Test Drive #1: Hunting for an Acura NSX


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Welcome to Part 1 of however many it takes to find THE ONE.

Due to an unfortunate incident, my 1993 Honda Prelude SR-V requires a new engine. I had just installed a JDM H22A no less than 4 years ago when I bought the car and it still drove like new. I will get into the full details about my prelude issue once I serve a particular service station with a small claims suit. Yes they don’t want to take ownership for something they did resulting in my engine requiring to be replaced.

I wasnt planning on starting to look for my next car until next year, and I have been on the deciding fence for the last 5 years. I had narrowed it down to either a used Porsche 911 C4S $50k-60k CAD or a used Acura NSX $35k-45k CAD. Both amazing engineering masterpieces, both amazingly fun to drive. However the C4S would have been a yearly-daily driver where as the NSX would only be able to be driven 8 months of the year. We get some nasty weather and there is enough snow and salt to make even undercoated 4×4’s cringe during winter.

I recently made my decision based on my love to drive and my love for Honda Engineering.

Decision made, my next car is going to be: NSX

1st Test Drive:

Year: 1996 NSX Targa
Mileage: 49,000 miles (US car)
Wheels: 17/18 Inch Enkei BORTEX RPM 2
Tires: Kumho Ecsta 215/40/R17
Price: $44,900


I went to test drive a Red 1996 Acura NSX Targa still for sale in the AutoTrader.ca. The car was in Burlington and I had the opportunity to take it for a solid 20 minute drive. The owner was comfortable enough to allow me to drive it as I wish, and had no problem with me pushing the car to 7500rpm for a couple shifts. 🙂

This is the 3rd NSX I have driven (both previous TD’s have been 91’s) but is the first Targa I have driven.

I am not even considering a Targa, but needed to see and feel the torsional loss due to the Targa Top.

When asked how many owners this car had, the owner replied with ‘i don’t know’. Not a good way to start off when selling your NSX to somebody extremely serious about purchasing an NSX. After talking with the owner, I easily felt that this car was purely bought for joyriding and show boating.


The car started cleanly, it was a sunny Sunday, about 20 degrees out, I started the car and the SRS stayed on until I turned the car off and back on again. The owner said he had never seen that before. (strike 2). The engine light also remained on during the entire test drive. (strike 3) The passenger side window went up about 95%, then when the window met the A-pillar, it required opening the door to complete the window closure. (strike 3)

After letting the car idle for a solid 10 minutes (temp gauge 3/8), we got in and drove away. I drove it very gingerly during the first 5 minutes as I waited for the temperature gauge to get to 1/2. (Habit from driving my 1993 Prelude SR-V). The driver said “its ok if you want to drive it and redline a couple shifts” and I said I was just waiting for the car to properly warm up. He replied “it should be ok by now”. (strike 4).

I drove it on some service roads, over some bumps, curves, on and off ramps, and avoided the highway due to an accident I noticed on the way down. I noticed that the car was not as tight as the non-targa on some corners and over some major bumbs, but my senses could have been tricked from the experience of having the targa top off.


The last thing I noted was the non-symmetrical gap between the engine bay glass cover and the passenger side body panel where the two meet. (strike 5) There seemed to be a noticeably larger gap on the passenger side. I wonder if this is a body panel alignment issue, possibly from an accident or repair, and also assumed that it was probably connected to the passenger side window not being able to fully close without opening the door.

This would be the opposite end of the spectrum of what I am looking for. At $44,900 it is priced to sell, just not for someone who values the NSX and is serious about its current condition.

So The Hunt Continues……

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7 Responses to “Test Drive #1: Hunting for an Acura NSX”

  1. Nate Whitehill said on May 16th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Great writeup! I am excited to hear about your next test drive! Still considering a 996 C4?

  2. Anthony Carbone said on May 16th, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Glad you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed ripping that NSX to 7900rpm through the first couple of gears on a sunny Sunday afternoon 😛

    Regarding the 996 C4, I would consider having one only if I still lived in a climate that includes 4 months of snow and the NSX is in storage. 🙂

  3. David Wilkinson said on May 17th, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Sweet article man – loving it. 😉

    Part two should be fun. 😛

  4. Anthony Carbone said on May 17th, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Thanks David, its too bad that this weekend is the Canadian long weekend, and I am going up north to cottage country to chill out for the weekend, otherwise I’d be driving another NSX this weekend and nailing out my test drive on CarZi.com. I have to wait another full week before my next test drive….. 🙁 however I’m 100% confident it will be well worth the wait!

  5. Anthony Carbone said on May 17th, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Dear Lonely NSX For Sale,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am coming for you, so cheer up, your next fabulous owner is not far away!

    Yours Truly,


  6. Vinay Menon said on May 17th, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    awesome article.

    mid-engined vtec yeeeaaaahhhh!

  7. Lawn said on March 18th, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    This is never easy.