Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New post?! LOL WUT?

Yes, there is life after NSX.

Following the sale of my supercharged beast last July, I followed up with selling off my R33 GTR as well.  Reasons are sketchy at best. The original idea germinated when I saw an identical midnight purple GTR for sale on my forum, GTRCanada.com.  It was one of the very first R33's in Canada and it's owner, Juergen had lovingly put sweat, time and MONEY into it to make it into a track monster.  It was dyno'd at near 500 hp on a conservative tune, with plenty of room for more since he was only limited by the stock MAFs.  I contacted him to see if he was interested in a partial trade since it would be much easier to sell a stock GTR than his monster, and he was, but he said he would be much happier just selling it outright to me.  That got the ball rolling, and I put an ad in the Trader to see how she sells.   A few calls came and went, nothing serious. I started looking around and came across a rare (No. 358/699) 2008 Honda S2000CR.  This is a US only Club Racer model.  It came with 18" TE37's, Spoon forged calipers, KW V3 coilovers and Advan AD08's.  Perfect for the track out of the box.  I contacted the owner and proposed a trade with my GTR and surprisingly he was really interested.  A few calls and texts later and we did the deal, I became a S2000 owner:
 This car is incredible.  Balanced, stable, solid. You can tell Honda did its homework with the aerodynamics as the car was so well planted.  The KW's are nice coilovers, prob the best bang for the buck out there.  Of course I had to try her out on the track, so in mid-Aug I participated in the Hanson School at the Mosport DDT, the place where I had my very first taste of the track.
Alas it was not meant to be.  As cool of a car it was, after a mere 2 months I was craving something greater and so back to the market I went. I placed an ad in the Trader and it sold after 2 weeks.  I got my asking price, so I lost nothing in the 2 months I had the car.

After much research and soul searching it boiled down to 2 cars I would seriously consider: a R35 GTR or another NSX.  If I go back to the NSX it would have to be the most pristine, newest car I could find.  I specifically looked at only NA2, 2002+ models.  A couple of really good candidates came up, but the used  market has gone up in the last 12 months.  Cars I feel are worth $50-55K max were asking $65-74K. Craziness.  Locally there is a 1998 NA2 with 48K kms.  Great shape, but not worth the $55K he has been asking.  Seriously, if the NSX is worth that much used, I might as well start looking at other cars in its price range: Aston Martin DB5, Audi R8, Porsche 911TT, Lotus Elise and Exige, and the R35 GTR.

I ended up coming home with Godzilla:

I love that shot, which compares to the one I took of the NSX in the same spot:
 I was really pleased to hear my car was being showered with the love and attention she deserved. The new owner (as I had previously wrote) entered the car in the ImportFest show in Toronto in August and brought home the 2nd place trophy for best Honda (other).  Not bad for a track car.  I believe the winner was a stock NSX with a Sorcery widebody.

One nice thing is that the new owner and I have remained in good contact via social media so I have been able to follow along in his journey with the NSX.  Here are some great pics he had taken. Car never looked better!

I love this one: the sun setting on my old flame...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This is the end

...well, not quite.

It was a moment that was a few months in the making:  I sold my car last night.

Since last fall I have been on the fence about selling my NSX.  It has been a battle between two voices on each shoulder.  One says to sell it, it just sits there all day doing nothing.  You don't drive it, it collects dust, you are paranoid taking it anywhere, you hate the attention, it's too flashy.  The other side tells me to keep it. You've put all this money into it, it's still the sweetest driving machine you've ever owned, it's unique, it's irreplaceable, nothing under $50-60K will even come close to it.  Of course it doesn't help that every time I consider selling it, I pull myself back from the precipice by throwing more money at it, hoping the cash spent will make me want to keep it.  Since coming out of storage it's had the ball joints replaced, steering wheel changed, harnesses and bar removed and valve covers replaced with the Type R ones I've always coveted.

In the end though, I got an offer I couldn't refuse and I accepted it.

Blackbird is going to a very good home, to a young owner (23 years old...holy crap, when I was that age my DD was a mountain bike!) who loves it and will give it the proper attention she deserves.  He's already got plans to bring it to Importfest in Toronto this August.  I could never do that with my busy lifestyle, so I'm glad  the car is finally getting its day in the sun.

There was some controversy though. I had a solid buyer in Toronto who was ready to make the trip up to Ottawa to take it, and I had a standing offer from a close friend for it too. In the end I think the right choice was made.

So yesterday I drove it to work for the last time, snapped this pic:
...and enjoyed my last day with her.  What's funny is that my OCD-ness with the NSX made me uncomfortable with bringing it to work...despite the fact it was my last day with it!  On top of that I wanted to wash it the night before as it was dusty from the construction work that happened at my house the week prior. Oh man, was it ever time to let it go.

