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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Vellum Venom: 1992 Acura NSX

The world is rarely a fair place, and automotive journalism is rarely a safe space for all car enthusiasts. To wit, how many publications had an axe to grind when writing the ledes in their first-gen Acura NSX reviews?
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/vellum-venom/vellum-venom-1992-acura-nsx/
26 REPLIES 26

I love the NSX. I am probably in the minority who likes the 2002+ integrated headlights and the Type R spoiler and interior bits more than the pop ups version. The new NSX is a great car but I still prefer the analog O.G. NSX.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Speaking as a purist to an original design's vision, the 2002+ NSX really needed new sheetmetal to make the revisions "work." But changes to hood/fenders/quarter panels would (presumably) kill what little profit remained in these low-volume sports cars.
audiobycarmine
Technician

Ahh, the NSX. Loved it then, love it still.
Some interior photos would have been nice, along with engine & trunk(?) shots.
I know — this was about exterior styling.

Your generous descriptive narrative rivals Poe's.
OK, the drooling's stopped, I can probably take my bib off now.
Effuse away!
Sajeev
Community Manager

You know the drill, but I must admit that the interior might be the most revolutionary aspect of it. While the Corvette is pretty accommodating and luxurious (build quality said luxury is clearly lacking, of course) the NSX's interior is mind-blowingly good compared to the spartan disappointments from Porsche, Ferrari, etc. This is a luxury car that can hustle. I truly loved my time with this car. 

CitationMan
Gearhead

Fantastic review! Please also give us an interior review and/or your driving impressions.
I actually like the elongated rear deck, it contributes to the whole body having an airfoil look, which has always reminded me of the Porsche 917 and other long tail designs. The fighter plane canopy greenhouse also accentuates that look. It looks best when the black greenhouse is over a different colored body. I’m not a big fan of most red cars, but a red NSX with a black top looks great.
Sajeev
Community Manager

I will absolutely give you an Interior and Driving impressions. 

 

  • Interior
    • It's amazing, every detail is where it needs to be and crafted with exceptional quality. It even smells premium like the original LS400 does. Switches are perfect. Seats are perfect for a wide variety of body types. NVH control is like a modern sports car. This was clearly the high watermark for the genre back in 1990, and there's no doubt every automaker went back to the drawing board when they got their hands on an NSX for evaluation. 
  • Driving
    • It's awfully slow by today's standards, and the tires have 2009 date codes on them. Aside from driving on the rubber equivalent of cement circles, its clear the NSX is balanced and refined like a modern McLaren. I can't say enough about how effortless/relaxing it was to feed the NSX a corner and let the perfect steering and balanced suspension do all the work for you. 

If you've ever wanted an NSX, buy one. There's little doubt in my mind that you will thank yourself for indulging in this automotive treat. 

AdrianClarke
Instructor

Wanted to say remember this came out in the bubble era and they spared no expense developing this. It was a statement of intent and I’d be surprised if it made money. But as a marketing exercise being in F1 with Senna it was utterly priceless.
Sajeev
Community Manager

You nailed it. Bubble Era products from Japan Inc. all need to be as recognized as the Honda/Acura NSX. Every one I have experienced reflects an era of vehicle design that has no peer. I'm still a fan of terribly built, durable-ish Ford products personally, but that could never stop me from appreciating what Japan did back then.
CitationMan
Gearhead

You’re a bad, bad influence Mr. Mehta.

But I appreciate the nudge! YOLO and all that.

Let’s see if the recession has a silver lining with NSX prices. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

I generally preach fiscal conservancy to the people I meet in the real world, but I don't have the nerve to ask people what their credit scores are via the Internet. So have fun, get an NSX. Only better option would be a Citation X-11!!!

PittsburghAndy
New Driver

Fun fact, the NSX interior was inspired by the 928. Compare the two and you’ll see.

Everything about the interior/cockpit is still stunning and was so very ahead of its time. I don’t have the biggest portfolio of past-owned cars but only the 1991-1996 Z32 300zx’s balanced cockpit comes close. Unfathomable that the NSX styling was borne in the mid/late 80s next to upside down Tupperware Buick Skylarks, maroon velour interior Pontiacs, and dull grey Ford Squaremonts.

