Getting Naked in the Costco Parking Lot

I did it. I pulled the trigger on the Acura/Honda NSX that I recently threatened to buy. It wasn’t the silver one I looked at before (it had issues).

A friend pointed me to a black one that he found in Wisconsin. I bought it a couple weeks ago and drove it home over two days. It’s now resting in the garage.

At the bank.

 

$45,000 is a lot of money for a frugal* guy. This car cost more than every other car I’ve ever owned combined. It sounds insane. Hell, maybe it is insane.

And I have a confession. This isn’t my first mid-engined, Japanese sports car. Way back around 2010, we were at a garage sale in rural Wisconsin when we spotted a Toyota MR2. We bought it for the lowly sum of $1,400 (most expensive garage sale purchase ever!). We had our fun with it and sold it a couple years later for about $3,100 on eBay:

But, the MR2 is no NSX.

 

Observations

Driving this car has been mostly fun. Here are my observations after a couple weeks of ownership:

It is difficult to change in: When I picked up the car, it was cold. Two hours later, it was warm. I decided to change into shorts in the Costco parking lot:

Changing room

I hadn’t packed enough underwear, so I was freeballing it. Changing in the car wasn’t easy. I had a few tense moments before I got my shorts on. I hit the gas and got out of there before members of the local law enforcement community showed up.

Quizzed at gas stations: The NSX is a unique and obscure car. There were a total of 9,000 sold in the United States and there are about 6,000 still around. Only car geeks know what it is, but others see that it is something exotic and ask questions.

It makes Mrs. 1500 feel tall: This car is low. Really low. Mrs. 1500 feels like a giant next to it.

Running over a pebble feels like hitting a cow: Sports cars have tight suspension.

Clowns in Honda Civics taunt you: You know those idiots who put a noisy exhaust on their Honda Civic? Those people have a misguided belief that the big exhaust gives their car superpowers (it doesn’t) and want to challenge you at stoplights.

Unwanted attention from law enforcement: I drove almost 1200 miles back to Colorado with no police interaction. Two blocks from my home (I can’t make this stuff up), a friendly member of the local police pulled me over. I had spotted him, so was on my best behavior and had no idea why he was pulling me over:

  • Me: ?????
  • Cop: You have a plastic protective cover over your license plate and we don’t allow that in Colorado.
  • Me: I’ll take if off when I get home.
  • Cop: Thanks.
  • Me:

 

Why?

Dropping $45,000 on a silly car wasn’t something I decided to do on a whim. I’ve been thinking about the NSX for most of my life. Let’s take a ride in the Wayback Machine.

As a young child, my dad instilled a love of mechanical things in me, especially tractors and cars. We didn’t have a lot of money, so our garage was populated by junk from Detroit’s dark days including a Chevy Citation and Ford Maverick. These cars were the opposite of good and my dad spent many, many nights and weekends keeping these heaps running. Very, very bad words poured out of that garage for the whole neighborhood to hear.

Anyway, I always had a thing for supercars like the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Testarossa. Then along came the NSX. It was amazing:

I loved the car immediately. It was lightweight, simple, agile and came with Honda reliability. I didn’t set high expectations for myself, so never thought I’d have the means to buy such a ridiculous thing. Still, the NSX never left my mind.

Two things happened recently:

  • Holy shit, I’m financially independent: Not only that, but I found myself with such an excess that I could buy the car with very little risk to my early retirement life. We get by pretty well on $40,000/year meaning we need $1,000,000 per the 4% Rule. But it gets better. In 11 years, our home will be paid off and our expenses drop $1,100 per month. And we now find ourselves with a portfolio of over $1,400,000 and about $400,000 in home equity. This big pile of money is still strange and hard for me to reconcile, but spending $45,000 won’t keep me up at night.
  • Prices started going up: Buying a car as an investment is silly. However, it gives me comfort knowing that if I don’t enjoy my expensive toy, I’ll probably be able to sell it in a couple of years and lose little to no money. Car and Driver even mentioned it as one of 12 cars that “will define mainstream collecting for the foreseeable future”:

It was still difficult for me to pull the trigger. I won’t bore you with the details, but buying an NSX isn’t simple. There aren’t many around and some of the owners are strange people who are a pain in the ass to deal with (the guy who sold this one was a regular guy).

