Don Gallo, a retired management consultant living in Golden, Colo., on his 1992 Acura NSX, as told to A.J. Baime.
When I was growing up, I was car-obsessed and I had a poster of a Ferrari 308 on my wall. This was the “Magnum, P.I.” Ferrari. One also appeared in the movie “The Cannonball Run,” also in red. It was a hero car of my generation, and I vowed to own one someday.
By the time I could afford a car of my dreams, it was the early 1990s and the Acura NSX had come out. I remember reading the reviews and getting excited. Honda , the parent company of Acura, had decided to build a Ferrari-like mid-engine sports car. [The engine is behind the driver, but ahead of the rear axle.] It would be called the first Japanese exotic car of its kind, intended to compete with companies like Ferrari at a lower cost. The Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna helped in the development. He hammered the car around a racetrack and told Honda engineers: Make it more rigid. And they did.
When Honda brought out the production car in 1990, it was called NSX (for New Sports eXperimental). Many car buyers were confused. Who was going to spend around $65,000 at the time on a six-cylinder Honda? But the people who bought these cars loved them and the automotive press adored them. When I first drove one, it was such an eye-opening experience. I thought: Those automotive writers are right. This thing is remarkable!
In 1994, I found a magazine ad for one for sale, in Appleton, Wis. It had only 5,000-miles on it and looked impeccable, so a friend and I flew out and I bought it for $45,000. In the 1990s, a driver named Peter Cunningham won a lot of races in an NSX modified by performance parts from a company called Comptech—such as custom headers and exhaust. I upgraded my car with many of those same parts, and included a Comptech supercharger. I got involved in the community of NSX owners. They were engineers, tech geeks, pilots, all of whom did not care about the status of a brand, but rather, the experience of driving.