It is with a heavy heart and deep sigh that I begin the last love letter to the car that was mine for two and a half years.
Looking back, I wasn’t even intending to own one. I found it at a dealership and thought to myself “I’ve never seen one in person before, I should at least go look at it. Maybe a test drive.” My girlfriend made that scrunched up face that she always does when she knows that I’m about to make a rash decision but decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. I had the last laugh, though, it appreciated quite well as I owned it.
I got in, marveled at how well everything had kept up in the last 88,000 miles, wondered how it was for the other 4 owners, and took it out of the parking lot for the test drive. It was low and it was visceral. It was like being in the fighter plane cockpit - you could see everything, and you were so low to the ground even at the OEM ride height that the Focus next to you looked like a minivan. The engine sound was the best V6 I had ever heard, and when I turned the wheel the non assisted steering told me EVERYTHING about the road like a tattletale from the 4th grade.
The salesperson could tell after I got out I was in love and that they had me by the balls. I bought it that night. The dealer also gave me a pretty nifty Acura sweatshirt, and I took a few photos of it and drove it home.
One thing I learned about NSXes over the next few years is that quality aftermarket and excellent condition OEM parts will probably run you about a thousand dollars, regardless of part. Despite the fact that it is still very much a Honda and had Honda reliability, it’s still 25 years old, and 25 year old parts still die.
The clutch wore out, and I replaced it with one that takes double the torque in case I wanted to go forced induction (This is before I found out that supercharger and turbocharger kits go well into the $10,000's range for a comprehensive setup.) I also replaced the OEM exhaust as it started to fall apart, put on some new tires, different shifter knob that wouldn’t heat up in the sun so easily, an entirely new stereo system to replace the aging aftermarket Alpine header unit, and replaced the awful foam cone intake someone had stuck on where the OEM intake box used to be. The A/C controller unit failed, necessitating a rebuild replacement, and I also had to replace the brake pads once. You can’t tell from the pic really, but the paint job was also starting to suffer after a few years of being pelted with rocks and dust from the AZ freeways.
It was also the time that I managed to get this past the AZ Motor Vehicle Division for 3 months, until someone found out that I didn’t really run the Virginia Jazz League at all.
Other than that, it was mostly oil changes and basic maintenance. And after a while, I found myself with a little bit of spare cash and I went down to Apex Customs in Phoenix and they did a little wrap number for me.
Oh sure, there were bad days. I had a bad blowout in a tire after some dark freeway debris at night and the spare donut was a 25 year old hubcap with some brittle rubber on it, and AAA took about 18 weeks to get to the freeway I was on. The ride was pretty firm because I hadn’t gotten around to upgrading the suspension on it yet, to the chagrin of my now wife. The new exhaust made the engine sound great but also drowned out any other noise inside the car, and annoyed my neighbors at night. There was a pervasive muted rattle somewhere above the rearview mirror that I wound up silencing with some foam tape. And while I developed impressive deltoids and triceps, occasionally in a few parking lots I missed having power steering.
Also, people were randomly parking next to me when I would park about 12 miles from the place I was going to, even though I was paranoid about door dings due to the way my car’s sheetmetal was hated on by the general public in the STI I drove prior. I’ll never understand the pervasive need to park next to someone else when they make it a point to stay prohibitively far away from everyone else’s car.
And sometimes, I missed the 4 door fold down seat practicality of the Subaru I used to drive, and in a straight line, it could barely keep up with a V6 Mustang. It was impractical to the point where I wound up buying a people carrier for kids and Costco runs, just in case you bought more than $100 worth of things at Costco (note: it is impossible not to buy at least $100 worth of things per Costco trip.)
I’d occasionally question the impulsive buying decision I made, but then I would sit in the damn car and turn the key and put it into first gear, and I would forget. every. damn. thing. I was complaining about.
There’s no question about it, when you’re driving that car, that car comes first - in your mind, your heart, and especially your hands and feet. It asks for no less and rewards you in turn with something on the street legal side akin to an ALMS race. Every time. Every problem that isn’t NSX related just no longer seems relevant for the 30-40 minutes you’re driving that thing around.
Someone once told me that there are no motorcycles in front of the therapist’s office. Well, there’s no NSXes either, unless it was the therapist’s.
Despite its warts, I lived and loved this automotive incarnation of the former prom queen after a few divorces, and gave it the best part of my automotive life until three weeks ago, when someone ran a red light and we hit.
Its final great deed was taking 25 year old aluminum sheet metal, a single 3 point seat belt and one standard SRS airbag from the 90's and saving my life with it. I walked away from that crash with bumps and bruises but essentially intact.
So, thanks, Nyacura NyanSX. Thanks for being there for me, thanks for picking me up when I was down, and playing endless iterations of that poptart cat song. Thanks for riding with me through thick and thin. Thanks for making my girl jealous of the attention you were receiving, thanks for all the love you earned for me from the internet and from Cars and Coffee, and most of all, thanks for singing to me the engine song of your people and carrying me to automotive Neverland every time I drove you. I’ll have newer cars, I’ll have faster cars, I’ll probably even own prettier cars in the future, but I’ll never forget the feelings you gave me that made this part of my life worth living.
I’m moving on now, the insurance claim is complete and I found another car that I feel comfortable with, but I’ll never forget what it was like to daily drive around in a mid engine supercar.
Oh, and Acura of Peoria over here has another black ‘91 for sale, in excellent condition. They want 65 grand for it, though. Just saying.