I was born in 1980, which means I really came of age in the 1990s. That period was a bit of a sweet spot for fans of Japanese sports cars. It's no surprise then that I'm rather attracted to iron from the Land of the Rising Sun. This attraction has fostered a love of everything from the older Datsun goodies like the 510 and 240Z up through current hits like the Subaru WRX STI and the Scion FR-S. There is, however, one vehicle that stands head and shoulders above the rest in the pantheon of "must-drive" Japanese all stars, for me at least.
It's the Acura NSX.
This is the beast that Honda engineers created while staring down the likes of the Ferrari 308 and 348. Ayrton Senna even helped somewhat with the chassis and handling dynamics. The engine was all aluminum and mounted in the middle of the car, and the cockpit was designed to feel like one was sitting in an F-16 fighter jet.
To say that the Acura NSX excited the crowd at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show would be an understatement.
It was, and remains, a remarkable bit of automotive engineering. It also remains high on my aforementioned "must-drive" list. Well, it used to at least... because I just spent seven wonderful days with one of the heroes of my childhood. Acura was kind enough to let me borrow a 2005 example, which was the last year that the NSX was produced. Looking resplendent with its Silverstone Metallic paintwork, my NSX showed around 41,000 miles on the odometer when it was handed over to me.
I gave it back with 650 more miles ticked off... and they were all excellent.