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1993 Acura NSX - The Seasoned One

After 31 years, Leon Casino knows his way around a Honda, and finally has his way with the NSX

Aaron Bonk
Jul 17, 2017
Photographer: Viet Nguyen

There are two kinds of NSX owners: The guy who buys wiper fluid from the Acura dealership and drives the mid-engined supercar every chance he gets, so long as it's between May and September with zero chance of precipitation and a UV index of less than five. And then there's the guy who isn't afraid to drill holes in that aluminum-bodied coupe and deliver it into the 21st century.

1993 acura NSX APR rear wing Photo 2/26   |   1993 Acura NSX APR Rear Wing

Leon Casino isn't afraid. He also isn't without experience. He had his Prelude turbocharged in '93 before Preludes were supposed to be turbocharged. He assembled his own Mugen catalog car before Mugen catalog cars were a thing. He's got a Spoon Sports-themed CRX, an S14 you wouldn't believe, and yet in the midst of all of those, he'd always held out for an NSX. "I was always thinking about it," Leon says about the car that, despite his affinity for Honda dating back to '86, happened sooner than expected—in part because of a Ruckus accident and an insurance settlement that made it affordable, and in part because of Jane, the significant other who said yes to all of it. "We were gonna get his-and-hers cars," Leon remembers, "and then Jane said, 'Why don't you get the car you always wanted?'" Oh, thank goodness for Jane.

2017 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

Understand the used-NSX marketplace is a seller's one and you'll know buyers have to be prepared both financially as well as logistically. But for Leon, it wasn't a lack of either that kept him from the first three leads. "After not getting those, I was on a mission to find an NSX," he goes on to say. So much of a mission that he bought a one-way plane ticket from Los Angeles to Portland, made the transaction, and drove home in what he says "was the best 13 hours of my life." We're quite sure what Leon meant to say, though, was that it was the best 13 hours of his life not counting anything that has to do with Jane or the kids. "I was like a kid who just stole a bunch of candy," he says. "You don't even know."

1993 acura NSX comptech supercharger system Photo 6/26   |   1993 Acura NSX Comptech Supercharger System

Leon recognizes there are two kinds of NSX owners, but goes on to say the two are becoming more alike than not. "There are people who are afraid to modify them too much, but there are also guys who're putting K20s into them," he says, "and people are getting braver with these cars; their eyes are opening, and even the purists are changing."

It's guys like Leon who are, in part anyways, responsible for those purists coming around. To the guy who gets his wiper fluid from the dealership, Leon's NSX is anything but tame. Its GT-inspired race car looks didn't happen without meddling with at least some of what Honda never wanted anybody to touch. "I'm not afraid to cut into anything for my builds, but I tastefully did it without butchering the NSX," he says, reassuring the timid that no NSXs were permanently harmed during the making of this production. "I'm not that ballsy; I could put it all back to stock if I had to." But he's not, and you wouldn't either if your NSX went through as many exterior treatments as Leon's has in just a few years to get it just how you'd wanted it. Three, if you're wondering.

1993 acura NSX MOMO 350 monte carlo steering wheel Photo 10/26   |   1993 Acura NSX MOMO 350 Monte Carlo Steering Wheel

"At first, I took the cookie-cutter approach that every NSX owner's taken," Leon says about the car's first series of mods that included a front lip and some rims. Yawn. "After a while I was like, 'This isn't right.' What I really wanted wasn't available, so I ended up making a lot of my own parts." A lot of his own parts like a front splitter and a rear diffuser that help make the Sorcery front bumper and fenders look like they belong with the Downforce fenders and APR wing out back. "It's all come out of my garage," he says about the one-off treatments he conjured up at his Los Angeles home. It's a process Leon knows well. "Back in the day, I always had to R&D things myself," he says about what the Honda-tuning landscape was like in the early '90s. "All my builds since '86, I've always had to do the work myself for what I've wanted to accomplish. Nobody's ever had what I've wanted over the shelf."

