Mark Lidstone's Honda NSX
Mark Lidstone’s Honda NSX at home in the Canadian landscape

Now we turn to Canada to meet Mark Lidstone and his Honda NSX. The NSX is an icon, imagine having one in your garage?

The NSX, Honda’s mid-engined, rear wheel drive supercar, debuted as a concept at the Chicago Auto Show back in 1989. In North America, it was marketed as the Acura NSX – Acura is a spin off of Honda to market luxury high end vehicles. But this side of the Atlantic, it will always be known as the Honda NSX.

The first generation NSX was low slung and super light with the world’s first all-aluminium monocoque, titanium connecting rods and a high-revving VTEC V6 engine putting out 270 hp.

In the early stages of development, the R&D team spent a month testing the prototype at Honda’s Suzuka Circuit in Japan. In February 1989, around the same time as the NS-X Concept model’s debut in Chicago, legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna was in Japan to test the new Honda F1 car. The engineering team asked Senna if he would evaluate the NSX prototype. Even though the production NSX targeted levels of rigidity equalling Porsche and Ferrari, Senna felt it could be better.

“I’m not sure I can really give you appropriate advice on a mass-production car,” Senna told the team, “but I feel it’s a little fragile.”

Based on Senna’s input and over eight months of continuous effort to improve the body design including testing at Germany’s Nürburgring, engineers increased the car’s rigidity by 50 percent.

There’s a little bit of history about the Honda NSX. But what about an owner’s perspective? In this interview Mark Lidstone gives us some insight into what makes the NSX so special!

1. Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences?

My name is Mark Lidstone. I live in Port Moody, British Columbia just outside Vancouver. I am married and have 2 wonderful daughters. I have worked in the automotive industry for 18 years with Honda, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz.

2. What car do you drive?

A 1992 Grand Prix White (GPW) Honda NSX.

3. Why did you buy this car?

I bought this car to fulfil a commitment I made myself when I was 9 years old and first saw one on the cover of a car magazine at the grocery store. Many years later, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to buy one and began my search. After 6 years of looking, I found mine in Memphis, Tennessee, and bought it unseen literally 6 minutes after the ad was posted.

The Honda NSX classic mid engined supercar
The Honda NSX classic mid-engined supercar in Grand Prix White

4. What do you like about it?

The purity of the driving experience. Manual steering, naturally aspirated engine, dynamics set up by Ayrton Senna…it is a special event every time I have occasion to drive it.

5. Is there anything you would change about it?

I did not fit very well in this car so I ended up purchasing a piece of foam and customizing a new seat cushion that I installed in the factory leather seat cover. It dropped me about 1.5 inches, which was just enough to keep my head from touching the roof. Aside from that, perhaps a larger gas tank so I don’t have to stop so often!

6. What’s in the glovebox?

1 Microfiber cloth, insurance/ownership papers, a hidden USB outlet I installed and ran to the upgraded stereo to keep the interior looking clean, and lastly, my fancy leather driving gloves.

7. Favourite memory of the car?

I have two…the first was in 2016 when I sent it down to an NSX specialist in Arizona for a complete engine rebuild and some other less major enhancements. After months apart I flew down to collect it and drove back to Vancouver through San Francisco. In all it was about 10 days and 3600 km. I took the long way back through some amazing parts of Northern California and the Pacific North West.

The second just happened last week when I got to take my daughter Audrey for her first drive. Honda had the foresight to install a threaded anchor location for a tether bolt behind the passenger seat so I can now properly install her seat and bring her for rides (provided mom signs off!)

Mark and his daughter Audrey testing cabin comfort in the Honda NSX
Mark and his daughter Audrey testing cabin comfort in the Honda NSX

8. Three words to describe your car?

Responsive. Beautiful. Timeless.

9. What do you think about the new NSX and Honda’s products and position in the market right now?

I have yet to drive the new NSX but did fly to the Detroit Auto Show with some friends when it had its North American release. I must have spent all day staring and being told by various Honda reps to move along and give someone else a chance. I understand the need to innovate and am impressed by the engineering that has gone into it however I guess I consider myself more of a purist. Colin Chapman said “simplify, then add lightness…” but the world in general has gone the other way, not just Honda. Crash structures, hybrids, EVs, pedestrian safety…as the products have evolved due to changing priorities, it does seem like less attention is being given to simple driver enjoyment. The new NSX is certainly a fast car from what I have seen but I do not think it would speak in quite the same way.

I will always be a big supporter of Honda and its products although the styling these days seems to have gone a bit bonkers. They still make great cars that excel at their duties but not what I would consider too desirable, save of course, the new NSX. It’s good to see them return to F1 as an engine supplier and I have always been a fan of their various motorsport endeavours. The next big revolution will be EVs and Honda has not been investing heavily in that so long term I am concerned however it still remains to be seen if EVs will be the way forward.

10. What kind of reaction does the NSX get?

Always positive. It seems like everyone loves an NSX! Most people react to it the way I did before I owned one. I am a big fan of seeing the reaction it causes on the road since there are so few out here. It is such a beautiful machine and deserves to be shown off and enjoyed by all.

Thanks to Mark for taking part in this interview!

You can follow Mark and his adventures with the NSX over on Instagram.

The iconic silhouette of the Honda NSX
The iconic silhouette of the Honda NSX