Honda OSM, a Very Bad Dejavu?

Honda and sport, two words that dominates the young guns throughout the 90’s. The Integra, the NSX, The S2000, the hot Type R’s… Boy… Those are the days… But currently, Honda wanted the world to see them as a green automaker, and very desperate at it if I might add. The FCX, the FCX clarity, the Insight, the CR-Z, the Civic/Accord Hybrid and the planned new global hybrid that is purposed built to rival Toyota’s hot Prius. Then, out of nowhere, Honda came up with OSM, a coupe sporting hybrid name tag, and one bad dejavu… Remember SSM? More witty comments and what is SSM after the click.

So Honda unveils the aptly named OSM or Open Study Model at 2008 British International Motor Show. A bold statement that a hybrid shouldn’t always be dorky looking like the Insight, the Prius or the Prius wannabes. To add more bite to that, throw in some great driveability and fun to drive, you have this car, the OSM.

Honda osm

A look to die for… No hybrid ever look this sporty

Honda osm

Short front wheel distance to door means a front wheel drive

Honda osm

Nice front… Bad ass

Honda osm

Everything looks production ready

Now, let’s talk about the OSM… OSM… OSM… Never heard something similar to that? Uumm, let me give you a hint… SSM, the Sport Study Model, or the world reknowned Honda S2000. It’s either this concept car is a homage to Honda S2000, with its design and nomenclature, or Honda marketing department has waaaaaaayy too much free time at their hand.

The S2000 is really tooooo long in the tooth some say. Well, because it is… Its engine is the pinnacle of VTEC technology, producing north of 120ps per liter, something few automaker achieves on naturally aspirated engines. The X-Frame that strengthen the chassis doesn’t need anymore external brace or dorky roll cages. Its engine is placed partly behind the front axle, making it essentially a front midship engine car. But alas, the horsepower race is still on, and the S2000 is lagging behind, badly.

So, when the OSM is announced, I’m giddy like a kid, only to be bashed by reality after looking at the pictures. It has IMA on the tachometer… Meaning it’s a hybrid. It has very short bonnet and short distance from front wheel to door opening, signifying a front wheel drive car… Something that will put a shame to Honda S series heritage.

So what car is this? It certainly won’t tango with the S2000 in the track, it just look mean, but doesn’t really have the bite… Worst of all, if I have to make this pun… Which I’m going to… The car doesn’t even have the mean look, and being a hybrid, it won’t even sound… Exciting. So the term no bite and no bark applies.

honda ssm

The SSM, the early stage of S2000

Thankfully, Honda doesn’t have any plan to produce this car. However, it might be just something to swipe the competitor off their heels. Toyota, with the help of Subaru is reviving the Celica heritage (compact sportster), so does Nissan is reviving the Silvia heritage. All are middle class performance cars slotted below the super cars, the then Toyota Supra and Nissan Skyline. Well, Honda have the NSX and the Integra Type-R to compete on the same level. But that’s the 90’s, and those names are dead and gone.

Two decades past and the battle of Japanese supercars are on again. Nissan forge ahead with the GT-R, Toyota coming out with the LF-S, and Honda is coming out with… An unnamed car sporting a V10 that is supposedly replacing the NSX. So, now what? Toyota and Nissan already preparing their 2nd coming medium class performance cars, what about Honda? Is the OSM their answer or just something they should built?

You know… A rear engine rear wheel drive OSM is a very good candidate for that spot.


Low emission Honda roadster breaks cover

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