The legendary Honda NSX has been shortlisted for a prestigious award recognizing the cars that changed the world.

The brand’s affordable supercar, which rewrote the sports car rulebook when it was first launched in 1990, is one of 39 game-changing models in the running to be named Autocar Readers’ Champion. The winner, which will be announced at the Autocar Awards in May, will be decided in a public poll.

Philip Webb, head of cars at Honda (UK), said, “The launch of the Honda NSX was not only a major landmark in the history of our brand but also in the evolution of the modern sports car. It was truly ground-breaking at the time and carved itself a special place in both automotive history and the hearts of car enthusiasts everywhere. We’re delighted Autocar has recognized the impact the original NSX had on the motoring landscape by shortlisting it for this award.”

First launched 27 years ago, the NSX, or New Sportscar eXperimental, was the first mass produced car in the world to feature an all-aluminium lightweight body. In addition, the all-aluminium 3.0-liter V6 engine featured Honda’s VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system, paired to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed Sports Shift automatic transmissions.

The first generation NSX was presented at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show and was built in a purpose-made factory in Japan, for sale from 1990. It was originally available as a coupé and, from 1995, a roadster. It underwent a performance upgrade in 1997, which saw the arrival of a larger 3.2-liter V6 engine and a facelift in 2002 before being discontinued in 2005.

With styling inspired by the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet, the model’s legendary status was boosted by the fact three-time F1 champion Ayrton Senna was heavily involved in its development.

Following in the revolutionary footsteps of the original, a new and equally exciting hybrid-powered Honda NSX was launched last year. It features a hand-built 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine, mid mounted to an aluminium chassis and mated to a nine-speed Dual Clutch Transmission for instant response. This can propel the supercar from 0 to 100 km/h in under three seconds and on to a top speed of over 305 km/h (190 mph).