Vintage Weekend Part 2 – Kyras reflects on life coming full circle in an NSX
[Foreword: We love to post stuff that our members contribute on the forum. This is the second and final post of our first Vintage Weekend. It is my hope that you will enjoy reading this post and contribute to the discussion. Tip of the hat to S1997 for referring this post and Kyras for sharing her thoughts and pictures ]
Click here for the discussion thread.
My dad, Frank Thomas, was sixty-six years old when he made up his mind that he was going to have an NSX. In January 1992, after he had walked out of the Keyes Acura dealership twice, he and the salesman finally agreed on $61,430 for a 1992 Formula Red NSX with an automatic transmission. My normally even-keeled dad was close to simmering with delight when he told me about his new car. He had two Toyota Supras in the 80’s, preceded by years of work trucks, and even had a 1957 Corvette, when it was new, but nothing else gave him the happiness he felt owning the NSX. He and his wife would take it on trips, both wearing red shirts, to match the car. He gloatingly told me about getting pulled over by the Arizona Highway Patrol because the officer wanted to know what the heck kind of car it was. My dad always spoke passionately about his US Air Force days, flying F86s and P51s, in Korea. The NSX seemed to rouse a similar passion in him.
When I saw his NSX, I was pleased that my down-to-earth dad bought something so superior for himself. He was retired and happily married to his third wife, and I was excited for him and his new enthusiasm. I found the car stirring. I would walk around it noting that it looked fine from every perspective, as I tried to figure out what it was that made it look like it was speeding when it was just sitting there. I loved it when my dad would bring it to my house for family get-togethers, so I could spend some time just checking it out.
In 2001, I purchased my fifth new Honda. This time, however, I began a transformation when I bought a Silverstone S2000, to go along with my ’98 Odyssey van, “Mom-Mobile”. It was the first time I ever bought a car just because I wanted it. It wasn’t an NSX, but it was so much fun to drive, especially on the many curvy mountain roads and canyons near my house in Acton, California.
Once I discovered the S2000 International website, www.S2ki.com, I found a source of new friendships and fun, weekend long meets. In particular I felt like I fit in with the other over 40 year-olds, the S2000 “Vintage Owners”. After becoming online friends, I really wanted to meet some of the them, in person. The thing is, a large majority of the active Vintage Owners live in the Northeastern United States. That means that when one of them puts out the effort to voluntarily organize a weekend meet, it’s going to be near their home, and a long way from my home in Southern California. Looking back over the past six years, I’ve traveled to the Northeast for thirteen weekend meets/drives. I drove my second S2000, an ’05 Suzuka blue, to two of them, flew back and drove a rental car for three drives, and flew back and rode as a passenger for the other eight drives. I’ve already decided to drive my S2000 to Pittsburgh for the next Vintage meet in May 2010. This “Spring Fling“ will be Maury Frankel’s second event, even though he sold his S2000 and now drives a 2009 Mercedes SLK350. The Vintage friendships transcend whatever car we drive, but I digress.
At a meet in Mystic, Connecticut in August 2006, Phil Snyder (Screen Name: “Ruined 2”), from Pennsylvania, who wasn’t officially “Vintage” yet, at 36 years-old, and who no longer owned an S2000, offered his passenger seat to me for the Saturday drive. He had a 2000 Berlina Black and Camel NSX. I accepted! Phil had previously owned a 2002 Berlina Black S2000 but he traded it for his NSX dream car. After riding with Phil during the Mystic, Connecticut drive, I rode along as his passenger again, at the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania drive in October 2006 and at the Mawah, New Jersey meet in August 2007. I loved the low end torque and extra power of the NSX, compared to the S2000. As a passenger, it was amusing to see the expressions on people’s faces as we went by. Phil was always the tail gunner in a group, following a string of about eight S2000s. I still had my ’05 S2000 at home (and still do), but as much as I liked Phil’s NSX and my dad’s, it never occurred to me that I might buy one for myself someday. I was happy with my second S2000.
By 2005, my eighty-year old dad had put over 100,000 miles on his ’92 NSX, so he decided to trade it in for an Acura RSX. He was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease and he really didn’t care about getting a good deal anymore. He paid about $16,000 for the RSX, in addition to handing over the keys to his NSX.
