MYTH BUSTER

De­bunk­ing the most com­mon old wives’ tales

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

1 IT WAS THE FIRST ALU­MINIUM PRO­DUC­TION CAR

Honda’s Fer­rari 348 ri­val, un­veiled in 1991, broke new ground by fea­tur­ing alu­minium body pan­els on a struc­ture made largely from ex­truded alu­minium sec­tions. It was 200kg lighter than a cor­re­spond­ing steel car as a re­sult, and said to be 50 per­cent stiffer than a Porsche 911. Nev­er­the­less, credit should be given to the Pan­hard Dyna X and Z mod­els of the 1940s and ‘50s, which were the first cars in the world with a mass-pro­duced alu­minium body, al­beit on a frame of steel tubes and welded bulk­heads.

2 IT WAS THE FIRST HONDA WITH A VTEC EN­GINE

VTEC stands for Vari­able Valve Tim­ing and Lift Elec­tronic Con­trol, and refers to the valve-tim­ing sys­tem Honda per­fected to boost en­gine per­for­mance at high revs while still al­low­ing de­cent fuel econ­omy. How­ever, Honda buy­ers didn’t have to wait for the NSX to get VTEC, as many wrongly be­lieve; it ac­tu­ally ar­rived in the Honda In­te­gra and CRX in 1989. The in­ter­net-led con­fu­sion per­haps arises be­cause the NSX was the first car sold in the US with VTEC. In that market, in­ci­den­tally, it wasn’t sold as a Honda at all, but as an Acura.

3 AYRTON SENNA HELPED TO DE­VELOP IT

This is a bit rich, much as it painted an ex­cit­ing pic­ture for po­ten­tial buy­ers. He did drive a pro­to­type at Suzuka in 1989 and, while say­ing that he wasn’t best qual­i­fied to com­ment on pro­duc­tion road car dy­nam­ics, he de­clared that it felt ‘a lit­tle frag­ile’. Later on, he is said to have driven a stiff­ened-up car at the Nür­bur­gring. Con­tem­po­rary road tests’ amaze­ment at how easy the NSX was to drive ev­ery day ac­tu­ally harmed the NSX’s im­age, such that Honda brought out the NSX-R with stiffer sus­pen­sion, an ‘aero pack­age’, and no power steer­ing. HONDA NSX

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