The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain, or in the petals of a flower. –Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Last week, Mrs. 1500 and I mentioned that we’re considering buying an Acura NSX, a Japanese supercar:
I’ve been thinking about this the NSX all week (and really for the past 25 years). To help with the decision, I came up with a list of pros and cons:
Pontiac Fiero doppelganger? I’ve read that people mistake the NSX for a Fiero. I’m not a showy person, so I don’t mind if people think I’m driving a product from GM’s dark days that was famous for catching fire.
- Keeping up with the PoPs: I have no desire to keep up with the Joneses, but keeping up with the PoPs is entirely different. Mr. PoP just bought an NSX, so I’m feeling the pressure.
- It’s a Honda: Acura and Honda are the same company. Acura only exists in North America because Americans enjoy paying more for perceived luxury (in many cases, Hondas and Acuras are the same basic car, but the latter has a fancy badge and fancy price). In any case, I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing the NSX is reliable.
- Pontiac Fiero doppelganger? How could you think the beautiful NSX looks like a Fiero? Are you blind? It’s not even on fire!
- Taco Bell drive-thru Troubles: As a sports car, the NSX already sits low to the ground. The one I’m looking at has been further lowered. If I go through a drive thru, the guy handing me the food will tower over me. I can see a debacle where my Extra Cheesy Chalupa Diarhitto and Mountain Dew wind up getting dumped all over me and the interior of the car.
- Harassment from the Iowa State Patrol: If I buy this car, I have to drive back through Iowa where I was harassed by the cops. An NSX with a Colorado plate (“He must have marijuana!”) is a recipe for fun times with the local police force.
Before I tell you what I decided, here is what you had to say:
Mr. Tako doesn’t think I can afford it.
Gosh, got some money burning a hole in your pocket? You really think you have “sports car” money?
With respect, I beg to differ. We get by on about $40,000 per year and this will drop by $27,000 when our home is paid off in 11 years. The investment portion of our portfolio is $1,400,000, so we have a massive buffer. Financial independence comes first. There is no way I’d go back to work for a car.
Joe from Retire by 40:
Don’t do it. Sports car cost a lot to maintain. I love the Acura NSX, but I bet it cost a bundle to fix whenever something goes wrong (inevitably.) If you can DIY everything, then maybe. I haven’t research this specific model so I’m not sure, but it must be expensive to repair.
Do you have to sell some investments to buy this car? I know a lot of people who regret selling stocks to buy a car.
Believe me Joe, I have enough going on. If I thought that this thing would complicate my life beyond swapping cars in the garage and oil changes, I’d skip it. As far as maintenance, I’ll do all of the work myself. And I don’t have to sell any investments to buy it. I’m not that crazy.
I was shocked that most of you were supportive:
Go for it!
This thread is about 50 to 2 in favor of buying the NSX. Do it, keep it for a year, and sell it if you don’t like it. Even if it falls in value by 1/2 you’ll still have made the right decision.
But I also think an important part of the FI universe is making mindful purchase decisions. This is about as mindful as it gets. You know what you’re giving up to buy the car (really, not that much.) It won’t drop in value. It doesn’t cost much to keep (if you don’t put a ton of miles on it.)
It’s all about spending mindfully
Do It. This era of car is going to appreciate for the foreseeable future because the people who grew up with the car can now afford to buy it.
Show-offs and Garage Queens
There are two types of sports car owners who I don’t admire:
- The show off: Some buy fancy cars for status. These usually have automatic transmissions and are driven 10 mph below the speed limit.
- The garage queen: A friend bought a new C5 Corvette back in 1998. It has less than 10,000 miles on it because he thinks it will be worth huge amounts of money some day. Unfortunately, many other C5 owners have the exact same mindset, My friend has an expensive chunk of fiberglass and metal in his garage.
I am neither of the above. I would never even post a picture online and there will be no celebration on Facebook. I won’t even tell anyone I own it unless they happen to enjoy cars. I also believe that machines need to be used. The NSX I’m looking at is in the deep south and if I buy it, I’m driving it back to Colorado with a stop in Wisconsin. Low miles be damned.
So, the question is:
What is it that I’ll get out of this car?
Here is Where I get All Deep and Shit
I met up with a local friend last week who just bought a run-down business on Main Street. He’s making the spot and into a beautiful space. He was working on it as we talked and in the course of the conversation, he said something like this.
I come here for a couple hours every morning and work. It’s meditative. Just me, a little music and my tools.
I can see it. He’s fixing and building; making an old and ugly space beautiful again.
I’ve heard others make similar comments about farming and how they get contentment from working the land.
And my happiness would be similar if I owned an NSX. I enjoy mechanical things. I like to take them apart and admire the engineering that went into them. Sometimes, I consider why the designer made the decisions he (or she) did. Beautiful, thoughtful, purposeful design turns me on. The NSX encompasses all of that.
I’d change the oil and perform other maintenance. I might add some tasteful modifications. I like to think that I’m continuing the job of the Japanese workers who assembled the NSX 25 years ago. And I’m just a temporary custodian. I’ll take care of the car and then pass it along at some future point to someone who will continue.
And just so you don’t think I’ve gone all soft and zen on you:
It will be loads of fun winding the engine out on mountain roads. Petal to the metal (aluminum). An NSX in the garage is safe, but that’s not what the NSX is for.
Yes, I’m probably going to buy it. There are a lot of variables to take care of when buying something like this, but at this time, I’m moving forward with it.
I saw this on Twitter recently:
Designate an amount of money and then flip a coin. If it lands on heads, you lose it all. If it lands on tails, you get 10x the amount.
How much would you wager and why?
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