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Was It a Mistake to Buy the Cheapest Acura NSX in the United States?

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author photo by Tyler Hoover March 2017

After three long months, my Acura NSX is finally finished. When I purchased the car, it was the cheapest NSX with a clean title and manual transmission available in the USA. I bought it totally sight unseen, and I had it shipped across the country to my door -- without a prepurchase inspection. That may have been a mistake. Now that I finally have it sorted out, was it worth all the trouble?

Certainly the scariest issue with my NSX was the horrible alignment. I tried two different alignment shops and a mechanic that had seen some NSX work -- but none of them could figure it out. Nothing looked obviously bent or broken, so I took it up to my regular mechanic to see if he could figure it out. Even though he had never seen an NSX before, he had it fixed in under 3 hours by only making minor adjustments. Clearly the man is a Grand Wizard of Car Repair, so I let him tackle the rest of the issues.

All the fixes are documented in the attached video. The repairs, which included a timing-belt replacement, totaled $2,585 -- which gave me a sorted NSX that runs and drives like new. Added to the $31,375 purchase price and the $1,050 cost of shipping it cross-country, my NSX owed me only $35,010. That's a good deal for a sorted NSX with under 100k miles, but I wasn't finished yet.

I couldn't ignore hideous two-tone red interior that looked like the aftermath of an episode of "Pimp My Ride." There was certainly more work to be done -- and there were two clear ways to go about it. One was the smart way, the other completely foolish.

Acura NSX Interior When Tyler First Bought it

This is what my NSX interior looked like when I purchased it.

If I was smart, I would have changed the entire car back to stock, replacing the unfortunate chrome wheel caps with OEM ones, sourcing a used center console to replace the broken one, and re-upholstering the seats back to black. With my affordable upholstery guy, this would have only cost around $2,000 total -- and it still would've kept me under the money for a nice, lower-mileage NSX.

Stock NSX interior

Here is a photo of a stock interior from a 1991 NSX for sale on Autotrader

A foolish man would have decided to make his own custom creation, spending thousands at aftermarket websites creating something that would add no value to the car. In fact, such customization risks would make it more difficult to sell -- since purists would be turned off by the changes, and not everyone would like someone's personal tastes projected onto a customized vehicle.

The New interior of Tyler's NSX

Of course, I took the foolish route. After spending about $6,200 modernizing the look of my NSX with newer-style wheels, custom-made carbon-fiber interior pieces, and red-stitched quilted leather seats, I now have $41,243 invested in my car. At most, it's probably worth $40,000 in this condition -- but I don't feel like I lost out in the slightest, for two reasons.

The first is I never would have dared to put my personal touches on a completely stock, well-preserved original NSX. Since mine had already been modified by someone with the tastes of an 8-year-old boy, whatever I did was certainly going to be an improvement. I also knew I wasn't hurting the value by hacking up a well-preserved original.

This leads me to my second reason for having no regrets. Even though my NSX is worth less than what I've currently invested, this car is pretty much guaranteed to appreciate in value. The latest sports-car and supercar offerings will never give the incredible analog, connected experience of the NSX -- and unlike its contemporaries, the NSX is dirt-cheap to maintain. A car like this will never exist again -- and as a result, it will only get more valuable as people long for the days when driving a supercar was a visceral experience rather than a video game brought to life.

For me, going to all of this trouble and expense was very much worth it. Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to pay off my credit card bills.

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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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Was It a Mistake to Buy the Cheapest Acura NSX in the United States? - Autotrader