The new NSX ( Hopefully)
I admit, the NSX was the first non-classic car I fell in love with (the first being the Mercedes 300SL). It just seemed so cool, it was exotic, fast, and beloved by those ‘in the know’. Whenever I came across another NSX fan in high school, I knew he (or she) was a real car nut. The Acura NSX ( known as the Honda NSX in Europe) was the definition of a sports car to me in my youth. Sure it didn’t have a double digit cylinder count (V-6), or a ridiculous horsepower number (270-290). But it clearly had something, maybe it was the fact that it was derived from a project that was designed by world class design firm Pininfarina and was supposed to be the effect of trickle down technology from Hondas F-1 team or maybe coolest of all, it was actually designed with feedback from Ayrton Senna. Whatever it was, it was clear the car just seemed to be more than the sum of its specs. I’m not the only one who appreciated the original, even in Frank Ocean’s video for the song “Acura Integurl” dumps the Integra and uses and NSX for the video (most likely for aesthetic reasons, as the NSX just seems more camera friendly). I’ve only driven an NSX once, and it was 10 years ago, but it still remains one of my top 10 favorite cars. Usually a car that coveted leaves a fan disappointed when he/she actually drives the object of their lust. Simply put - not the NSX.
Eventually the 15 year run (1990-2005) ended and the NSX went out of production. Sure there were other cars that managed to fill the void. I’m currently a Lambo fan, and I think the Nissan GT-R is the best car in the world dollar for dollar. Maybe in a way I even let the Audi R8 take the place of the NSX in my heart as my favorite sports car. But that ended abruptly this year when I saw the photos of the second generation Acura NSX from the North American Auto Show. It was back and looking hotter than ever. Was it going to be built? At the time I didn’t think so. But the Acura ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno meant Honda was at least behind the project. You can even see Tony Stark driving a prototype convertible version in The Avengers (apparently even he’s moved on from his car of choice being an R8).
Much like my current sweetheart the R8 the NSX is built with my favorite formula for a car – “Mid engine, all wheel drive”. Put the engine in the middle and let all four wheels drive, it just makes sense and feels even better. The NSX is even claimed to be sporting an electric motor (or 3) making it a hybrid. While it looks like the car might be in a bit of “specification flux” it looks like it just might get made sometime around 2015 and a generation might just get its standard bearer back. It may never have the Italian-Teutonic V10 Flare of the R8, but right now it’s making the R8 look a bit outdated, let me assure you - no easy task. Will everything in the concept make it into the real world? Probably not, as designs that are extrapolated that far out time wise tend to change quite a bit but it’s fun to think about and hopefully around 2015 I’ll be saying the same things about the NSX of new that I said of the NSX of old.
Note: They haven’t given us a price yet, lets just hope it’s not in LFA territory.
Not so much, its actually my first blog post. I'm going to clear out the backlog of articles I have written in the past.
Some of them are missing some polish, but I wanted to get them out instead of having them sit on my Computer for ages.
This was from last month.
It’s Halftime America.
The Chrysler ad featureing Clint Eastwood at Halftime during the superbowl follows on the heels of last years swagger infused ad featuring Eminem. The ad puts Clint Eastwood in the spotlight giving the country a much needed pep talk, focusing on the struggles of Detroit, and using it as a microcosm for what is going on in America as a whole. While the Eminem ad (click below to watch the ad), may have shown a spring in the step of Chrysler’s ad department. Eastwoods ad did something very different, it delivered a message. Not just one that focused on products, but one that put the cars in the background, and focused on hope in the face of the issues that are facing a lot of Americans.
Some argue that the ad is politically charged, endorsing The Obama administrations bailout of the auto industry. Even going as far as to claim that it is essentially campaign ad for Obama in his upcoming re-election. I think these people may have simply missed the point. The “comeback” is just as American as our commitment to industry, and innovation. Appealing to the idea that no matter how bleak the present is, we as a country aren’t going to rollover, we’re going to do what we’ve done over and over again – invent a new future. Calling to the greatness of America isn’t partisan and neither is optimism in the face of some real challenges. Telling America to try and act as one, try to understand each other and move forward isn’t partisan. But maybe some people just can’t see that anymore or stand the fact that their specific agenda couldn’t score political points off something like this. The same criticism ignore the fundamental fact that playing to a certain side of the aisle just doesn’t make business sense for Chrysler who wants to sell cars to anyone regardless of political affiliation. Perhaps those same critics, are just offended by part of the basic subtext of the ad “ Stop squabbling and find some real solutions”. While I don’t normally advocate that people look to Hollywood for leadership, I’m willing to make an exception in this case – Because the message is better than what I hear on other side of the aisle in Washington.
As for Chrysler as a whole. I’m in love with these ads and I hope they continue in this direction. They’ve just tapped into something so visceral about America and its car culture. In the past I’ve made the case that the swagger, style and passion ads are at least partially byproducts of the recent alliance with Fiat who are known for cars that exude passion and soul (though to a lesser extent reliability)
While I’d like to see the company innovate a bit more in terms of what models they develop –and leverage the fiat design teams to really come up with great looking cars – I still can’t help but smile when I see a Charger or a Challenger drive by. I think that at some point Chrysler will have to make cars that don't rely so heavily on nostalgia for appeal, which is part of the reason Chrysler faces a halftime challenge of their own: Can they tie this ad machine to a business that is solid for the long term? I hope so, because while I’m not the biggest fan of their cars I know how much the company does mean to the landscape of the American auto industry. An industry I believe needs at least three strong players. The company has managed to turn a net loss of 652 million in 2010 into a 183 million dollar profit in 2011. Which definitely puts a pulse on what many thought was a dead company. The hope is that this is the beginning of a brighter future for Chrysler, and the American auto industry as a whole. While I’ve talked about Ford’s success in the past, hey were the strongest going into the financial crisis. The real health of the American is more likely determined by what happens to Chrysler and GM
“ Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times and when we can’t find one, we make one…..This country can’t be knocked out with one punch we get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah it’s halftime America and the second half is about the begin”
If you don’t like it I urge you to take it up with Mr. Eastwood. I’m sure it’d make his day.