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Questions about lifetime ownership of a salvage-rebuilt NSX... for daily usage.

14 July 2019
Hi all, I am a long time lurker on this forum and finally have the courage to make an account and post... so forgive me if I come off as a bit naïve.

I am a long time NSX fanatic and have dreamt to drive this car basically since I began loving cars. I am considering buying an NSX that has seen some love and has been driven many miles. 150k+ miles is not a serious concern for me and if the bodywork and interior is a bit tired then I am ok with that as well. I am looking at rebuilt NSXs because I intend to daily drive my vehicle and I seriously don't care about my first NSX being pristine (I intend to own more than one)... I want to drive it. I figure I will be able to slowly work to improve and restore the vehicle over time as I drive it. Money is tight for me right now, so that is another reason why I am opting for a rebuilt NSX, but as years go on my income will increase after I am done with training. I assume that owning a rough around the edges NSX will better prepare me for a more pristine example.

My primary concerns with purchasing a rebuilt NSX is frame damage and mechanical issues. The car needs to be able to drive from point A to B without any issue. If the AC is broken, I don't care. If there are chips on the paint or fading, I don't care. All that I desire is a solid frame and the essential mechanical components of the car to function reliably. It is going to need to be able to be reliable enough to get me to the hospital everyday, and from there I can work on fixing and improving the problems with my car. And yes... I am looking for a 5-spd or 6spd MT.

The plan is to make it my daily driver for all seasons except for winter since salty roads and slippery conditions don't really make for a safe drive with RWD. During the winter, I would garage it and fix things bit by bit. The color doesn't matter much to me because I would likely repaint the car in a new color of my choice as well. Due to all of these reasons, I felt that I should opt for a rebuilt NSX. I don't want to ruin the value of a garage queen, but I want to be able to actually enjoy the car like I have always heard the car was meant to be enjoyed. Also, the fact that I plan on keeping the car till I am in the grave pushed me in the direction of a rebuilt car.

What say all of you? Is it a crazy pipedream to want to daily this car? Is it crazy to want a well-loved and rebuilt car with little to no value aside from the driving experience? I want to use this car like any other car, but I want it for life. New cars don't do it for me and feel detached so I just want to pick cars that I will never mind investing in to repair and fix... an NSX is always going to be worth it in my mind (but maybe I am crazy to think this way).

If anyone knows the average price for a NSX that is rough around the edges, but deserves another chance at life then please let me know. If this idea that I have is an overall terrible idea and I shouldn't bother, please let me know. I will likely be trying to buy one within the near future (1-2yrs), so please don't be offended if I cannot make any offers on any good cars that would fit my purpose. Either way, I will own one in the future... that much I am certain of.

Thanks for listening!
There are many who daily their NSX. I don’t do so myself, but could easily do so, even during the winter, should I choose to use winter tires. Others will chime in with comments on salvage cars.
Its a usable car in the winter?! Please don't tempt me! Things get pretty slippery at times in NY so thats why I initially wasn't considering it. I was going to try and look for a manual Acura TL with SH-AWD for the winter but now you got me re-thinking that. I guess I will see what happens.

Yeah from what I have read most really think salvage-repaired cars are really not the way to go so I assume I might get a good kicking for seriously contemplating it. Thanks for the input!
There’s a guy on the FB NSX Prime group who just bought a salvage title NSX for $20k and posted about it today. He plans to save it. As long as you recognize that you may not get the money back that you want when you choose to sell, and that you may have a more difficult time obtaining financing, salvage is fine. Go save one!
I daily drove my NSX for the first 3 1/2 years of it's life with me. I'm the original lessor/owner. I drove it winter spring, summer and fall. I didn't really drive it in "snowfall", as the "clearance" isn't really there. I did drive it home a few times when I got caught out, and it was snowing. Yes, it's rear wheel drive, and not great in snow, or sleet, but it can be done. The car is now an every other weekend, spring through fall, treat to drive. I just drove it up to Watkins Glen, with a few other NSX buddies, and did Kid's Day, for the 15th time, and turned 82,000 miles on the way home. Yes it has some chips on the paint, but I drive it, and enjoy it. As for salvage, unless you get it properly checked, for frame problems, I'd be very careful. Sometimes, the cheapest car you find, can cost you the most money.
If I could get away with driving one as a daily driver I think I would be living the dream. I think that if I do opt for the salvage-rebuilt route, I would get a PPI done on it by a mechanic who is familiar with NSXs. I assume the aluminum frame makes it a bit more difficult to fix damage. If I do choose a salvage car, it would have to have a solid frame and have enough usable parts to invest the time to put it on the road. Either that, or I will wait for a non-crashed high-milage example to get my hands on.