After his wife walked out on him, my sister took our dad under her wing for about a year, looking after him on Kauai, where she lives. We brought him back to California for his last year and a half of life. He lived near me in a pleasant assisted living facility in California, until he died in September 2007. I furnished his studio apartment with poster sized photos of him in his Air Force days, along with some photos of him with his NSX. At first he had memories to go with the photos but they faded as the disease progressed. I was saddened while watching my dad’s confusion increase as he declined, but I also experienced my closest times with him, as he was simply living in the moment. My dad was always happy to see me, his “little girl”, and that made me happy to see him. I never expected that my strong, lanky dad would need me but he did and it felt good to be there for him.
After he died, we needed to clean out his house and sell it. He had a cool poster of a red NSX tacked to his office wall so I rolled it up and mailed it to my Pennsylvanian NSX friend, Phil. He loved the poster and had it framed for his garage. I was done with the poster, or so I thought.
In early 2009, I was considering purchasing my third S2000. This was the final year of production for the car, and I wanted one in Laguna Blue. I had negotiated the price for one at a dealership, but I just couldn’t get excited enough to buy a third car of the same model. On the way home from the second trip to the dealership, a gorgeous red NSX went by and my Sweetheart (who also owns an S2000) said, “That’s what you need. An NSX!” The thought of owning an NSX was exciting, however I didn’t want to buy a used car.
After I mentioned not buying the ’09 S2000 on an S2ki thread, my S2000 friend, Gene (Screen Name: “jukngene”), of Delaware, directed me to an NSX Prime thread listing a 2005 Long Beach Blue Pearl NSX for sale. The car had only 11,800 miles on it and was an unmodified garage queen. Greg Leja, in the Chicago area, was reluctantly selling his “Babe”, a real beauty! I needed someone knowledgeable to look it over with me, and Ken Sax, the perfect man for the job, was happy to help. I flew to Chicago, used inheritance funds from my dad’s estate, and purchased the car on March 14, 2009. Within an hour the car was loaded onto an enclosed transport and I had it in my driveway five days later.
It’s taken me some time to grasp the fact that I now own one of the cars I always hoped to see on Saturday mornings, at our local “Cars and Coffee” gathering in Irvine, California. It’s just perfect to me, especially now that it sounds like it looks, with the Taitec GT lightweight exhaust I added. I call it my “Hottie Car”.
Along with my “Hottie Car” and my S2000 “Suzuka Baby,” I have a home gym in my garage. While I’m working out with the weights, I look at my family photos, including the framed photos of my dad with his red NSX. Seeing my blue NSX, and the photos of my dad with his NSX, I was reminded of the NSX poster I sent to Phil in 2007, so in December 2009, I contacted him and told him that if he ever wanted to let it go, I’d like to buy it back. He replied that he felt terrible about it but he had sold the poster, along with his extra NSX parts a year and a half previously, after selling his NSX. But Phil wasn’t going to let that be the end of it.
On December 15, 2009, Phil posted a thread on NSX Prime with the title: “To the gentleman who bought most of my parts a few years ago…” He explained that a friend had given him the NSX poster, that had been sold along with his NSX parts. He didn’t remember the screen name of the individual, and was asking for the person to contact him so he could possibly get the poster back. Originally, he posted the thread in the “NSX Parts for Sale” section, but Ryan Braithwaite a Marketplace Moderator, saw it and moved it to the “NSX Owner Discussion” Forum. Within an hour, Bryan Jedinak , from Bedford, Ohio, posted in Phil’s thread and said, “I have it, no problem I’ll pass it along.”
After Phil told me the good news, I contacted Bryan and we discussed the details. He carefully packaged the framed poster and sent it to me via UPS. The poster was on my doorstep on Christmas Eve…back in Southern California. Bryan didn’t want any compensation, but I insisted; especially after UPS informed me that the shipping alone was about $50.
I have given the poster a fresh new look by mounting it in a flattering wood frame. It’s hanging on a wall in my garage near various photos of my dad. Now that I have an NSX of my own, I understand the passion my dad felt with his car. I feel it too, with my car, and put it on my California license plate. It reads “NSX JOY.”
Images courtesy of Kyras
A version of this article appeared in NSX Driver magazine and this version has been published with the authors permission.
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