Can I afford an NSX? / Is it practical for me?

Joined
Aug 7, 2021
Messages
6
Hi everybody,

I am in the market for a new (to me) car to be my daily driver due to having recently sold my car and suddenly had this thought of 'could I afford to own a NSX?' (Mid to higher mileage one)

For the past year or so, I've actually been thinking about getting back into a S2000 as my daily driver as I used to own one many years ago and missed the top down, high revving experience. But the NSX has definitely always had its allure to me being a big Honda guy, and being that it seems more comfy/daily-able than the S2K, I naturally thought about it.

A bit about me: 28 years old. Currently make ~$110k/yr and have ~$40k in cash and another $35k in stocks in a brokerage account. Retirement has been well saved for (low 6 figures and plan on continuing to contribute). No debt. I dont currently have a garage, but live in a nice apartment complex with gated garage deck.

What do you guys think? Is it feasible? Practical? Smart/dumb? Appreciate everyone's input in advance.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2002
Messages
2,731
Location
New Zealand, North Island
Presuming you mean a first gen NSX (NA):

Pro:
I found the NSX to be the best car ever made: reliable, fun, good looking, cheap to maintain, fuel-efficient, and rides well.
It even appreciates or breaks even in value as you drive it.
Extremely DIY-friendly

Con:
can be extremely expensive to repair (not to be confused with maintenance)
most Acura dealers do not fully support the vehicle, it is EoL to them.
difficult to find competent service and competent service tends to be expensive
repair parts require long order times
Large vehicles try to drive you off the road because they simply can't see the car
The average NSX is 30 years old. All the electrics will require rebuilding: instrument cluster, stereo, climate control, and steering EPS.

Personally:
I daily drove my NSX for 15 years and it was amazing. It allowed my daily 3-hour commute to be a pleasant experience as possible. I moved from an LHD to a RHD country, considered buying a F430, but decided to get an RHD NSX.


If you have dedicated parking at both ends of your commute, don't require bulky item transportation, and can work on your car: do it. Purchase the best-maintained NSX that you can, saving money on the front end is not cost-effective.
An early version with the pop-up lamps and manual rack saving the costs of dealing with degrading headlight housings and expensive rack rebuilds. As long as you don't damage anything and provide regular maintenance: the car can last the foreseeable future.

However, Honda appears to be showing long-term support for the S2000.

I'd say your on your own with the second gen NSX which has insanely good performance and driveability. I can't imagine viable reliability once the dealer/factory support is concluded. Nothing is going to be inexpensive or easy on that car...
 

RYU

Legendary Member
Moderator
Patron Supporter
Tech Expert
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
9,321
Location
City of Angels
Short answer is probably yes if you can handle the maintenance, dwindling parts availability, and the possibility of it getting stolen/wrecked and being able you recover from it with insurance and what not. YOLO and all that, I'd still prefer to daily a couch on wheels especially having daily'd sports cars for so many years.
 
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
2,805
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
The first gen NSX is now a 30+ year old design. You should probably regard it as a classic car and then ask yourself whether you want to be using a classic car as a daily driver.

The NSX was more durable than any comparable car and basically remains a durable car. However, at minimum its 16 years old and it would be unrealistic to expect that day to day reliability will be as good as a late model Civic. Critical parts are generally available; but, not always readily available. As a recent example, if your alternator self destructs you have a problem. There are absolutely no rebuilds available and there are no new alternators in stock in North America with no expected date for arrivals. If the alternator can't be rebuilt locally (bearings / brushes / regulator) you are dead in the water until Denso resumes shipments of new alternators at some future date. The alternator is an NSX only part not shared with any other contemporary Honda vehicle. As a general rule the NSX shares very little with any other Honda vehicle which contributes to minimal aftermarket product availability. In normal times, for me the lowest cost most consistent vendor for NSX parts is ordering directly from Amayama in Japan. Factor being out of service waiting for a part for 2-4 weeks into your ownership plan. You could get a chance to find out how slow Acura's critical back order process is for critical parts right now. Do you have a bicycle?

If you test drive an NSX, pay particular attention to the operation of the throttle, clutch and the drivetrain. The clutch has a high and narrow engagement point, the throttle is fairly quick opening (at least on my DBW) and the drivetrain has a fair amount of snatch in it. It is definitely not optimized for driving in stop and go traffic and is not a particularly pleasant experience. The NSX is also a disappointment for steady highway cruising because by modern car standards it is really, really noisy. They all suffer from wind noise at the door glass - pillar interface (some a lot more than others) and the compliance of the suspension bushings is not oriented towards eliminating road noise. I recently took delivery of an Audi Allroad and it became apparent how much ambient noise the NSX has. To boot, the Audi's claimed 0-60 time is a nudge faster than that of an NA1 and it gets 40 mpg on the highway (if I remember to remove the kayak and roof rack from the roof).

