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Any known history of JH4NA1157MT002639 and Suggestions for a Mobile Inspector in LA?

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Hello everyone!

I've been hunting for my dream car, an NA1 NSX in manual for a few years now. I'm located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and unfortunately NSXs don't come up for sale too often locally. Even within Canada, I've lost out to locally based buyers for potential sales because it's easier to sell to someone local with no conditions compared to dealing with someone out of province (similar to states for US folks that don't know) with getting an inspection and wire transfers.

I recently expanded my search and came across an NSX that fits my budget. According to the owner, the car hasn't been registered for 8 years and from photos it looks to be in need of some TLC but I don't mind a bit of a project. I was wondering if anyone potentially recognized the VIN number and could shed some history behind the car. I tried searching for that VIN number but wasn't able to find anything. The car itself is pretty unique in that is appears to have been resprayed at one point in a non factory silver, has a Comptech Supercharger and other body and interior modifications (some not to my taste but I guess I can't be too picky).

Also since the car isn't currently registered, the seller isn't able to take the car to a shop for a pre-purchase inspection with getting a tow truck. Before I consider going that route, does anyone know of a mobile inspection by those that are knowledgeable in NSXs in the LA area? The car is located near Orange Country as I know the LA area is quite broad.

Appreciated any help!

Jon
 
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Hello everyone!

I've been hunting for my dream car, an NA1 NSX in manual for a few years now. I'm located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and unfortunately NSXs don't come up for sale too often locally. Even within Canada, I've lost out to locally based buyers for potential sales because it's easier to sell to someone local with no conditions compared to dealing with someone out of province (similar to states for US folks that don't know) with getting an inspection and wire transfers.

I recently expanded my search and came across an NSX that fits my budget. According to the owner, the car hasn't been registered for 8 years and from photos it looks to be in need of some TLC but I don't mind a bit of a project. I was wondering if anyone potentially recognized the VIN number and could shed some history behind the car. I tried searching for that VIN number but wasn't able to find anything. The car itself is pretty unique in that is appears to have been resprayed at one point in a non factory silver, has a Comptech Supercharger and other body and interior modifications (some not to my taste but I guess I can't be too picky).

Also since the car isn't currently registered, the seller isn't able to take the car to a shop for a pre-purchase inspection with getting a tow truck. Before I consider going that route, does anyone know of a mobile inspection by those that are knowledgeable in NSXs in the LA area? The car is located near Orange Country as I know the LA area is quite broad.

Appreciated any help!

Jon

Hi Jon-

Welcome to Prime! [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] might be able to help as I believe he is in the OC. Based on the history you uncovered, the two major issues to worry about are (1) the frame/unibody and (2) the supercharger. Many times, when a NSX is hit and the frame is compromised, they cover it up with body mods and a "custom" respray. If you can get a NSX Prime expert to look at it, they should pay close attention to the frame rails to look for any signs of a repair. Seams where they shouldn't be, excessive undercoating, warped metal, etc. I also like to bring a long piece of string to do a rough check on some of the front and rear control points- the measurements can be found in the service manual and body repair manual. Basically, you do a "X" measurement on the front and rear clips to see if they are crooked. It's not as accurate as putting it on a frame jig, but it will give you a rough idea if the car is bent. Despite what some say, this kind of damage is usually repairable, but to do it right, it's gonna likely be $20k+. In fact, an owner just did it in California. Any time I see custom body panels and/or a respray, my warning bells go off.

Second, with the supercharger, you want to do a compression and leakdown test. While the CT supercharger (especially the original "low boost" version) is quite reliable in the NSX, it still puts more chamber pressure than the engine was designed for, especially on the NA1. You're mostly checking for head gasket issues and piston ring sealing. Valve guides and seals can also go bad due to the increased heat.

These are the two main issues that we have seen turn a dream car into a nightmare for the owner. Both can cause five-figure repair costs. But, if they check out, then you are good to go. The rest is just TLC like you said and gradually repairing and refreshing worn out components. I usually advise new owners to make a "triage list" of most critical to least critical, set a budget and work their way down the list.

If you do get it, you should document the refresh here on the "Builds" forum. We always love to see NSXs coming back to life!

Good Luck
Honcho
 
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Hi Jon-

Welcome to Prime! @RYU might be able to help as I believe he is in the OC. Based on the history you uncovered, the two major issues to worry about are (1) the frame/unibody and (2) the supercharger. Many times, when a NSX is hit and the frame is compromised, they cover it up with body mods and a "custom" respray. If you can get a NSX Prime expert to look at it, they should pay close attention to the frame rails to look for any signs of a repair. Seams where they shouldn't be, excessive undercoating, warped metal, etc. I also like to bring a long piece of string to do a rough check on some of the front and rear control points- the measurements can be found in the service manual and body repair manual. Basically, you do a "X" measurement on the front and rear clips to see if they are crooked. It's not as accurate as putting it on a frame jig, but it will give you a rough idea if the car is bent. Despite what some say, this kind of damage is usually repairable, but to do it right, it's gonna likely be $20k+. In fact, an owner just did it in California. Any time I see custom body panels and/or a respray, my warning bells go off.

