The Right Stuff: Clarion Builds a Hot Rod Acura NSX – Digital Trends

The original Acura NSX was a game-changing automobile. As quickly as it initial arrived in 1990, the $60,000 NSX gave drivers almost identical 0 to 60 and quarter-mile times as the $117,000 Ferrari 348. As a free extra, you got that performance packaged with each other along with Honda/Acura reliability. In addition to going fast in a straight line, legendary F1 racer Ayrton Senna consulted along with Acura on suspension and handling throughout development to create the best-handling supercar in the world. The Acura NSX (or Honda NSX in the rest of the world) was an affordable exotic, and it was hailed as the start of a brand-new era.

Today, the first-generation NSX looks sort of quaint along with its 15-inch wheels and 270 horsepower naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6 engine. You grab a lot more horsepower from a 2016 Kia Cadenza family sedan compared to the original NSX ever delivered. Even the later 3.2-liter engine only got up to 290 horsepower, and that was measured at the sales brochure. There was no high-tech twin-clutch transmission or any kind of sort of all-wheel-drive either. The NSX was a straight-up mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car. You had your choice of a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission.



This year, along with the arrival of the 2017 Acura NSX, interest in the original models is operating high. Prices for an original NSX range from concerning $40,000 to over $100,000 depending on mileage and condition.

“We came across a quite well used first-year NSX in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on Craigslist. The auto had a clean title, however was rough about the edges and had nearly a quarter-million miles on the clock,” says Allen Gharapetian, Vice President at Clarion Corporation of America and the man in charge of the Clarion Builds program

Clarion Builds is a project of Clarion, the auto stereo manufacturer. It’s created to showcase terrific cars, and of course, the build-out entails a top-line Clarion infotainment system.

“The suggestion is to take on and promote the restoration of cars that people can easily connect with, cars that have actually timeless designs, legendary performance and a terrific story behind them,” Gharapetian says.

The right reasons

One different thing concerning the Clarion Builds program is that Gharapetian and his crew are able to grab a few of the most effective auto prep shops and portions suppliers in the business to authorize on and donate time and product to the cause. That’s due to the fact that at the end of the game, this auto will certainly be sold at auction and every penny of the proceeds will certainly go to charity.

The last project from Clarion Builds, a vintage BMW 2002, pulled $125,000 at auction. Gharapetian and his staff are hopeful this NSX will certainly do at least that well As quickly as the time comes.

The right candidate

Like most exotics, the standard NSX has actually led a rather sheltered life. No one bought an NSX and parked it under a tree for ten years. You can easily expect that a classic NSX has actually constantly been garaged and maintained along with careful devotion.  The big difference between an NSX and any kind of others exotic is that an NSX may actually have actually a quarter-million miles on the clock, due to the fact that it will certainly indeed go that far.

The last project from Clarion Builds, a vintage BMW 2002, pulled $125,000 at auction.

“Honda brought to market a auto that could not only hold its own versus world-class supercars, however could be steered everyday and, as along with any kind of Honda, could easily go hundreds of thousands of miles along with simply easy maintenance,” Gharapetian says.

The candidate for this build is a 1991 NSX, originally equipped along with the 3.0-liter engine. A quick dyno pull showed that after 25 years and 230,000 miles, simply 207 horsepower was actually reaching the rear wheels. Clearly, there was room for improvement here.

Related: How vintage iron and modern tech earned this iconic BMW actually much better compared to new

The rest of the auto was similarly tired, however undamaged, making a perfect canvas for a performance build. Clarion Builds won’t say exactly how much they paid for the donor car, however you can easily be sure that any kind of decent NSX is a substantial investment.

The right engine and drivetrain

The obvious starting point for this project is the larger 3.2-liter DOHC VTEC engine from the 1997 and later NSX models. That 290-horsepower V6 produces 224 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, however that wasn’t enough. The group determined that they required to include a supercharger to the VTEC plant to grab the performance they actually wanted.
Hot Rod Acura NSX

Jeff Zurschmeide/Digital Trends

Supercharging an engine that wasn’t created for improve is constantly a risky proposition. You can’t put too lots of pounds of tension in to the engine if you want it to last. Fortunately, Comptech had the right supercharger kit for the NSX. Delivering concerning 60 a lot more horsepower on concerning 6 pounds of improve was the right answer, and this kit is street-legal in California. Comptech additionally given the engine management software, while AEM delivered a cold air consumption capable of supplying the system. The exhaust was additionally custom-created by AEM.

After the build, the brand-new package is generating a conservative 350 horsepower. That’s not a whole lot by today’s standards, however in the 3,010-pound early NSX chassis, it’s enough for ample acceleration.

The right handling upgrades

It’s every one of well and good to have actually a fast sports car, however Clarion Builds insists on balance. The auto was treated to a full StopTech big brake kit, KW Variant 3 double-adjustable coilover shocks, and Volk ZE40 wheels; 18 inches in the front and 19 inches in the rear. For tires, the group chose Michelin Pilot Sport Mug 2 permanently all-about street and monitor performance.

The result is a auto that stops as well as it goes, and along with the KWs dialed to their softest setting, provides a supple and responsive sports auto driving experience on the street or on Willow Springs Raceway’s groomed test track.

The right driver

To reveal exactly what they’ve done, Clarion Builds hired two-time Formula Drift champ Chris Forsberg to wring the car’s neck on the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs. This monitor runs up the adverse of a hill and wraps spine on itself Love a coiled rattlesnake. It’s full of blind crests, tight off-camber curves, and short chutes for quick speed.

It’s surely a driver’s car.

“I’ve been working along with Clarion due to the fact that 2008 in my Formula Drift program, and they’ve helped support my championship efforts,” Forsberg tells Digital Trends. “along with the start of Clarion Builds, it earned sense to be the official professional driver for the cars. This is not simply a rather auto for the adverse of the road – it can easily deal with monitor duties.”

Forsberg drives the auto on path along with self-confidence and the sort of fierce attack he learned on the drift circuit.

“The NSX is a mid-engine car, so it’s got a lot of weight over the rear wheels and a little bit over the front,” Forsberg explains. “It’s got a natural understeer effect as you’re approaching a corner, and sometimes if you brake a little too hard, the spine end can easily start to come out. So it’s surely a driver’s car. You have actually to play in to the weight transfer to preserve the right quantity of grip on the front versus the rear wheels.”

The right finish

Having come every one of this means along with the car, the group finished it off along with a nice deep blue paint job, and brand-new leather seat upholstery along with the Clarion Builds logo stitched in to the headrest. Naturally, the auto is additionally equipped along with a full Clarion touchscreen high-resolution head unit and full infotainment system.

The next step is for Forsberg to reveal off the auto and generate some buzz, then the NSX will certainly head to the auction block to enhance a lot more your hard earned cash to fight cancer. That’s a good end, and somebody will certainly pay top dollar for this great and still collectible classic NSX. That’s a good investment, whatever the Rate might be.