plate yesterday took a swing and a miss to the tune of an 88% crack pipe result, and last Friday's celebrity-befouled IROC Z could become the poster child of crack pipe. Because of the desire - nay the seemingly unquenchable hunger for a nice price contender - today we're pitching a slow ball, down low and on the inside.
But enough of baseball metaphors- let's talk about aluminum- orAl in the parlance of the periodic table. From the earliest days cars were built mostly out of wood, steel and unicorn pancreas. Each material possessed certain qualities that fit its intended purpose in the structure of the vehicle. Unicorn pancreas use was abandoned in 1902 when it was discovered to have been a ruse created by Henry Ford to confuse the competition. This leaves just the wood and steel, which by then Ford had cornered the market for.
As cars grew bigger and more complex, wood became less prominent a component due to its inherent fragility and less advantageous strength to weight ratio. Eventually (unless your car is a Morgan) it was relegated to dashboard laminates, and steering wheel and shift knob insets. Steel, on the other hand - due to its strength, low cost, and extreme malleability - became the de rigueur material for frame and body. But steel also had its disadvantage - that being weight.
Racing pushes the boundaries of performance, and is where you typically see new performance technologies appear years before they show up in passenger cars, and this is where alloy technologies first emerged. Magnesium wheels, titanium alloy connecting rods, aluminum bodies. All of these metals took the place of their heavier steel forbearers, making the racers lighter, faster, and more efficient. And that brings us to the Acura NSX.
When Honda was developing the NSX they used the Ferrari 328 and Porsche 911 as benchmarks. As Honda lacked a V8 engine, and was seeking a continuity between the new halo car and the rest of the Acura line up, they decided to follow the Porsche route and drop a modified version of the C32B 2,977-cc V6 into the car's mid-mounted engine bay. That engine put out a healthy 270-bhp, the same as the 328, and good enough to push the NSX to sixty in under 6 seconds. Part of the reason the car was so quick was due to its light weight- 2,978 lbs - made possible by the extensive use of aluminum in both structure and body. In fact, the NSX is the first production car with an all-aluminum unit-body, suspension and engine, a trifecta of weight savings and resultant performance.
This 1991 NSX comes in Ferrari red with a black canopy (the car was intended to evoke a fighter jet) and is stock right down to the 16-inch front, 17-inch rear five-spoke aluminum wheels. The seller claims that there have been fewer that 55,000 miles under those wheels, and the interior bares that claim out, despite some wear on the driver's seat bolster. A peek under the engine cover wouldn't shock an Accord owner, and overall the car doesn't seem to have any dingleberries hanging off of it, or egregious stickers, spoilers or fart cans, so it comes sans-embarrassment. What it does come with is a $22,000 asking price. As the car looks good that seems kind of reasonable (there, happy now?) and in fact is within the range where even an average joe could afford it. As the NSX isn't much more expensive to own than the aforementioned Accord, this is a car that you might both vote on and consider a trip to Sacramento to see.
So, what do you think? Is $22,000 really a nice price for this red NSX? Or, is the batting streak continuing, and it's the bottom of the ninth with crack pipe stepping to the plate?
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