No cookie cutters. That's what Leon says his motto's been ever since that CRX Mugen catalog build that was, mind you, put together when you still ate breakfast out of a high chair. "Everything, all my ideas are because of the influences I've gotten over the years." Influences from the cars and the people who read like a who's who list of Honda performance history makers. Influences that helped shape today's import-performance landscape and are, at least partially, why you're able to do things like turbocharge your Civic engine without it melting down or have your choice among 10 different coilovers for your Subaru. "The '90s kids, we were the make-it-or-break-it generation for the import scene," he wants you to know. "If we didn't push what we were doing back then, people just wouldn't be doing this right now." And Leon wouldn't have the Comptech-supercharged NSX you wish you had.

1993 acura NSX buddy club brake caliper Photo 14/26   |   1993 Acura NSX Buddy Club Brake Caliper

There are two kinds of NSX owners, and it doesn't really matter. All you need to know is that there are guys like Leon who through tasteful and purposeful modifications are bridging the gap between the guy who buys his wiper fluid from the dealership and the guy who isn't afraid to drill a few holes in his Acura.

1993 acura NSX Downforce JGTC style rear fender Photo 18/26   |   1993 Acura NSX Downforce JGTC Style Rear Fender
1993 acura NSX worksbell gtc r tilt hub Photo 22/26   |   1993 Acura NSX Worksbell Gtc R Tilt Hub
1993 acura NSX sorcery v1 front bumper Photo 26/26   |   1993 Acura NSX Sorcery V1 Front Bumper
By Aaron Bonk
385 Articles
1993 Acura NSX - The Seasoned One
Tuning Menu
Owner: Leon Casino
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: 24-hour daddy
Engine: Comptech 7-psi supercharger system, fuel rails; K&N air filter; Taitec headers and test pipes; custom Super Tuning exhaust system; Earl's fuel lines and fittings; Buddy Club oil cap, radiator cap, Racing Spec Condenser II; WheelFlip powdercoated valve covers; Ace1 Fab custom radiator cooling plate
Drivetrain: Comptech clutch; JDM NSX transmission gears
Footwork & Chassis: Buddy Club Racing Spec coilovers, pillow-ball top hats; Swift springs; Comptech sway bars; NSX-R front upper and lower reinforcement bars; AAI upper shock tower brace
Brakes: Buddy Club four-piston calipers and 330mm slotted rotors; custom Brembo emergency brake; custom Pole2Flag steel-braided lines; Tilton proportioning valves
Wheels & Tires: 18x9.5" +35 front, 18x10.5" +12 rear WedSport TC105N wheels; 245/35R18 front, 285/35R18 rear Falken Azenis FK453 tires; WheelFlip 8mm front spacers; ARP extended wheel studs; Muteki SR48 lug nuts
Exterior: Sorcery V.1 carbon-fiber front bumper and front fenders; custom Ace1 Fab carbon-fiber front splitter, aluminum rear diffuser and carbon-fiber/aluminum side diffusers, dry carbon-fiber wing side plates; VIS OEM-style carbon-fiber hood; Downforce JGTC-style rear fenders; custom APR rear wing; NACA dual side ducts; custom AAI aluminum rear bumper reinforcement bar; Vision Technica carbon-fiber Type DC side mirrors; Onyx 6000k HID headlights; custom LED side marker lights; stainless steel hardware throughout; Premier Autobody paint; Impressive Wrap vinyl graphics
Interior: Buddy Club P1 seats, titanium shift knob; Bride Type-FG seat rails; Takata Race harnesses; Evasive Motorsports harness eye bolts; custom City Garage harness bar; MOMO 350 Monte Carlo steering wheel; WorksBell GTC-R tilt hub; Science of Speed short hub adapter; Sparco dual horn buttons; TiDave short shift kit; carbon-fiber center console; Pioneer AVH-X5800BHS head unit; Bose speakers
Thanks You: My OG team IV Ace Racing; Team Legacy; Purist Group; Falken Tire; ShowStoppers USA; Options Auto Salon; VIS Racing; Buddy Club USA; LOT USA; ICB Motorsports; Heel Toe; APR Performance; City Garage; Super Tuning; Premier Autobody; Impressive Wrap; The Chronicles; Jane for supporting me from the get-go! Love you, babe!

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