Bob Dylan put it best: "The time's they are a-changin'"
The words “classic car” convey a sense of nostalgia for anyone in the automotive hobby.
They bring to mind images of shiny chrome bumpers, sky-high tail fins and rumbling big block motors, so it feels a little awkward calling a mid-engined, two-seat, Japanese sportscar from the 1990s a classic.
But the truth of the matter is the first-generation Acura NSX, now at 27 years old, is getting up there in age.
That became even more clear when a colleague of mine arrived at a meetup in Las Vegas this past weekend with his 1991 NSX bearing “Classic Rod” license plates. If the state of Nevada considers the NSX a “classic” and a “rod,” then who are we to argue?
The meet was called WestFest, and it was one of a handful of annual events organized by the NSX Club of America (NSXCA), an 800-member group of owners and enthusiasts of Acura’s halo performance car.
Now in its second year, WestFest drew over 50 cars from various states and a even handful of attendees who opted to fly in and rent cars – one of them being Charles, from Mississippi, who rented a Jaguar F-Type. He parked on the outskirts so that the NSX convoy could enjoy exclusivity.
The NSX design has aged gracefully, which is not surprising. The profile shape was so forward-thinking that it remained relatively unchanged for its 15-year run of the first-generation model. But to someone who still thinks of 25 years ago as 1975, it’s shocking to think that the car has been around for a quarter-century.
Ready or not, a new era of classic cars has been born. And if it hasn’t already happened, it will soon: Toyota Supras, Mitsubishi 3000 GTs, and Mazda RX7s will begin bearing historic license plates – and the classic car community will welcome them with open arms, and open minds.
WestFest 2.0 was a success for the planning team and for its participants, giving attendees the chance to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip as well as the solitude of the Old West mining town of Nelson, one of a handful of attractions along the group’s 180-mile scenic loop on Saturday morning.
The Primm Valley Casino at the California-Nevada state line hosted the group for a buffet lunch after drivers had worked up an appetite exploring the backroads. The lineup of NSXs was colorful to say the least – with the caravan dominated by “Formula Red” models but a few eye-popping yellow models sprinkled in.
Some cars were highly modified, some were stock, most were in between.
The group’s host hotel, Gold Coast Casino on Flamingo Road, held a closing banquet and awards presentation at the conclusion of the activities on Saturday evening, capping off an action-packed and adventurous weekend.
The camaraderie and sense of family among the Acura NSX enthusiast community is strong and still growing, so the next time you see a 1990s Japanese sportscar roll into a classic car show, remember that it’s probably of qualified age to be there.
Just think of that rear wing spoiler as a set of glorious 1950s tailfins.