Guest contributor: Tom Fuller on his 1995 Acura NSX
This blog has always been a fan of the Acura NSX (Honda NSX elsewhere in the world), and we know that many of our readers are fans as well. We invited owner Tom Fuller to talk about what makes the NSX so great.
MCB: Why the NSX?
TF: To me, the NSX offers supercar looks, performance, and technology, but at commuter car prices. Along with the S2000, it is easily one of the most affordable pure driver’s cars sold in the last 20 years. The driver is just so connected to what the car is doing. Combine that with rock solid Honda reliability and you have a recipe for a great car.
MCB: How did you find your car?
TF: Finding it was actually a pretty mundane affair— after about four months, I found my car in Utah through Autotrader. The drive back to Oklahoma City (where I was living at the time) was simply amazing, though— I spent just about the entire trip deep in mountain country on the back roads of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. I can’t think of a better place to drive a newly-acquired car like the NSX. In my 10+ years of driving it is still my all-time favorite road trip.
MCB: What’s it like to own?
TF: It’s like owning any other Honda, which is to say pretty uneventful. It had just a tick over 85k miles on it at the time of purchase. It’s at 110k now and has seen numerous autocrosses, track days, and tons of mountain pass miles. All of that, and it hasn’t had a single issue. I just change the oil.
MCB: What’s it like to drive?
TF: It’s easy to drive quick but difficult to drive fast. It’s very confidence-inspiring at the limit but it takes a lot of skill to squeeze out everything that the car has to offer. In almost four years of owning it I still learn more about its limits every time I take it onto the track. People always complain that the NSX is slow and underpowered, but those people have never driven one on the track, if they’ve driven one at all. It’s surprisingly fast on a road course, and you’ll be passing people that have much faster cars on paper.
MCB: What should a person look out for when buying one?
TF: Mainly just that preventative maintenance has been done, primarily the timing belt and water pump if it’s a higher mileage car. If you’re planning on getting a salvage title car, find out what happened to cause it to be totaled. Since the NSX is all-aluminum they can be totaled for fairly mundane cosmetic damage, especially the older ones since they are worth less. Also, the early cars (just ’91s I believe) had problems with the snap ring in the transmission, but most of those have been weeded out and fixed by now since it was a recall. Occasionally you’ll still see one in snap ring range that hasn’t been fixed, though.
MCB: What can a person expect to pay?
TF: For NA1 cars (1991-96), anywhere from 20-35k, depending on the mileage, color, and body style (later targas commanding more than the earlier coupes). White also pulls about a 3-5k premium over other colors. The 1995-96 targas are also technically the slowest cars in the range since they have the extra weight of the targa top but not the bigger 3.2L engine introduced in 1997.
The NA2 cars (1997-2001) – with the 3.2L engine, 6-speed transmission, and bigger brakes – can fetch anywhere from 30-45k.
MCB: What would you like to own in the future?
TF: When I move on to something else after the NSX it will probably be a Porsche 911 GT3 or GT3RS— it’s the only logical move up from the NSX in my mind. It is similar to the NSX in that it’s also a lightweight pure driver’s car that’s still civil enough to be driven every day or on long road trips if I wanted.
MCB: We are big fans of the driving roads in Colorado. What are your favorite drives?
Words and images: Tom Fuller