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Finally! This Japanese sports car duo gets its due with record-setting sales at AA's Auburn Auction

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On: Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 4:29PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Finally! This Japanese sports car duo gets its due with record-setting sales at AA's Auburn Auction

If you were one of the people who thought Japanese sports cars were criminally undervalued, you should feel good in the knowledge that you were right. But unless you also PURCHASED one of those absolute steals at their rock-bottom prices, that feeling ain’t gonna last long because—as shown at Auctions America’s Auburn, IN, sale Aug. 31–Sept. 4—it would seem that your chance to get in on any of the 20 or 30 lower floors of this exploding market has passed you by.

Then, again, seeing as how the 2017 NSX hasn’t made its full impact on the value of its predecessors yet (up or down)—and that there’s supposed to be another Supra on the way in 2019 that could do the same—there might yet be some money on the table for you if you act fast…

Italicized bullet-point descriptionsincluding quotation markscourtesy Auctions America

Lot 5063— 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo — [$68,200]

3.0-liter twin turbo inline six-cylinder engine

Six-speed manual transmission

Reported as one of 431 turbos in this color in 1994

Aluminum targa roof

Traction control

Desirable rear spoiler

Air conditioning

Offered in excellent condition

"Extremely rare stock configuration"

Clean Carfax with just over 29,000 actual miles

Power steering & brakes


Original glass

Original books, window sticker & extra keys

When I first read about this sale, I couldn’t figure out why the price was so high. And sure enough, KBB.com lists a trade-in range for a stock model between $34,448 and $38,489 (or at least $29,711 less than its sale price).

So then I started looking for a reason. Unlike the NSX you’re reading about next, this car isn’t particularly low-mileage, doesn’t have any special equipment (apart from the manual gearbox and “desirable rear spoiler”), and, while “limited” to “431 in that color”, it’s not particularly rare.

Which leaves us with "extremely rare stock configuration". This, much like the NSX with the supercharger add-on I’ll get to in a minute, isn’t something I’m sure adds a lot of value. After all, if “The Fast and the Furious” taught me anything, in order to make a Supra super you have to replace, reprogram, and/or repaint EVERYTHING.

And before you say that counts only in the movie(s), that very eyesore of car, in all its overblown orange awfulness, was sold by Mecum as Lot S157 at its Indianapolis sale last May for a whopping $185k, while the record for any other 1993–1998 “Mk IV A80” Supra Turbo—up until THIS one—was just under $53k.

As for general rarity, while this likely is one of the 431 of these painted “Renaissance Red” (Seriously, AA? You went with “this color” in your description? It took me, like, five seconds to find out what its color is actually called. Lay-zee. Sheesh.), that was the second-most common of the five colors offered that year, beaten only by “Black” and its 66 additional cars.

It is also one of the 1,708 turbo, 6-speed, targa-top cars produced in 1994, which happens to be the most common model of any Supra of any kind, color or configuration during the five-year Mk IV generation. By a LOT. Only an identical car—apart from its automatic transmission—ever exceeded 830 units produced, with a grand total of 1,213 of those turbo auto ‘94s sold.

I guess we just have to chalk this up to the auction magic that comes from more than one person determined to take home a single car, “guide” prices—or prevailing logic—be damned. And while I don’t think this sale has reset the bar on Supra Turbo values overall, whatever the price you might pay for a Mk IV Supra today is likely a low as it will ever be.

[And unless it starred in a record-smashing film franchise, buying one that’s bone-stock in excellent condition with low miles that’s well-equipped and retains all its sales materials is the way to go. Whether it’s black, white, red, silver or blue is up to you…]

Lot 5158— 2005 Acura NSX supercharged targa — [$144,100]

Dealer installed/factory authorized Comptech supercharger

When new, this cost in excess of $16,000

Six-speed manual transmission

Offered in "exceptional like new showroom condition"

4,600 original miles

"Rare & desirable example from last year of production"

Service records & original books

Air conditioning

Power steering & brakes


Clean Carfax

Two extra sets of keys

"One of the best examples and destined to become a future collectable" [sic]

I’ll be honest here—not that I’m usually lying; it’s more a “sin of omission” thing—and say that I’d never heard of a “dealer installed/factory authorized” supercharger option on the NSX. Any NSX.