 

Bookend to Part of My Life

The car is significant for two reasons:

  • It will be the last fancy car I own: I have no desire to own any other big-engined beast. This is it. The End. No more.
  • It will be the last internal combustion car I own: I’ve driven electric cars including Teslas, Leafs and a BMW i3. All three were simple and quiet. Electric propulsion is the future and if I ever buy another car, it won’t burn hydrocarbons.

Happiness?

And finally, the NSX is really an experiment in happiness. Will owning it bring me joy or will it just be another thing that complicates my life? I have no idea. I’ll get back to you in a year with the verdict.

 

*Except for the silly Acura NSX toy. I’m naming the car Asterisk.

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45 Responses to Getting Naked in the Costco Parking Lot

  1. I can’t wait to hear how the experiment goes. I know some people that absolutely love their cars and it’s the greatest purchase that they ever made. While there are other people that buy a car and then think I got it now what. Hopefully you fall in the category where you love it forever and if not it sounds like you’ll be able to sell it in a couple of years for a profit. In the meantime, awesome purchase!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Lessons From Jerry SeinfeldMy Profile

  2. Team CF says:

    “Those people have a misguided belief that the big exhaust gives their car superpowers (it doesn’t)” What, really?! I was so planning on putting on our………ahum….Prius 😉
    Team CF recently posted…The Perfect HeistMy Profile

  3. Mr. Pop says:

    Agree that it’s an experiment in happiness (but then, isn’t everything?) I bet that after a year of ownership it still puts a smile on your face. I’ve been bleeding the brakes and changing out the coolant hoses in mine for the last 3 days and can’t wait to go for a drive.
    Mr. Pop recently posted…Cushy On Our Tushies!My Profile

  4. Good For You!! I’ve been a “frugal car guy” my whole liked (bought a totaled/rebuilt Mitsubishi GT3000 in 1998), and thought of YOU when I read that Car & Driver article on the NSX a few weeks ago. You’ve earned it, I’m betting you’ll make money on it, so enjoy it!!

    PS, and pls, pack extra underwear. That MAY have crossed the line of TMI! Tee hee.

  5. Matthew in Michigan says:

    haha, free balling, haven’t heard that in awhile! Nice looking car, I prefer my trusty subie wagon though ;).

  6. FullTimeFinance says:

    The best you can do of the interior is the footwell including your leg? Come on man, I want to see the seats, shifter and dash.

    In all seriousness congrats. I hope the weather is great and you find plenty of opportunities to drive it on back roads. My biggest problem with the Vette is kids make it hard to find the time to drive it.

  7. “Electric propulsion is the future and if I ever buy another car, it won’t burn hydrocarbons.” I am basically trying to see how long my current car will hang on so that I can let this technology get as reliable as possible before jumping in. I also would like to ditch internal combustion, and hopefully with the next car.

    Congrats again on the purchase! Enjoy it!
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…An Obligation to Work?My Profile

    • Hey Matt! The good news is that electric cars are incredibly simple, so they are already pretty darn good. The thing I’d wait for is volume to get bigger. Once there are more electric cars being made, the economies of scale will bring prices down.

  8. Nice car. You’ll be able to sell it for $45,000 or more in the future. These cars will only get more rare plus there is a ton of demand and more coming as people reach typical retirement ages.

    I laughed at this comment “Running over a pebble feels like hitting a cow”. I hope to experience this one day 🙂
    Owen @ PlanEasy recently posted…Banks Are Biased, Especially When Advertising Mutual FundsMy Profile

  9. I ADORE the name Asterisk for this car. 😉 And I’m extremely interested in the mechanics of changing into shorts in a Costco parking lot lol. Think of the children! Anyhoo, glad to hear the new car is working out!

  10. Congratulations. Its key that you waited till you had achieved financial independence to buy this great toy.

    That is what separates you from so many others.

    Enjoy it -you have worked hard for it, and as long as it doesn’t impact your FI, I say go for it.

    • “and as long as it doesn’t impact your FI”

      Yep, and that is really the key. FI is a million times better than a steel and aluminum toy. I would have never bought this thing if there was any chance I’d have to go back to work as a result of buying it.

