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RE: Honda NSX: PH Carpool

Monday 4th December 2017

Honda NSX: PH Carpool

This PHer ditched a four-year restoration of a 200SX for his NSX; turns out it was quite a good move...



Name: HKZ286
Car: 1991 Honda NSX
Owned since: May 2015
Previously owned: Lots of Nissan Micras, Toyota Starlet GT Turbo, Nissan S14a 200SX, Toyota Celica T-Sport

That infamous view!
That infamous view!
Why I bought it:
"I was elbow deep in a four-year restoration of my 200SX and just slowly lost interest. It was almost done, but I made the mistake of adding up what I had spent, what kind of money I would get if I broke the car for bits and, ultimately, what that would buy me. I was tired of dealing with rust and wanted something with a biggish N/A engine, rear-wheel drive and, most importantly, just something that was interesting. I have a long standing affinity for 90s Japanese cars, and the R34 GT-R and NSX in particular. I really, really, didn't want another Nissan that would grow holes in it (yes, even R34s rust) and the NSX just seemed to appeal to the engineer in me. Financially, it was a terrible decision as Skylines of all types have seemingly doubled in value since I bought the NSX, but I would do the same thing again."

What I wish I'd known:
"Despite popular folklore, these are not your average Hondas. They might have the fabled reliability of such but that's basically where it stops. First and foremost, the parts can be expensive, not necessarily from Honda, but from cars being broken. Parts that would cost pennies secondhand from other Japanese cars (even Skylines) demand huge premiums on the various owners clubs and eBay. This is mainly because the cars are expensive in the first place (as in to buy, even as breakers) and they made relatively few of them. It still sticks in your craw a bit when you have to spend hundreds on tiny bits of plastic due to an enthusiastic previous owner breaking the mounting tabs.

"Again, despite what others say, it's not as easy to drive as your grandma's Accord or Legend. It's as good as it can be, being low, wide, mid-engined and rear-wheel drive, but a shopping trolley it is not."

Things I love:
"The event of it. Driving it, whilst sometimes a pain when commuting, makes it a pleasure when you just want to go for a drive. This is where I tend to agree with people. Having always owned 90s Japanese cars, my perspective is slightly skewed, but it is very, very mechanical. The manual steering is heavy (I have a smaller steering wheel, much bigger tyres and puny noodle arms) but it's only noticeable when manoeuvring; when pressing on it really does add to the experience. Whilst I won't bore you with cliches, it really is fantastic.

Big wheels and non-PAS can be difficult...
Big wheels and non-PAS can be difficult...
"In the same way the sound of a rifle bolt isn't particularly enjoyable outside of its context, the engine isn't particularly musical. However, it makes noises that one would expect an engineer to enjoy (and I do, very much so) and is probably as good as a V6 gets.

"The seating position is amongst the best I have experienced. The view out the front and sides (the rear still sucks, like most mid-engined cars) and the position of the pedals is as close to perfect as I could imagine (my experience with cars, my brain and therefore my imagination, is very small however).

"Working on it is relatively easy as well. There is an absolute plethora of information available, including a workshop manual, so owners are quite spoilt in that respect. In comparison, trying to look up some bolt torque figures for a friend's E46 M3 was almost painful due to the lack of information available."

Things I hate:
"Before I start, I understand complaining about problems with your supercar (if one would refer to it as such) is the most idiotic of 'rich people problems', but you did ask...

"The fact you cannot read any piece of literature on the car without Senna being mentioned. It's the fault of lazy journalism rather than the fault of the individual, however I feel the celebrity name made others (maybe even Honda?) embellish his influence and maybe not highlight those who put in much more miles, Satoru Nakajima and Bobby Rahal to name a couple. No doubt he had an influence, and was important, but no more so than anyone else.

Easier to work on than an M3, apparently...
Easier to work on than an M3, apparently...
"The fact there is essentially zero parts sharing between any other cars. I have had most of mine apart (because I like to take things apart, not because it was required) and have so far found one gasket that would fit other Hondas (a VTEC solenoid gasket, if you must know).

"It tends to bring attention, which is nice in the sense that it makes people happy, but is really not my cup of tea (read: curling up in a fetal position and awkwardly sobbing until people turn away in disgust).

"The clutch pedal feel is vague; I have even upgraded to the Type R pedal and damper less slave cylinder hose, but it's still not fantastic."

Costs:
"You can go crazy as you want. For the most part, standard service items are quite cheap. Things like air filters, oil filters, fuel filters and so on are no more so than any other 90s Japanese car. There are also quite a lot of aftermarket replacement parts for things like oxygen sensors etc which are reasonably priced. Where things tend to get either expensive, or time consuming, are the age related faults (mine is more than 25 years old now). Things like the coolant hoses (there are 24 on my car), the radiator and header tank tend to fail after a lifetime of faithful service. I've done all my own work so far, but I've been quoted £2,500 for a full cooling system refresh and timing belt. If you wanted to go further, Kaz from the NSXCB offers a full engine refresh service, which is incredibly detailed and time consuming, so will cost more.

