100 Cars That Matter, Evergreen, Features

1990 Acura NSX: 100 Cars That Matter


By the early 1980s, Honda was ready to break out. The Japanese automaker had its sights set on exotic performance without sacrificing reliability. Buoyed by its entrance into the Formula One championship in 1983, the automaker had resources and ambition—and an idea.

In 1984, engineers targeted prancing horses and charging bulls with a mid-engine, rear-drive sports car—a far cry from the front-engine, front-wheel-drive cars it was building. Deep within Honda’s skunkworks, the company converted a lowly Honda City hatchback compact car into a mid-engine mule to test their theory. The car’s handling was thrilling they said, but the technology wasn’t up to snuff to keep it on the road.

Original NSX Sketch – Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

Shelved shortly after, Honda engineers never forgot the City mule’s dynamic potential. Eager to prove to the world that it could make a “New” “Sportscar” “unknown” (an “X” subbed in as the mathematical “unknown”); the NS-X was born in 1985. Early sketches showed a radical body, inspired by the F-16, with an engine planted midships, behind the driver.

Engineers wavered between sheet steel and aluminum for the early NS-X in 1986—steel was easier for production, aluminum was lighter but more expensive and difficult to use. Ultimately, Honda landed on aluminum for its new sportscar, the first all-aluminum monocoque production car from a mainstream automaker in history.

The lighter aluminum didn’t need a big, heavy engine to hit performance targets, and the company landed on a V-6. In America, Honda’s nascent luxury brand Acura needed a halo car and NSX (American Honda preferred no hyphen) fit the bill.

1991 Acura NSX - Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

1991 Acura NSX – Acura NSX 30th Anniversary

In 1989, the NSX made its debut at the Chicago auto show. Then-president Tadashi Kume reportedly started a prototype fitted with an SOHC V-6 from the Acura Legend. He implored engineers to adapt Honda’s variable valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC) from its inline-4 to the NSX’s V-6 engine. Critics who drove early prototypes also said the car lacked power.

Legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna helped, too. At Suzuka to test Honda’s new F1 car, Senna drove the NSX and pressured engineers to make the body stiffer.

“I’m not sure I can really give you appropriate advice on a mass-production car,” Senna told the team, according to Honda. “but I feel it’s a little fragile.”

What arrived in 1990 was a worldbeater. The everyday supercar lasted for 15 years, beyond a recession in Japan that killed several other sports cars but not Honda’s breakout.

Note to readers: Motor Authority has compiled 100 cars that have forever changed enthusiasts. From supercars and sedans to SUVs and muscle cars, these are the cars that have sparked our love for cars. Think we’ve missed something? Leave a comment below or contact us here.



Source link

100 Cars That Matter, Bugatti Veyron, Evergreen, Features, Hypercars

2005 Bugatti Veyron: 100 Cars That Matter


Keen to toy with its latest purchase, Volkswagen Group planned to return Bugatti to its glory days. The original Bugatti folded in the mid-20th century, only to be revived for fewer than 10 years in 1987. In 1998, VW Group rescued Bugatti when it purchased the brand.

Flush with cash, VW tinkered with Buggati’s mission. Would it be an ultra-luxurious automaker? It could have been, based on two concept cars shown in 1998 and 1999. Instead, Bugatti revealed a different kind of car in late 1999 called the 18/3 Chiron.

While the public gazed at a mid-engine supercar with sweeping lines and a massive W-18 engine, VW had set the course for the reborn brand and previewed what would come six years later: the Bugatti Veyron.

ALSO SEE: Witness the $21,000 Bugatti Veyron oil change

Bugatti EB 16/4 Veyron

The 18/3 showed the potential for a mid-engine supercar, and Bugatti followed up with the EB 18/4 that began to show the shape of the Veyron yet to come. In 2000, the EB 16/4 concept bowed, which cemented the Veyron’s future powertrain: an 8.0-liter W-16 quad-turbocharged engine.

VW committed to produce the EB 16/4 one year later, which began the race to usher in a new era for Bugatti.

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

After lengthy production holdups, the first Bugatti Veyron was delivered in 2005. The specifications were out of this world. The original Veyron made 987 horsepower, featured a permanent all-wheel-drive system, and clocked a top speed of 253.81 mph—fast enough to make it the fastest production and street-legal car in the world.

The world took notice almost immediately. The Veyron quickly became an essential part of a high-dollar collector’s garage, for bragging rights if nothing else. On bedroom walls around the world, the Veyron joined other hot metal as the latest poster car for children.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse - Image via Manuel Carrillo III

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse – Image via Manuel Carrillo III

Five years after the original’s debut, Bugatti doubled down and introduced the Veyron Super Sport with 1,184 hp. The car was limited to 30 units and was capable of going 267 mph. Twice in one decade, Bugatti made the fastest production car in the world.

In 2015, Bugatti ended Veyron production and prepared to pen a new page in history with a forthcoming supercar. The Chiron bowed in 2016 to succeed the record-setting Veyron.

Bugatti Chiron test with astronaut Jon A. McBride

Bugatti Chiron test with astronaut Jon A. McBride

Yet, the Chiron has hardly garnered the hype and enthusiasm the Veyron did. It’s difficult to frame, but the Veyron captured enthusiasts and the public alike with something special—a rare ingredient. The Chiron is hardly forgettable, but the path Bugatti forged with the Veyron will forever make it a trailblazer.

Note to readers: Motor Authority has compiled 100 cars that have forever changed enthusiasts. From supercars and sedans to SUVs and muscle cars, these are the cars that have sparked our love for cars. Think we’ve missed something? Leave a comment below or contact us here.



Source link

PreviousNext

You Want To Have Your Favorite Car?

We have a big list of modern & classic cars in both used and new categories.