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11 January 2001
What qualifies a car, in general, as an exotic?

I read in other threads comparing the NSX to other cars, and a common positive theme on the NSX is that it's an "exotic". Is it still? When it was introduced in the early 90's it was certainly a revolutionary car, but now there are many cars without "exotic" status with similar performance numbers.

No flames please, I am just looking to learn from the group. As an owner of a '98 I certaily hope it still has "exotic status, but I am just not sure.....

'98 NSX-T Blk/Blk
· Comptech headers / exhaust / airbox
· Brembo front brake kit / drilled & slotted rear / ss lines
· Koni adjustable suspension w/Comptech springs and sway bars
· Advan Model 7 17/18” wheels
· Wings West side skirts and rear spats
good question...
i think of the nsx as an exotic... but i really cant put my finger on why. cant be the price or performance... because i dont see the carreras or supras as exotics. maybe it has to do with the head-turn-factor; if 9 out of 10 heads turn as your driving by... its an exotic.
I think what classifies the NSX is the limited sales and production of the car. there are not too many cars that sell less than 200 just about every year of its production(I think it is less than 30 this year). that and the fact that it is all hand made,not on an assembly line, helps its status also.
Originally posted by justin hall:
What qualifies a car, in general, as an exotic?

I think this is an interesting question and one I've thought about recently. I looked up how Webster defines exotic and think this definition fits: "strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual". Related words are: "different, unusual; alluring, enticing, fascinating, glamorous, mysterious"

So in thinking about this it seems to me that the more you see something, the less mysterious it becomes, the less unusual it is to find then the less exotic it becomes. Also just because something is unusual and mysterious doesn't make it exotic as it needs to be striking and exciting.

Please no flames but from my perspective it's hard to call a Vette, BMW, Boxster (most Porsches for that matter), etc an exotic because I see more than 1 almost every day I'm driving. BMWs and Boxsters are like little rabbits and Vettes are on each street corner. Since I see them all the time their not mysteriously different or unusual for me. What I don't see are a lot of are NSXs, Ferraris, Lambs or even Vipers.

Just my thoughts. So another question to ponder is will or when the NSX not be exotic?
I think if a car manufacturer devotes a team of engineers to design all, or almost all, components of a car it is considered exotic. If the car does not "borrow" parts or designs from other cars it also gives the car exotic status.

The M3 for instance performs very well but it looks exactly the same as a 330ci to the publics eye...this makes it a semi-exotic IMHO. Ferrari and Lambos are handmade contributing greatly to the exotic car status (and the hefty price tag).

I never knew this but is the NSX really all hand made? If so...wow!!
Originally posted by skim83:
I think if a car manufacturer devotes a team of engineers to design all, or almost all, components of a car it is considered exotic. If the car does not "borrow" parts or designs from other cars it also gives the car exotic status.

S2000 > exotic ??? (not in my book, very nice car, but no exotic)

Hmmmm.... This question is running through my mind as well lately.

BMW M3 E30, small production car, NO exotic....
So it's not in the production numbers only.

Supra, 3000GT, 300ZX TT, RX7 .... all nice and fast cars, but exotic ???......(not in my book that is)
So it's not the looks only......

Lambo, Ferrari, Lotos Espirt....these are exotics.
Lotus Esprit is full of other manufacturers parts (Citroen, Toyota e.a.), still an exotic.

Elise, 340, Europe... Nop.

Pretty difficult huh?

For the price then maybe: Mercedes (any type) mega $$$,fast,....exotic...NOP

Maybe it needs this (All 'and'):
- Headturner
- Only availble to a select group of people with enough cash to own and maintain one.
- Will be performing better on the track then on public roads.
- Brakes down a lot, and is expensive to maintain.

The last point is where we get in doubt. The NSX is 'too good' as the TopGear dude said, difficult to explain, but i do get the point.

Interesting to come up with a deffinition, don't try to fit the NSX in, let's see 'if' the NSX fit's in....

To me, I classify the NSX as an exotic because it is both extremely rare, and at the same time looks like many other exotic cars.

While it doesn't look exactly like them, the lines of the car resemble things that I like about certain Ferrari's...so, I consider them exotic, as well as the NSX. The lines of the car are just...exotic.
For me its really simple, if every single major autmobile publication says the NSX is exotic, then I guess we are! Who are we to argue with the editors of motor trend, car and driver, road & Track, MSN Carpoint, and the list goes on....

I would say that The NSX is an exotic car.

1. Each and every time I take it out I am followed by someone. When I gat out of the car I get the same question every time,"What kind of car is that, how much does it cost, who makes it". I do not think I would get the same attention if I were driving a S2K. I am also thinking of having a stat sheet written up to hand out to the admirers when I park the car. This would shave about an hour of each Saturday, which would give me more time behind the wheel.
2. The roof is less than 4 feet off the ground (non lowered car). The NSX also has the styling of many other cars considered to be exotics. This gives it that "you don't see one of those everyday" . Which is point 3
3. Even in heavily populated areas you don't get to see an NSX everyday. In fact you only see them as frequently as you might see a Ferrari or Lamborghini.
4. The NSX is a car that is meant for the track but can be driven on the street.
5. The engineering that has been done for the NSX is extensive and expensive. Thus the price demanded. Although the price is a small factor in what an exotic is. One could take a mustang and lower it, throw on a supercharger and loud exhaust spend just as much as one would to buy a used NSX. However when completed you would have a common car that just goes really fast and is extremely dangerous to drive.
6. Drivability is top notch in the NSX. In fact much better than most other exotics. The Ferrari and limbo have their quirks in the older models. The newer models being much more refined. Still you have the current situation of britney Spears blowing out the tranny on a Ferrari. This would have been a little harder to do in a new NSX. So does that mean that the NSX is not an Exotic because it doesn't have these quirks? I fell the NSX is in a class all its own.
a few thoughts...

1. You take your car to Jiffy Lube and everyone scratches their heads because they don't know where the engine is.

2. You try to get insurance and your car isn't in their computer so they have to insure you the "old fashioned" way. This is what they had to do for me at Farmers.

3. Everyone stares at you when you drive by.

4. You're scared to let anyone touch your car unless they're a certified NSX mechanic.

5. There's only one place in town that can mount your tires because they have the only low-profile tire mounting machine in the county.

6. You go through more than one set of tires per year.

7. The most common color for the car is Red.

Most people in town that have seen my car assume it's a Lamborghini or Ferrari.

I think the NSX owes a lot of it's exoticesque flair to the midengine/wedge shape... something you won't find in a Supra or 300zx.