Thanks for a great article. I love my grand prix white ‘93 NSX coupe more now than the day I bought it 9 years ago. 🙂
Sajeev
Community Manager

Absolutely correct, and you can see 928 interior influences in the Z32 and the fourth-gen Supra too. I am thrilled to hear your feedback as an NSX owner and I sincerely thank you for reading @PittsburghAndy 

AdrianClarke
Instructor

You’re pretty much bang on - the whole thing has a feel that is restrained. I remember the British press at the time being VERY sniffy about the Honda (as it was here) NSX saying it was soulless and lacked the drama of a 348. Yeah well that’s kinda the point when you don’t get a massaged press car from Ferrari on test and it’s your own money.

Re the headlights, they possibly need cutout to reduced the height in the raised position. Something for you to check?
Sajeev
Community Manager

Innnteresting. That also reminds me that I forgot to pop open the headlights for this article. It's unfortunate what a short timeline and brutal heat does to the mind. 

 

Anyway, I had the headlights on elsewhere and they are far shorter in stature than a C4 Corvette, as they don't need to use a standardized sealed-beam headlight.  I assume this will really help aerodynamics, so you are really on to something here. 😀

espo70
Instructor

I agree on the earlier version looking much better than the restyle..plus pop-up headlights! Though I always felt the mass of the rear overhang could've been remedied by extending the angle of the rear glass further out.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Yeah it would look better visually, but when you see how tiny the transverse mounted engine is, you see why they didn't want any more glass (i.e. its heavy, and the weight is in the wrong place) than necessary. 

SJ
Technician

NSX, awesome car, I think it ranks right up there with the Toyota 2000GT.
SAG
Technician

I had a client that I maintained the 'paint' on their cars.
Their household staff would schedule a car when needed.
Had a "NSX" come in, _ and out.
Didn't know much about the car till 'it became a conversation topic'.
verdict11
Pit Crew

Really enjoyed this read. I'm a great admirer of automotive design, but know nothing about the technical aspects of it, so it was cool to hear about it from someone with the vocabulary to describe the finer details.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you so much for reading, @verdict11 I am glad you enjoyed it. That definitely makes my day! 

Valvefloat
Intermediate Driver

Nice styling analysis, but the brake calipers on the NSX were neither beefy nor aluminum. They were iron to allow sufficient stiffness with minimal section, thereby allowed the largest possible brake rotors within the 15-inch wheels. The compact calipers also allowed suspension geometry that combined with the small wheels, and modest section of the front tires to obviate any need for power steering and minimize the volume of the wheel wells, thus increasing footwell size. The small tire/wheel package also allowed the low hood line that let the NSX driver see the pavement about three foot forward of the front bumper.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you for the correction!  I have taken out the bit about the caliper's construction. I had no idea the 15" wheels were such an integral part of the design, but that totally makes sense after experiencing one! Thank you again @Valvefloat

centerpunch
Pit Crew

Just to be clear, the car photographed may be a 1992, but the first model year of this gorgeous design was 1991.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Good point. Yes it is a 1992 model, hence the title. I don't claim to know running changes on all the vehicles I cover, so I always pick the year of my subject instead of the year the design was introduced. 

Land_Ark
Intermediate Driver

Finally getting the time where I can sit down uninterrupted and read through this. Well worth the wait. A masterpiece as always Sajeev. Thank you again for taking the time to craft these pieces.
I certainly remember when these came out and the press called them a poor man's Ferrari and knocked the lack of power and torque but I also remember the praise shoveled on the interior and overall fit and finish.
This one appears well cared for but driven and enjoyed - which is what makes any car super. Not numbers on paper and endless trips to the mechanic.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Glad you enjoyed the NSX Vellum as you have the others, @Land_Ark! I wish I was able to have more time with them when they were new, but at least I was able to enjoy it now...and share it with everyone else.