Ac’ to the Future

Twenty five years deep, Honda’s luxury label has seen its share of ups and downs, though a refreshing nod to the past could send them speeding into a new age of dominance.

Natural Born Hustler

The year was 1986, long before Yeezy ever went Bapeshit for the latest in Far East fashion. On a level tenfold of kicks or selvedge denim, Honda – already established as an international player in the car game – had luxury buyers turning Japanese. Under the newly coined marque of Acura, the company previously known for its econoboxes, had made it clear that brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz were ambitiously in their crosshairs. Sporting the tagline “Acura. Precision Crafted Performance.” it was clear the cookie-cutter image garnered by the parental unit wouldn’t fly in this division of sales. Initially introduced to US and Canadian markets, both offerings – the Legend and Integra – were instant hood classics.

Not to downplay the brand’s success in more affluent zip codes, but Acura’s urban embrace – especially with the roomier, four-door Legend – came with little surprise. In what was also the inaugural era of the yuppie douchebag, Bimmers were the ride of choice in the Members Only set. Benzes still went heavy in the streets, but they had old money connotations. The Acura was something new from a far off land. Its clean, high-end styling was a subtle step to the Europeans by the Japanese; like “Yeah son, we can ball too.” Meld that with a plush cabin and relative quickness when pushed, and you had a dream car for doing dirty. Just like your neighborhood hustler, the “Ac” – as it came to be known – was reliable as the night was long. Street economists quickly saw its worth, and like in so many other instances, Hip-hop soon followed suit.

Hip-Hop’s Hooray

A young Jim Jones had the ’97 coupe when he didn’t know how to act. Prodigy kept a MAC in the engine bay of his – which he may have used to send shots through your Vigor. Speaking of Vigors – a later offering from the brand – Jadakiss’s was just broke, so sippin’ malt liquor behind the wheel apparently held little consequence in his mind. Big Pun was also packinamac, but his was in back. And even Biggie’s moms pimped one with her minks. From a lyrical standpoint, Acura’s stamp on rap music is deep and unfading. Cast your hate and blame it on the seemingly endless rhyme options, but numbers don’t lie. In only its second year of production, the fledgling hustler in its own right was already pulling numbers close to its aforementioned European competitors. Toyota’s new Lexus line would soon be introduced to try to steal way some thunder, but in a time where rap arguably connected more with its listeners, Acura was riding high; going from kingpin coach to certified status symbol in just a few short years.

With the unprecedented success, Honda set sights for its better dressed half on global domination. In the first decade alone, dealerships sprang up in Mexico, Hong Kong and China. But the triumphs allowed for something more than just new real estate. A strong reinvestment in design, research and development would soon have them ponying-up to a whole new class of automotive rivals. Something truly wicked was in the works.

The Halo Effect

All you OFWGKTA riders, step off. That sleek, vintage whip in the Frank Ocean video was cool long before he was, and will probably remain a star long after he’s cashed his last crooning check. For those that slept, the car in reference is of course the Acura NSX; a lightweight, mid-engine rear wheel drive beast commissioned as the brand’s original halo car. As the first production automobile to sport an all-aluminum monocoque body, the NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental) emerged from Honda’s design studios with high expectations and lofty goals. The project’s original performance target was the Ferrari 328. Race luminaries like Bobby Rahal and the late Ayrton Senna played rolls in its development and tuning.

First hitting showrooms in 1990, the NSX was now Acura taking it to the face of Ferrari and Porsche. Adorned with an all new corporate emblem – a stylized pair of calipers that in turn form the silhouette of an ‘A’ – the low slung exotic delivered all the elements of a supercar, with none of the suck. Its 3.0L, VTEC (Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control) V6 pushed out 270 horses at 210 lb-ft torque, which were quite respectable numbers for its time. On top of tight handling and of course the good looks, the NSX quickly earned the reputation of being an extremely reliable ride – something its pricier competitors had never really been able to brag about. The car’s $60K starting sticker also had many a collector wondering why they were shelling out double and triple for models that spent more time in the shop than on the road. Sold relatively unchanged for 15 years, the NSX ended production in 2005 with more than a cult following of loyal fans. Even Vanilla Ice owning one couldn’t make it lame.

Pages: 1 2

Related Articles


Mister Cartoon Sanctiond In L.A.


Range Rover’s Presence is a Present


2012 Jaguar XKR-S Has Cat Power


No Mercy for ‘Lamborghini Truck’


BMW and Zagato Craft One-Off Coupe


No Murci in G.O.O.D. Music “Mercy” Video


Latest News

kevin-durant Sports

Kevin Durant Congratulates Russell Westbrook in the Weirdest Way

WTF is YouTube's Community feed feature?
jerome-juv-bauer-prodigy-tribute-art Art

18 Tribute Pieces of Art for Prodigy

All over the streets he done took
Karem/Sanders News

Reporter Calls White House Deputy Press Secretary On Her BS

The war between the press and the Trump administration rages ona
kendrick lamar drops new video for "element." Music Video

Kendrick Lamar Hands Out a Proper Fade in “ELEMENT.” Video

Pull up, hop out
squidnice Features

Why Keeping It Real Is A Priority for Squidnice

"If I’m broke, I’m broke. I speak the truth. I just make it sound good.”
GOP News

LOL At These Honky-Tonk Republicans Who Can’t Repeal Obamacare

Long Live Obama
Lansing News

Cop Caught Threatening to Kill a Black Teen

A 15-year-old in Illinois is the latest whose life is put in jeopardy
sizzla-drawing Music

Murda She Wrote: Sizzla, Gaza Slim, Alkaline, Vershon

The best real dancehall music out now
public enemy, black and white News

A New Public Enemy Album Is About to Drop

Believe The Hype, it's official.
james harden risks it all for nicki minaj at nba awards Sports

Russ Won MVP, but James Harden Won the Night

You don't get the trophy unless you risk it all
twitter-fail-blogs News

WTF is Happening to Hip Hop Twitter Right Now?!

The Fail Whale is back with a vengeance

PREMIERE: BigBabyGucci Balls Out of Control On “Chris Paul”

Designer shopping and balling on them lames
big-baller-brand Hot Takes

LaMelo Ball Uses “Racial Slur” on Monday Night RAW—Just Like Vince McMahon

"Keep it up, my n****"
drake-stephcurry Sports

Drake Sends Steph Curry to the Sunken Place in ‘Get Out’ Parody

And roasts the entire NBA too
Daupe!, Tha God Fahim News

Do Tha God Fahim And Daupe! Media Have Beef?

The brand gets bitten by the culture vulture title
St. Louis Police Departement News

Off-Duty Black Cop Shot By White Officer Speaks Out Via His Attorney

Woke by gunshot