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Quasi-Barn Find 1991 NSX Purchase from Father

13 October 2013
I am purchasing a 1991 NSX from my father. It has about 19,000 miles and has not been driven in at least ten years. Everything is original except for the clutch and the tires (which are 20 years old). No special effort was taken to store it. It was actually parked outside for about a year and a half. Two years ago, I washed it, tucked it in a garage, and put a cover on it. I finally have garage space for it and ready to buy it and get it running again. The paint and interior are in reasonable shape. It is essentially in barn find condition, even though I always knew where it was (except when it was outside).

I have poked around on the site and found lots of good information, but I think my situation is a little unique. I know that it will need a timing belt, water pump, hoses, every fluid, and tires.

The car is 500 miles away from me, but I have a good, local and knowledgable friend who is willing to help me coordinate the repairs. He has a very qualified independent mechanic with which he is discussing the repairs. I do not know if he has NSX experience, but my friend has said that he is the only independent mechanic that he would trust and that he will tell us if there are things he cannot do.

Would it be a good a idea to turn this over to an independent?

Does anyone have a recommendation for a shop in the Winston-Salem / Greensboro, NC area?

Can anyone help me brainstorm on issues to consider or link me to other forums?

What is a range that you think these repairs will cost?

What is a reasonable price to pay my father?

Thanks for your time.
Better check to see if it is within Snap Ring range as well. I'd say go through it, change all fluids, hoses, belts, etc. Obviously it's going to need a new battery and hope that no mice got into anything and screwed anything up. Tires of course, as you stated. I would get an estimate on the cost of all the repairs (whether you do them yourself and are comfortable with it or have a shop do it), get book value information on the car and deduct those costs.

To me, sounds like your father didn't care much about the car, so who knows, he may give you a hell of a deal on it?! I'm going to throw out a low ballpark figure of at least $4,000 to have the essentials completed and out of the way. High estimate (if it needs the snap ring fix), tires, fluids, hoses, belts, wp, etc - you're probably looking at $8,000+ by the time everything is said and done...
Thanks for your reply. There is a long story on why this car is in our family, but no one would care to read it even in the off-off topic section. That said, I know I am lucky. I am looking for a reasonable price to pay him. NADA puts the price around $21K for a car that runs. I am looking for advice on what you would pay for a car in this condition.


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Also, does anyone have experience with Flow Acura or Gary Force Acura?
There's two ways you can approach this. You can see what the car is worth now in its current condition or you can see what the car will be worth when it's back to mint condition. Then decide how much you want to spend to get it there.

You are looking at an extremely low miles NSX, so in perfect condition, a 19,000 mile car would probably command closer to $35,000. So if you only pay $15,000 and you spend a whopping $10,000 restoring it then you still have some really nice equity into it.

or you can buy it for $15,000, spend $5,000 just getting back to nice working condition and you still have a 27,000-32,000 car in your hands.

These are all big IFs of course, if that engine doesn't turn, if the tranny snaps, if the axles are stuck, etc, those will be the issues that will bust this deal.

And before anybody bashes my numbers, I'm just estimating here, just trying to convey the idea of how much equity he might end up with depending on the depth of restoring he chooses to do.
Contact Steve Gooding. He is in Raleigh and is the only guy you should trust with this car.
He knows more than anyone about the NSX
I am interested in hearing more about this story. Was your dad the original owner of the NSX? Did he buy it and just lose interest? He sounds like an interesting person. If he was the original owner you must have grown up with the car being around. My father was never really into cars and had really bad taste in them (I grew up with my dad owning a Vega, then a Volare and finally a Volvo 240......I think the Volare was voted one of the worst cars of all time, the Vega would burn about as much oil as gasoline and the Volvo.....well lets just say they are "boxy but good"). Good luck with your purchase. It's cool if the car can stay in the family. I agree with the other posters that 15K would be a fair price (family discount) considering you'll need to put quite a bit of money in to it initially.
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I live in Winston Salem and would be glad to help you. I took mine to Flow Acura and there is no way I would ever recommend them. They charged a fortune for everything they did and messed up probably more than they fixed. To be fair, I don't think I would trust an NSX to any dealership at this point. No one knows how to work on them. If I were you, I would have it towed to Steve Gooding. There is no one better. He's a busy guy but a genius with the NSX. I live 5 miles from Flow Acura and I towed my NSX 2 hours away to Steve when I needed it fixed. If I were you, I would not even try to start it until Steve has looked it over. Send me a PM if you want me to help.
You should read this post... its about an NSX with less than 3000 miles that I found a few years ago. A Primer named "gas-motors" purchased and rehabbed it properly, and sold it to a fella in Switzerland
It sat for 18 years in a warehouse in Miami

The fuel had varnished... gas lines, fuel injectors, filters, plugs, brake lines had to be replaced. timing belt. water pump. random stereo issues. rubber hoses. tires. other stuff you expect from a car that has sat for a very long time

+1 to having it towed to the recommended guy, you really want a knowledgeable NSX mechanic on this one

Get it thoroughly gone over and you'll have a working estimate for rehab costs

Without that information, your price/valuation is just a ballpark guess.