"If you want an OEM clutch then they tend to be £1,200ish from Honda. It's a twin-plate item stock, so can handle anything but forced induction really (though people even run OEM on supercharged ones, so what do I know?).

"Performance parts and modifications are quite expensive, if you're coming from commonly modified cars like I was (200SX, Supras and so on) you might be in for a shock. If you're used to Porsche and Nissan GT-Rs, then I would imagine it's on par."

Looks like this one is sticking around for a bit
Looks like this one is sticking around for a bit
Where I've been:
"Nowhere really. It's an A-to-A car for me so the mileage is quite low. I like to drive it, but I also like working on it. That coupled with the fact I don't like to drive it in the rain (I know, sacrilege) because it's never seen so much as a drop in its entire life, means I spend more time looking at it from underneath than out through the windscreen. It makes me happy when I do either, and I'm pretty terrible at driving so I'll carry on that way for now!"

What's next:
"Upgrades and more preventative maintenance really. I've got quite an interesting brake upgrade in the works and I think I'm going to take the engine and gearbox out soon for a refresh and a few add-ons. I have bought a standalone ECU, so will be mapped when I've finished bolting shining things to it. I have also bought a baffled sump, you know, so there are no oil starvation issues whilst it's sat idle in my garage.

"I'm also going to try and drive it more than I currently am..."

[Images: DHPhotography, DannyDC2]

Author
Discussion

LotusOmega375D

Original Poster:

3,629 posts

78 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Nice write-up. What's all the writing on the front and rear screens?

alorotom

3,432 posts

112 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Love the honesty in the write up and that it’s a balance of garage queen and commuter - and that it doesn’t matter as it makes th OP smile both ways

I’ve never been in an NSX but it seems like it would be more of an occasion than it’s Italian or German counterparts

hondansx

3,032 posts

150 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Enjoyed the write up!

You bring up a good point about the whole Senna connection. For me, it's far more interesting to know that Honda built a whole new factory to build the car. Then there are some of the world firsts in terms of materials and production methods. Also the fact it could be viewed as virtually a hand built car.

I like the design of your wheels, but I can't say I am a fan of the bodykit, the red badging or stickers...seem at odds with how you describe yourself. I actually modify my cars quite a bit, but when when it comes to the NSX, I think they're at the age where originality is important. It's an old thing now, let it grow old gracefully! For me, it cheapens the image of the car... it's not like you see Ferrari 355s rolling around with fibreglass body kits.

Thurbs

2,675 posts

147 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Looks really good.

I was thinking one of these would make a great race car. Any idea what kind of power you can get from the 3.2 if you did cams, rods etc?

There is a guy who races a black and green one but always seemed to miss him in the paddock.

In standard form it looks pretty close to the ubiquitous M3: http://fastestlaps.com/comparisons/6aok8rjt6gs9 I suspect there is more weight to come out of a M3 than would be from the NSX though.

MDMetal

847 posts

73 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
One of these has been parked outside a house I walk by everyday for the past few months in Cambridge, probably a different person though? Still looks gorgeous I was all excited first time I saw it.
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Riverside Red

459 posts

60 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
After 7 years with a Honda S2000, always yearned after a NSX.

Maybe if I won the lottery it could sit in my garage with the other 80's and 90's nostalgia I'd love.

RR

thatdude

1,818 posts

52 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
A great write-up, and actually quie informative in terms of ownership / working on the car. These articles can be a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to understanding the true experience of ownership, but this one was spot on.

hondansx

3,032 posts

150 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
thatdude said:
A great write-up, and actually quie informative in terms of ownership / working on the car. These articles can be a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to understanding the true experience of ownership, but this one was spot on.
Agreed!

hondansx

3,032 posts

150 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Thurbs said:
Looks really good.

I was thinking one of these would make a great race car. Any idea what kind of power you can get from the 3.2 if you did cams, rods etc?

There is a guy who races a black and green one but always seemed to miss him in the paddock.

In standard form it looks pretty close to the ubiquitous M3: http://fastestlaps.com/comparisons/6aok8rjt6gs9 I suspect there is more weight to come out of a M3 than would be from the NSX though.
I guess this is mean, given there aren't many racing and certainly not many green and black ones.

Mine is a 3.4 using a combination of parts from Toda Racing and Science of Speed, who are a US based NSX specialist. It makes about 400bhp. Scared too push it too much as it was an expensive engine to build and I have no spare!

Which somewhat sums it up. It is a lonely and expensive development journey. Not many parts exist, so it's up to you to develop parts and make the mistakes. It's certainly got potential though, they of course have good aero being so low and pointy, and can be made light (1000kg) without too much trouble, although of course most race series will have balance of performance. When it was out earlier this year with essentially zero development on handling, it was as quick as a 997 Carrera Cup. I was pretty happy with that.

I raced against some E46 M3s at Spa and they are very quickly. Their advantage is the grip they generate from huge tyres; running fronts as wide as their rears. Also, like the Porsche, they are highly developed cars. I will go widebody eventually to compete with this.


MikeGoodwin

1,088 posts

42 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Nice car, but butchered with those JDM scene wheels and ridiculous windscreen decals.

Sacrilege tbh. Hang your head in shame.

