Forza Racing Network's Road Tests: 1992 Honda NSX-R
We expect so much from modern cars nowadays; fancy gadgets, comfortable surroundings, over-exuberant safety features - the list goes on. When did car manufacturers start to take away the very essence of the drive? Look at cars like the Ferrari F40, Lotus Elise, Caterham Superlight, Ariel Atom. These cars are the bare bones racing cars for the road, more at home on a track than anything else. That's all well and good, but what about something to be used on a day to day basis? Something that harkens back to a time when cars were edgy, fast and fun. The set of keys that were popped through my pigeon hole this morning told me I'd be going back in time today, and becoming rather well acquainted with a legend.
Nothing...and I mean nothing prepares you for the rush of almost nauseous pleasure and delight you get when you realise the keys you hold in your hand are to bring one of your dream cars to life. That's right, sat in the parking lot just outside of my hotel was one of the most iconic sports cars of the early 90's. Unmistakable in its demeanour, the Honda NSX still stands out of the crowd today. Only, this wasn't an ordinary NSX. Upon closer inspection, it was clear I'd been given the chance to drive the ultimate incarnation of this 90's hero - the Honda NSX-R.
This was the bad boy, built to give NSX buyers a completely uncompromised racing experience on the road. In order to achieve this, everything was re-done. Lighter forged Enkei wheels, a huge weight reduction program (who needs a stereo when you've got that glorious engine note), even the seats were made out of carbon-kevlar! All this resulted in an unsprung weight of 2,712 lbs. The snarling 3.0L V6 DOHC VTEC engine throws out 276 hp and hauls itself along with a modest 217 lb-ft of torque at 5,600 rpm. Mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, 0-60 comes in 4.7 seconds and the iconic wedge shape allows it to hit 171 mph. Not exactly slow for a car that's 23 years old! The main rivals it faces at the Horizon Festival are the Mazda RX-7 FD, Nissan Silvia (S13/S15), Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R and the mighty Toyota Supra RZ (MKIV).
Styled to rival the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the same era, the NSX-R has adopted the super aerodynamic wedge shape. The only break in this flowing design are the pop-up headlights...but who doesn't love pop-up headlights on a sports car?! The eye-catching Championship White paint is offset only by the black roof and red Honda badge, though other examples have been seen in red and a rather menacing all-black example at the Horizon Festival itself! The simple 5-spoke Enkei wheels compliment the rest of the car's lines, which include those sweeping vents to channel cool air into the engine and the raised rear wing to keep the back end stable at high speeds. It sits slightly higher than modern day sports cars, but this means you can easily use it over speed bumps without a fear of pulling something off of the undercarriage!
Affordability & Practicality:
These cars weren't cheap back in the day, as only 483 were made. So to see one in its factory state is almost like staring at a Unicorn. Fortunately, there's a couple of amazing examples for sale at the festival going for around €90,000 (£65,500 or $100,000). I can't even begin to think how much extra money went into the black one I saw prowling around. The ride is stiff and sometimes uncomfortable, plus there's only two seats. The NSX-R was also known to have a rear bias, meaning it's very tail happy! Though, with those minor points aside, it's still a fantastic car to own and drive, even if it only offers the creature comforts. You can still put your groceries behind the seats, so technically it's still useable as a daily driver...albeit a very expensive one!
They always say you should never meet your heroes. I disagree wholeheartedly. Being given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to drive a car I've only ever seen in magazines or on video games has radically changed my perception of the older generation of Honda's sports cars. Sure they're a bit rough around the edges, but they can still give today's breed a good run for their money. Even a standard NSX will run rings around most modern offerings, but if you REALLY want to get out there and go for a drive, then the NSX-R is the car for you!
'Mike Seddon is an avid follower of the car culture and has been present for both the Colorado and Southern Europe Festivals. He also goes trackside whenever possible and - armed with his trusty camera - strives to capture the best moments and cars from every event he attends'.