I expect that 90%+ of NSX owners have a regular vehicle for practical duties and use the NSX for sports car or vintage car duties. That is probably appropriate.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 6, 2004
Messages
1,588
Location
Los Angeles
You're doing well at your age and should definitely reward yourself with an NSX or something else. A nice NA1 isn't that expensive and you can always resell it for whatever reasons with little depreciation.



Hi everybody,

I am in the market for a new (to me) car to be my daily driver due to having recently sold my car and suddenly had this thought of 'could I afford to own a NSX?' (Mid to higher mileage one)

For the past year or so, I've actually been thinking about getting back into a S2000 as my daily driver as I used to own one many years ago and missed the top down, high revving experience. But the NSX has definitely always had its allure to me being a big Honda guy, and being that it seems more comfy/daily-able than the S2K, I naturally thought about it.

A bit about me: 28 years old. Currently make ~$110k/yr and have ~$40k in cash and another $35k in stocks in a brokerage account. Retirement has been well saved for (low 6 figures and plan on continuing to contribute). No debt. I dont currently have a garage, but live in a nice apartment complex with gated garage deck.

What do you guys think? Is it feasible? Practical? Smart/dumb? Appreciate everyone's input in advance.
 
Joined
Jun 6, 2004
Messages
1,588
Location
Los Angeles
My NA1 NSX rides like an Lexus compared to my NA Miata. :tongue:

The NSX is also a disappointment for steady highway cruising because by modern car standards it is really, really noisy. They all suffer from wind noise at the door glass - pillar interface (some a lot more than others) and the compliance of the suspension bushings is not oriented towards eliminating road noise.
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2009
Messages
345
Location
Warrenton, OR
This, plus a garage.


I expect that 90%+ of NSX owners have a regular vehicle for practical duties and use the NSX for sports car or vintage car duties. That is probably appropriate.

That being said: When my wife and I built our first home in 1989 for $80K I told her we could sell the home and live in the NSX. I get where you're coming from.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
25
Location
San Francisco
This is a very personal question that depends on many factors. At that age / income / savings, if you lived in my area (Bay Area, CA) that would be a "no, not even close". Things are probably very different in GA though. Like others have said, owning an NSX is borderline owning a classic car and you have to be ready for stuff to go wrong due to age, parts being hard to come by, etc... I wouldn't DD it and expose it to all the hazards of regular daily driving, theres just no accounting for other people on the roads.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2015
Messages
568
Location
Princeton, NJ
I was in your exact same situation years ago.

The answer is yes, you can afford it. No it will not be practical. You will need a second car for sure. At the time I had 4 cars (including the NSX) and everything was parked outside. You will need a private space where you can do quick repairs yourself and most likely a dedicated indoor garage for insurance (Depending on if you get classic car insurance or not). I learned this the hard way trying to do suspension work at midnight in my parking lot getting eaten alive by mosquitos and stared at the occasional cigarette smoker as to whether I was stealing the car or not.

So if you can spare an extra car to be your practical car go for it. If it's going to be your only one, you will have to make lots of sacrifices.
 
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
22,197
Location
Pa
think about that tiny trunk...think about parking where ever..ground clearance is suboptimal...on the occasional snow day you are using Uber...
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2002
Messages
9,231
Location
elsewhere
I take a simpler approach.

If you are just joining a forum asking a bunch of strangers if YOU can afford a car then you can’t.

And if YOU can’t afford two cars then it is impractical to own a first generation NSX as your only car.
 
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
240
Location
Massachusetts
I think it’s affordable but I just did timing belt , water pump , new SOS stage 2 clutch, and 1 new axle and new clutch master and slave . Total came out to $8800.

I think the regular maintenance is affordable such as oil , brakes , ETC if you do yourself
but to document with a the major services every 5-7 years. You need some money .
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
23
I would NOT use an NSX as a daily driver...it's too impractical. And I wouldn't park it outside in the elements, either.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
587
Location
Atlanta, GA
Fellow GA area NSX owner, so I feel like I can contribute a bit more to the discussion. Drew's post is nice & comprehensive as well.


Feasible? Yes. I make less & am younger than you and drive mine consistently as a weekend car, rarely to work (in Duluth), up in the mountains, etc. It was a big stretch for me but doing all the work myself has made it possible. CoL in GA is low enough that you should be able to take on the extra expenses if you're budget-minded which you seem to be. I kept my shitbox daily for the commute, driving to the airport, etc. No way in hell I would keep my NSX parked at the airport overnight or in an open parking area in-town.

