Although Japanese art tends to favor a minimalist approach, they treat their cars differently. Festooned with more ornaments than a perverse Christmas tree, we’ve seen all manner of winged, flashing wonders thunder down streets like enraged Shogun. And then there are cars like the 2002 NSX belonging to Hugh Le, general manager of the vaunted Evasive Motorsport. Understated, clean, and uncluttered, Le’s NSX is a pure example of the tuner’s craft.
At a time when most kids had posters of Farrah Fawcett, Le plastered his room was with pictures of Lamborghinis and Ferraris…pretty typical stuff. “In truth, I knew these were just pipe dreams,” Le reminisced. “And as I grew older and became aware of financial realities, the NSX became more and more real. I could actually afford this supercar.”
Purchased in 2004 with a paltry 30K on the clock, Le drove the machine with gusto, prodding its limits and limitations. “As good as the NSX was I was a bit bored,” Le recalled. “I knew not to get myself into another build like my EK, a car that ended up needing C16 and a parachute to slow down. I didn’t want to go that extreme. I started with a few smaller things like the brakes.”
Le swapped out the previously installed Brembo GT big brake kit in favor of the Project Mu Racing billet system. The folks at Mackin Industries promised Le he would be more than impressed with their performance mated with the proper pad compound. Turns out they were right. The Project Mu kit is comprised of four-piston calipers that grip a 345mm rotor. The calipers are filled with HC+ front pads and B- rears while Project Mu’s Downforce air deflector funnels additional cooling air to the brakes. Coupled with braided stainless steel brake lines, the Project Mu binders are, Le reports, virtually fade-proof. “If these brakes have limits, I have yet to find them. They bite incredibly hard and are virtually fadeproof,” Le said.
Although relatively modest by 2012’s standards, the NSX has been fitted with a few potent mods to wring every last bit of horsepower.
Initially this NSX was fitted with HR springs, but Le managed to finagle the last set of HKS Hipermax II coilovers (8K front, 9K rear) before they were discontinued. Additional rigidity is aided by a targa-specific Comptech shock tower brace, Comptech front and rear sway bars, Cedar Ridge noncompliance front pivot clamps and CT Engineering front camber kit. The crew at Evasive Motorsports did a competition-spec corner balance and alignment, and the NSX was ready for the Nurburgring.
Well, not quite.
To optimize every bit of horsepower, Le installed an OS Giken 4.4 final drive and limited-slip differential. The box is filled with OS Giken OS-250R fluid, and the shifter has been replaced with an abbreviated SOS gear stalk. An engine torque damper from J’s Racing ensures motor movement is kept to a minimum.
Although relatively modest by 2012’s standards, the NSX has been fitted with a few potent mods to wring every last bit of horsepower. The intake was augmented with a Taitec intake scoop and Uni air filter which flow into a pair of high-flow Magnaflow cats that terminate in a brilliant piece of titanium wrought by the exhaust masters at GT-One. Weighing a paltry 12 pounds, it’s half the mass of the stock system and leaves the car with a head-turning feral tone. DC Sports stainless steel headers and GT-One aluminum coolant tank reside beneath the decklid as well.
Le experimented with several sets of seats before settling with the deeply bolstered Mugen S1 buckets. “The Mugen seats feel like they were made for me…the fit is perfect,” Le explained. “And with the Takata harnesses I literally feel planted behind the wheel. It’s the perfect setup for spirited driving.”
The cabin includes an exceptionally rare Personal Grinta “Kingston” steering wheel covered in black leather with yellow, green, and red stitching. The wheel is fitted to a Works Bell short hub and a Rapfix quick-release. Although Le’s NSX has a fairly loud voice, it’s been tempered with a Pioneer AVIC-D3 navigation and DVD unit with integrated iPod connection. It’s all connected to a bevy of A/D/S speakers and Zapco amplifiers.
As time passed, Le noticed a few creaks and groans during especially hard maneuvers. He eliminated the movement with a Mugen harness bar that essentially ties the chassis together. With the exception of the screaming tires, the NSX was virtually silent.
