Auction Pick of the Week: 1991 Acura NSX

Marketplace/Mathieu Guyot Sionnest

If you wanted a red, mid-engine, wedge-shaped supercar in the 1980s, you had to deal with a temperamental Italian. Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the period had awkward ergonomics, were difficult to drive, and were not very reliable. When Acura introduced the NSX at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, it was a revelation: Finally, a supercar as easy to live with as a Honda Accord, with reliability to match.

Check out our Hagerty Marketplace auction pick of the week, this 1991 Acura NSX, if you crave a classic supercar that you can drive every day.

The NSX was built to showcase the engineering prowess of Honda, Acura’s parent company. The extremely rigid, all-aluminum, semi-monocoque chassis was tuned to perfection with the input of legendary Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna. Period reviews universally praised the car’s handling characteristics. Car and Driver called it “the most precise and attuned mid-engined machine we’ve ever driven.”

The naturally aspirated, 3.0-liter V-6 powering the first-generation NSX was as equally impressive as its chassis. The engine introduced Honda’s VTEC technology to North America. The VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system in the NSX switches to a separate camshaft profile at high engine speeds to improve peak power. While most modern cars have some form of variable valve timing, VTEC was pretty trick at the time. The NSX’s V-6, internally known as C30A, also sported titanium connecting rods to help it rev to 8000 rpm.

The engine’s 270 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque, combined with the (manual) car’s 3010-pound curb weight, made it a real performer. When equipped with the slick-shifting five-speed gearbox, the NSX sprinted to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The contemporary Ferrari 348 was downright pokey in comparison and did not have the same build quality as the Acura.

Our example is a one-owner car that has been fastidiously maintained, and its Formula Red paint presents very well. The car had a major service in August 2021 which included replacing the cover gaskets, cam seals, oil pan gasket, timing belt, drive belts, water pump, and all the fluids.

This NSX is a high-mileage car, with an odometer reading over 163,000. But it’s an Acura; it will still run reliably for many more years. Our car has the desirable five-speed manual transmission, ensuring 88 pounds of weight savings compared to an automatic car, and a more engaging driving experience besides. Unlike many NSXes, this car hasn’t been modified. It still has its stock 15- and 16-inch staggered wheels. That unmolested nature makes it even more compelling.

The auction ends on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at 4:30 pm ET, so don’t hesitate to put in a bid and show some love to this piece of Japanese performance car history.

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