After work I drove it to the new owner's place of business, exchanged the keys for the cheque, said a few words and hopped into my wife's waiting Odyssey with the kids in tow. My 7 yr old daughter Hanna figured out what was happening and started crying! The new owner tried to tell her, "don't worry, your dad will buy a faster and better car!". :)

And so my blog with JH4NA1158NT800035 ends here.  I hope to maintain it with more updates because in my heart I believe I will own another one again.  I have owned many cars since entering the workforce but I've had this the longest. I know it pales in comparison to many people out there but for me this was a record.  If I can find myself back into a GTR again, I know if the right NA2 2002-2005 vehicle came up at the right time I will be back.  There's also the possibility of the second-gen NSX, but the jury is still out on that.  In the meantime other ex-NSXers are trying to convince me to join them in their post-NSX choices (namely Porsches or R35 GTRs) but I'm not going to rush into anything.  I'll prob pick up the NA1's little brother, the AP1 S2000 as a fun toy for track days and summer drives.  I've always liked them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ball Joints

So my car's had 110K kms on it after 20 years on the road. The last few years in my care it's been lavished a lot of money and gifts but at the same time has seen more than a few hard laps at various trackdays and HPDEs.

Being supercharged, stiffened and lowered will do a few things.  1) the valve covers have started leaking oil. and 2) The right front lower ball joint is shot.  It's a common one to go since its the curbside one, which tend to make it victim to ditches, potholes and track turtles :)

Thanks to some advice from fellow Primers I was put in touch with Steve Ghent ("SMGNSX") who will take your worn knuckles and swap in new ball joints.  He recommend removing the old ones and having them shipped to his door. Turnaround is usually 2 weeks. However, being in Canada the idea of having my car sit on a hoist at Autovation while this is going on (as well as potential delays at customs) does not sound very enticing so I found my way to Ben Schaeffer at Daisy Auto ("Redbird 92").  Based in Maryland, he's a great guy to deal with and has helped a lot of club members with his expertise on all things NSX.  He's also able to source a lot of parts without going through the parts guy at the dealership.  We had a few calls and he was able set me up with a set of valve cover gaskets and left and right knuckles (which he sent to Steve in California to have the ball joints retrofitted).  My mechanic also mentioned the upper arms were looking shabby and might be worthwhile to look for a new set, which Ben also happened to have in stock.  10 days later the gaskets and upper arms arrived looking incredibly delicate and beautiful.

Two weeks after that, Steve sent over the newly reconditioned knuckles with the upper and lower ball joints:
In total it took 35 days from the time I ordered the parts to when they arrived at my doorstep.  There's currently some debate on the NSXPrime Facebook page over the value of this as its been revealed by a member that the oem knuckles can be had for $500 plus tax each (which would put its cost on par with what I paid for the reconditioned ones).  If I had known I could have gone the oem route but the Acura sources I checked with had said I needed to buy the entire assembly, not just the knuckles at a considerably higher cost, which was why I went the refurb way.  People like Ben at Daisy swears by the quality of Steve's work, so I'll wait and see how they are once installed.  Here's My Facebook thread if you want to read the comments.
Since I'm going to have to have the supercharger removed for the gaskets, I decided it was finally time to order a set of red type R covers from Garrick Lau of the NSXCC ("Lithiumus").  If you ever look up the phrase "anal retentive", it will bring up the faces of 2 guys I know: Mike Kojima of MotoIQ (google his 300ZX project) and Garrick.  He painstakingly took the time to buy an authentic NSX-R valve cover and had both the colour and texture matched at a local powdercoater.  His work is so well-liked he's doing it for other commercial concerns catering to the Honda world (who will be unnamed, but lets just say they charge a lot more).  We are lucky to have him in the Canadian club.  I've always liked the look but the blower in the way made it impractical.  When we discovered the oil sweating from the old gaskets I was almost jumping for joy.  Here's the link Garrick's service on NSXPrime.
To give you an idea of how beautiful the covers are, here's an installed pic of the product in Rick's ("BTRTHNSX") NSX :

Just to show you how much I like the looks of his powdercoating, last summer I had him do the covers on my R33 Skyline GT-R's RB26 to give it the Nismo Omori Factory S2 look:

God is in the details...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hottest NSX

Here's the link:  Worlds Hottest NSX on Prime

There's been a very popular thread that was started last November where Primers can nominate their favourite NSXs on the website.  Pretty neat concept, and a great way to pass the winter doldrums.  I was pleasantly surprised my humble ride was listed in the OP's nominations.

The thread really took off with Lud (admin of the website) even offering to throw in a prize for the winner.  Sometime in the near future there should be a vote, so we'll see what happens.  One thing I was kind of surprised to see was how the 2002+ bugeye look netted a lot of appreciation. I was in the same camp as I've wanted to do the conversion for a while but I can honestly say that since the NSX Concept was released, I've come to really appreciate the classic needlenose of the NA1 design.  It was what the car was designed as, and it still looks great after 20+ years.

I think a common pitfall a lot of NSX owners are victim to is trying to make our cars "modern" as in relevant when compared to a R35 GTR.  It was a groundbreaking design and execution in 1991, and it is the inherent goodness of the design which still makes it relevant today.  However, let's face it, cars have improved by leaps and bounds since then and it would be unfair to try and keep up with the GT-Rs, Porsches and even the STis of today with their electronic launch control, rev-matching and paddle shifters.  If you really want to see how great the NSX is, you need to watch a bit of the video linked below and see what it was up against in its day.  Ferrari 348s, Lotus Esprit, air cooled 911's and the R32 GTR.  They look so dated next to the NA1.

Timeless beauty...check out these "hottest NSXs" and soak in the glory of Aryton's car.