With Clarion Builds, we intend to make each build we do at least as, if not more, exciting than the one it follows. With just how stunning the 2002 came out upon its completion, we were starting to doubt our ability to find a next project that would meet this requirement. We knew following the 2002 wouldn’t be easy and rightfully so, how many affordable iconic cars exist that offer the same kind of mass appeal as our beloved ’02?
For build-two, we tossed tons of ideas around, and wavered back and forth to the point we were all about to blow a gasket and just settle on something. The problem we were facing, which ultimately was the reason why we were hesitating in making a decision, was that the cars we were considering for build two, while cool in each of their own right, didn’t get our hearts racing the same way we experienced when we first discussed the 2002… that is until three letters were suggested, “NSX”.
We didn’t even bother putting it up for debate, the NSX was an instant classic the day the first one rolled out of the Tochigi factory in Japan and, with the 2016 NSX about to hit the showrooms, the car’s name alone has been a trending topic on social media for months. We knew everybody – fans, followers and industry partners alike – would be excited about the choice for our next build.
We didn’t waste any time starting our search for the right candidate, but finding a reasonably priced project candidate without a salvaged title proved to be much more than a chore. The problem is, the NSX is a fairly rare car and we learned that enthusiasts tend to snatch them up quickly and at a premium the moment they get listed. It seemed that every car we thought would make a good candidate would sell at least $10k higher than we thought was reasonable based on industry guidelines and, frankly, common sense!
After a couple weeks of searching and hope fading, we came across a very well used first-year NSX in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on Craigslist. The car had a clean title, but was rough around the edges and had nearly a quarter-million miles on the clock. Though the car was 2,000 miles away, had much higher mileage than other cars we were looking at, and was in need of far more work, we found comfort in the fact that its owner was an enthusiast who had owned a few NSXs and was only considering selling his car to upgrade to a supercharged model. This car was his baby, and he loved driving it! So much so, that it was in fact his daily driver, and drive it he did!
After a bit of struggling with the reality that he was now going to be selling his baby, a little bit of struggle on our end getting comfortable with the idea of purchasing a supercar with nearly a quarter million miles on the clock, and many phone calls and email exchanges later, we took the plunge and decided to buy the car based on the gentleman’s word, sight unseen, and arranged to have the car shipped to its new home at Clarion’s HQ in Southern California.
Truth be told, if this car wore a prancing horse or a raging bull emblem, we wouldn’t have even considered it at its mileage. However, the NSX was engineered to run circles around cars wearing the aforementioned badges all day long, and do so for hundreds of thousands of miles with only basic maintenance. This 1991 NSX in our minds lived its first quarter century for the exact reason Honda spent so many years over-engineering it, and we think refreshing and upgrading this every day supercar so that it can easily go another quarter million miles makes for an unbelievably fun and rewarding project!
Stay tuned to Clarion Builds as we take you through a wild ride of tearing the NSX down to bare bones and building it back up to better than new condition, with several high-performance and technological upgrades up our sleeves.