Straight to brass tacks this month: You're looking at the car that will soon prove to the world that 2NR readership builds the hands-down most potent street cars in existence. It's the car we're entering in the second coming of Castrol Syntec's Top Car Challenge, and the one we'll be using to upstage competing cars backed by Modified, Super Street, Honda Tuning, eurotuner, and 5.0 Mustangs magazines on the dyno, drag strip, time-attack circuit, in braking and road tests, and even emissions compliance. It's a true reader-built, proven, competition-going street car. It's Jim Cozzolino's '91 Acura NSX, and after driving it from his hometown of Phoenix, AZ, 400 miles to our L.A. headquarters for competition check-in, he showed our cameras what makes it possibly the best street car we've ever come across.
This NSX is actually Jim's third. His first one was transferred to the wife, and NSX number two (a green one) was purchased to keep as a street car while he raced Panteras at the track. Jim would eventually go on to supercharge it, twice, before taking it out to the circuit on the weekends and realizing that he had inadvertently begun building an even more competitive machine than his race cars. "With a little extra power, the NSX is a really, really solid performer," he says. Through online research, he came across Huntington Beach-based Honda tuners Autowave (Sept. '10 2NR, p. 48), and had them build a C30A block and head for high-boost duty. His original plan was to drop it in the green car, but when a good deal came up on a less-than-perfect red NSX, the decision was made to cop it and go all-out.
The new car was driven to Autowave and back for the installation of the new engine and a quick tweaking of the AEM EMS from the green car. Jim shook down the NSX on local Phoenix-area tracks like Firebird and PIR, in NASA AZ events. With help from Las Vegas tuner Mike Angel, the NSX's already upgraded suspension was enhanced with custom-sprung K-Sport Circuit Pros, Brembo/Carbotech brakes, and supporting bits from Dali, Zanardi, CT, and Carbing. Jim befriended Roush driver Billy Johnson at a Grand Am event at Laguna Seca in 2006 (who would later go on to pilot the now-famous Cricket/FX Motorsports Development time-attack NSX), and in turn, met FXMD front-man Ken Namimatsu, whose widebody kits were about to enter production. "I told him if he needed a test car, I'd buy the first kit off the line. He agreed." Ken also made Jim a deal on the GT35R single-turbo system that his NSX shop car had used to take seven straight time-attack titles. "He said, 'sell that supercharger, and whatever you get for it, that's what I'll charge you for the turbo system and installation.'" Jim found a similar deal on wheels. "I had some other wheels on at the time, which wouldn't have fit the new widebody kit," he says, "so Ken told me to sell them and whatever I got for them would be my cost for a brand new set of his. I gave him $800 and he sent me CCW Classics in 18x9.5 and 18x11-in perfect offsets-complete with tires."
A vented carbon fiber hood from VIS and a carbon front lip splitter and rear GT500 wing from APR were among the last few bits to go on, to cut a bit of weight and provide downforce at higher speeds. The interior was prepped for track duty along the way, but Jim didn't sacrifice comforts in doing so-dash centerpieces are a Pioneer FB90BT NAV head unit and Escort 9500ix radar detector, and behind the Status Kevlar driver's seat is a 10-inch sub (standing at about 5'4", Jim brings the size advantage, too). "I probably drove 20K miles in that interior," Jim says. "Wouldn't change a thing."
No project car is ever truly finished, and although Jim's NSX had run a best time of firstname.lastname@example.org down the quarter (on worn street tires), and was flexing 593 whp and 461 lb-ft of torque when we selected it as our contender, we both saw room for improvement. Look to a future issue of 2NR to see how we prepped this beast for all-out automotive performance war, and gain a look inside some of the best-kept secret tuning shops in the industry. Find this article on importtuner.com for complete specs. Check the official Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge website for contest details, the scoop on our competitors, interviews with car owners and magazine editors, and even your chance to win $10K by backing the winning team in the competition. We already know who that's going to be . . .