  11. Kyle says:

    You have violated your NSX with bare cheeks good sir!
    You met a regular guy in Wisconsin? We must find him, and banish forthwith.
    I once met a regular guy, I tried to fix his high end liquid cooled computer, but it needed a new hard drive and he decided to just buy a new one and I offered to buy it. He invited me over, and I didn’t expect to find the biggest fanciest house I’d ever seen. Giant gate entrance, beautiful landscape, tennis court, circle driveway with the classic fountain in the middle, the foyer was bigger than my girlfriend’s house at the time(and I’m not exaggerating). basement looked like a warehouse on one side with 10’+ ceilings, and I remember a high end golf practice room. Anyway, the guy was still down to earth and cool. I think there’s something about Wisconsin that keeps a lot of people rooted even when wild success finds them. I met a couple people like that when I did computer freelance work. His wife creeped me out though, she was classic rich fake.

    PS. I’ll race you in my tuned Saab, just so I can hear that engine as you pull away.
    Kyle recently posted…StagnationMy Profile

    • I would just like to point out anyone with a high end liquid cooled computer is hardly a regular guy. In my experience the ones who go that deep down the parts rabbit hole are a leeettttllleeee strange.
      Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…House Update: 3 MosMy Profile

      • Kyle says:

        I grew up building custom desktops and laptops, and I have some friends that have built liquid cooled desktops, it’s just their hobby. Its not that hard or expensive. The one I had bought wasn’t that high end, but higher than average and unusual because of the stock liquid cooling. It was an off the shelf Sony desktop, meant to be used for home theaters, liquid cooled to keep the noise down. Desktops geared for home theaters was actually very popular in the mid 2000’s, every computer manufacturer had their desktops geared for home theater options. I ended up just fixing and selling it because it wasn’t that fast processing wise, and was worth decent money on Ebay. I expected a guy with maybe a $400k nice house, like one of my friends and normal for that area, not a $10 mil+ house. Wouldn’t expect a guy like that to invite a stranger over either lol. I must have a trusting face.

  12. Brian says:

    I hope you wiped the seat down before anyone else sat in it. 🙂 I’m sure over the years as the NSX numbers dwindle their value can only go up. Good luck with the ride!
    Brian recently posted…Eliminating Debt to Make Your Investments Really Pay OffMy Profile

  13. Mrs. BITA says:

    I hope no future buyer of your NSX is also a blog reader. The resale value of your car may have tanked a little there.

    I’ve never had to change in a low sports car. I have had to change in a teeny car though. Look up the Maruti 800 and imagine having to change out of a swimsuit and into regular clothes in one of those.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…What Are Your Superpowers?My Profile

  14. Amber tree says:

    Great buy. An intentional purchase of something that is probably a want, not a need. That makes it even better, the advantages of FI.

    Enjoy the car.

  15. I can tell you really enjoy this car, good for you Mr1500. It’s a really nice car , when I was a small kid I collected Turbo’s inserts (you can Google it) and NSX was one of my favorite cars. I am not a car guy, but even I know that this car is something else!

    Do you know the reason number 157 why I like reading your blog? Everytime I find either a new word or an idiom to learn. Today I’ve learned “freeballing”, thanks for that 🙂

    P.S. Another thanks for “members of the local law enforcement community”
    Friendly Russian recently posted…First paycheck in the StatesMy Profile

  16. Looks sweet, Mr. 1500! Only issue is you didn’t stop by my casa on the way back home! Boooo.
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…House Update: 3 MosMy Profile

  17. Jason says:

    My favorite part of the story was you trying to change in the Costco parking lot. You have financial freedom, car freedom, and ball freedom (ha, ha). No seriously congrats on the car and I hope it brings you a lot of fun. You earned it.

  18. I thought that the “naked” thing was going to be entirely metaphorical, more warning next time please!

    I actually thought it would cost more, but as PiC reassures me, the NSX holds its value so if you don’t get all the pleasure that you want out of it, I doubt you’ll be out any money. But I hope you love it 🙂
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Travel with toddler: going international! (Part 2)My Profile

  19. wendy says:

    The only faux pas was the BLACK socks with the shorts…

  20. Car looks bad ass. My middle school gym teacher actually had one and I of course always thought it was sweet back then. I love seeing bloggers who have made to retirement actually do a little spending. Most people spend $40,000 on a car the day they graduate from college because they deserve it.

  21. Well, this is why you are frugal and save, right? So you can spend your money on the things you want and pursue the things that make you happy. You’ve earned the right to spend your money on a car that you have always dreamed of owning. For that I commend you.

