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Opinion on this NSX's condition?

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I am a prospective buyer of a na1 NSX, however it's located across the country, so I arranged to have the car put on a lift at a local Midas (the only place that would do it on short notice) and asked them to get pictures of the underbody. They took some not-so-detailed photos, and I was hoping someone here with expertise could tell me what they think of the car's condition. The woman at Midas said it was in perfect condition "for its age" with no rust, however I see some bolts that look sort of rusted, and the panel in the middle of the car looks pretty rusty, at least compared to what I've seen on other NSXs for sale, which usually look black. Nothing to worry about? I've never purchased a 30 year old car before, sorry I'm a noob.

Images link: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA77NC

The car got regular services/fluid changes until 2014, but then just sat in a garage until recently without any maintenance or driving. I'm also curious if you guys have any opinions on that.
 
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Based on the very not-so-great photos, this NSX looks relatively clean. The areas around the oil pan gasket, cylinder heads and CV boots appears to be clean, indicating some level of good prior service. There is a concerning oil wet spot on the transmission upper case, but it could just be residual CV grease from a prior leak.

If the car has been sitting for 8 years, the key things to look for are:
  • Corrosion at the caliper brake pistons. The only real way to know is to take them apart, but you can often feel it if the brakes are "on/off" and feel spongy. They will almost certainly have to be serviced after 8 years of sitting in water-contaminated fluid.
  • Leaks at the brake master, clutch master and clutch slave cylinders.
  • Potential capacitor issues on the CCU board and gauge cluster.
  • Gummed up power window tracks from dried out grease.
  • Rotten fuel in the fuel filter and gummed up fuel injectors. Probably bad gas in the tank too.
I would normally add looking for weeping oil leaks, as the rubber seals tend to dry out without regular use, but this car's engine appears to be clean. Believe it or not, even after sitting for so long, a well maintained NSX usually will fire right up and run smoothly. I would ask the owner about the above, since we see them all the time on neglected NSXs. If you do end up buying the car, I would start with the above list.

Hope this helps.
 
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Based on the very not-so-great photos, this NSX looks relatively clean. The areas around the oil pan gasket, cylinder heads and CV boots appears to be clean, indicating some level of good prior service. There is a concerning oil wet spot on the transmission upper case, but it could just be residual CV grease from a prior leak.

If the car has been sitting for 8 years, the key things to look for are:
  • Corrosion at the caliper brake pistons. The only real way to know is to take them apart, but you can often feel it if the brakes are "on/off" and feel spongy. They will almost certainly have to be serviced after 8 years of sitting in water-contaminated fluid.
  • Leaks at the brake master, clutch master and clutch slave cylinders.
  • Potential capacitor issues on the CCU board and gauge cluster.
  • Gummed up power window tracks from dried out grease.
  • Rotten fuel in the fuel filter and gummed up fuel injectors. Probably bad gas in the tank too.
I would normally add looking for weeping oil leaks, as the rubber seals tend to dry out without regular use, but this car's engine appears to be clean. Believe it or not, even after sitting for so long, a well maintained NSX usually will fire right up and run smoothly. I would ask the owner about the above, since we see them all the time on neglected NSXs. If you do end up buying the car, I would start with the above list.

Hope this helps.
Thank you
 
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Based on the very not-so-great photos, this NSX looks relatively clean. The areas around the oil pan gasket, cylinder heads and CV boots appears to be clean, indicating some level of good prior service. There is a concerning oil wet spot on the transmission upper case, but it could just be residual CV grease from a prior leak.

If the car has been sitting for 8 years, the key things to look for are:
  • Corrosion at the caliper brake pistons. The only real way to know is to take them apart, but you can often feel it if the brakes are "on/off" and feel spongy. They will almost certainly have to be serviced after 8 years of sitting in water-contaminated fluid.
  • Leaks at the brake master, clutch master and clutch slave cylinders.
  • Potential capacitor issues on the CCU board and gauge cluster.
  • Gummed up power window tracks from dried out grease.
  • Rotten fuel in the fuel filter and gummed up fuel injectors. Probably bad gas in the tank too.
I would normally add looking for weeping oil leaks, as the rubber seals tend to dry out without regular use, but this car's engine appears to be clean. Believe it or not, even after sitting for so long, a well maintained NSX usually will fire right up and run smoothly. I would ask the owner about the above, since we see them all the time on neglected NSXs. If you do end up buying the car, I would start with the above list.

Hope this helps.
What do you think of the stuff I circled in blue, is that rust potentially problematic?
 
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What do you think of the stuff I circled in blue, is that rust potentially problematic?
No, that is just cosmetic rust on the bolts. Common for NSXs that have been used in a salt environment (seafront or winter salt). Not expensive to replace those bolts.
 