Le experimented with more than four sets of wheels before deciding on the Volk Racing CE28N measuring 17x8 in front (33mm offset) and 18x9.5 aft (34mm offset). Rolling stock includes Falken Azenis 615 tires measuring 215/40-17 and 275/35-18 respectively. Rays extended lug nuts and T1R forged aluminum spacers keep everything nice and tight.
Given the NSX’s high speed potential, Le paid special attention to its aerodynamics. Although it was originally fit with Taitec bits, Le replaced them with lighter and stronger components from Downforce. The Downforce NSX hood is comprised of top-quality carbon-fiber stock and features a substantial carbon-Kevlar skeleton for extra support. The front undertray, rear diffuser and rear wing are Downforce parts as well. “Around 125 to 130 mph you can really feel the aerodynamics start to work. The faster the speed, the more stable it feels. So yeah, I’m very pleased with its performance,” Le said.
While Le has considered selling this yellow gem, he changes his mind just as often. “I suppose I’ll put it on the market at the end of the year…it might be time for a new project. Then again, this car turned out so well, maybe I won’t.”
Bolts & Washers
DC Sports stainless headers
GT-One titanium exhaust
Magnaflow high-flow cats
GT-One stainless test pipes
Taitec exhaust adapters
Taitec intake scoop
Uni air filter
GT-One aluminum coolant tank
J’s Racing engine torque damper
Toda timing belt
OEM NSX-R intake manifold cover
ARC titanium intake manifold plate
ARC radiator cap
ARC oil cap
OS Giken 4.4 final drive
OS Giken LSD
OS Giken OS-250R fluid
Downforce NSX-R aluminum battery tray
HKS Hipermax II coilovers
Comptech shock tower brace
Comptech front/rear sway bars
Cedar Ridge noncompliance front pivot clamps
CT Engineering front camber kit
Project Mu big brake kit
Project Mu 345mm rotor
Project Mu 4 piston, 4 pad
Project Mu front/rear brake lines
Project Mu HC+ front pads
Project Mu B-Force rear pads
Project Mu G-Four 355 fluid
Project Mu reservoir socks
Downforce front brake air deflector
Wheels & Tires
Volk Racing CE28N 17x8 +33 front, 18x9.5 +34 rear
Falken Azenis 615 215/40-17 front, 275/35-18 rear
Rays extended lug nuts
T1R 3mm spacers, front
Route KS side skirts
Downforce NSX-R hood
Downforce NSX-R carbon wing
Downforce carbon-fiber window garnish
Downforce NSX-R fiberglass undertray
OEM NSX-R rear diffuser
OEM NSX-R front/rear emblems
Mugen license plate bolts
Mugen S1 bucket seats
Mugen seat rails
Mugen pedal kit
Mugen harness bar
Takata 2 harnesses
Personal Grinta 330mm “Kingston”
Works Bell short hub
Works Bell Rapfix quick-release
OEM NSX-R shift boot
OEM NSX-R titanium shifter
Dali Racing aluminum shift boot holder
SOS short gear stalk
Viper alarm system
Pioneer AVIC-D3 navi
Porsche 997 GT3 RS MKII
Inspiration for this build
Hopefully this NSX will be sold by the end of the year, so some type of 997 GT3 MKII or bust!
7 Things You Might Not Know About The NSX
1. Printed on the climate control module (you have to tear open the console to get to this) are the words “An Eternal Sportsmind For You.” Whatever that means…
2. You can lower the headlights without turning them on and off by pressing the headlight raising button on the dash and holding it for 2 seconds. Sometimes you have to press twice.
3. You can get plugs for the holes left by the targa roof just behind you and your passenger. They are part number 85039-SL0-T00. It doesn’t make a big difference in the overall noise level, but it does eliminate one element of the noise—the high-pitched whistle of the air entering the holes.
4. There are rectangular gaps on the left side of the driver’s seat and the right side of the passenger’s seat. These perfectly fit those CaseLogic CD folders.
5. To cancel the cruise control without pressing the brake, press both cruise control buttons at the same time.
6. Under the seats in the floorpan, you will find a reinforced recess that allows the installation of a fifth- or sixth-point harness.
7. Next to the eject button of the OEM cassette player is the “a.sel” button. After pressing it, your CD player will play the number of each CD in random order before skipping to the next CD.