I mean I knew companies made supercharger kits, like CT Engineering—who, by the way, have the stones to call their product “the only reliable [their boldface, in more ways than one] forced induction option for the NSX”—but I was unaware of any factory/dealership involvement.

But, thanks to the interweb—and NSXPrime.com in particular—I was able to verify that you could, in fact, option your NSX off the showroom floor with a Comptech supercharger. Unfortunately for this car in particular, however, I was also able to determine that it had the “bare minimum” of Comptech goodies based on the $16k price given for the upgrade.

I’ll let “Brylek” of NSX Prime explain [with “sic” all over the place]:

“There is no such thing as factory installed supercharger, Acura dealers offered Comptech superchargers. Many buyers were shown a Comptech catalog from which they could add additional options for their cars like a supercharger, headers, cat back exhaust, coilovers, brembo (sic) brakes, air filter box, targa compartment, anty sway (really sic) bars and many more. Some didn't buy anything, some bought just the SC, some the SC + headers and exhaust and some went all out and bought everything. Many owners will say that they have the "Comptech package" but the truth is that each car may have different number of upgrades so each "CT package may be different". My car came with the CTSC, CT headers, CT exhaust, CT sway bars, CT carbon fiber air filter box and CT targa top compartment.”

To put that into perspective, in another thread on the site, user “Yellow NSX” adds: “'I’m the third owner of my 1998 Spa Yellow NSX. When my vehicle was brand new (six miles) the new owner had the dealer (Walker Acura, in Louisiana) install what is line item listed (on dealer paperwork I obtained after purchase) as "Comptech Performance Accessories." This package included a Comptech supercharger, headers, exhaust, Brembo Indy brakes, and performance clutch. The cost for these items added $38,931.68 in parts and $6,300 in labor [my italics] to the bottom line of an already expensive NSX in 1998.”

So what does this mean for Lot 5158? Basically that it is one of the most sought-after NSX models in excellent condition and low mileage that comes with all its original goodies AND just happens to have had an aftermarket supercharger—by itself—bolted to it by the (I’m guessing) selling dealer.

This could be a good thing in that returning it to “Day One” (stock) condition could be relatively painless, but it also means that this is no factory(ish) hot rod. Every NSX I’ve ever driven—all four of them—has been bone-stock, and I have found them a little bit wanting in the power department. So I can see why this car’s first owner opted for the supercharger. And maybe he didn’t have an extra $50k to throw down on top of the NSX’s already eye-watering MSRP in order to get all the go-faster goodies he could’ve.

Now, I couldn’t find enough comparable sales to find out which flavor of modified NSX sold best, but KBB.com lists a trade-in range for a stock model between $93,467 and $103,567 (not sure why they end in “67”s, but whatever). If you add to that the original $16k supercharger MSRP you get $119,567, or $24,533 less than its sale price. Not a bad little bump.

[As a side note, this result was the second throw of the dice in the last month as this car appeared as Lot T174 at Mecum Auction’s Monterey sale, Aug. 18-20. It ended up as a $125k no-sale there, but after you figure in the auction and transport fees, even at this higher final bid the seller likely made little—if anything—in the way of additional profit the second time around.]

There is just one more number we should take into consideration when it comes to cost of a “classic” NSX: $157,800. That’s the base MSRP for the reborn 2017 version, and I can imagine that more than a few “early” NSX owners might look favorably on the idea of an “even swap” price-wise.

The market’s not there yet, but seeing as how most of my 2016 price guides top out at around $70k for the “average” 2000-2005 NSX, if you’ve got a minty-fresh, low-miles ’05 NSX targa—Comptech goodies or not—it’s likely that the upswing in your car’s price will neatly intersect the downswing due to the depreciation of the new one as soon as more than a few find their way onto the market.

And on that day, if given the choice, which generation is the one for you?...

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