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Video | I Bought the Cheapest Acura NSX in the USA: 1-Year Ownership Report

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author photo by Tyler Hoover February 2018

I'm not sure where the time went, but I know where the money has gone in the year since I purchased the cheapest Acura NSX in the USA with a clean title and manual transmission. I've dumped way more money into this 1992 example of automotive perfection than its worth, and I love my NSX dearly -- but I can't decide if should keep it.

At $31,375, the initial purchase price of my NSX was a bargain given the current market -- but after spending $1,000 to ship it cross-country to my door, the car arrived with plenty of issues. The biggest worry was the misaligned suspension, as well as the dead climate control and the glitchy ABS brakes -- but since it's a Honda, all of this was sorted cheaply by my gifted mechanic, the car wizard. Including a fresh timing belt and water pump service, the total bill to fully fix my NSX was only $2,575.

If I had stopped there -- and if I had spent a little more money to return the car's appearance to completely stock -- I would have been way ahead financially. But instead, the vast array of aftermarket goodies available to the NSX proved too tempting. I spent another $6,200 on a ridiculously unnecessary interior upgrade, along with updated wheels from a newer NSX to fully modernize the look of the car. This meant I had spent a little over $41,000 on my NSX -- slightly more than it's worth.

Shortly after completion, I took my NSX to a track day, where I embarrassingly failed to complete the session after losing control of the car. My decision to invest in bling over important things like tires and a functional ABS system meant I found the limit of my terrible driving abilities pretty easily -- and I ruined my mismatched tires after locking up the brakes and attempting a brief rally-cross stage. Thankfully, only the tires -- and my ego -- sustained damage. That same day, the air-conditioning compressor locked up as well -- and it was eventually replaced, along with the ruined tires. Afterwards, I had the car detailed, which shorted a couple ignition coils after they got wet during the engine bay cleaning. This expensive week set me back another $1,500 -- but, mercifully, the next six months of ownership were completely drama free.

Even though, by this point, I was financially buried in my NSX, I still couldn't resist the mod-bug -- and I ended up installing a digital Formula 1-style instrument cluster from a Honda S2000, along with a carbon fiber rear wing. I also found a used HKS exhaust to enhance the engine note of the 3-liter V6 -- but the glorious noise was short-lived, as a concerning rattle began overshadowing the exhaust shortly after.

Unfortunately, the throwout bearing in my clutch was coming apart, which required dropping the transmission to repair. Since I was doing everything needed for a clutch job anyway, I chose to upgrade the clutch to an aftermarket part built for better performance, which came with a lighter aluminum flywheel. My mechanic noted the clutch had been replaced before, and that my transmission had been torn apart at some point -- probably to address the dreaded snap ring issue that plagued the early NSX models.

The cluster, exhaust and wing set me back $1,900, and the clutch job was another $2,100 -- which brings my total invested into my NSX to nearly $47,000. If I hadn't gone overboard with a special clutch and all the crazy mods, I would be in this car for about $10,000 less, and it would be worth the same money. I expect my car would bring $40,000 in today's market -- but given how much I've customized this NSX, it might take a while to find a buyer.

I had initially planned on selling my NSX after a year and moving on to some fresh material -- but I find myself reluctant. I feel like the first-generation Acura NSX is the closest thing to automotive perfection, as it's great to look at, fun to drive, comfortable, reliable, cheap to fix -- and I have zero worries about taking one on a cross-country road trip. Never has there been a mid-engine exotic car with all of these qualities before -- and as modern exotics get even more complex, there won't be another car like this ever again. I know whatever car I buy to replace it will be a disappointment in comparison.

Putting aside the incredible attributes of my NSX, I'm sad to report that it's never been a very good performer for my YouTube channel. The last video I made featuring my NSX was my lowest viewed video over the past 6 months -- and low views is a regular theme with most of my NSX videos over the past year. It seems that it's too good of a car to be interesting -- and people would rather see me make a wider array of stupid, suicidal purchases. I've also run out of ideas for more videos about the NSX -- other than bolting on a $10,000 aftermarket supercharger system, which could possibly ruin my "perfect" car.

So I'm left with a tough decision. Do I give the people what they want and buy something stupid, like the cheapest Ferrari Testarossa in the USA? Or should I follow my heart and keep the best car that I've ever owned? Is this the dumbest article you've read in 2018? I guess you can let me know in the comments section ... while I pace around the house debating to myself.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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