You will also not be able to get most collector-car insurance policies if you daily the car, so that's another decent expense to add. Collector policies (I like Grundy) have some requirements like storage space and usage but the premiums are pretty cheap. If the NSX is >25 years old you probably won't have to pay GA sales tax during registration which is a plus.

I doubt you can do much work yourself living in an apartment w/parking deck if they even allow it at all; I'm part of a car club with a few metro ATL locations for storage & lift access that makes my ownership possible. PM if interested. There are only 1-2 shops I know of around ATL that have NSX experience and they charge appropriately so this might be a nail in the coffin expense-wise, especially if you don't pony up for a very well-maintained car from the start. You'd definitely want a higher mileage one, maybe not in the best cosmetic shape but highly maintained.


Practical? Yes and no. GA doesn't really get snow, roads are good, it would make a fine daily for most areas. Trunk space more than adequate for groceries and chores as long as you don't mind them getting roasted by the exhaust underneath. Stock suspension is adequate for the roads without scraping too much if you're mindful.

The catch here is if you live around midtown/downtown ATL I would hesitate, your car will get beat up by doors, potholes, vandals, you name it. I'm very concerned about mine being stolen or damaged so I don't really take it into ATL proper unless it's a special occasion. Even someone smashing a window for my lunch would be such a massive headache to fix, and these cars would be just as easy as any other 90's Honda to steal. You stand out like a sore thumb as well.

I would also be hesitant to daily an NSX if your commute involves major highways (I-85, 285, etc.). There's so much bullshit that happens every day that it makes me very nervous to drive mine especially during peak hours or at night. As others have mentioned, it's a pretty small car and people might not see you, likely horrible crash safety relative to a newer car, and any damage you incur (broken windshield, ran over a tire/couch/etc.) will be painful to fix due to cost & parts availability. Most of the time for me it's just not worth the anxiety when you can save the car for fun weekend trips or similar.


Smart/dumb? Probably more towards the dumb side :)biggrin:) but for good reasons. On one hand you can be smart financially by buying a used econobox to drive for 20 years, on the other hand you can be smart in terms of your overall happiness and use your excess money for something you really want. Everyone's got their balance of spending & saving and I think you're already well set.

Long story short, if you really want an NSX I think you can and should go for it, but you should get another cheap set-and-forget daily as well. I think you'll realize pretty quickly that it's not worth the expense and anxiety to be driving a 90's supercar during rush hour, any car gets boring sitting in stop & go traffic with middling A/C in the summer. If you can afford an NSX you can afford to save up a bit more and get a cheap daily, and you'll probably be happier that way too.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
880
Your financial situation is somewhat similar to mine (same age and similar income) and as far as affording upkeep you'll do just fine as long as you don't get too crazy with the mods and plan on paying someone else to install them all. A garage and DIY maintenance is highly recommended if you are at all mechanically inclined though, you'll save a ton of money on labor and you know everything is done properly. There's plenty of us on here who are happy to help with any questions you have about a given task. Before I bought a house, I lived in an apartment complex that had single garages available for a bit extra each month and they didn't care if I tore my car apart in there as long as I wasn't making a mess or too much noise so that's how I did the timing belt service.

I bought my car 5 years ago though when they were a decent amount cheaper. If you can afford the initial purchase and get a decent example upkeep shouldn't be too bad, it might be worth it to look into financing just to keep your investment account fuller, Lightstream had extremely low interest rates when I bought mine to the point that it made more sense to use a loan than cash. I don't know if I'd want one as my only car, in theory it's awesome but in practice, not so much. In the time I've owned my NSX I've been in 3 wrecks in my daily driver, one total loss, none of which were my fault or really even avoidable.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Messages
22,197
Location
Pa
He has gotten some very good old man/ young man advice..I hope he updates us with his decision.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2021
Messages
6
He has gotten some very good old man/ young man advice..I hope he updates us with his decision.

Hi, and thanks everyone for your input/advice! I definitely appreciate it all.

As for my decision, I think for now I am going to hold off on the NSX for various aforementioned reasons (practicality, lack of garage, parts availability/higher maintenance costs, etc.) and simply due to the fact that I feel like it'd be a hard pill for me to swallow dropping $55-60k+ on what would essentially be my daily driver/only car (not to mention, i'd have to incur some capital gains taxes from liquidating my stocks in the brokerage account to supplement the cash I have on hand).

While I certainly lust for an NA1 NSX, I know I have also just as much wanted to get back into an S2K (ideally for somewhere between $20-$30k) which I think, financially, would be less of a burden for me (financially) to own right now given my current state of finances. It's hard to be a car enthusiast and be prudent :frown:; with the way the prices are going, I wonder if I'll even be able to own a nice example NA1 someday..
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2021
Messages
6
Fellow GA area NSX owner, so I feel like I can contribute a bit more to the discussion. Drew's post is nice & comprehensive as well.


