In 1984 Honda commissioned the Italian car designer Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental), which had a mid-mounted C20A 2.0 L V6 configuration.
After Honda decided to pursue the project its management informed its engineers that the new car would have to be as good as anything coming from Italy and Germany. The HP-X concept car evolved into the NS-X (New Sportscar eXperimental) prototype. The NS-X prototype and eventual production car were designed by a team led by Chief Designer Nicholas Zander and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who subsequently would be placed in charge of the S2000 project. The original performance target for the NS-X was the Ferrari 328, which was revised to the 348 as the design neared completion. Honda intended the NS-X to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. For this reason, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was abandoned and replaced with a more powerful 3.0L VTEC V6 engine. The bodywork design had been specifically researched by Okuyuma and Uehara after studying the 360 degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit. The NS-X was designed to showcase several Honda automotive technologies, many derived from its F1 motor-sports program.
The NS-X was the first production car to feature an all-aluminium monocoque body, incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminium alloy frame, and suspension. The use of aluminium in the body alone