PROJECT NSX: What if Honda Built the Original NSX Today?

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Honda has built a new NSX and it is impressive. It also got us thinking: What if you built the original NSX today? Meet: ‘Project NSX’.

Honda’s development of the NSX was directly related to their participation in Formula One. The brand was in the sport from 1964 to 1968 as a constructor. In 1983, Honda returned to F1 as an engine supplier. Then in 84′, the Honda HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental) concept came out. The radical design had a goal of going after the V8 Ferraris with reliability and a lower price point. If you look at the design you can see some elements from the Ferrari Testarossa. The aim was to meet or exceed the Ferrari’s performance. Honda changed the name of the project to NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental ) and continued to work on the car.

Honda was hard at work in F1 building and developing amazing engines. The brand was the engine supplier for six consecutive constructor champions from 1986 to 1991. This, of course, was the same time as the development of the NSX.

F1 driver Ayrton Senna, who won the driver’s championship in 1988, 1990, and 1991. Senna was on hand to help influence the chassis tuning and setup of the NSX. The original NSX is a legend and a halo car for the Honda brand. It changed the exotic car market, by forcing the Italian supercars manufactures to consider reliability, along with style and performance.

So, what if Honda was making the original NSX again, what would they improve and what would they keep the same?

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Introducing Honda-Tech‘s ‘Project NSX’

The goal is to take a stock NSX and improve it without compromising the performance, reliability, or drivability. Our Project NSX is a 1991, which has a 270 horsepower V6 and a 5 speed manual gearbox. The car is currently mostly stock. The front seats have been reupholstered by the previous owner and now wear red leather in the center, and it is also missing the factory front lip. It is currently running a factory set of 15/16 inch wheels and a very worn set of tires. The car has traveled just over 112,000 miles and spent most of it’s time in the island paradise of Hawaii. Fortunately the chassis and all suspension arms are aluminum, so the car does not have any rust. So, what do we plan to do?

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Weight Reduction

Sports cars today use light weight materials to improve performance and efficiency. We will be examining ways to remove weight without compromising comfort or usability. Think about how Honda would give the NSX a Type R treatment using modern technology. Carbon fiber or composite seats, light weight carpets, and removing excess weight in places to improve performance.

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Suspension/Ride Quality

Suspension technology has come a long way since 1991. Modern sports cars feature adjustable dampers or even magnetic shocks with computer controllers. So, we will explore the options the aftermarket has to offer for use at a track day or on your morning commute.

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Performance Tuning

The computers to control engines are so much more advanced than the technology for the original NSX. Now a laptop and a programmer can have your car making more power in a matter of hours. We will examine the options and possibilities available for our project NSX. In addition, we will consider mild bolt-on performance options without opening up the original motor. The goal is maximum reliability on or off the track.


OEM Plus Styling

In the aftermarket world anything is possible. If you want a Civic limo with a hot tub or a wide-body S2000, you can get it one. As our goal is to consider how Honda would approach this project, you will not be seeing fender flares or extreme aerodynamic treatments. So, we would like to update a few exterior and interior features, like wheels or replacing our broken, extending, metal antenna.

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We will be documenting the modification and researching process throughout the build. Our goal is to test our improvements like Honda, at the track. Once we get a fresh set of rubber on the stock wheels we will be setting a baseline at the track. So, then we plan to show the improvements our upgrades make on the road and at the track. We are excited to bring you along with us on our Project NSX’s journey. So, let us know what you think in the comments.

 ALSO SEE: Reborn Acura NSX: Was it Worth the Wait? 

Patrick Stevenson is an Internet Brands' contributor to 6SpeedOnline, Honda-Tech, Corvette Forums,, and MBworld. He is also a host on The Motor Affair Podcast.

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