• Frank Oles

1994 Acura NSX


The NSX was my dream car. And owning and driving it for three years was a dream come true. I remember seeing the NSX when it debuted at the Chicago Auto show way back in 1990. It was an amazing machine, and compared to the Japanese cars that were available up until that time, it was a moon shot. I never could have imagined I would own one.


Fast forward to 1997. Fast and Furious still wasn't a thing yet. But the 1997 Acura Integra caught my eye. Only this time at the auto show, there were no crowds around it. Beyond a blip in Autoweek, nobody realized what Honda was achieving. And right around the corner was the NSX, fresh from its update to 3.2 liters and a 6 speed trans. The seed was planted.


Around 2004, I started to get the idea that I might actually be able to afford a used NSX. The model was already getting long in the tooth (it was last updated in 2002), and prices for used examples were falling into the 25-25K range. With a little help from a home equity loan, it was possible!


With the funds in hand, it still took me an entire year to find my car. I looked at cars in Chicago, Detroit, LA and Texas. These are rare cars and there aren't too many on the ground, and even fewer that have not been messed with. I finally got lucky in St. Louis of all places.

And there it was. After looking at dozens of NSXs, I knew I was going to buy this car the moment I saw it. Minty fresh and bone stock. A recent service and cam belt change meant it was ready to drive back to Chicago. Thanks Fred!

The heart of the NSX is a mid-mounted 3.0 liter C30A engine. It redlined at 8000 rpm! The VTEC changeover was not as pronounced as it was in other Honda products, but the car sounded good at any rpm. I miss that sound.

Shortly after getting the car, I could not wait to get involved with the NSX community. Having recently opened our second Quiznos restaurant location in Hoffman Estates, we decided to throw a cruise night. The special theme - NSX! I invited people from the local forum of NSX Prime (get a free sub with every NSX) and we had an impressive turnout, with 12 NSXs in attendance - the most I had ever seen in one place. Little did I know that many of the folks who turned up would turn out to be friends to this day.

Battle of the Imports 2005! Fast and Furious was in full swing. NSXs always had respect at these types of events. And cars like my friend Robert’s Carbon Fiber Wide Body drew in the tuner crowd too.

I didn’t modify my car much, but it did need tires when I purchased it. So I decided to upgrade the stock 16/17 wheels to OEM 2002 wheels that were forged 17” by BBS. These were hard to come by - I ended up purchasing a set from Chris at Science of Speed that had been refinished in Chrome Powdercoat. Bling baby!

I also added Bilstein shocks (lowered on the lower perch) for a ¾” drop and ¼” H&R spacers for the perfect stance.

Group drives were one of my favorite activities with the NSX, and the NotFWD crew were some of the most fun. Driving through Lower Wacker with flame-spitting, ear-piercing exhausts will be burned into my brain forever. Here is my NSX, along with cars that belonged to my friends Sean, Val and Brian. What a crew!

The NSX interior was a great place to be. Not roomy by American standards, but a nice fit. Slick-shifting 5 speed was THE BEST! My car also came equipped with a tape deck, a car phone, and a 6 disc CD changer in the trunk. The NSX was equipped that way until 2005 unchanged! View out the front was amazing, with a low dash and good visibility all around. A driver’s car all day long.

Those tail lights! That built in spoiler! I even kept the stock exhaust with the trademark oval tips. If it was good enough for George Lucas, Ayrton Senna and Donald Trump’s girlfriend, it was good enough for me!

Here we are on the day that I sold it. Why did I decide to sell? I think this picture says it all. The NSX is a 2 seat sports car, designed for bachelors and empty-nesters. It was a pain taking two cars to a show if I wanted to take my family. That got old real fast. The NSX was a faultless car, except for its lack of a back seat. That’s probably the reason the Porsche 911 has continued to thrive. One day we will return to a NSX, once again when the time is right.

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