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2004 Acura NSX - Red Sky At Night

Tuner's Delight

Micah Wright
Jun 26, 2013

Behold: NSX number 58 from production year 2004. It's been repeatedly shipped from one side of the country to the other, had a gamut of NSX-R upgrades from Nippon installed, was gently stroked to climax, and then outfitted with one sinister supercharger to bring the boost. But that's progress for you. From a simple start with Civics to an all-out RSX, this car's owner has finally found his place. But I am going too far back in history now; what you as the reader need to know is that this whole build began with an overpriced Nissan.

At the tender age of 25, Sky Nguyen was ready for a new project car. He was in search of a "career car," one that would always look timeless no matter what the chassis' age might be. The R35 Skyline had just made its debut in the U.S., and its combination of extreme power and all-wheel-drive handling made it an obvious choice. After a spirited test drive, Sky was ready to sign, but then the price tag became apparent. This was way more than Sky was willing to pay, so he opted to look for a substitute until the R35's value went down. Dealer after dealer was visited, and every time Sky left thoroughly disappointed by what he had found (or didn't find) in the R35's competition. But Sky still had to visit the Acura dealership.

01 2004 acura NSX route KS ZAZ front lip Photo 2/9   |   2004 Acura NSX - Red Sky At Night
2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

Sitting spotless on the showroom floor was a red 2004 NSX, and it was lust at first sight. A brief test drive proved the NSX's handling met Sky's expectations, but when his foot hit the throttle there was a lot of muscle missing from the equation. While this certainly was a conundrum, desire eventually won him over, and he opted to purchase the car. But that R35 still beckoned in the back of his mind, so he left the dealership with the full intention of selling his NSX in a few years to acquire that other supercar.

The moment Sky brought the NSX home, he hopped online to study up on his new toy. He became a member of nsxprime.com where he learned as much as he could about the chassis. After few months of driving the car, he came to an interesting realization: His NSX gave him a level of connectivity to the asphalt that he had never experienced before. It made him feel like the car and he were one, and he could always predict its characteristics no matter what was going on outside. It is at this particular point in the story that Sky decided to tell the R35 "good riddance."

He opted to build his NSX to contend with the Skyline. He wanted to turn the two-seater into a true supercar, not just something that looked like one. So he picked up a supercharger from Science of Speed after discovering that it offered better power gains over the Comptech unit Acura was offering at the time. Word on the web had pointed him to Source 1 Automotive in Cincinnati, Ohio; so he shipped his NSX off to the shop's owner, Brian Urlage, for the install. They installed the supercharger, gave it a tune, and suddenly this beautiful NSX was making 385 hp at the rear wheels.

But after some driving time, Sky realized that 385 whp could never outpower an R35. The NSX was capable of a lot more, and he knew it needed a bigger, fully built motor. Driving Ambition outside of Sacramento, California, had come highly recommended on nsxprime.com, and after a few conversations with the shop's owner, Shad Huntley, he opted to ship off his NSX...again.

Building a motor for something as expensive as an NSX means you don't want to make any mistakes, so Shad convinced Sky to go with a 3.5L Comptech stroker kit, which proved to be far safer once paired with higher boost. Shad also fully built the top and bottom end of the engine and modded the supercharger to run 15 psi safely. After four long months in the shop, the engine was finally finished and was safely pushing 555 whp.

With the NSX's power issues successfully addressed, Sky now wanted to update the look of his NSX. So he shipped the car back to Source 1 Automotive for the finishing touch, starting with a set of custom Volk CE28s and a Stoptech big brake kit. Since the car is primarily street driven, KW V3 coilovers were installed, along with a beefier NSX Type R front sway bar. To finish off the footwork, an Umbrella VRH airbag setup was installed in the front to assist Sky over those pesky speed bumps and to save his undercarriage from untimely mishaps.

08 2004 acura NSX downforce NSX carbon fiber rear valence Photo 6/9   |   2004 Acura NSX - Red Sky At Night

Sky wanted to keep the smooth OEM contours of the car, so a Super singular Route KS ZAZ front lip and side skirts were sourced from Japan, while the rest of the NSX was made to look as close to the NSX-R as possible. Downforce was a natural choice, and many of the company's carbon NSX-R offerings were installed, including a hood, hood duct, spoiler, rear valance, engine hatch duct garnish, and license plate garnish. JDM NSX-R exterior badges, doorsill badges, and custom LED fog- and taillights were installed. Interior upgrades consisted of an authentic NSX-R steering wheel, shift knob, seats, shift boot, gauge cluster, and a super-exotic JDM NSX navigation pod.

