Honda certainly isn't known for being the sexy car company. Quite the opposite -- tuner cars notwithstanding, a Honda is what you drive in order not to draw attention. It's one reason why thieves love them.
That said, Honda runs a robust racing and performance division, from which it often derives race-tested innovations for its production cars. In 1985, Honda brass decided it wanted to make a production supercar -- and it wanted to be competitive with the best in the world. Honda launched its NS-X project (originally it was hyphenated) and used assorted Ferrari models as the benchmarks. If the NSX looks suspiciously like an 80s-era Ferrari, it could have something to do with the fact that Honda hired Pininfarina, the design studio best known for creating the sexy contours of Ferraris, in its quest to build a supercar [source: Pininfarina].
The NS-X prototype first appeared publicly at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show.
By the time it hit the market in 1990, the around-$60,000 NSX was hailed as a technological marvel. Badged as an Acura, it was the first car to be built with an all-aluminum monocoque construction, making it lighter by far than traditionally manufactured cars [source: Honda].
With sales of sports cars flagging by the mid-2000s, Honda decided it made little sense to go forward with a planned reboot of the model, and announced in 2005 it would stop producing the NSX.
The ray of bright news for NSX fans -- after scrapping plans for a V-10 NSX successor in 2008, Honda has more recently said it is hard at work on an eco-friendly supercar that would be inspired by the old NSX.
Speaking of old, the next car on our list gives credence to the saying "what's old is new again." To find out what it is, continue to the next page.