Prices for ’90s Japanese cars are out of control. There are people out there paying $50,000 for old Honda Civics. That doesn’t mean deals have disappeared, though. Think a Honda NSX is an unobtainable dream car? Zachary Dorsen, who just bought the cheapest one in the country for $30,000, had other ideas.
The CarMax employee and a fan of all sorts of Japanese metal recently spotted an aging automatic example of the deified sports car for the relatively paltry sum of $30,000 at one of his company’s dealerships in Houston, which was first reported by Jalopnik. The auto retailing giant is strict about selling cars wholesale to employees according to Dorsen, but once he got the OK, he began the process.
“It took about four months to buy the car, including transportation time from Houston,” Dorsen told me. With 147,000 miles on the odometer, it also needed a little work to pass inspection. Less than you might think, though.
Dorsen’s journey didn’t begin with the NSX despite his enthusiasm for what he purchased. “I had spent a long time, nearly a year, looking through CarMax wholesale inventory for a GT-R,” he said. “But in the end, I was looking for a car that I could drive daily and not feel too bad about it. Something that I could blast Super Eurobeat in and feel in place. Mostly though, I was holding out for an awesome deal.”
The awesome deal he’d been waiting for then arrived: “When I saw this NSX pop up, I knew that I had to pull the trigger.”
If you’re curious about how buying a car wholesale from CarMax works as an employee, Dorsen said it’s first come, first served. So if you’re looking to get some cheap enthusiast metal, then, maybe pick up a part-time gig there. He also claimed the company’s service department aided in getting the car past inspection.
As soon as it arrived, the technicians helped him address a number of small issues with the car.
“Some things that we fixed were the driver’s door window rail, door handle, and power seat motor,” he said. Drivetrain-wise, it was in good shape, but the usual odds and ends that go bad in all old cars had to be addressed. Bulbs, wipers, wiper jets, and more. In the end, though, it was all fixed up and inspected for less than you might think. “I was able to get a lot of things fixed without having to buy any parts at all, and I sourced cheap alternatives to certain OE parts to get it to pass inspection for under $900 for parts and labor.” Yup, the whole car was check engine light-free for less than a grand.
A noisy ABS module has been troubling the car, but Dorsen isn’t letting that or the automatic transmission bother him. It is, after all, still an NSX, widely considered one of the best handling cars ever built. High miles or not, it’s most of the sports car it was when it left the showroom.
“Ownership has been awesome,” he told us. “The engine sounds great and the transmission, though an automatic, actually allows you to shift through the gears in an engaging way.”
It also gets the sort of attention Dorsen enjoys, as opposed to the constant street race invitations he was used to after owning other Japanese tuner cars. “When I drive the NSX, no one tries to race. I think that the car generates a lot more respect and curiosity in people.”
Future plans for the vehicle include fixing some minor cosmetic issues. Mechanical mods are also on the table, but Dorsen thinks keeping it in good shape and eventually reselling it for someone else to enjoy is the way to go. That and daily driving it in all conditions, of course.
“When I realized that the NSX was made entirely of aluminum, I decided that I might even drive it through the Chicago winter!”
If only more rare sports car owners had the same attitude Dorsen does.
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