Second, with the supercharger, you want to do a compression and leakdown test. While the CT supercharger (especially the original "low boost" version) is quite reliable in the NSX, it still puts more chamber pressure than the engine was designed for, especially on the NA1. You're mostly checking for head gasket issues and piston ring sealing. Valve guides and seals can also go bad due to the increased heat.

These are the two main issues that we have seen turn a dream car into a nightmare for the owner. Both can cause five-figure repair costs. But, if they check out, then you are good to go. The rest is just TLC like you said and gradually repairing and refreshing worn out components. I usually advise new owners to make a "triage list" of most critical to least critical, set a budget and work their way down the list.

If you do get it, you should document the refresh here on the "Builds" forum. We always love to see NSXs coming back to life!

Good Luck
Honcho

Thank you for your reply Honcho! I was thinking the same thing with the respray and aftermarket panels but it's difficult for to confirm as an out of country buyer so that's why I was looking for an NSX specialist. I would definitely be documenting the process of bringing her back to life should I be the lucky one to be the next owner!
 

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I'm afraid, this is a bit of a tough one due to the uniqueness of the specimen involved. The cost to have a mobile inspector (which will be a local NSX technician that will need some convincing to even take the job) will probably as much as paying for a plane ticket for yourself to just see it yourself. In my experience, these situations usually end up with a no-sale most of the time an inspector is involved. However, you have a better chance of buying it if you inspected it yourself.

This type of specimen is very different than a stock low mile unit with neglected problems that usually show up as leaky seals, etc.

The only person I can of in the OC area is Ramon at Niguel Motors. They are located in the city of Laguna Niguel. It will take much convincing to get the car to his shop and do a full inspection (he doubtfully will do it on-location) and up on the lift.

Good luck! Sorry I couldn't be of more help. My advice is to fly down there or do the best you can over a Zoom call.
 
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I agree no professional 3rd party is going to sign off on a basket case...what is your budget including rehab costs?
 
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[MENTION=36838]jrho[/MENTION] I searched our database and this VIN has no history on Prime at least as a VIN. The car may have been documented without mentioning the VIN, but we would need more details. Year, original color, location, previous owners, etc. In the recesses of my brain, I recall a thread about someone respraying a non-factory silver color, but it could be a different car than this one.

If you can't get Ramon to take a look at it, maybe we can rustle up a posse of NSX Prime members to head over and take a look for you. [MENTION=4002]chudson1549[/MENTION] did that for my 92 in South Carolina and he was spot on with his analysis. They can take pictures, start it up, etc. You don't really need a NSX expert for that. Most long-time NSX owners will know a good car from a basket case. I would also try to get as much info from the current seller as possible- why sitting for 8 years? Previous owners, what do they know about the repaint, how did they acquire the car, etc.
 
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[MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] thanks for your input! I did see Ramon mentioned in other areas as a go to so I'll keep that in mind if I go down the route of having the car towed. Unfortunately flying to see a single example of a car is not something I'm willing to do without at least having a third party review the car and to see if it's worth any further effort.
[MENTION=4282]docjohn[/MENTION], I'm not expecting a professional to sign off on a basket case. I'm just looking to have a pre-purchase inspection done to see if there would be any major flags that would deter myself from proceeding any further with this particular car
[MENTION=18194]Honcho[/MENTION], appreciate you looking into the history. The information that I know so far is that it's a 1991, 5 speed, currently located in Santa Ana. Here is the listing https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/896437104361601/ which will provide some photos and some additional information. So far I've gotten a decent amount of photos and a few videos of start up and the car running from the seller. I understand it's not aesthetically a clean example inside or outside which are things I don't mind address but I'm looking to ensure the mechanical bones of the car are solid.
 
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HaHa your idea of a basket case would be a pile of parts.....vs me ( mechanical putz) who would consider a car not seeing the light of day for over 8 years to be a don't touch lesion...
 
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HaHa your idea of a basket case would be a pile of parts.....vs me ( mechanical putz) who would consider a car not seeing the light of day for over 8 years to be a don't touch lesion...

Sure to each their own. I'm not expecting the car to be in driving condition and fully aware of the potential surprises with a car being parked that long. Sorry my budget doesn't allow for me to buy a low mileage mint example.
 
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No worries..the post you quoted was directed to Honcho who is an amazing wrench....
 
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Yeah, docjohn was giving me a hard time and a compliment at the same time. :) I looked at the pictures. The panel lines tell me they have been off. Curious if the door jambs, trunk and front bay were also resprayed the new color. If so, it's more likely this was just a color change. If not, then it might be hiding damage. It's good that it starts and runs. It kind of looks like the Ferrari silver that was popular on the 360s and 430s in the early 2000's.
 
