The NSX / 1990

A New Sportscar: The Dream of Technology

The NSX / 1990

Let’s Build a Sportscar!

The Wako R&D Center in January, 1984 began the basic research on a new drive system, as a means of achieving a shift from Honda’s FF (front-engine/front-wheel drive) vehicle type to another format. In those days, FF was the mainstream of Honda cars, and Honda models used it to ensure superior interior comfort and accommodations.

Let’s Build a Sportscar!

The NSX (September 1990)

However, the development team believed a change in drive format could enhance the flexibility of frame design and packaging. Therefore, the focus of research was to be to an underfloor, midship-engine rear-wheel drive (UMR) format. This could combine higher packaging efficiency along with the sporting characteristics with which rear drive was associated.

The potential in such a change also presented numerous obstacles. It was Honda’s first experience to design a car with the engine in the rear half of the vehicle. In February of the same year, with that in mind, and to expedite their research, the development team constructed a UMR test vehicle from a first-generation City.

During the test drive, the team members were amazed by the unique handling of the car, which differed greatly from the original FF specification. The UMR-version City, in fact, demonstrated superior performance characteristics. Unfortunately, further development had to be set aside because the level of technology then available to Honda placed certain limits on the car’s ability to present any real advantage over the normal FF version.

However, although the project was shelved, the team members simply could not forget the exhilaration they had experienced with the UMR experiment. Moreover, comments had been raised by supporters at the evaluation meetings that the rear-drive City’s dynamic performance should somehow be replicated.

The emphasis in research was therefore modified from drive format to dynamic performance - that which was typically achieved with a vehicle having a lower center of gravity, meaning a sportscar.

"It’s the dream of every development engineer to create a sportscar," said Shigeru Uehara, who was engaged in the development project as LPL. "The people who proposed changing the research direction at the evaluation meetings must also have had that dream."

In 1983, another step was taken, in the form of a prototype car fashioned from a CR-X as a means of testing dynamic performance from various perspectives. This was also the year Honda made its much-heralded return to the F-1 Series. Thus, of course, spirits were high at the R&D Center, in anticipation of the possibility that Honda might indeed build sportscars. Coincidentally, this had often been a subject of discussion at board meetings.

"I think the company wanted a car that could bridge its mass production FF models and F-1 cars," Uehara recalled. "They needed a car that would become the new face of Honda. Plus, we’d been contacted several times by those who were planning the Acura Division at American Honda concerning similar requests."

Honda’s development engineers finally found an outlet for the passions when in the fall of 1985 the creation of a new sportscar began in earnest.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

1990 - 1999
  1. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
  2. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  3. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  4. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  5. Hosting Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991
  6. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
1980 - 1989
  1. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  2. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  3. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
  4. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  7. Formula One Entry / 1983Formula One Entry / 1983
  8. Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982Development of Honda's Franz System Car / 1982
  9. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  10. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  11. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  12. City / 1981City / 1981
  13. The F200 The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
  14. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
1970 - 1979
  1. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  2. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  3. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  4. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  5. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  6. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
  7. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  8. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  9. Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973Company Leaders Honda and Fujisawa Retire; Kawashima Assumes Presidency / 1973
  10. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  11. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  12. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
  13. Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970Launching the Office of Safe Driving Promotional Operations / 1970
1960 - 1969
  1. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  2. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  5. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  6. Formula One Entry / 1964Formula One Entry / 1964
  7. Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963Kyoto: Celebrating the Company's 15th Anniversary / 1963
  8. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  9. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  10. Employing the Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
  11. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
1950 - 1959
  1. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959

Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.