Is Honda’s decision to can the next NSX motivated by prudence or myopia? As a fan of the original I bow to no-one, so perhaps my vision is more rose-tinted than it should be, but I incline strongly towards the latter view.
The NSX is the car that changed the supercar landscape. It might not have sold very well over here (even though it did succeed elsewhere and in the US particularly), but the value of such cars can never be counted in sales figures alone. It became the supercar benchmark: when Gordon Murray was designing the McLaren F1, he didn’t look at Ferraris and Lamborghinis, he looked at – then drove, then bought – an NSX, which he then kept as his everyday car for years.
Before the NSX, Ferrari’s staple was the fairly awful 348, which transformed soon afterwards into the really rather wonderful F355, and I have no doubt which car gave Maranello the kick up the backside that it sorely needed.
No one will ever be able to calculate how much kudos the NSX rained down on Honda’s head as a company of outstanding innovation and engineering excellence any more than we’ll ever know how much damage will now be done to that reputation now that its replacement has been killed.