1998 Acura NSX Zanardi Prototype Coupe

Imagine making a sports car so influential that it inspires the McLaren F1, a car that is often granted the title of “one of the greatest sports cars ever produced.” You might know that influential sports car as the Honda NSX, marketed in the US and Hong Kong as the Acura NSX. An acronym for New Sportscar eXperimental, the NSX was created to overtake the Ferrari 328 and later the 348 in performance. After numerous engine trials, the car ended up being powered by the 3.0 L C30A V6 that put out 270 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque through a five-speed manual transmission or 252 hp through a four-speed automatic. The block held the first titanium connecting rods used in a production car engine, forged pistons, and a high 8,300 rpm redline.

All of this was built into an all-aluminum semi-monocoque, the first production car to feature such a construction, along with an extruded aluminum alloy frame and suspension components that saved nearly 485 lbs in total. The NSX was also developed in conjunction with Japanese Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima and Brazilian Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna to perfect the car’s chassis tuning.

The NSX debuted in Japan in 1990 and in 1991 in the US & Hong Kong, where it was sold under Honda’s Acura luxury brand. In 1997, Honda introduced a higher displacement 3.2 L C32B V6 engine for the manual transmission NSX that increased power output to 290 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed transmission was also substituted for a six-speed with closer gear ratios. As a direct result, 0-60 mph times dropped to 4.5 seconds, making the 1997 NSX the fastest car in North America according to Car and Driver. Other changes included a keyless entry system, vehicle immobilizer system, and electric power steering on the hardtop coupe trims. These examples powered by the 3.2 L engine are referred to as NA2 models to differentiate them from the NA1 models powered by the 3.0 L engine. From 1991 to 2005, 18,000 examples of the first-generation NSX were sold.

This particular example is a 1998 Acura NSX hardtop coupe with the more powerful 3.2 L V6 and the 6-speed manual transmission. It is reportedly one of only five coupes produced in 1998 and the only one that was finished in Formula Red. It was sold to its first owner by Paragon Acura of Long Island City, NY in 2000 finished in Formula Red with an Onyx leather interior. Shortly after its acquisition by its previous owner in 2014, it underwent a multi-year restoration that included removing most of the aftermarket equipment, a repaint in Formula Red, redoing the Onyx leather interior, replacing several engine components at 16,800 miles, and overhauling the suspension, brakes, and exhaust system. While the engine was removed, a ScienceOfSpeed lost-motion assembly was installed along with billet camshaft plugs.

Non-factory accouterments still present on this NSX are the forged 16″ and 17″ BBS wheel and a Fujitsubo exhaust system that both complement Honda’s factory looks. A lightweight battery install along with an oil and brake fluid change were performed in 2021 while the timing belt service followed in April of 2022. This exact car was reportedly also used by Acura in press releases for their 1999 NSX Zanardi Edition, with a close-up photo of the press release car’s VIN included for cross-referencing.

It’s difficult to get any closer to a supercar, both in looks and performance, than behind the wheel of an NSX. Given this example’s low mileage, fresh restoration, and recent thorough service, it’s to be expected that everything looks and works the way it was intended. The BBS wheels, while not original to the car, look perfect below the mirror-finish Formula Red paint job. The interior surfaces certainly benefitted from the refresh, with the leather throughout presenting in wonderful shape. The aftermarket exhaust is also right at home on this NSX, helping the refurbished engine show off its 270 horses loud and proud. A McLaren F1 will run you millions of dollars at auction so why not get the car that inspired it instead?

Upon purchase, the new owner will receive all of the factory booklets, the service records on file, photographs of the refurbishment process, multiple sets of keys, the rare and sought-after Zanardi Edition press kit with photo negatives, several OEM parts, a car cover, and awards that this NSX has won.


Offers welcome and trades considered



Stock number 7670

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