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Behind the scenes: Honda gold rush

By Daniel Gardner, 12 Apr 2020 Season 2

We still haven’t recovered from gold fever and a day with Honda Australia’s most exclusive car

Honda 50th anniversary NSX WhichCar TV

Just like the gold-plated, priceless Samsung phone presented to Willy Bank in the film Ocean’s Thirteen, the one-off gilded Honda NSX that appears in this episode was, quite literally, “the one you couldn’t get”.

Except we did get it - an amazingly unique, gold-wrapped example of the incredible Japanese super car - for one very special day of filming.

Honda NSX 50th anniversary

Understandably, Honda was somewhat precious about this particular NSX, which had been meticulously wrapped to celebrate 50 years of the brand in Australia, and while there was an orange one being lent to a selection of lucky outlets, it was only WhichCar that secured the most special version.

Read next: Honda celebrates 50 years in Australia

We were, however under strict restrictions as part of the deal. The car would be trucked to our location and we were limited to just a few hundred kilometres to get all the shots we needed for the show.

I’m happy to report, however, that in a twin-turbo, hybrid V6 mid-engined supercar, you can have a serious amount of fun without going very far at all.

Read next: Aston Martin has also just revealed a hybrid V6

The tongue-in-cheek metaphor (but one with a serious point) came together in the tiny ghost town of Steiglitz, about 30 minutes out of Geelong.

This historically rich town was the epicentre of two Victorian gold rushes but, from its heyday in the mid-1800s, there are now only a handful of occupied residences today.

Honda Australia 50th anniversary

For our purposes though, the ghosts and forgotten ruins were the perfect backdrop for the segment’s premise.

The opening scene was filmed on the site of a derelict processing plant with only a few footings and demolished walls to indicate there was ever anything previously occupying the location. Ironically, therefore, it was quite possibly the least likely place for kilometres around that I was going to unearth a nugget.

Read next: Honda NSX review

My metal detector was a Minelab X-Terra 505 with adjustable presets and various different functions for differentiating metal types at different depths, buried in different materials. And none of it meant a thing to me.

Nonetheless, I had done the right thing and acquired a prospector's licence or ‘miner’s right’ as is required for any kind of gold-fossicking activity in Victoria.

According to the law, anyone caught gold hunting without authorisation can have any associated equipment confiscated, which doesn’t sound too serious until you read the small print and learn the car you turned up in can also be included.

Honda NSX and Golden Fleece bowser
We even found an original Golden Fleece fuel bowser in town

I cannot imagine how I would have explained to Honda that I’d had their one-off $420,000 supercar confiscated indefinitely.

You can understand why the NSX is so dear to the company when you learn that the gold wrap was specially developed for the job and the work took 90 hours to complete. It’s no ordinary wrap either.

The special material is three times thicker than normal vehicle wrap and is a special satin gold colour - not a plain mirror yellow finish which would have been too dazzling for road use.

The NSX is part of a fleet of seven vehicles and Honda machinery wrapped as part of the 50-year anniversary along with three motorbikes, a Civic Type R and even a lawnmower and portable generator.

Honda Australia 50th anniversary

I was over the moon with how the segment turned out and to be such an intimate part of Honda Australia’s birthday celebrations. At the end of the shoot, giving back the key to the truck driver and watching the incredible car roll away under wraps was one of the toughest goodbyes I’ve ever had.

Gold fever is a condition that only gets better with time.