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What's your budget? A friend just sold his red 60k mile for $75k 2 weeks ago. This one seems not worth the trouble to me, but that's just me

I'd ideally like to stick to a budget of around 60k. You're probably right but figured I would just ask on the forums to see if anyone was familiar with the car
 
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I'd ideally like to stick to a budget of around 60k. You're probably right but figured I would just ask on the forums to see if anyone was familiar with the car

I don't think you should give up- the car doesn't look that bad. The "ghetto-ness" of it may be hiding a gem and scaring off buyers. If the body is solid and the engine runs, everything else is just TLC, time and effort (and some $). :) It would need wheels, hood, side skirts and a rear valence- all of which are cheaply available used on the forum. Maybe a lower lip repaint after you remove that hideous Wings West front lip. You'd have to have them paint matched to that silver, but a decent body shop can do that. I think the silver could be a conversation piece...
 
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A couple of observations.

The car has not been registered for 8 years? If that is correct, does it imply that the car is a non runner? If it were moderately easy to get the car running, anyone who is half-aware will know that it is much easier to sell a car that runs. If the current owner is not prepared to make the effort to get it running so that it can be test driven or at least driven to someplace that can do an inspection that would be a giant red flag for me. If the engine has major issues, a full on C30A rebuild is an enormously expensive process ranking right up there with body work.

It has been 11+ years since I dug into the RIV process for importing cars into Canada. My memory is not particularly good and the regulations may have changed. I think you will need to confirm the registration status of the vehicle and absolutely confirm that it is not a salvage or a write-off of some kind / anything that could affect its ability to be registered in the US. As I recall, if the vehicle is a write off or a salvage you are in for a world of hurt trying to get it registered in Canada. There are actually two stages in the process of bringing in a car, the RIV process (which is Federal) and then the process of getting it inspected and registered which is Provincial. A vehicle with valid title / registration (whatever it is called in the US) can go through the process fairly smoothly. A vehicle with a questionable documentation history or that cannot complete the safety inspection process within a designated time may be a nightmare. Find out exactly what the status of the vehicle is in the US then check out the RIV process
https://www.riv.ca/
and check out your applicable provincial process for registration. You don't want the vehicle stuck at the border because CBS won't let it in.

The fact that the car appears to be a non runner would be deal breaker for me because it makes condition assessment really hard / really expensive. I am not really in tune with the going market price because I am not buying and have no immediate intention to sell. If this is the best that you can find within your budget, I would keep in mind the advice about used Ferraris, the cheapest used Ferrari to own is the most expensive used Ferrari that you can afford. Aside from the fact that I personally would do a hard pass on the car (with the available information), the only other advice I offer is do your homework on the RIV process and confirming the status of the vehicle in the US.
 
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Car runs and seller has sent me a few videos of the car running. They don't want to drive it anywhere as the car isn't registered.

I've imported vehicles from the US into Canada before and fully aware of the process. Car has a clean title and one outstanding recall that would need to be addressed before importing.
 
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Any photos of the interior? I agree with [MENTION=20915]RYU[/MENTION] , I would spend a little more to purchase a car needing less work. All said and done, you will have spent more on this car, and in the end and it will be worth less than one with original paint/body.
 
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The car may not be registered but that doesn't mean it can't be put on a flatbed and hauled to a reputable location for a professional evaluation. A few hundred bucks to have the car towed from and back to the seller would be worth the investment if you are serious about buying.

My opinion is not to buy the car without an inspection. Others can offer suggestions on where to have the car taken for the evaluation.

Norm
 
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[MENTION=12430]pvmike[/MENTION] the seller messaged me photos of the interior. It has some sparco buckets that are in rough shape but I have a pair of Recaro RSGs that I can throw into the car so I'm not too worried. There is some stereo work that I'm not too fond of that I would likely strip out.
[MENTION=3738]Norm[/MENTION] that was my thinking too. I just wanted to see if there was any mobile inspectors that anyone would recommend first. I've had Bram in Canada do a mobile inspection for me on a previous car I was interested in so was wondering if there was someone similar. I would definitely not be spending that amount of money on a car without an inspection.
 

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@pvmike the seller messaged me photos of the interior. It has some sparco buckets that are in rough shape but I have a pair of Recaro RSGs that I can throw into the car so I'm not too worried. There is some stereo work that I'm not too fond of that I would likely strip out.
@Norm that was my thinking too. I just wanted to see if there was any mobile inspectors that anyone would recommend first. I've had Bram in Canada do a mobile inspection for me on a previous car I was interested in so was wondering if there was someone similar. I would definitely not be spending that amount of money on a car without an inspection.
If you're fine with having an owner familiar with the platform inspect it then that's a different question and someone local can probably do that for you. YMMV though as owners have different skill sets and different criterias for themselves. Lots of owners in SoCal.
 
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If you're fine with having an owner familiar with the platform inspect it then that's a different question and someone local can probably do that for you. YMMV though as owners have different skill sets and different criterias for themselves. Lots of owners in SoCal.

I definitely wouldn't mind an NSX owner checking it out as well and would really appreciate their time!
 
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