Unfortunately, it looks like those types of NSXs are hard to come by after the values of the car skyrocketed. Most I see are like 50,000 or less miles and have been preserved mostly for resale. I don't want to daily one of those since it would be a waste of a well preserved car. I assume many people are now looking at the car as an investment that will increase in value so the pickings for a car that I would want might be really slim.

I really am not thinking at all about resale or anything like that. I guess I should make that clear. The car I buy for a daily driver will likely be off the market indefinitely and not a good candidate for future sales. I plan on initially acquiring it and driving it as is for a bit to see where the quirks and problems are for my specific vehicle. Then once I know what my NSXs problems are, I would initially focus on returning its mechanical components to near-factory condition again. After the car is mechanically sound, I would begin restoring the interior and exterior of the car with either OEM parts or parts that help modernize the car a tiny bit. Things like a security dashcam, hidden immobilizer switch, LED upgrades for the lights, and a paint scheme that is uniquely mine. I tend to love how Honda vehicles aren't really pretentious so all of my mods would be subtle and not noticeable unless I point them out. The goal at the end of the day would be to "tastefully" restomod an early 91-99 NSX to something that doesn't look like Honda themselves wouldn't have done. Reliability > Performance/flashiness.

I just want to daily this car since its been a dream of mine. If it sells for pennies after I am dead then at least I got what I paid for it when I was alive. I'm really not interested in these newer cars that have way too many electronics that fail and become obsolete within a few years. An NSX is timeless in appearance and experience so I want it in my life!
Daily driving a good NSX should not be a problem. Its a Honda.

Rear wheel mid engine drive is good for forward traction; but, has a greater tendency to over steer at the slightest provocation when traction is poor. Ultra / extreme performance tires which are typically used on NSXs are an absolute no go in the winter. If you were to consider driving an NSX in ice / snow / cold conditions you would need to purchase temperature appropriate tires.

An early NSX that is pristine is not a guarantee of reliability; however, an NSX that is rough around the edges is likely an indicator of lack of care for the car including deferred maintenance. The received wisdom is that the cheapest NSX to own will be the most expensive NSX that you can afford to buy. An NSX may be a Honda; but, it is not an Accord or a Civic. There is no significant aftermarket source for parts so most of the parts have to be obtained from Honda and some of the those parts are getting hard to find. Anything that is body or trim related tends to be very expensive (that little black strip of metal with the rubber wiper at the bottom of the driver and passenger window is around $700). If the car needs significant cosmetic work you are going to sink big $ in to it over the long term.

If I read between the lines, the fact that you want to daily drive the car suggests you are looking for a reasonable level of reliability. Restoring a car is for people with disposable cash. Buy a used Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic for transportation duties and save your money to purchase the best NSX that you can afford.
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I daily drove my NSX while working on it for the first 2 years of ownership. The consensus on these boards is to wait until you are well established in your career to buy a project car, and I generally agree...I waited, and am glad I did. For the first year or two of ownership I threw about $500 at the car almost every month. And mine was in pretty good shape when I started!

If you really have to scratch the itch I'd say get an early 90's rough Acura Integra to play with for a couple of years. It will be cheaper than the NSX, and everything that you learn will be transferrable to the NSX when you're ready to take the plunge. All of the electronics are super similar, and the B series that comes in the Integra is a dead-ringer for the c30 in the NSX.

Frame damage-have it checked out by the BEST body shop you can find. Not sure where you are, but I wouldn't bat an eye at having it shipped a couple hundred miles to a shop that knows these cars to have it checked for frame damage...especially if you are looking at salvage. I had mine checked at the same collision shop in Atlanta that handles frame repairs for aluminum and carbon fiber cars from Mercedes, Mclarens, Lambo's, Ferrari, etc.

Good luck with whatever you choose.