Hot Honda

New Zealand Classic Car - - READERS WRITES -

Read­ing Donn An­der­son’s Mo­tor Man ( NZCC Jan­uary 2015) re­minded me of my own Honda NSX story. I spent a lot of my life work­ing for EMI Mu­sic, and dur­ing my sec­ond stint in Ja­pan, in Jan­uary 1990, I de­cided I had to have a sports car af­ter I’d sold first my Porsche 911 when I left the UK for Ja­pan, and then the Fer­rari 308 GTBI also bought in Eng­land and taken to New Zealand, as nei­ther was that easy to im­port into Tokyo.

I had a Mi­ata in mind, but af­ter my first sight of an NSX I was smit­ten.

Prob­lem was that there was a wait­ing list of some three or so years for de­liv­ery, and the chances of my be­ing in Ja­pan by then were a bit re­mote — although I ended up stay­ing for most of the decade.

A cou­ple of close col­leagues in the com­pany I worked for, Toshiba EMI, were car and car-rac­ing nuts just like me, and over a few sakes one of them, Nit­tasan, said he had been to Uni­ver­sity with some guys who were now top ex­ec­u­tives at Honda.

A few phone calls — and some more sake — and one of them called back to say he was in charge of NSX sales in Ja­pan, and ex­plained that they op­er­ated a VIP de­liv­ery sys­tem and were keen to see the car in the hands of peo­ple who had in­flu­ence.

Nit­tasan had told him I knew all the top mu­sic stars of the time, and within a few days, I was amazed to be told I could or­der an NSX for im­me­di­ate de­liv­ery — I chose a gun­metal grey ex­am­ple. The cost was just on eight mil­lion yen, af­ter all the taxes, lo­cal-reg­u­la­tion charges and levies were added on, near enough then to £40,000.

Came the day for de­liv­ery, and on ar­rival at the des­ig­nated Honda deal­er­ship I was met with a red car­pet from the road edge to the doors of the dealer, gar­lands of flow­ers on pedestals, ‘Wel­come Buck­leigh-san’ signs, and all the staff lined up clap­ping.

What a car. It thrilled me from the be­gin­ning, the tune of the ex­haust, the feel of the steer­ing, re­spon­sive sus­pen­sion, the seats, the Bose sound sys­tem and the en­gine. Honda ex­ec­u­tives came to my of­fice ev­ery month to start with for me to an­swer a ques­tion­naire on per­for­mance. At one stage I felt that the gear change was not as slick as ex­pected, and their driv­e­train en­gi­neer/designer came and took the car away for a day, re­turn­ing it say­ing they had made a few ad­just­ments.

I sent them pho­tos of the car with the oc­ca­sional star, and drove to ev­ery func­tion, party, and con­cert in it. My lovely wife, Lesley, be­came an­noyed as stopped at traf­fic lights, wait­ing at pedes­trian cross­ings, or parked on the side of the road, young girls would wave and gig­gle, men would take pho­tos, peo­ple would rush up to touch it — the car was a su­per­star on its own.

I wish I had never sold the Honda, but with both kids get­ting big­ger we needed a four-door car — so the NSX was re­placed by a new Jaguar XJ6 Sport.

Peter Buck­leigh, via email [Thanks for the mem­o­ries Peter — we had to edit your story down a bit to fit it in! AGW]

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