The Honda NSX is Beautifully Engineered
In 1984 Honda commissioned the Italian car designer Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental), which had a mid-mounted C20A 2.0 L V6 configuration.
After Honda decided to pursue the project its management informed its engineers that the new car would have to be as good as anything coming from Italy and Germany. The HP-X concept car evolved into the NS-X (New Sportscar eXperimental) prototype. The NS-X prototype and eventual production car were designed by a team led by Chief Designer Nicholas Zander and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who subsequently would be placed in charge of the S2000 project.
The original performance target for the NS-X was the Ferrari 328, which was revised to the 348 as the design neared completion. Honda intended the NS-X to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. For this reason, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was abandoned and replaced with a more powerful 3.0L VTEC V6 engine.
The bodywork design had been specifically researched by Okuyuma and Uehara after studying the 360 degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit. The NS-X was designed to showcase several Honda automotive technologies, many derived from its F1 motor-sports program.
Upon its release in 1990, the NSX design concept measured 1,170 mm (46 in) in height, (only 141.3 mm (5.56 in) taller than the Ford GT40), and showcased Honda’s technology. The Japanese car maker’s race track innovations and competitive history were further exemplified on the road by the NSX’s ultra-rigid, ultra-light all aluminium monocoque chassis and front and rear double wishbone suspension, with forged control arms connected to forged alloy wheels. The car additionally boasted the world’s first production car engine with titanium connecting rods, forged pistons, and ultra high-revving capabilities — the redline was at a lofty 8,000 rpm - all traits usually associated with track and race engineered motor cars. The NSX exterior had a dedicated 23-step paint process, including an aircraft type chromate coating designed for chemically protecting the aluminium bodywork and a waterborne paint for the base coat to achieve a clearer, more vivid top color and a smoother surface finish.
The car’s strong chassis rigidity and cornering/handling capabilities were the results of Ayrton Senna’s direct input with NSX’s chief engineers while testing the NSX prototype car at Honda’s Suzuka Circuit during its final development stages.
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