Car enthusiasts have coined a term for cars like the original Honda NSX, as 80s, 90s, and 00s gems are dubbed modern classics. And, with the insane value for which many of these machines (a bonus for the midship layout of the NSX) trade hands these days, you would imagine that each and every example gets the love it deserves. Alas, you’d be wrong. And this abandoned NSX-R, one of the just 483 such circuit specials ever built, has a painful insight to deliver.
Honda v Ferrari—there’s no big Hollywood production for this (yet), but the story is as real as they get and packs all the right ingredients. To make it short, back in the late 1980s, the Japanese carmaker set out to create a supercar that would beat the era’s “standard” Ferrari, the 328, at its own game. And the resulting NSX topped its Italian rival, but the joy was limited, as customers still preferred the Prancing Horse over the chromed H logo.
Built between 1990 and 2005, the Honda NSX, which came to the US as an Acura, was constantly upgraded to compete against the three generations of Ferraris that overlapped with it. And the NSX-R produced between 1992 and 1995 was the first of these upgrades, while also making for one of the most radical.
What does the Type R treatment bring?
By the time the NSX arrived at the supercar party, the world would no longer be okay with trading any form of practicality and daily manners for the sake of the midship driving experience (unless it came with a Raging Bull badge, but this is another story for another time). So Honda’s halo car added a civilized driving experience to its performance assets.
Well, the NSX-R (or Type-R) traded quite a bit of that for a more hardcore experience. For one, it was put on a radical diet that saw the machine losing 120 kg (265 lb), for a total weight of 1,230 kg (2,712 lb). The chassis was strengthened and the suspension was tweaked in a way that made the car more stable at high speed, prepping it for high-speed track runs.
The NSX was always about a balanced experience rather than an engine-dominated one. So the N/A 3.0L V6 kept its output of 270 hp and 210 lb-ft (284 Nm) of torque, at least officially. However, the motor was blueprinted, just like Honda racing engines. This means that components of its rotating assembly (pistons, rods, crankshaft) were weighed and matched, with the entire hardware ultimately being balanced so that the unit could rev as freely as possible. In addition, the final drive of the five-speed manual became more aggressive, favoring acceleration at the expense of top speed.
This NSX Type R has been sitting for the better part of a decade
However, except for pieces like the lighter wheels and the Recaro carbon-Kevlar seats, those upgrades are of little importance when the vehicle is parked. And this yellow example (naturally, the color further increased the rarity of the supecar) has been sitting in one place for at least 7 or 8 years.
The NSX-R was recently documented by American YouTuber Dustin Williams, who is spending time in Japan these days. Interestingly, the Honda halo car can be found in the middle of Tokyo, with the said color being overshadowed by the generous amount of dust the vehicle has collected over the years.
On the flip side, the Japanese culture means people are extremely unlikely to damage or even touch the supercar, even though there are a few finger marks on it. And while this isn’t a temperature-controlled garage, at least the location seems to prevent the snow—Japan has heavy winters—from directly reaching the vehicle.
And, as the vlogger and a friend discuss in the clip below, the plates of the NSX Type R show that this had been initially registered in a different location, but this is only a drop in the ocean of clues that could be required to make sense of the vehicle’s situation and perhaps ensure a better future for it—here’s an FD-generation Mazda RX-7 getting its first wash in ten years.
The fate such collectible cars have…
Now, some of you may feel like the Tesla-swapped Acura NSX we showcased yesterday, which is a first, has a worse fate than this neglected NSX-R. Or is it the other way around? For one, the flat spot on one of the front tires means driving has been out of the question for a while now.
These NSX-Rs, which were only sold in Japan, were expensive to begin with (the high pricing was one of the main factors that affected NSX sales altogether, but we digress). And, even though Japanese car auctions have started to see buyers losing their enthusiasm recently—admittedly, prices are inflated across the world—such an icon is still a six-figure affair (in dollars).
However, the analog driving experience delivered by the NSX-R means this rare bird would arguably be best preserved in factory form (there’s a debate in the comments section of the video if you’re interested). And, of course, such a machine should be enjoyed out there on the asphalt, as intended by its maker.