The NSX simply put is like the girl you want to take home to mom. Elegant, beautiful, and just can’t get enough of. You know that gitty feeling you get when you meet the right girl? Exactly how you feel when you get behind the wheel of the NSX…except, the feeling NEVER goes away. The car is a masterpiece and a truly timeless design. I still can’t believe this car was first introduced in 1991 – It just blew everyone away. I don’t care if you hate imports, hate Honda, only like cars with big motors, whatever. The NSX was a true game changer. It helped pave the way to the performance vehicles we see on the road today. The fact that you have a car so exotic, with awesome performance, and drive it 200,000 miles without a blink, left all other manufacturers scratching their heads and forcing them to step their game up (especially Ferrari). If you are any bit of an automotive enthusiast, you have to appreciate that fact.
I still remember the day when I first set foot in a NSX. I was in high school, and my friends Dad had a beautiful Red 1996 NSX-T. We would gawk at it every time we saw him pull into the driveway. The car was simply stunning, at every single angle. My friend’s dad took me for a ride, and I was absolutely blown away. I had experienced nothing like it (of course I was still just a kid back then, but that feeling still holds true today). I told myself right after I got out of his car that I am going to own a NSX one day…and sure enough, some 15 years later, I bought my first one – a 2000 Monaco Blue NSX-T. I knew I wanted a 1997-2001 and many argue that those are the most desirable years for a few reasons: It has the 3.2 L motor, 6 speed transmission, better suspension & brakes then the previous years, while still maintaining the original design introduced in 1991(2001 was the last year they had the pop up headlights). I was set out to get a red one, but I was lucky enough to come across another amazing color: Monaco Blue. They only made 44 NSX’s in this color so it was like finding a Unicorn.
I had test driven many NSXs before my purchase, and coming from a Gen II Viper, I was worried about the lack of power going from a v10 to a v6. I have to admit, for today’s standards, a stock NSX does lack horsepower and torque (290 hp, 224 lbs/torque). However, that is not to say it’s not fast. The power is delivered so brilliantly and easy to drive at its limits. The way the NSX was engineered lets you push the car, and is gives you the confidence to keep pushing it harder and harder. Sure, straight line performance and freeway pulls are far from the NSX’s strong points, but that’s not what the car was built for. You take the car into the canyon or track, and there is more than enough power for you to do some damage. I personally don’t track my cars and really use it for spirited runs around town and in canyons, so I felt that the NSX lacked the power I wanted. Luckily there is a simple solution for that: Forced Induction.
I ended up buying a NSX with a Comptech Supercharger already installed. The beauty of the Comptech system is that the low boost setup is literally plug and play. It adds roughly 100 hp and arguably doesn’t compromise the reliability of the motor. It’s actually one of the few forced induction mods you can do that could potentially increase the value of your NSX. Many people feel that the NSX should have come like this from the factory. The power band is so linear, and really feels close to the stock set up – but with much more power. I hear many great things about turbo setups as well. I have yet to drive in one and worried that if I do, I will have the itch to switch over as I hear the torque increase is substantial making it that much more fun.
I can go on and on about how awesome the NSX is. Timeless design, awesome performance (especially with FI added), comfortable interior, amazing balance and cornering ability, and exclusivity. The fact that I can easily daily drive this car, get 24 mpg (if you drive like a grandma), and not see more than a few a month, is just mind blowing. The targa experience is also something to note. The car can tranform itself from a serious track machine to an awesome cruiser with an open cockpit in a matter of seconds. Everything was designed so brilliantly on this car with tons of attention to detail. It’s really hard to point out any negatives. I think the only thing I could say is that for today’s standards, even supercharged, it does lack straight line performance. However, as I mentioned earlier, if you are after that one dimensional thing, the NSX is not for you.
It’s been almost a year now since I sold my Gen II Viper (1997 RT/10). I still remember driving 600 miles to pick her up and returning home in the middle of the night to my quiet neighborhood. There is nothing quite like that v10 rumble, especially with the Corsa exhaust that was put on by the previous owner. I really had no idea what I had got myself into, but I did know that I had something special. Really special.
My search for a Viper began a few months before finally picking one up. I would spend countless hours online reading reviews, posting on forums, watching videos – doing everything I could to extract as much information about the car…I was obsessed. I eventually was referred over to a great guy by the name of Todd (A&C Performance). He was well respected in the Viper community and was only 30 minutes from my house. I decided to go pay him a visit to learn more about the Viper and possibly see a few at his shop. Talk about a stand up guy and team. I always read about the viper community and the great people that are part of it, but to experience it first hand before I even had a Viper was really amazing. Part of the experience of owning a Viper is definitely the community that stands behind it.
Now back to the car. I was extremely lucky to get the Viper that I did. I initially wanted a red one, but after seeing this blue and white I was in love. In many peoples eyes, it is THE signature color of the Viper. It was first introduced on the 1996 GTS, but to see it on a RT/10 was like seeing a Unicorn. Only 53 RT/10’s were made in the blue and white, and who knows how many are still alive today. Many hardcore Viper guys look down on the RT/10, but living in Southern California, there really is nothing like hearing the thunderous v10 with the top off on a clear, warm, sunny day.
Every time I took the car out it was an event. The amount of pictures, thumbs up, head turns, and respect this car gets is ridiculous. You feel like you are a rockstar, that is, until you start to push it. I did a lot of research on the Viper, and fully understood that there were no “nannies” to save your ass if you decide to get cocky. No traction control, no stability control, no ABS – Just you and the fresh(hopefully) expensive rubber and the road. What a thrilling and intoxicating experience. Each day you step out of the Viper after a drive, you feel accomplished. The car is extremely rewarding if you respect it. I have ZERO track experience and just an average driver, and the Viper made me a better driver. You are so engaged in the driving experience. Now a days you have all these fancy DCT’s, PDK’s, with your paddle shifters that provide crazy performance and very easy to go fast in – but there is just something missing. I have driven many GTR’s, Porsches, etc that have these systems and it just can’t compare to the feel of a clutch and 6 speed transmission in your hand. Cars like the Viper make you feel alive.
Ok, so I talked about how awesome the Viper is – but make no mistake, this car is not for everyone. There is a reason you don’t see many on the road. The lack of electronic nannies and brute personality really takes a unique individual to even consider daily driving it. Lets start with the simple interior. Now many people talk about how bad it is, but for me, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The seats are comfortable, everything is positioned pretty nicely. Sure, the plastic parts looks cheap and make all these noises when you go over a speed bump or coming up your driveway, but just turn the music up, or better yet, rev up the exhaust. Yes, the cabin gets hot. Even with the top off, after 15-20 minutes of driving, my back gets wet. Ahh, the hard top. Talk about a complete after thought. If your a smaller guy like me, forget about trying to take the top on and off by yourself. Its heavy, big, and an absolute bitch to take on and off (soft top too). It rattles like no other, you get wind noise, and just makes the RT/10 look like crap with it on (think of a bad toupee). The car completely transforms when its off.
The Viper is far from perfect, but that’s what makes it great. As funny as that sounds, it really is unique car for the hardcore purist. There is no doubt in my mind that I will own another Viper again one day (most likely a Gen V). Until then…