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The comment from the Midas person about no rust is slightly entertaining. Most people are unaware that with an all aluminum body conventional rusting is not going to be an issue. As noted, the underside of the car looks quite clean. Actually, it looks cleaner than the underside of my 2000 - almost like somebody cleaned it up with a pressure washer. If the car has been in un heated storage for 8 years and is located in an area subject to 'winter', the temperature swings will result in condensation and surface rusting on exposed steel. The brake disks may have similar rusting issues. Not desirable; but, normal.

As an observation, pictures of the top side of the car and the interior are probably a better indication of the condition of the car. If the paint and the interior look good, its not a guarantee; but, chances are that the mechanicals are also in good shape. A car that is ratty on the outside is usually ratty on the inside.

A pre delivery inspection would be desirable, even something basic from an Acura dealership as opposed to a vintage car specialist. That should be able to identify any obvious issues. Right now, I am assuming that you are taking it on faith that the engine idles smoothly, it steers straight, the electrics work, the CEL is not permanently on, the gears shift smoothly - stuff that you would pick if you could inspect and test drive the car yourself.

Problems with the engine / drive train can be expensive to repair; but, ultimately are usually 100% fixable. Problems with the body beyond fender dings and paint scratches are more complex and costly to repair, particularly since body shops capable of working on the NSX are not common. Have you run a CarFax / CarProof report on the VIN? That should flag any serious autobody work and may provide a partial maintenance history if the maintenance was carried out by conventional repair shops.

Are you considering purchasing and having it shipped to you without having seen the car in person of test driven it? If so, I would definitely recommend a PDI. If you are thinking 'is it worth flying across the country to see it and test drive it' (you didn't indicate whether it can it be driven or needs to be trailered), then maybe you can forgo the PDI if you are prepared to walk away from the deal. However, be aware that once you have committed to flying across the country it will psychologically be extremely difficult to walk away from the deal even if it is not a good deal.

If you have not run the CarFax report, do it. Its not a lot of money. It does not provide a guarantee; but, it may raise some big red flags. Finally, post the VIN here or at least use the Prime search function to find out whether there are any hits on the VIN which may provide some prior history.
 
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The comment from the Midas person about no rust is slightly entertaining. Most people are unaware that with an all aluminum body conventional rusting is not going to be an issue. As noted, the underside of the car looks quite clean. Actually, it looks cleaner than the underside of my 2000 - almost like somebody cleaned it up with a pressure washer. If the car has been in un heated storage for 8 years and is located in an area subject to 'winter', the temperature swings will result in condensation and surface rusting on exposed steel. The brake disks may have similar rusting issues. Not desirable; but, normal.

As an observation, pictures of the top side of the car and the interior are probably a better indication of the condition of the car. If the paint and the interior look good, its not a guarantee; but, chances are that the mechanicals are also in good shape. A car that is ratty on the outside is usually ratty on the inside.

A pre delivery inspection would be desirable, even something basic from an Acura dealership as opposed to a vintage car specialist. That should be able to identify any obvious issues. Right now, I am assuming that you are taking it on faith that the engine idles smoothly, it steers straight, the electrics work, the CEL is not permanently on, the gears shift smoothly - stuff that you would pick if you could inspect and test drive the car yourself.

Problems with the engine / drive train can be expensive to repair; but, ultimately are usually 100% fixable. Problems with the body beyond fender dings and paint scratches are more complex and costly to repair, particularly since body shops capable of working on the NSX are not common. Have you run a CarFax / CarProof report on the VIN? That should flag any serious autobody work and may provide a partial maintenance history if the maintenance was carried out by conventional repair shops.

Are you considering purchasing and having it shipped to you without having seen the car in person of test driven it? If so, I would definitely recommend a PDI. If you are thinking 'is it worth flying across the country to see it and test drive it' (you didn't indicate whether it can it be driven or needs to be trailered), then maybe you can forgo the PDI if you are prepared to walk away from the deal. However, be aware that once you have committed to flying across the country it will psychologically be extremely difficult to walk away from the deal even if it is not a good deal.

If you have not run the CarFax report, do it. Its not a lot of money. It does not provide a guarantee; but, it may raise some big red flags. Finally, post the VIN here or at least use the Prime search function to find out whether there are any hits on the VIN which may provide some prior history.
Thanks so much for those insights. Super helpful. I didn't end up purchasing it, I lost the bid, it was an auction on BaT, it went for a good price, but there's an additional 5% buyer's fee added to the sale price and it just got a little too expensive for me. It came with a clean Carfax. https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1993-acura-nsx-9/ if you're curious. With my approval Seller ended up reimbursing me for the cost of the underbody inspection and added the photos to the listing.

The car was always garage-kept in the winter and never touched snow or rain according to Seller. I've always been hesitant to buy a car from northern climates having spent a lot of time in michigan, seeing what salt can do to a car. One of the reasons I love the NSX's aluminum frame.

You're totally right that it's hard to walk away from a car after flying to go see it hah, I've done that once.
 
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