Kris Yu is has been pumping out quality cars for years. After building a 911 Porsche, he wanted something exotic and high end without the headaches and maintenance that come with some Euros. His latest creation entails Honda's legendary supercar, the 1991 Acura NSX, short for New Sports car eXperimental. And even today, after 20-plus years, it's still the dream car for many Honda junkies. [side note: Yu proposed to his now fiance in the "Special Thanks" portion of this article, when she saw it in the Nov. issue mag, she said Yes!]
Believe it or not, this car was a culmination of three different NSXs. His first NSX was purchased from Fatlace and Illest creative director Mark Arcenal. Kris loved this NSX simply because it had a built transmission by HKS and was the #16 NSX off the assembly line. The second one he bought had a solid interior and a JDM motor with only 7K miles on the odometer, however, its exterior was a bit deteriorated. Kris eventually bought a third NSX (Is this guy crazy?! -Ed). There was now a trio of NSXs parked in his driveway. The third one was decent in terms of interior and exterior. After much weighing the ins and outs of each car, Kris decided to keep the second one because he knew he was going to make some major exterior changes anyways, plus the motor was sound with its low mileage. "I didn't want to cut up a perfect NSX body. I figured I'll let someone else enjoy it," he explains. The other two were sold after Kris picked out all the little pieces that he wanted to keep, such as the OE door motors, interior panels and window switches.
When it came time to build his masterpiece, Kris tackled the exterior first. He didn't want to make it impractical to where the car wasn't capable of daily driving. He noticed most NSX builders either kept the body stock or went to the extreme. "My only rule when I started this project was to not take away from the lines and true look of the original exterior." It took Kris roughly a year of planning and piecing together the aero till he was satisfied with the look he was going for. The result is what he calls JGTC-inspired. It features a custom widebody mixed with some JDM and USDM pieces. Front and center, you'll find a very sexy JDM Burn Up front bumper, followed by an array of Downforce aero, including the side skirts, engine ducts, rear fenders and intake scoops. For the rear, Kris took the stock NA1 bumper and cut the lower half so the exhaust was visible. He then rolled the edges and molded side splats from Backyard Special. Perhaps the hardest part of the project was the subtle widebody, though. It might not scream widebody, but each corner has brand-new aluminum fenders. The fronts are 1-inch wider per side, while the rears are 1.5-inches beefier.
Next up was the NSX's chassis. Prior to his current setup, a set of NA2 Type R suspension was used. However, after going for a test ride with air suspension, Kris knew right away this was the route to take. AirREX made a custom-valved setup just for Kris and guaranteed it wouldn't stray away from performance. "I was worried that after I installed the air it would feel hella floaty, but it actually handled better than my Type R setup," Kris says. (How do we know he's from NorCal? Hella! -Ed). Finishing up the chassis upgrades included StopTech big brakes and sexy 'n' staggered Work S1R wheels.
As we mentioned earlier, this particular NSX only had 7K miles on it. Well, it's because the motor was previously swapped from its original '91 engine to a reconditioned '95-spec. It features upgraded cams and valve springs, plus Kris added bolt-ons such as a Pride header, test pipe and exhaust to let the six-cylinder breathe. To keep up with the extra airflow, injectors were upgraded before a Prospeed ECU was used to tune the car to 287hp—not a crazy amount of horsepower but enough for this mid-engine supercar to have some fun.
Attention to the interior was just as important to Kris. Holding him and his passenger are Bride Digo seats strapped with Takatas. Even with all the custom exterior and top-shelf parts on the car, Kris tells us he loves his stereo setup the most. He was going for an OEM-classy look, but nothing extreme. The custom center double-din dash holds the Clarion DD and 7-inch monitor. All the other audio gear was hidden away from sight.
There were a lot of options that could've been done to make this car appeal to the younger and trendier crowd. Kris could've easily painted his NSX a flashy color, but he went with a more modest black. He could've turbocharged it, but he'd be dealing with tuning issues. And while his car may be on air, it's not obnoxiously slammed and allows him to drive around town with ease. You can always do what people on the Internet tell you, but having an NSX this sweet that you built using your own ideas and inspiration can't be beat.
1991 Acura NSX
Owner Kris Yu
Location San Francisco, CA
Occupation Performance Shop Sales, Tech at Impact Performance
Engine '95-spec 3.0-liter C30A engine; upgraded cams and valve springs; ARC intake; Pride header, test pipe and v2 exhaust; Rywire injector harness; OE RDX injectors; K-Tuned injector bracket
Drivetrain five-speed manual transmission
Engine Management Prospeed ECU
Footwork & Chassis AirREX Race suspension with 16kg front, 18kg rear equivalent valve rates; Type R front brace and sway bar; GT Spec rear strut bar
Brakes StopTech four-piston front and rear brake kits
Wheels & Tires 18x8.5" front, 19x10.5" rear Work S1R wheels in matte bronze; 225/35R18 front, 275/30R19 rear Toyo T1 Sport tires; Project Kics black chrome lug nuts
Exterior custom widebody conversion and rear bumper; Burn Up front bumper; Downforce side skirts, splitters, carbon-fiber air ducts, JGTC-style intake scoop, rear fender scoops; Backyard Special rear bumper pats; Type S taillights; shaved fender lights and antenna; Craftsquare mirrors; Type R rear wing and hood; piano black paint with PPG glamor clear coat
Interior Bride Digo seats and seat rails; Takata harnesses; Spoon shift knob; Works Bell flip-up hub; Personal steering wheel; Type R shift plate and boot; painted trim pieces; Clarion head unit in custom center dash; 7" SOS monitor; Arc amp; Illusion Audio speakers; Morel subwoofer
Thanks You Wilson at AirREX, Sunny, Carlin, Jerry, Norm Silas at Impact Performance, Mark at Pride Exhaust, Bing and Joey Simplicity In Sound, Stan at Toyo Tires, Matt at The Shop San Bruno, Jeff at Launch Distribution, Steve at Mackin Industries, Mike C, Dave C, Harry at HRS Enterprise, Pat at Quickworks and my Endless Project family
Special Thanks I would like to take this time to thank my girlfriend Tammy for always putting up with my hobbies, the countless hours you stayed late while I was working on my cars, waking up early to keep me company at shows and flying around the country for events. I would like to make this feature special to you as it is to me. I'm glad to have met you and I don't know what I would do without you. Will you marry me, Tammy? Now turn around...