If you are a keen car enthusiast, you have probably noticed a rise in interest for Japanese sports cars from the ’90s. Models like Toyota Supra, Nissan 300ZX, or Mitsubishi 3000 GT are all considered modern classics and are sought-after by collectors. Amongst all Japanese sports cars from the period, one of the best and most interesting is the legendary Honda/Acura NSX. Introduced in 1989, NSX was the bravest and most accomplished Japanese sports to date. It not only set the standard for other brands; it also showed that Honda was capable of challenging Ferrari at its own game. Even today, 30 years since the NSX hit the streets, this two-seater is still a competent car that can provide its owners’ plenty of driving excitement and fun. So, let’s see how many of them were made.
The first-generation NSX was introduced in 1989 as a 1990 model. It stayed in production for 15 years until 2005 and had one mid-cycle restyle. The 1990-2002 model is called NA1, and the 2002 to 2005 model is called NA2, which is an internal chassis code. The main differences between the two versions are 3.2-liter V8 (290 HP), which replaced earlier 3.0-liter V6 (272 HP) and exposed headlights in later models, which replaced the signature pop-up headlights NSX is known for.
Since the NSX was an almost hand-built car produced on its own assembly line, the overall production number is relatively low at exactly 18,685 vehicles built for 15 years. Of that number, 8997 vehicles were sold in the United States and 701 in Canada. Honda sold 1559 units in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 7420 examples in right-hand configuration for domestic Japanese, Asian and Australian markets.
However, during its production run, Honda offered several special versions or sub-models which were sold in limited quantities. The Honda NSX-R was a Japan-only model and was produced in 483 copies with a 3.0-liter V6 engine. The NSX-R with the later 3.2-liter unit was produced in mere 140 examples. Honda also made a non-street-legal racing model called NSX GT-R made in very few examples (5 cars in total) as well as 1999 Alex Zanardi Edition, which was the U.S. spec model and only 51 cars were made. There was also an NSX Type S version, which was again only for Japanese markets and very rare with 209 examples made in four years (1997 to 2001).
After several concept cars and prototypes, Honda announced the return of its legendary model for the 2016 model year in the form of the second generation NSX (NC1 chassis code). Once again, NSX was a wedge-shaped two-seater sports car, but the current model features an all-wheel-drive system, hybrid powertrain paired with a twin-turbo V6 engine with 3.5-liter displacement and combined power output of 500 HP. Equipped with 9-speed dual-clutch transmission, host of electronic aids and systems, the new NSX is one of the most advanced cars in its class and true engineering masterpiece.
Unfortunately, the sales figures for NSX NC1 are not as good as its predecessor, and overall worldwide sales are estimated to be close to 2000 examples. In the last three years, Honda managed to sell only 207 cars in Europe and 1,258 in the United States during the same period. In January of 2020, Honda managed to sell only 9 vehicles, which are a far cry from Honda’s original estimate of 800 cars per year and 6000 units in the first three years of production. Despite the fact that second-generation NSX is a fantastic sports machine, its high price (MSRP is $159,495) and stiff competition are obviously a big problem for Honda. On the Chinese market, the base price for NSX exceeds $500,000 due to extremely high import taxes, so it’s expected for sales numbers to be disappointing.