    Love the story about changing in the Costco parking lot by the way. We’ve all been there trying to awkwardly change in a parking lot haha Also, love that the cop just wanted to grab a close view of your car.

    Enjoy the ride!

    Bert

  22. That’s a sweet car, I’ve always liked NSX. There is something really unique about it. I think it will make you happy since you have been wanting it since you were a kid, so it’s really passion for this car.

    For me, Porsche Carrera is my dream car. Though, I don’t think I will ever buy one. I just can’t see myself dropping a big chunk of cash on a car. I may just go rent one or even lease one for a year or two if I’m really desperate to drive one. That will do it for me.

    Anyhow, have fun with your new toy 🙂

  23. ESI Money says:

    You are my hero!

    Enjoy!!!!!!!!
    ESI Money recently posted…Peak Performers Can Earn MoreMy Profile

  24. Mr. Tako says:

    Congrats on fulfilling your dream of the NSX! It’s a cool car, and I bet it feels awesome to drive it around….even if it does get attention from the local cops.

    I think it would be hilarious if you took photos of “getting good value” for your money with the car — like a ridiculously over stuffed NSX after a Costco trip, or a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood strapped to the roof after a Home Depot trip, etc. 🙂
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Road Trip Report (Memorial Day Weekend 2017)My Profile

  25. Joe says:

    Awesome! Enjoy it my man. I love the NSX too.
    I’m just too cheap to buy an expensive car. Maybe when we’re old and have too much money to spend. 🙂
    Someday, we’ll be a convertible owner again…
    Joe recently posted…How to Save Up for Big ExpensesMy Profile

  26. Wade says:

    Those are some of the lowest profile tires I’ve seen on a car.

    Our pothole laden streets would eat the poor NSX for lunsj. (Norwegian word for lunch).

    The purchase is done. Now, fend off buyers remorse with all the sticks you have.

    Maybe it will be worth $100k in 5 years. Which car got tossed out in the cold? 🙁

  27. A A Rod says:

    Hi! I’m your local loan officer at your neighborhood Credit Union. So you wanna borrow $45,000 for a 1991 NSX? Great! I see you have a great credit bureau score in the mid-750s so you would get our best interest rates on auto loan but since the vehicle is a 1991 that puts you in the signature loan rates that start at 9.99%. You want this on 36 months of payments? Okay! Let me run this in my loan projection calculator…. $46,500 (purchase price, registration fees, temp lien fee, etc) loan amount, 36 months, 9.950% interest rate… that will be a monthly payment of $1,499.50. Did you want to throw payment protection on there for Loss of Life, Disability, and/or Unemployment? That will add to the monthly payment. Your first payment will be due on 07/02/2017 and your final payment will be 06/02/2020. Total interest on the loan comes to $7,481.64 and total of payments is $53,981.64. Just sign here_____________.

    Thank you for coming to see me today and enjoy your new ride!

  28. Awesome car, Mr. 1500!

    Excited to see how your experiment to turn out!

    $45,000 doesn’t seem like a bad amount to pay to do something you really like and check it off your bucket list!

  29. Dude, you finally did it! Good for you. Now fight that buyer’s remorse, in case if it ever strikers you. Now go burn some rubber! Nothing like zoomin’ on the freeway to fight any guilt 🚘, yeah! The way the markets are going, you may make that $45K in a month or two!
    Ten Factorial Rocks recently posted…Figure Out Housing If You Are Serious About FIREMy Profile

  30. matt phillips says:

    Congratulations on your new dream car!! It’s a great accomplishment to get to financial independence and you should reward yourself for all the years of hard work and spending wisely. Don’t feel guilty. Enjoy it and when you’re done you can still sell it and maybe even make money. Thanks for inspiring me. Enjoy 😬

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  32. Christina says:

    Jesus, Mr.1500, I lose track of you guys for a year or two, poke my head into the blog to check in, and I find you’ve bought a sports car! 🙂 Looks like fun. You made me laugh out loud a number of times with this post. I’m going to have to check in more often. Things in my neck of the woods are going really well too. I’ll have to keep an eye out for you two at Longs Peak. – your neighbor Christina.

    • Ha, I’m sorry! I do feel silly. It is the one lapse in judgement I’ll allow myself. Sigh…

      I hope you’re doing well. Want to meet up for dinner or beers sometime?

  33. Amy says:

    Mrs. 1500 has A LOT of pricey haircuts in her future with no grief.

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