Typically, movie cars are fragile, barely-running shells. They're made to look good on camera, and their lustful exhaust note gets dubbed in later. Seeing a movie car in person can be like meeting one's lifelong hero, and discovering that they're not the amazing person you thought they were. But the suave NSX convertible that appeared in the Ironman flick The Avengers, is a actually real Acura NSX designed by Honda. Although, it's probably not the NSX you think it is.
Prior to the movie's release in 2012, Acura had unveiled its NSX Concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. They hadn't announced plans to build the supercar yet, so the rumors really started to fly when The Avengers hit theaters. Contrary to the rampant speculation, Tony Stark wasn't driving the concept car, nor was he driving a pre-production prototype. But he was driving an Acura NSX. More specifically, a 1991 Acura NSX, with 252,000 miles!
Fabricated for Honda by California-based prototype builder Trans FX, Stark's car started life as a privately owned NSX coupe from Arizona. The shop bought the car for an unverified $18-$20k, then had it driven back to California. Still in excellent mechanical condition, Trans FX set to work removing most of the original body. Using a design penned by Honda North America's chief designer Dave Marek, the shop crafted the front of the car from fiberglass, and the rear from milled foam.
Special LED tail lamps were set into the foam rear end, and the roof section was completely removed. After fitting a more steeply raked windshield and larger brakes (for aesthetic purposes), the movie car was painted the same color red as Ironman's suit. However, Marek admits that he "tuned" the color just a bit, to make the red appear more vibrant under the lights.
Since the car would only make a brief appearance in the movie, the '91's interior was left mostly intact. A set of black leather Procar racing seats were fitted, along with an Ironman Red trim piece, on the center console. Otherwise, the cabin remained stock, right down to the Acura tape deck. When the car is put on display, a blank-out cover is placed over the dash, steering wheel, and center console, protecting its identity as a real (old) NSX.
Like the interior, the '91's 270-hp 3.0L V6 remained untouched. However, Acura had to limit the car to 30 mph, to preserve its structural integrity. Although drivable, this movie prop requires patience and a delicate touch to keep the low-slung bodywork intact. Acura retained ownership of the Ironman NSX, and will likely put it on display at its museum in California. The real 2015 Acura NSX is scheduled to go into production around 2015, at a new facility in Marysville, Ohio.