After all is said and done, this NSX is just astounding. It has power mods, exterior and interior additions, and has undergone several bouts of surgery. It performs like no other, forever looks the better, and has single-handedly destroyed one man's dreams of owning an R35. There were no corners cut during its transmutation, and it is now exactly what its owner wanted to begin with: a supercar.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
3.5L Comptech overbored and sleeved short-block
Mahle custom 9:1 pistons
Carrillo custom rods and pins
Comptech billet stroker crank, line bored
Custom oversize rod bearings
Custom machined OEM crank pulley
Driving Ambition custom oversize blower drive pulley (to allow 15 psi boost)
Rebuilt cylinder heads with port and polish
Eibach valve springs
Comptech steel retainers
Cometic/Driving Ambition custom head gasket (.030)
Comptech cam gears
ARP head bolt kit with Time-Sert head bolt inserts
RC 750cc fuel injectors
Overbored 67mm throttle body port matched to intake manifold
Driving Ambition DA-400 aftercooler kit
SOS/CT supercharger (screw type 2.1L blower)
AEM F/IC piggyback with custom jumper harness
Custom supercharger pulley and extra idle pulley system (to prevent slipping)
Comptech carbon-fiber airbox complete with lid
Love Fab long tube headers
GT One extreme exhaust system
GT One quad 2.5-inch inlet tips
RPS billet carbon twin-disc clutch
SOS 12-lb flywheel

07 2004 acura NSX supercharged C35 Photo 7/9   |   Built and supercharged 3.5L pumping out 550+ hp without breaking a sweat.

Power
555hp and 444 lb-ft torque

Suspension
KW Variant 3 coilovers, 30-way adjustable
Umbrella VRH front air bag system (3-inch lift potential)
JDM NSX-R subframe brace
JDM NSX-R upper chassis brace
JDM NSX-R front sway bar
Taitec front tower brace
Driving Ambition custom rear tower brace

Wheels
Volk CE28 18x8 +38 front, 19x9.5 +36 rear
Nitto NT555 215/40-18 front, 275/35-19 rear
5mm rear spacers
Project Kics T1R titanium lug nuts

06 2004 acura NSX volk CE28 Photo 8/9   |   2004 Acura NSX - Red Sky At Night

Brakes
Stoptech ST-40 big brake kit (4-pot piston front and rear)
Stoptech drilled 13-inch rotors front and rear
Stoptech ST-10 caliper for e-brake

Exterior
Downforce NSX-R carbon-fiber hood
Downforce carbon hood duct
Downforce NSX-R carbon-fiber spoiler
Downforce NSX-R carbon-fiber rear valence
Downforce carbon-fiber engine hatch duct garnish
Downforce carbon-fiber license plate garnish
Route KS ZAZ side skirt flares
Route KS ZAZ front lip
JDM NSX-R exterior badges
JDM NSX-R door badge
Custom LED foglights
Custom LED taillights

Interior
SOS carbon-fiber dash trim
Downforce Type R seats with stock rails
Downforce carbon-fiber doorsill
Downforce carbon-fiber door side panels and cowl trim
Downforce carbon-fiber garnishesv Mugen racing pedals
JDM NSX exclusive navigation pod
JDM NSX-R doorsill plates
JDM NSX-R shift knob
JDM NSX-R shift boot
JDM NSX-R gauge cluster
JDM NSX-R steering wheel
JDM NSX-R horn button
NRG quick-release and short adapter hub
Zanardi short gear stalk

Props
I would like to thank my girlfriend for supporting me and helping to get this project done. And to all the people who have helped throughout the process. People like Brian Urlage at Source 1 Automotive, Chris at Science of Speed, and Shad at Driving Ambition. And all of my good friends on nsxprime.com for help-ing me with answers to all of my questions.

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Small business owner/manager

02 2004 acura NSX route KS ZAZ side skirt flares Photo 9/9   |   2004 Acura NSX - Red Sky At Night

Favorite site
nsxprime.com

Screen Name
3.5lnsxr

Building Hondas
Since 18 years old

Dream Car
2015 Acura NSX

Inspiration for the build
JDM NSX-R

Future builds
Don't know yet

Driving Ambition

Based just outside of Sacramento, California, Driving Ambition is a shop that specializes in building Acura NSXs and S2000s to whatever level is desired by the vehicle's owner. What started off in the 1980s as a small shop in Portland, Oregon, that catered to all kinds of exotic cars, has slowly transformed into a haven for NSX heads. And all of this came to pass thanks to the son of the shop owner, Shad Huntley. In his younger days, Shad won four IKF Karting championships, and became a registered "Expert" along with fellow drivers Scott Pruett, Mark Dismore, Jamie McMurray, and the late Greg Moore. From there Shad went on to graduate with honors from Wyoming Technical Institute, and hopped right into a career as a mechanic for Comptech Machine upon graduating. While there Shad was a key force in building (and maintaining) the championship-winning IMSA Camel Lights Acura, but after three seasons of domination Shad grew bored with the car, so he began open-wheel racing in the CART series where he became the youngest Chief Mechanic ever. In 1997, Shad was named Chief Mechanic of the Year while heading the Carl Hogan team with rookie driver Dario Franchitti, and later that year, Shad decided to lend his technical expertise to Comptech as director of product development for its race-inspired performance parts for Acura and Honda. In 2006, Shad opted to reopen Driving Ambition's doors to the public. So Shad has come full circle, in that he has successfully returned to the fold as the head honcho at Driving Ambition, where he plans to continue building cars like Sky Nguyen's NSX.

Sources

Downforce USA
Anaheim, CA 92806
714-288-1630
http://www.downforceusa.com
Driving Ambition
Cameron Park, CA 95682
530-672-2086
http://www.drivingambition.us
Source 1 Automotive
Goshen , OH 45122
513-722-0223
http://www.source1automotive.com
By Micah Wright
48 Articles

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