Home Classic Cars LochNSX Monster: 1991 Acura NSX Emerges from 15-Year Swim

LochNSX Monster: 1991 Acura NSX Emerges from 15-Year Swim

LochNSX Monster: 1991 Acura NSX Emerges from 15-Year Swim


When it launched, the first-generation Acura NSX was touted for being an incredibly capable and well-rounded sports car. It was given accolades for being as reliable and user-friendly as an everyday Honda, yet it delivered performance and crisp handling of an exotic supercar. One thing it didn’t have, though, was amphibious capability.

Someone still tried to make one swim.

The story goes that a particular Berlina Black 1991 NSX had been stolen and ended up at the bottom of the Yadkin River in North Carolina sometime after 2004. It was later discovered in 2019 during an unrelated investigation. A local salvage yard, LSX Salvage, sold the car for $8,500 this past March, and since then it has been the focus of nationwide inquiry as to what in the world anyone would do with a swampy NSX.

Enter Helix Auto Works in Owings Mills, Maryland, which is operated by a trio of die-hard Honda/Acura fanatics dedicated to upgrading, maintaining, innovating, and restoring cars. Nico, Jay, and Ramzi have taken on the ambitious task of putting this NSX back on the road (or the track, depending on how things go). Over the last couple of months, they sourced “donor” cars that will be used for needed chassis components. They also trailered the LochNSX to a large Honda enthusiast event called “H Day” on April 14 at Maryland International Raceway.

The Helix Instagram page and YouTube channel have documented some of the adventure so far. I caught up with the guys for a Q&A session about this crazy underwater undertaking. Below is our 10-question dialogue.

  • What does Helix Auto Works do?

While we focus on NSX maintenance and restoration, we also design and distribute products for various Honda platforms, and are expanding into others.

  • What lessons have you learned while working on the LochNSX project?

We learned that our LochNSX was severely overweight from its time in the Yadkin River. We’ve also learned that the community appreciates how we are trying to save this car. In addition, we got good at moving our portable scissor lift around our garage that was under construction. Further, we learned that you can’t chemical dip an Aluminum chassis car, as dipping is only meant for “hard” metals.

  • Are you done buying cars to support the LochNSX project?

We sincerely hope so! We think we have most of what we need between the LochNSX and the “Fire-X” (a burned NSX) in terms of frame parts.

  • When do you think you might finish the LochNSX?

Sometime in 2024, preferably prior to H Day…

  • Are Acura or Honda supporting the LochNSX project in any way?

Other than thumbs up on social media, not so much. New bolts and brackets for this car would be appreciated if they could provide them!

  • Have you been Honda/Acura enthusiasts for a long time, and what other cars have you built?

In short, yes, we have all been enthusiasts since we could drive. Between the three of us, we’ve owned 12 Integras, 1 RSX Type-S, 9 NSXs, 1 Accord, 1 CRX, 1 Civic Hybrid, 2 TL Type-S, 1 CR-V, and 2 Ridgelines (past and present). Jay built the white NSX HypeR, which was a tasteful OEM+ restoration, as well as 2 Jeeps, and 2 4Runners. Ramzi has mainly focused on road-racing and time attack, as is seen by the history on the 00-1117 DC2R and his previous 1994 Integra turbo. Nico has an affinity for NSXs, as well as Ford Raptors. His current truck is our tow vehicle.

  • What are some of the most interesting discoveries you’ve made inside/about the car?

We found lots of fishing weights and seashells. In the engine bay, we found a mouse nest. Behind the passenger seat, we found an ant hive and lots of other critters. Surprisingly, there were no CDs in the factory CD changer.  We were hoping for genre-accurate music, but sadly, we were left hanging.

  • What are the biggest challenges you foresee with getting this car roadworthy?

Verifying that the car is aligned, straight, and safe is the main challenge. Bolting on parts and painting are less of an issue.

  • Now that you’ve gotten more deeply into the project, do you know whether it will be a street or track car?

The plan is still street as of now… that may change as we get deeper into the project.

  • What were some of the most entertaining reactions or comments from showing the car at H Day?

We are pleasantly surprised at the level of support and interest. There were several amazing cars there and so we were surprised we got as much interest as we did.

How far would you go to save a collector car that seemed this far beyond recovery? Let us know in the comments! We wish the Helix team continued success in rescuing this swamp creature, and we will stay tuned for updates!



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