Black S2K

629 posts

174 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
The A to A driving bit made me laugh - I tend to do exactly the same.

I found a new slave and new insides on the master improved the clutch feel/smoothness (don't forget to lube the clutch fork!) but it's a slightly odd action/angle due to minimal footwell space (one feels like a ballet dancer) and is one of those oddities about the car.

My favourite bit is the filigree work on the suspension arms - Museum of Modern Art stuff.

Riverside Red - try to get a drive in one. They're quite similar to an S2000, yet completely different. There seem to be a few bargains out there ATM (as well as a few dogs and dreamer-priced ones). They have a feel-good factor that's impossible to objectify.

skylarking808

96 posts

11 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
MDMetal said:
One of these has been parked outside a house I walk by everyday for the past few months in Cambridge, probably a different person though? Still looks gorgeous I was all excited first time I saw it.
If that's the one under a cover in Coldhams Lane, I too wonder about that car.
Would love to see it out and about as I have only seen two in the wild since the 90's.

hkz286

64 posts

9 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
I'm the chap who owns this so if anyone wants to know anything more, feel free to ask smile

To answer a few general questions, the bodykit is actually a lip kit that goes over the standard bodywork, which can be removed at any time to revert back to standard if I wish. I like it though, it was how I bought it from Japan, its from a quality manufacture, so its going to stay smile

the "scene wheels" are a very rare, very lightweight, racing wheel designed in Japan. They have quite an interesting history actually. At the time there wasn't any forging press that could create the size and shape required (not even Rays) so they were forged in Russia, as they were the only place that had a machine capable (they were designed to be used to forge either railway parts or tank parts depending on who you believe). They were used on the JGTC 300 mazda RX7 in a centre lock format as well as many other lesser race cars. Plus I think they look badass, so again, they are going to stay.

The "writing" on the front and back is a bit of a tongue in cheek decoration to add a bit of whimsy on a car that is often taken far to seriously, I wont go into boring detail but its a knod to the southern California Honda showcars and the 90's Japanese street teams that I grew up watching on Option DVD's. Plus, they make me smile, so again they will stay.

The rest of it (the red badge et al) came that way from Japan, and it doesn't bother me, so again, it will stay smile

I did have a build thead detailing all the things I had done to the car but photobucket killed it off, still if anyone reads anymore without the use of pretty pictures, its here:

http://www.stanceworks.com/forums/showthread.php?8...

edit:

topless360 said:
Was this the NSX featured in one of DannyDC2's videos? Can't be many NSX's running those wheels.

Lovely car and one to hang onto for the future I'd imagine.
yes it was bud

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl0vaR4igcc

Edited by hkz286 on Monday 4th December 21:31

topless360

2,719 posts

143 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Was this the NSX featured in one of DannyDC2's videos? Can't be many NSX's running those wheels.

Lovely car and one to hang onto for the future I'd imagine.

Resolutionary

544 posts

96 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Love the wheels, love the body add-ons, love the NSX of this generation. Makes the newest iteration look like a badly described R8. The Japanese really were making some stand out cars back then.

mikeandthat

5 posts

78 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Saw this in my work car park quite a while ago. Normally plenty of decent German cars and a dozen or so more interesting choices but definitely caught my eye parked in a single bay towards the entrance.

Popped over for a closer look and, like I often do; took a few snaps on my phone to show brothers and friends.

Liked the wheels and the bodywork but wasn't a fan of the window decals/stickers. I get annoyed at stickers from the factory or dealer though and not my car so whatever makes you smile I guess.

More shiny bits for the engine and some kind of brake upgrade sounds good to me. Nice to hear it's owned by somebody who appreciates the engineering. Thanks for sharing.

MrGeoff

273 posts

97 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Stunning cars, I have always wanted one and this hasn't helped one bit!

hkz286

64 posts

9 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Resolutionary said:
Love the wheels, love the body add-ons, love the NSX of this generation. Makes the newest iteration look like a badly described R8. The Japanese really were making some stand out cars back then.
thanks bud smile appreciate it


mikeandthat said:
Saw this in my work car park quite a while ago. Normally plenty of decent German cars and a dozen or so more interesting choices but definitely caught my eye parked in a single bay towards the entrance.

Popped over for a closer look and, like I often do; took a few snaps on my phone to show brothers and friends.

Liked the wheels and the bodywork but wasn't a fan of the window decals/stickers. I get annoyed at stickers from the factory or dealer though and not my car so whatever makes you smile I guess.

More shiny bits for the engine and some kind of brake upgrade sounds good to me. Nice to hear it's owned by somebody who appreciates the engineering. Thanks for sharing.
cheers dude smile


MrGeoff said:
Stunning cars, I have always wanted one and this hasn't helped one bit!
thanks smile I have a feeling they may drop in price so keep any eye out smile

hurstg01

2,434 posts

168 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Good write up.

I love these, and would love to own one at some point.

The one in the OP is visually close to ideal spec for me, I can live without the writing on the windows but everything else, visually, works IMO

givablondabone

2,271 posts

80 months

Monday 4th December 2017
quotequote all
Love these and this one is no exception. Except the window stickers shoot sorry.

Mine would be red I think and of course manual.