If the transmission is out of snap ring range, I'd pay $15-$20K for it without thinking too hard...

Looks like a nice one and if you rehab it right, she will run for a very long time and likely go up in value too :)
I too would love to hear this story. I am intrigued. I'd also love to know what you are paying for this find, but it's none of my business. Looking foreward to updates and what you do to it to get it in tip top shape.
Have you and your father sat down and talked about what the car is worth? If he hasn't driven it in at least ten years it obviously does not have much value to him. That is not meant as an insult, but as a negotiation tool. Is it possible he can give it you as a gift? If so, you get a great car and can put $10k into making it perfect. If your father needs the money, then I'd say $15k is a fair family price and then you can look at putting $5-7.5k into it to get it up and running. Either way, don't let it slip out of your hands.
Wow! You are so lucky. Either way would be glad to hear how this turned out. The "gift" option sounds awesome, with maybe barter to help him with other stuff. :)
I start with an offer of $20k to a stranger. There is such a huge time/money component to getting it all back in shape, and who knows what other things might need to be replaced/tuned that aren't wearable items or cannot be seen.

Since it's your father, I would ask for a family discount and say $15k. You can always tell him it's an old Honda, and even Accords have more power now. ;)
Ok I have been named in this thread and need to say thank you to my fans. :) lets get started: DO NOT TURN ENGINE OVER. ok now that we have got that out of the way i have been involved in many great "barn finds" and we have lots to do just to make sure you do not do any further damage than has already been done. As has been stated the tank needs to be drained and flushed also checked for rust, piston rings need to be oiled and SLOWLY moved then we can start looking at the general maint. items.my guess is all rubber this will include ABS hoses and each rubber hose to the wheels also high PSI fuel lines. All coolant hoses to include bypass,heater and cooler hoses. now we have additional rubber gaskets at the head covers. cam plugs and oil pan. I am not saying that it all has to be done NOW but all must be inspected and left for you to decide weather or not you want to take care of it.
After we are ready to start the car and get it up to operating temp ( there are other items before we do this) we will want to do a leak down and compression test. this will allow us to determine if we have week valve springs. i am also concerned about rodents i have seen rats and mice total a car.
Please feel free to pm me or call. i consider all NSX's as part of my family and look forward to helping you become a future NSX Expo addict

There was a thread a while back where a guy was in a similar situation with a very very low mile NSX. He was advised to do all the delayed maintenance. Long story short, I believe the timing belt was put back on incorrectly perhaps a tooth off. Way down on power. Some times its better to just leave well enough alone and do the absolute minimum.
There was a thread a while back where a guy was in a similar situation with a very very low mile NSX. He was advised to do all the delayed maintenance. Long story short, I believe the timing belt was put back on incorrectly perhaps a tooth off. Way down on power. Some times its better to just leave well enough alone and do the absolute minimum.

two separate issues here. the above is an issue of someone not doing the work correctly. OP should definitely replace a 22 year old timing belt.
For some odd reason you don't end up picking this one up and he wants to sell it, let me know. I'll pick it up.

But like everyone said... I would change pretty much anything that is rubber or fluid. Replace the pumps (fuel, oil, water) and make sure there's no corrosion on any electrical systems. Make sure you look for any sign of rodents, bugs, etc and exterminate them. Once everything is replaced/serviced, do a thorough check on all bushings and make sure everything is greased where it should be. Do a compression/leakdown test and then fire that baby up!

It'll be a hell of a project!
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I talked with Steve the day before he passed. What a great guy. I planned to trailer my car to Raleigh Thanksgiving weekend. It is like I lost a friend before I got to meet him in person. I actually started a list of questions for our next conversation that were unrelated to my car just so I would be ready.

Respectfully, if anyone has any suggestions for me on where to get my NSX running again, I would appreciate it. The car is located in the Winston-Salem, NC area and I reside in the Nashville, TN area. Thanks.
That is probably the best solution. In light of the situation with the loss of Steve Gooding, I know that Barney has an excellent reputation and many on the forum have direct experience.
is this thread the last post by Steve..:frown: