Driving your Dream Car, Everyday - Fred's Acura NSX

Driving your Dream Car, Everyday - Fred's Acura NSX 

When you think daily driver, what springs to mind? Usually something economical, easy to drive, park, and inconspicuous. It does not need to be special, or fast at all: just an appliance that will get you from Point A to B every time. 

It makes sense, does it not? Why risk curbing your very-expensive forged wheels trying to park out on the street or stress yourself out driving to work, worried some careless driver might make a dent in the bodywork.  But what if you decided to go against all that, all because you were so passionate about your dream car, that you would be willing to expose it to the elements each and every day; so you could enjoy it to its fullest, 24/7. Rain or shine. 

That’s when I met Frederick Plan, and does he have quite the daily driver: a well-travelled and used daily driver to be precise. This very Midnight Purple Acura NSX (NA1), with over 264,400 miles on the odometer. It’s clear to anyone that Fred is not afraid of putting miles on a car most would hide away as a collectors item. 

 Fresh out of college, Fred was eager to acquire a NSX, his ultimate dream car. The search took him far and wide, attempting to find one in pristine condition, and ideally not too modified. Eventually, he found one for sale on Craigslist, all the way in Southern California. It was exactly what he was looking for: collector-condition, well looked after, five-speed manual with the targa-roof, and just 83,5000 miles.   

Initially, Fred planned to only take out the NSX for weekends and the occasional track event, using his college runabout, an Acura Legend for the majority of the work week. Overtime though, the idea of leaving the NSX for an occasional drive was too hard to resist: he wanted to experience it everyday.  


“Gradually over the first few months of ownership I found myself using the NSX more and more for even tasks that I had intended to do in the Legend.  Eventually I was using the NSX for everything and I found that the car could live up to the tasks.” 


And by everyday tasks, nothing is off limits. The commute to work and home, Costco runs, the McDonald’s or Starbucks drive-thru, trips to Ikea; dinner nights out, car meets, and more; there has not been a regular everyday task Fred has not brought the NSX to complete. It just takes an extra bit of pre-planning and research to ensure the NSX can accommodate a future cargo load or taking a route that is ride-height friendly.  

If you're wondering how the NSX manages Costco and grocery store runs, as Fred attests: unpacking and repacking everything into the car's trunk helps a lot.  

 "I have a somewhat minimalist lifestyle, so I don't need a large car to carry stuff around, and in the occasion we do need more cargo capacity, we use ZipCar. If it doesn't fit in the NSX, we don't buy it."

Managing a low-slung, two-door sportscar with a manual transmission as a daily runner is by no means, an easy feat. But Fred has found ways to make it work. 

 While many NSX owners have gone all out building their NA1s or NA2s, Fred’s has been kept relatively stock.  But there is a reason why Fred has kept this NSX mostly in its original state: to allow the NSX to serve as best it can as a daily driver, a focus on smart and practical modifications that do not impede with the overall drivability.

Hence, Fred has mainly focused on mods that improve the car underneath. Mods such as KW coilovers  that allow for a perfect balance between good handling dynamics yet comfortable day-to-day ride. He also went for more practical Volk Racing TE37s to replace the original three-piece wheels. Some mild changes were made to the straight-six engine such as Comptech headers and a GruppeM exhaust, but apart from that, nothing much else, aside from keeping up with regular maintenance.  


“Thankfully with a car like a NSX, you don’t need to do too much to it to make the most out of its already capable platform.”, Fred comments.  

Probably the most useful modification Fred has done to the NSX is the iLIFT Systems lift kit and suspension: designed specifically for this car. It proves its usefulness by allowing the car to clear any difficult potholes and speedbumps, raising the front nose of the car by three inches when the need arises. 


Surprisingly, despite being used almost everyday, there has been only one issue Fred has come across driving the NSX regularly. “I eat through a lot of rear tires with the amount of miles I put on it every year.” 

Aside from a faulty ignition switch early on in his ownership, the NSX has been as reliable and trouble-free as a Civic.  


"I laugh when Ferrari drivers complain about their maintenance costs." 

With it being a low-slung, two-door sports car though, Fred does admit that despite the subtle look of his car, it still tends to draw a crowd; sometimes from overexcited fans and drivers. “I have been revved or egged on to race by Evos, WRXs, even Porsches when I’m taking my son to preschool in it." In addition, being a car out of production for fifteen years as of now, parts can be hard to come by or cost a premium now the NSX is starting to becoming a modern classic.  

But on the upside, Fred remarks there are a few interesting perks that go along with dailying his NSX. Instant street cred and conversations at Cars and Coffee and meets for one, along with getting a pass by valets to park it himself; usually at the prime spot out front as well.  


Anyone would be quick to call someone like Fred crazy for designating something this unorthodox as the car he drives to work and does everyday errands in, especially in somewhere as congested as Los Angeles. But for people like Fred, they are willing to put in the extra work to ensure their dream cars can live up to the task, out of pure passion towards the car itself. 

This NSX is not only well-used, but also well travelled. On long weekends, Fred and his wife would road trip in the NSX to various states from Virginia state when they lived there. The car even had a stint in Hawaii when the two lived there for a year.  Following their move back to California, Fred has continued to make multiple road trips with the NSX, especially to the nation's biggest gathering of fellow NSX enthusiasts: NSXPO.  


As a matter of fact, his NSX has been to nearly every state in America, apart from Alaska. 

"Sometimes people will assume the car is also really hard to live with since it is low and mid-engine, but they're also often surprised when I talk about how comfortable the car is, how good the visibility is in all directions, and the kinds of drives and trips I've taken the car on."
For any observers, it is easy to see Fred’s passion for the car, as evident by the number of everyday tasks he is willing to bring his NSX to no matter what it may be. One key aspect of this car Fred is very passionate about is how its handling setup had been tuned with the consultancy of Brazilian Formula One legend Ayrton Senna: a fact not many are aware of. Made even more special so for Fred as he named his son, Ayrton. 
For Fred, getting to daily drive his dream car is more than just a personal experience; it also includes the various people that come up to him randomly and comment on his choice of 'daily driver'. "People who don't know about cars will get excited about it, or they'll tell me their own car stories, or they will just be so hyped up about seeing the car they wanna tell me something, anything, about their own experience with a car like this."


No matter how long the journey is, Fred always looks forward to every time he has to drive. “I enjoy driving it so much, I can't wait for the weekend to come by to take it out. Even a grocery run is exciting for me with how fun to drive it is.”  


If you want to keep updated on Fred's daily exploits with his NSX, follow his Instagram profile at @nsxlife.



Mod List: 


-iLIFT Systems lift kit, urethane bushings upgrade, front and rear

-iLIFT systems v2 upgraded piston seals

-iLIFT Systems billet suspension tops

-corner balanced/weighted by West End Alignment

-NSX-R alignment specs (no compromise for tire life)

-Carbon6 inner tie rods

-Carbon6 outer tie rods

-NSX eRepair steering rebuild with larger brass end bushing (tighter steering feel)

-Shorai lightweight battery and custom battery tray/tiedown


Suspension/wheels/unsprung weight

-KW Variant 3 coilovers  

-Stoptech slotted rotors

-Hawk HPS pads

-Volk Racing TE37 in gunmetal, 17x8JJ +38 in front, 18x9.5JJ +35 in rear

-Volk Racing air valve caps/stickers in blue

-Dunlop Direzza Z3, 215-40/17R in front every year, 275-35/18R in rear twice a year

-Muteki burned titanium lugnuts



-Downforce CF intake scoop

-Comptech headers, ceramic coated

-GruppeM v3 exhaust, Dali racing adapters

-MASIV radiator

-Science of Speed loss motion assemblies

-Science of Speed 275 clutch



-Mita Motorsports cabin air filter

-1998 OEM NSX seats, rewired

-2001 OEM NSX shift knob, perforated leather

-OEM+Alpine in-trunk 6-disc compact disc changer

-LED interior lights



-OEM Midnight Pearl PB-73P paint (purple), all original from A-pillars back

-XPEL protective film, from A-pillars forward

-Arclight LED taillights, JGTC style

-Whitensxs HID kit

-OEM +02 style NSX rear center tails

-NA1 NSX-R engine/intake vents

-Shine GT-Spec front lip, painted PB-739P

-Wings West side skirts, mesh vents(pair with NSX-R engine/intake vents)

-Ayrton Senna decal

-NSXLIFE CA license plate


Photo Credits:

- Adrian Ma Photography 

- Frederick Plan (@nsxlife)

- Jayson (@jznsn2u)

- Vu Tran (@the.kaizen.media)

- Ben (@mostlybirdandcar)

- Darryl Cannon (@killboydotcom)

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