Remembering My Acura NSX: The Day of Purchase

Back in 2004 I was driving a turbocharged Acura Integra GSR. That was before it was nearly impounded by Fairfax County one fateful night, but that’s a story for another time. My forum of choice in those years was Honda-Tech and during the seemingly endless nights at the office I’d come across a beautiful NSX in the member’s gallery forum. The Honda NSX was to the Honda community world what the R34 GTR was to the Nissan community. When it came to the respective brands, it didn’t get any better. This is the story of the day I purchased my Acura NSX.

The thing I need to remember while writing this is that even though it feels like just yesterday, I purchased and sold my NSX nearly ten years ago. There are quite a few details I hope will be jogged as I write this series. Here goes.

Shopping for an Acura NSX

The Acura NSX is one of those cars that’s value has followed similar suit of the Toyota Supra Turbo. Prices can be all over the place. Higher mileage, early model year cars in relatively stock condition were typically selling for $30k or more in the mid 2000’s. That was slightly out of budget. Frustratingly, any NSX that I found with a mid to high $20’s ask price happened to be in California. I needed to find something local.

One evening when browsing the… shit, I forgot where I was browsing. It may have been Autotrader. Or was it NSX Prime? In any case, I found a guy in Maryland who claimed to own multiple NSX’s and was selling a clean 1991 to make space at his townhouse in Laurel. The NSX was a red on ivory, 5-speed manual, without much service history but it was clean and only had 70k miles or so. I don’t remember the exact mileage, but it was low for the year. The factory wheels were gone and instead came fitted with a set of 17″ Blitz wheels. The interior was just about mint though the center console’s plastic paneling was replaced with a carbon fiber sheet. So for the most part it was free of modification. After a few phone calls back and forth with the seller we agreed on $25,000 and arranged to pick it up the coming Saturday morning.

Would I be able to daily drive an NSX year round? They say it can be done. The NSX is called the Everyday Supercar, right? This could be a terrible decision…

I was beyond giddy and don’t think I worked a single moment the rest of the week. All I could think about was the NSX and if it wasn’t for my midnight work schedule I would have driven up to get the car that same day. On Friday night I stayed at a buddy’s house. He agreed to drive me to Laurel in morning to get the car. It took forever to get to sleep. I woke up to the sound of pitter patter on the windows. Of course it would be raining today.

Test Drive and Purchase

A little rain didn’t stop us. We made it to the seller’s house in about an hour. I want to say it was around 10 AM when we arrived. The rain had lightened up slightly. Enough to walk around the car for a closer look. The owner tells me a little bit about how he had another NSX at another house down south and didn’t see a need for two. Much of this I swear went in one ear and straight out the other. All I wanted to do was take this NSX home.

In the interest of time, and wanting to seal this deal, our test drive was to the nearest bank to transfer the funds and sign the title. The drive to the bank is also much a blur though I remember being thoroughly impressed with the driving position and visibility in the rain. The hood is short and raked so much and the dash is so low that outward visibility was about the best I’ve ever experienced. It reminded me of a the WW2 bomber planes where the gunner sat at the nose.

Then there was the sound of the engine. You can read all the magazines and watch all of the YouTube videos you want but nothing prepares you for the glorious sound of VTEC behind your head screaming to 8,000 RPMs. By the way, you can wind 2nd gear out to about 80 MPH. First gear was so short and second so tall that the engine can easily drop out of VTEC if it isn’t a perfectly timed shift. No idea why Honda designed the transmission like they did. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal because I really enjoyed hearing the activation. Oh, that glorious wail!

The Drive Home

Driving home was perfect. By perfect I mean it was raining cats and dogs. And there I was, in a new-to-me “super car” cruising around the 495 Beltway with the windshield wipers on full tilt. I was so excited to own an Acura NSX but this rain sobered me quick. Truth be told, I was terrified of something going wrong on the way home. The roads were beyond wet and I recall psyching myself out. “This car handles way different than your turbo GS-R or mild 3-series”, I heard in my head. Last thing I needed was to hydroplane and spin out. Or worse. Don’t be that guy who totals and NSX on the way home!

The car was insured, but still. Speaking of insurance, I’m sure you’re curious what it cost for my 23 year old ass to own an NSX. I was with Geico, had a reckless ticket on my record at the time and it cost me $1,600 a year with full coverage and a $500 deductible.

Aftermath

In the end I made it home. It may have taken me two hours on the drive back but I was home safe and sound Saturday afternoon. Just in time to not make it to the DMV. So that meant I couldn’t get the car tagged until Monday. The following day was beautiful and I had a gorgeous NSX. It would have been a crime not to drive it, right? I’ll just keep the Bill of Sale on me and drive around with no tags.

Well, it only took a few hours until the blue lights were flashing in my rear view mirror. I showed the officer the Bill of Sale and off I went, instructed not to drive the car again until it was tagged. Okay, officer!

When I got back home I wanted to share the experience of owning an Acura NSX so I invited most of my friends to drive the car to experience the same thrill. The memories made during my next year of NSX ownership are some of the best that I’ll never forget. I trolled Corvette owners, took teen drivers out on a wet skidpad, competed at the Redline Time Attack, had late-night run-ins with Ferraris and a wild trip to New York City! God, I miss that car. The stories are gonna get good so stick around!


Video Credit: cobshady