A Sportscar in the Image of Honda

Data from rival models was plotted on the “Milky Way” diagram, with the Y-axis representing power-to-weight ratio (running performance = vehicle weight/engine output) and the X-axis representing wheelbase-to-weight ratio (turning and stopping performance = vehicle weight/wheelbase). The NSX aimed to position itself outside the conventional sportscar realm, at a point as close as possible to F-1 machine.

<< 1. Let’s Build a Sportscar!
<< 2. A Sportscar in the Image of Honda
<< 3. Designing an All-Aluminum, Monocoque Body
<< 4. Subjecting to Severe Tests at Nurburgring
<< 5. The Next-Generation Sportscar
<< 6. A Dedicated Plant: The Dream Takes Shape
<< 7. NSX: A Constant Evolution

“What particular qualities would a sportscar have in representing the Honda name?” This was the ultimate question facing the development team, and they repeatedly engaged in long discussions in the hope of finding an answer. Eventually, once their direction had been identified through the use of a conceptual diagram, they began to define key words in the development of their new car, code-named the NSX. The diagram was a means of representing power-to-weight ratio (running performance) along the Y-axis and wheelbase-to-weight ratio (turning and stopping performance) along the X-axis in clear, accessible terms. Moreover, the plotting of data from rival models directly over the diagram resulted in a zone of latitude that stretched out like the Milky Way. Because of this shape, the diagram was also called the “Milky Way diagram.” Countless discussions centered around it, until at last the development team reached its conclusion:

“What we need is a midrange, midship car that provides superior performance yet requires equally superior driving skills in order to be controlled. We can then maximize the dynamic performance of this car to a degree that’s as close as possible to an F-1 machine.”

It was clear, however, that too much dynamic performance could result in compromised cabin space, making the car difficult to control. That simply was not acceptable to Honda, whose prime objective in manufacturing cars and motorcycles was to ensure the comfort of drivers and passengers alike. To Honda, higher dynamic performance had meaning only with the assurance of human compatibility, in which the driver could operate the machine as desired and the vehicle exhibited excellent adaptability to various road conditions.

“To create a sportscar for a new era, we should balance human feelings and vehicle performance at higher levels. Accordingly, that car will represent Honda value; a benefit no one else can offer.” This was the consensus of the development staff, and it was to be the concept for their new vehicle.
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