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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the background:

Member Natalya clued me into a 2001 Insight in Ottawa, Ontario that had been used as a display at an Ottawa museum. I grabbed it for CAN $1800 delivered and it is to arrive tomorrow.

The kindly gentleman who sold it to me is very concerned about rain getting in through the cutouts of the body and is trying to arrange a covered trailer, even offering to bring it himself. I told him that water wasn't too big a problem as long as he covers the IMA battery. We'll see what happens.

I will take pictures when it arrives and I have enclosed two fuzzy ones he sent. I'm looking for advice from the group. In the initial thread, Mudder suggested it would be a shame to break it up but there are a host of problems with that and the car would be lost from any service.

Obviously, new parts would be nice to have. I would like the salt prone parts like the catalytics and passenger-side half shaft but most of the car could be sold. I have stripped two in the past and have the time to do it. I mean, this has got to be the ultimate parts car. It has no miles!

Finally, and this is where I would like some advice, what are the chances of fixing it and putting it on the road? It has a salvage title but that can be managed. More pictures to come.

Any suggestions? Any comments on aluminum sheet metal repair? If any of the main structural parts are cut that probably kills that idea but if it's just sheet metal...?

Rick Hall
Caledon
 

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It is an interesting car. I think you have four options:
1. Resell it someone who wants a cut-away, demo car,
2. Repair it as you say,
3. Part it out,
4. Keep it for potential future value.

As to #2, I myself think it is impractical. Only very specialized body shops can do repairs on aluminum cars, particular major panels. you are helped a bit by fact that some of the parts are simple bolt on, but there are missing parts, particularly around RF and those must be acquired and welded into place. The Right quarter is potentially repairable by a good welder. Since it was always intended as a demo, can you be sure the engine and transmission are complete? Certainly drive the car before starting anything to see if it actually all works. If there was brake fluid in the system, then some of the brake working surfaces may have corrosion. On Dogbite, which had less aged fluid, one of the front calipher pistons had a bit of corrosion. In the end you will be left with a lot of expense and at the end have a salvage title. Very poor investment - but an interesting oddity.

As to #3, Again drive the thing and make sure everything works. The parts may be unused, but many folks will have reservations about parts that are 16 years old and have never turned a revolution. There could be corrosion on cylinder walls and rings. The assembly lube could have dried out by now, making a startup hazardous. If the battery is populated, it is probably good, from experiences with Dogbite, but it must be carefully grid charged before use. In fact, check the battery status before you make any attempt to start the car. Also check all the fluids to see if it actually has any.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great points. I never thought about the seals drying out. The car was kept in a climate controlled museum so that probably preserved it better than Dogbite.

No, I won't just jump in and try to start it. Maybe I should squirt some oil into the cylinders and turn it over with the 12v starter. I intend to pull the pack and keep it in its uncharged state until it is needed. I have another pack that I could use for testing anyway.

Should I change the coolant engine oil, clutch and brake fluid even if it ends up disassembled?

Thanks for getting the ideas started.

Rick
 

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Why would you take it apart or try to drive it? There are so, so many other Insights that you can use as drivable cars or parts cars! Why would you ruin a Honda-made demo car? It's way cooler in this form than as a regular Insight. And it would cost more to get it to drivable condition than to just buy a low-mileage Insight.
I would be very sad if you changed this car in any way.
 

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Put it in your house and admire it.
 

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I think Mario is correct. I don't mean to encourage you to repair it or part it. Given what you paid, I think this particular car is a good investment for the future. I hope your have a garage to keep it out of the weather.

All fluids are suspect. You should certainly empty the clutch and brake reservoirs and pump fresh fluid through the clutch and each brake corner. Then, I would change the antifreeze. Even extended life antifreeze is only good for 8 years, if I remember correctly.
 

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There are body shops that can weld aluminum, some Audis are aluminum, the new Ford trucks are. For the quarter panel hole, you could have a patch welded inside, and then fill with a thin coat of body filler. No matter what, if you fix it you will need to pay for a paint job....that might be more than you already paid for it. I say find someone that wants it as a museum piece. Give Jay Leno a call. Put it in Hemmings. I think it is worth a lot more than you paid to someone to keep it as it is, it just might take a while to find that guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the responses. It's certainly an interesting problem. Though it's paid for it still isn't here yet and nothing is certain until it's certain. It is supposed to be here tomorrow after dusk so pictures won't be available until Saturday.

I have to be reasonable- I can't keep it. Need4speed's idea of Jay Leno storing it might be an idea. He has space that I most definitely don't!

Julian Edgar suggests I keep it in the house and admire it. I asked my wife about that and got a quick short answer. I don't think there is any negotiating room there. You know, I have a nice pastel hanging in the living room and after a while you don't even see it. But it hangs on the wall in a frame so it doesn't take up space and you never bark your shins on it. I wouldn't have a clue how to mount an Insight on the wall and I probably wouldn't get permission anyway.

I don't think the idea of breaking it down for parts is a bad thing. It helps keep other Insights on the road and they displace less fuel efficient cars. If it is turned into an static artifact it doesn't help during this phase of change to a lower carbon world.

Pictures soon.
 

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I feel like Mario does... I'm rather surprised and shocked to hear that changing it (fixing it, parting it out, etc.) is an option on the table... Ideally it'd go to someone who has the space and desire to keep it in-tact and either displayed or ready-to-be displayed, at some point, when it might really matter... Just keeping it whole and 'alive' seems valuable to me, like this great cornerstone/touchstone of 'the Insight creed and vision'... Then again, I get it: Who's got the space and desire (and probably money, somewhere in all this idealism)?...

I don't know, if this were a vote I'd vote 'never let it die'... Yet I'd probably only be willing to kick-in a couple hundred bucks and some number of hours of my time to keep the dream alive, if it ever came to some such crossroads...
 

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How many miles are on this car? 0? Take a pic of the odometer!
 

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I think it would be a mistake and a great loss to do anything other than preserve this museum piece.
 

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I don't think the idea of breaking it down for parts is a bad thing. It helps keep other Insights on the road and they displace less fuel efficient cars. If it is turned into an static artifact it doesn't help during this phase of change to a lower carbon world.

Pictures soon.
galevin has tons of space, and might be interested.

I'm a bit suspicious of the idea of parting it out. Since it was never intended to drive even a mile, the engine and transmission may not be complete. Did the original owner drive it for even short distances?
 

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That has to be the holy grail of an Insight enthusiast. Don't do anything to it. Just find a buyer who will keep it whole. Once its torn down, it's worth NOTHING and gone FOREVER. The Henry Ford Museum or Peterson Auto Museum might be a good place to hunt for a buyer.

As a 20+ DSM (Diamond Star Motors) enthusiast, I'd give a left nut for such a gem in a DSM.

Love to have that too, but I wouldn't have the room for another year or so. I'm in the middle of purging my shop of DSM cars/parts and organizing it into shipping containers for storage on my parents ranch.

At a minimum, you need to take a zillion pictures of the cutout areas for documentation for the community. PLEASE?
 

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Rick, is it a Canadian VIN car?
 

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So cool. Hope you loan it to a car museum.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Delivery has been delayed but a covered trailer has now been located. Apparently it's not so much the rain that is a problem but that the panels would be damaged by the wind with an open trailer. I'll post pictures ASAP.

I presume it's a Canadian VIN, Pete. I doubt it was turned into a display by Honda. Maybe so, but more likely the museum did the cutaway. Maybe this one:

CSTM Homepage - Canada Science and Technology Museum

I'll try to find out which museum and more of the history. It was bought as part of a large lot.
 

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