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  • Desirable mid-generation model with 290-hp 3.2-liter V-6 and pop-up headlights
  • One of just 21 finished in Monaco Blue over black leather for 2000
  • Equipped with targa top for open-air driving
  • Odometer displays fewer than 18,500 miles
  • A mere two owners since new

By the late 1980s, Honda was known worldwide as a builder of some of the finest engines for everything from personal lawnmowers and industrial equipment to, of course, efficient cars with powertrains noted for their sewing machine-like smoothness.

What the Honda lineup lacked was a range-topping performance car, the kind of vehicle that might prompt genuine enthusiasm from the company’s fanbase. A Pininfarina-designed concept that bowed in 1984 provided a major hint of how Honda would cultivate a Ferrari rival, as unlikely as such a thing might seem. That concept came to fruition at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show—yet another reminder of how important the American market had become to an automaker that, a little over 15 years earlier, had entered the mainstream with its dowdy but well-built Civic.

Badged as an Acura in the United States, Honda’s NSX targeted the Ferrari 328 and subsequent 348 in terms of its layout, yet its execution was is some regards miles ahead of Maranello; the Japanese automaker wasn’t about to shed its practicality, even as it entered the world of exotics. Though the NSX boasted a transverse V-configuration engine tucked behind a low-slung passenger compartment and a five-speed gearbox, the NSX was unlike any vehicle to offer supercar-level style, performance, and handling.

Where Ferrari relied on its screaming, maintenance-heavy V-8 for propulsion, Honda designed a new 3.0-liter DOHC V-6 around its proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system. High-tech features included four valves per cylinder, titanium connecting rods, and direct ignition. In 1997, the initial 270-horsepower engine added 0.2 liters of displacement thanks to upsized cylinders (made possible by thinner cylinder liners composed of a hybrid aluminum-carbon fiber material) and power output grew to 290 hp.

Over its 15-year run, the NSX stayed true to Honda’s original purist intention, even as the NSX-T—introduced in 1995 and so named for its targa top with removable roof panel—became the default choice in the US. Mid-production NSXs, like the 2000 offered here, are desirable for their classic styling with pop-up headlights and the more powerful engine.

Showing just 18,500 miles, this Monaco Blue over black leather Acura NSX-T is one of just 21 finished in this striking combination for the American market in 2000, and it is the 65th serialized example for the model year. With just two owners since new, it remains an appealing example of something only Honda could have pulled off: A joyful supercar with exotic appeal and exclusivity paired mass-market reliability. This groundbreaking, almost paradoxical formula still excites to this day. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.

RM Sotheby's
5 Heron Square
United Kingdom
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