It's the fine wine of import automotive icons, as it seems to only get better with age. Considered a dream car by most accounts, the NSX lands at the top of most fantasy-based garage wish lists whenever the question is posed. And while the purist will tell you that the car should never, ever be modified beyond a few choice additions in order to preserve its original state, visionaries like Josue Tovar have a different train of thought.
Like most Honda enthusiasts, Josue felt that the NSX was undoubtedly the Holy Grail, but price and availability kept it at arm's length. It wasn't until his finances and a bit of lucky timing crossed paths that he was officially in the market. He states, "When I saw the deal, the price was just too good. I knew if I didn't jump on it right away, I was going to regret it. I'd just sold a property through work and had some money left over and instead of re-investing it, I figured now was the time."
Enjoying a car like the NSX in stock form isn't very difficult and Josue was content, keeping any thoughts of heavy modifications at bay. That all changed when the car experienced its first bout of downtime. He adds, "About a month in, the clutch goes out. I was going to just keep the car close to stock, but with the clutch on back order for two to three months, I decided to start ordering parts."
Wheels are typically the first area of attack with Acura's flagship and to satisfy the look and feel, Josue opted for a set of black TE37s. Not long after, his friend and fellow "Stoopidlow" teammate, Tho Ly, had gone through the process of having his Sprint Hart wheels disassembled and re-barrelled for his S2000. Fitment issues arose and the 18X11 rear, 18x9.5 front custom rollers were soon purchased for the NSX. Housing the aggressive wheels wouldn't be possible with the factory aluminum corners, so a plan of attack was devised and the once stock-bodied NSX was set to bulk up.
To update the car's front end, an OEM bumper from a newer NSX was retrofitted, followed by carbon head light covers that protect custom HID projectors. All four corners received fender flares that increase the width of the Acura by what seems like feet rather than inches. The newfound real estate beyond each fender allowed the custom wheels to sit comfortably even when the adjustable K-Sport air suspension was brought all the way down. To complement the additional girth, the car's flanks were fitted with Wings West side skirts and carbon-fiber air vents and a Racing Factory Yamamoto diffuser was attached to the rear via Black Market Racing's custom brackets. Instead of painting the aero additions to match the car, a complete color change was in order and orchestrated by Slickshot, a shop that Josue worked with previously on the boosted S2000 he also owns.
Once considered a technological marvel, the V-6 that sits just behind the vehicle's occupants is no doubt a performer, but after more than two decades, Josue felt the 3.0L was in need of some additional grunt. Tomei cams and Ferrea dual valvesprings and retainers made up the top end changes, accompanied by DC Sports headers and exhaust to help free up spent gases.
Changes in the driver's quarters consist of Bride Gias II buckets with Takata harnesses replacing the stock leathers, a Racing Factory Yamamoto rollbar, and MOMO steering wheel and weighted shift knob relieving the stock pieces.
As with any build, phases come and go and the idea cogs continue turning day in and day out. Josue adds, "I love how the car is turning out but as it sits now, it's nowhere near being done. I have big things coming for this car that you just have to wait and see." Prodded further, Josue admits that a twin-turbo kit via Black Market Racing is in the works, as is a big brake kit and few other tricks up his sleeve. This classic just gets better and better...
VTEC hits U.S. shores
Though the '92 Integra GS-R is often thought of as the car that brought VTEC technology to the U.S. market, it was actually the NSX that deserves that credit. The Hondas of Japan first saw the advent of VTEC in the B16A used in the '89.5 Integra XSi and later, select CR-X and Civic models. Stateside, however, it was Honda's rear-wheel-drive sports car that brought about the phenomenon. It's not hard to forget that the NSX was the first, as most Honda fanatics never had the opportunity to ride in what was considered a supercar during the '90s. The VTEC experience was much more attainable through the DB2 Integra's B17A mill.