Honda NSX

Honda NSX 1990s Japanese supercar

If you were a car manufacturer, seeking feedback, there would not have been many respondents you would have preferred to Ayrton Senna. Actually, there probably would not have been any! That was the enviable position in which Honda found themselves, in '89. While in Japan, at the time, Senna was politely asked whether he would mind taking the NSX prototype for a spin. What could the world's finest F1 driver do - but politely accept? On returning the NSX to the technicians, Senna declared it impressive - but a tad delicate. In short order, that was remedied. The car was made half as strong again!

Buying an NSX new bagged you a fiver change from £60K. Which you would, naturally, have passed on to Ayrton - as a tip. As supercars go, sixty grand was pretty cheap. If you considered the NSX to be a supercar, that is. Not everyone did - among them, those with, ahem, pronounced European tastes. But, if you could withstand withering looks from more 'discerning' drivers, the NSX gave you loads of bang for your bucks - or, indeed, pounds. A top speed of 168mph was not to be sniffed at. It came courtesy of a VTEC V6. The motor was bolted to the first all-aluminium chassis and suspension, in a production car. There was only going to be one result. Forceful, but finely-tuned handling. Especially, when Honda had added Servotronic steering to the mix.

The NSX's designers were inspired by the F16 fighter plane. Good aerodynamics, then, were a given! With so much going for it, it is no surprise that Honda held a special place in its heart for the NSX. Only their best engineers were allowed near it. Okay - so it did not have quite the pedigree of the Supercar's past masters. But, the Honda NSX still had plenty to offer less picky connoisseurs ... with knobs on!

Honda NR750

Honda NR750 1990s Japanese superbike

Few road-going superbikes are quite so 'race-bred' as the Honda NR750. It was a direct descendant of Honda's NR500 GP bike. The NR roadster was released in '92. A decade or so previously, the four-stroke racer had been slugging it out with Suzuki and Yamaha two-strokes. Well, trying to, anyway! Always disadvantaged - due to its engine layout - the NR500 was 'discontinued' in '81.

The feature for which the NR will be forever remembered was its 'oval' pistons. Technically, they were not oval. Rather, they were lozenge-shaped. These ovoid pistons, at any rate, were the NR's most clear-cut connection with its racing ancestor. Whatever their form, they obviously worked. The NR delivered 125bhp - at 14,000 rpm. Top speed was 160mph. That was notwithstanding the NR's weight - a tubby 489lb. Ultimately, however - while the performance was impressive - it was not earth-shattering. Honda had done its best to conjure up a V8 - out of a V4! Effectively, to double it up. The NR's V4 engine was fitted with eight fuel injectors and titanium conrods. Four camshafts depressed thirty-two lightweight valves. Sadly, all that did not equate to twice the speed of a standard V4!

The NR's styling was on a par with its engineering. It had a titanium-coated screen, for starters. That was backed up by a brilliant finish - particularly, the paintwork and polished aluminium frame. Build quality was what you would expect from a one-of-a-kind superbike. In every department, the NR delivered. Above all, though, it came with charisma - by the crateful. Bikes like the NR tend not to have too many owners. And not just because of exorbitant price-tags and running costs. Such machines grant access to motorcycling's inner sanctum. Perhaps - more than any other road-bike - the Honda NR750 combined visual and technological exoticism. Glamour was never an issue!

Honda NSX

If you were a car manufacturer, seeking feedback, there would not have been many respondents you would have preferred to Ayrton...