Honda’s Finest: A Pristine NSX-R Museum Piece

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Enjoy the sites and sounds of Honda’s own 2002 NSX-R housed at their museum in Japan.

The first Honda car to get the Type-R treatment was the NSX back in 1992. It’s a rare bird to be seen in the wild, but the second iteration of the NSX-R is an even rarer breed. It emerged into the light in 2002 and went to play up against its modern counterparts despite being based on a platform originally conceived in the late 1980’s. Most notably, humming around the Nurburgring in a Ferrari-embarrassing 7 minutes and 56 seconds for a Best Motoring Video Special.

Honda NSX-R

The 2002 NSX-R featured here via, Honda’s Japanese YouTube channel,is actually from a pool of 300 or so other restored vehicles at the Honda Collection Hall in Motegi, Japan. Someone also got the dream job of revving the engine before taking it for a spin for the cameras. We don’t see the 2002 NSX-R being taken around a racetrack but, instead, we get a good look at the inside and outside of the pristine museum piece.

The reason the second iteration of the NSX-R is a JDM wonder isn’t down to more power. In fact, Honda claims the engine still retains the 290 horsepower of the original V6 engine. But, like many, we actually find it a little hard to swallow that it didn’t get a power bump. After all, each engine was hand built to a blueprinting standard more in common with racing programs than production cars. But, the engine is only one of the three areas Honda concentrated to elevate the NSX-R to JDM legend status.


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The second NSX-R also has all-new suspension components, but the real story is in Honda’s quest to add lightness. Power windows, power steering, air-conditioning, central locking, and sound insulation all got the chop and carbon-fiber is used extensively. Most noticeably in the magnificent looking vented single piece hood, the rear deck lid and the very aggressive new rear spoiler. Somehow the wheels got larger yet lighter at the same time and the original NSX seats are swapped out for Recaro carbon-kevlar racing seats. The overall diet saved 220 lb overall and brings the NSX-R’s total weight down to 2,800 lb.

Matched with the more free revving and responsive engine, beefy new suspension, and lack of power steering, the newer NSX was actually described as an arduous car to drive on the road. And that’s despite having what is generally regarded as the best gearbox Honda has made, and maybe even the best feeling and shifting manual box for a road car yet. But performance was key, and the engine, suspension and weight made some extra special. Add to all of that a finely tuned LSD, obsessive attention to detail with the aerodynamics, custom Potenza R070 tires designed for cornering grip in tune with the suspension, and you have a JDM legend that won’t let itself be forgotten.

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Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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