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1990 Acura NSX (NA1) - Dreaming of Blue

How Suguru Ishiai fulfilled his childhood destiny

David Ishikawa
May 9, 2018

When Suguru Ishiai was 10 years old, he received a radio-controlled NSX as a gift. It instantly became his dream car. As years went by, his interest in cars grew. By the time he was able to get behind the wheel at age 16, he was already teaching himself how to flick the steering wheel, pull handbrakes, and get sideways; but back then, it was all about sedans. His first two project cars were a JZX90 Mark II and a JZX100 Cresta. The NSX he used to wish upon a star owning one day was a distant reality.

In '12, Suguru, an avid car enthusiast at heart, was still NSX-less; however, a bucket list trip to America would soon change that. He flew to Las Vegas for the annual SEMA show. He admitted to us that there wasn't anything at SEMA that sparked an interest in the NSX, but before heading back to Japan, he picked up the latest issue of Super Street to find Michael Mao's twin-turbo NSX on the cover. It was Mao's red widebody masterpiece that reignited the flame he had felt when he was 10 years old, holding that NSX toy; although now he was holding a copy of Super Street, and he finally had the means to own his childhood dream car.

2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy
Super street december 2012 Photo 2/30   |   Super Street December 2012

Upon returning to his home in Nirasaki (a small town located 100 km north of Mount Fuji), Suguru started browsing NSX for-sale ads. He located a few decent examples, but after visiting the States and discovering Mao's project, it had left more than a lasting impression on him as he was determined to find a left-hand-drive model. It was a tall order, especially without importing one from overseas himself, but after three years of persistent searching, the dream became a reality as a USDM NSX was posted online, up for grabs, seven hours away in Okayama. Without hesitation, Suguru jumped on the offer.

1990 acura NSX route KS side skirt Photo 3/30   |   1990 Acura NSX Route KS Side Skirt

For most, having their dream car in their garage would be more than enough, but Suguru's ultimate plan was to turn his NSX into a drift machine that could still hold its own at car shows. The first thing he did may be a bit unorthodox, ripping out the stock suspension and fitting a custom Air Runner setup. Next up, a set of Work Emotion D9Rs found their way to all four corners, but nothing really sets this car apart more than the color. After sourcing Taitec and Route KS aero, Suguru prepped, sanded, and applied the paint himself in his own garage. The bright blue might be a bit loud for most, but he tells us "nothing says love like Tiffany Blue."

The performance upgrades were minor with just a custom exhaust, which left the big question... Can it drift? It does, but it is a handful as the car has so much grip while the power is still close to stock. He explains it's difficult to break traction, but it doesn't prevent him from hitting his home track at Yamanashi Sportsland or taking it an hour away to Fuji Speedway. Having watched his NSX a couple times ourselves, it's quite the spectacle seeing its rear squat as it slides around the corners.

1990 acura NSX taitec front bumper Photo 7/30   |   1990 Acura NSX Taitec Front Bumper

Suguru's future plans involve both improvements to make sliding easier and also a major styling change. To help overcome his traction issue, he hopes to increase power by adding a twin-turbo kit (sound familiar, Michael Mao?). On the exterior, a color change is coming soon—candy red with flame patterns etched directly into the metal, similar to what Kuhl Racing does on its demo cars. Sounds ambitious and maybe a little over the top, but after getting to know Suguru and what he's been able to accomplish, we can't wait to see how the next stage turns out.

1990 acura NSX bride exas III seats Photo 14/30   |   1990 Acura NSX Bride Exas III Seats
1990 acura NSX engine bay Photo 24/30   |   1990 Acura NSX Engine Bay
By David Ishikawa
33 Articles
1990 Acura NSX (NA1) - Dreaming of Blue
Tuning Menu
Hometown: Nirasaki, Yamanashi, Japan
Occupation: automotive sheetmetal painting industry
Instagram: @396motoring
Engine: custom stainless exhaust
Footwork & Chassis: ACC/Air Runner air suspension; Air Lift management
Wheels & Tires: 18x9.5" +23 front, 19x10.5" +15 rear Work Emotion D9R wheels painted gloss black with color-matched center caps; 215/35 R18 front, 275/30 R19 rear Nitto NT555 tires
Exterior: Taitec front bumper, carbon-fiber diffusers, carbon-fiber rear wing; Route KS side skirts; Origin rear diffuser; S2000 antenna; Tiffany Blue paint
Interior: Bride Exas III seats; Takata harnesses; billet steering wheel; Works Bell Rapfix hub; Mac Tools screwdriver shift knob

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