Honda NSX: An Affordable Sports Car That Inspired the McLaren F1

Honda NSX: An Affordable Sports Car That Inspired the McLaren F1

Honda NSX (or known to us Americans as Acura NSX) was Honda's attempt at developing a V6 sports car that could rival Ferrari's 512 Testarossa, while keeping it budget friendly. NSX revolutionized mid-engine sports car development, bringing in an era of iconic vehicles.

The automobile world has always been driven by speed and innovation. Car makers are constantly pushing the boundaries of design and engineering to create automobiles that break the mold. One such car was the Honda NSX. This affordable sports car made waves in the industry and inspired one of the greatest supercars of all time: the McLaren F1. In this blog post, we will explore the history and details behind the Honda NSX, and how it inspired the McLaren F1.


NSX's exterior design was influenced by Ferrari's iconic 328, while adding the touch of the Japanese designs of that era. First design was centered around the 2.0L V6 engine, though development team later increased the engine displacement to 3.0 liters.

The year was 1984, and Honda was looking to create a sports car that would rival the likes of Ferrari and Porsche. The project was led by Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who had a clear vision for what the car should be. The Honda NSX was designed to be lightweight, powerful, and highly aerodynamic. It had a mid-engine layout, with a sleek and striking body design. The car also featured state-of-the-art suspension and handling systems, which helped it to corner with precision and agility.

NSX was the first serial production road car to feature all-aluminium body, this gave NSX rather lower weight while keeping the vehicle's structure rigid. 

The Honda NSX was launched in 1990 and was an instant success. It was praised for its exceptional handling and performance, as well as its affordability. The car quickly gained a reputation as a driver's car, thanks in part to its lightweight construction and 3.0-liter V6 engine. It was used as a platform for racing, with the car winning several championships in Japan and abroad.

During the latter stages of NSX's development, legendary Ayrton Senna gave input for improvements that could be made before the final design. His input helped NSX feel like a real racing car, and this caught the attention of Gordon Murray; legendary motorsports engineer.

It was the success of the Honda NSX that caught the attention of Gordon Murray, chief designer of the McLaren F1. Murray was looking for inspiration for his next project and found it in the NSX. The car's lightweight construction and strong handling impressed Murray, who used those elements as a starting point for the McLaren F1.

Murray wanted to use a Honda engine for Mclaren F1, but this was declined by Honda. Murray himself bought an NSX for personal use, though he had to use a BMW engine for Mclaren F1.

The McLaren F1 was designed to be the ultimate supercar, with a focus on performance, handling, and speed. It had a top speed of 243 mph and held the title of world's fastest car for several years. The car was also the first road car to use a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, which was directly inspired by the Honda NSX.

The Honda NSX and the McLaren F1 have left an indelible mark on the automobile world. The NSX has remained a classic sports car, with its lightweight construction and precise handling still impressing car enthusiasts today. The McLaren F1 has become a legend, and its influence can be seen in many of the high-performance cars on the market today. Both cars have proven that innovation and engineering can produce truly exceptional results.

The Honda NSX may have been an affordable sports car, but it left a lasting impression on the industry. Its lightweight construction and precise handling inspired the McLaren F1, one of the greatest supercars of all time. The NSX and the F1 have become icons of the automobile world, and their legacies continue to inspire car enthusiasts and designers today. The NSX may have been Honda's attempt to take on Ferrari and Porsche, but it ended up paving the way for a new era in sports car design.