Tips, Tricks & Trends

The Alex Zanardi Acura NSX Is One of the Rarest Exotic Cars You Can Buy

The first-generation Acura NSX has been on the ebb and flow of the used car market for years. It used to be the “affordable” supercar a decade ago until prices shot up when the new NSX debuted, and now they’re going back down again. But one Acura NSX’s price, in particular, will most likely remain steady for many years to come because it’s one of the rarest you can possibly buy: The Alex Zanardi Edition Acura NSX.

The Acura NSX Zanardi Edition is really rare

Just how rare is the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX? Well, Honda only built 51 of them in total. This means that there’s more candy in a “sharing size” packet of Skittles than there are Zanardi Edition NSX’s currently on the planet. And the one that you see here in these pictures is number 44 out of the 51 ever made. In case you’re wondering, the first Zanardi Edition NSX was used as a press car, the second one was given to Alex Zanardi himself, and the other 49 were sold all over the U.S. To top things off, this limited edition was only made for the 1999 model year.

RELATED: Is an Acura NSX with an Automatic Transmission Worth Buying?

front shot of red zanardi nsx
1999 Zanardi Edition NSX | Continental Autosports

Who is Alex Zanardi?

Alex Zanardi is an Italian race car driver that is known for winning the CART championships back in 1997 and 1998 for Honda and also for competing in Formula One in the early 90s. He was an immensely talented driver and known for such events like “The Pass,” in which he performed a high-risk maneuver at Laguna Seca’s famed “corkscrew” corner to overtake the race leader, Bryan Herta, and win the race. However, his racing career suffered when he got into a bad accident during the 2001 American Memorial race. The crash ended up taking both of his legs, but that still didn’t stop him from racing as he continued on for years afterward using special hand controls and prosthetic limbs to control the car. In order to commemorate Zanardi’s back-to-back CART wins in 1997 and 1998, Honda built the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX.

RELATED: The Second-Generation Acura NSX is More Affordable Now

What is so special about the Zanardi Edition NSX?

zanardi edition nsx plaque
Zanardi Edition NSX Plaque | Continental Autosports

Every Zanardi Edition NSX was painted in the brand’s Formula Red paint and featured a fixed roof, as opposed to the removable Targa top, for additional rigidity. Beneath the fenders are a set of staggered-size BBS wheels that measured in at 16 inches for the front wheels and 17 inches for the rear.

The engine remained stock, as the 3.2-liter, naturally aspirated V6 that produced 290 horsepower was a legendary powerplant in itself, but in true Honda form, weight reduction was key. As such, a lightweight spoiler, single-paned rear window, and a lighter battery were added to reduce the car’s overall weight by 149 pounds. To finish it off, the suspension was stiffened up and the car was given suede and leather seats along with a numbered plaque with Zanardi’s signature and the car’s production number placed in between them.

zanardi edition nsx interior
Zanardi Edition NSX Interior | Continental Autosports

How much does the Zanardi Edition NSX cost?

When the Alex Zanardi Edition Acura NSX debuted, it carried an MSRP of $85,000. That’s a pretty good chunk of change even by today’s standards, but it pales in comparison to the prices that one of these prime NSX examples sell for nowadays. We found one on Cargurus that is currently priced at $135,000 and has been listed on the site for 135 days, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it sits there a lot longer. It’s a hefty price to pay, but for anyone that has that kind of money to own one of the rarest pieces of Honda history, that price could actually be considered “fair.”