How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view - GRAHAM HORGAN, PLANS PERFORMANCE:
“I’ve always been impressed by the NSX’s design and engineering. It was underrated for a long time but now prices are storming ahead, especially for manual cars. Things to check include the condition of the ECUs because they’re old and suffer water ingress. Also, check the cambelt and clutch have been changed. They’re each around £2000, so either work that into the negotiation or make sure they’ve been done.
Fortunately, servicing’s just £200 a year. Be wary of buying from a non-specialist since an NSX needs expert appraisal and preparation. Because there’s a bit of scuttle shake, the Targa-style NSX-T isn’t as popular as the coupé, so prices are lower. However, Honda added around 50 unique parts to make it stiffer. Attention to detail: that’s what the NSX is all about.”
ENGINE - Check valve cover gaskets, rear cam plug seals and the VTEC solenoids for oil leaks. The timing belt, water pump and camshaft belt pulley should be changed every seven years or 70k miles. Check alloy engine mounts by blipping the throttle and watching for excess movement. Test the performance hot and cold and listen for smooth VTEC operation. Check for coolant leaks from the header tank and that biennial coolant changes have been done. Inspect coolant hoses for wear and tear.
TRANSMISSION - With the gearbox in neutral, depress the clutch and listen for input shaft bearing noises. If it’s an early 1990-92 five-speeder with a loose lever, a noisy ’box or it pops out of gear, suspect the countershaft bearing circlip and have it replaced — immediately.
BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Check for irregular tyre wear, indicating alignment issues. Rear tyres are only £120. A buzzing from the ABS system on start-up is fine but it should quickly fall silent. Track days can be hard on bushes, ball joints and bearings.
BODY - Panel gaps and finish should be perfect.
Aluminium is hard to work and difficult to repaint so check for filler, overspray and a poor finish. Lift carpets and check for factory-fresh seams. Ensure that early cars’ pop-up lights work and inspect the condition of expensive fixed headlights on later models. Check the conditions of all rubbers and seals, especially the windscreen’s, which was a weak spot.
INTERIOR - Look at the condition of the Targa-style roof panel. Ensure the air-con and door handles work. Check the windows rise and fall because the motor and regulator are sold as one so aren’t cheap. Expect the driver’s side bolster to be worn on leggy cars.
Also worth knowing:
Manual NSXs may be the star of the show but prices are rising fast, making the less-popular auto a bit of a bargain. Among cars in average condition, an auto is around 20% cheaper than the equivalent manual. It’s likely to have had an easier time of things, too, although an auto was Senna’s daily driver. Best buy? An NSX-T auto.
How much to spend:
£30,000-£33,950 - Early, high-mileage 3.0-litre autos.
£34,000-£39,950 - Lower-mileage autos plus occasional manual cars, and higher-mileage cars in top condition with few owners.