Feasible? Yes. I make less & am younger than you and drive mine consistently as a weekend car, rarely to work (in Duluth), up in the mountains, etc. It was a big stretch for me but doing all the work myself has made it possible. CoL in GA is low enough that you should be able to take on the extra expenses if you're budget-minded which you seem to be. I kept my shitbox daily for the commute, driving to the airport, etc. No way in hell I would keep my NSX parked at the airport overnight or in an open parking area in-town.

You will also not be able to get most collector-car insurance policies if you daily the car, so that's another decent expense to add. Collector policies (I like Grundy) have some requirements like storage space and usage but the premiums are pretty cheap. If the NSX is >25 years old you probably won't have to pay GA sales tax during registration which is a plus.

I doubt you can do much work yourself living in an apartment w/parking deck if they even allow it at all; I'm part of a car club with a few metro ATL locations for storage & lift access that makes my ownership possible. PM if interested. There are only 1-2 shops I know of around ATL that have NSX experience and they charge appropriately so this might be a nail in the coffin expense-wise, especially if you don't pony up for a very well-maintained car from the start. You'd definitely want a higher mileage one, maybe not in the best cosmetic shape but highly maintained.


Practical? Yes and no. GA doesn't really get snow, roads are good, it would make a fine daily for most areas. Trunk space more than adequate for groceries and chores as long as you don't mind them getting roasted by the exhaust underneath. Stock suspension is adequate for the roads without scraping too much if you're mindful.

The catch here is if you live around midtown/downtown ATL I would hesitate, your car will get beat up by doors, potholes, vandals, you name it. I'm very concerned about mine being stolen or damaged so I don't really take it into ATL proper unless it's a special occasion. Even someone smashing a window for my lunch would be such a massive headache to fix, and these cars would be just as easy as any other 90's Honda to steal. You stand out like a sore thumb as well.

I would also be hesitant to daily an NSX if your commute involves major highways (I-85, 285, etc.). There's so much bullshit that happens every day that it makes me very nervous to drive mine especially during peak hours or at night. As others have mentioned, it's a pretty small car and people might not see you, likely horrible crash safety relative to a newer car, and any damage you incur (broken windshield, ran over a tire/couch/etc.) will be painful to fix due to cost & parts availability. Most of the time for me it's just not worth the anxiety when you can save the car for fun weekend trips or similar.


Smart/dumb? Probably more towards the dumb side :)biggrin:) but for good reasons. On one hand you can be smart financially by buying a used econobox to drive for 20 years, on the other hand you can be smart in terms of your overall happiness and use your excess money for something you really want. Everyone's got their balance of spending & saving and I think you're already well set.

Long story short, if you really want an NSX I think you can and should go for it, but you should get another cheap set-and-forget daily as well. I think you'll realize pretty quickly that it's not worth the expense and anxiety to be driving a 90's supercar during rush hour, any car gets boring sitting in stop & go traffic with middling A/C in the summer. If you can afford an NSX you can afford to save up a bit more and get a cheap daily, and you'll probably be happier that way too.

Yo, I really appreciate all this great insight! (especially since we both live in GA :smile:). I think I'm going to hold off on the NSX for now for may of the reasons you (and others in this thread) have mentioned, but I do hope I will be able to experience/own the car one day.. let me know if you'd ever be open to let me sit passenger in your NSX when you drive over to Duluth! I'm there frequently :biggrin:
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Messages
587
Location
Atlanta, GA
Yo, I really appreciate all this great insight! (especially since we both live in GA :smile:). I think I'm going to hold off on the NSX for now for may of the reasons you (and others in this thread) have mentioned, but I do hope I will be able to experience/own the car one day.. let me know if you'd ever be open to let me sit passenger in your NSX when you drive over to Duluth! I'm there frequently :biggrin:

My bad that I didn't check the thread until now.

I think that's a fair conclusion. You can't go wrong with an S2K, I think they'll hold value very well so would serve as a sizable DP for a future NSX if that's an option you're considering. I think the killers for me would be #1- not having a garage and workspace for the car and #2- having it be your only car. Once you can change those then I think it'll be worth it. Unfortunately I don't foresee NSX prices ever really decreasing overall so you'll be fighting that and overall inflation, but I think you're well set for the future. I personally jumped the gun a bit with mine and have to play catch-up instead.

Of course, I'd be happy to. I don't bring it to work often but am at C&O and other local shows almost every month (like this Sunday ;)).
 
Top