In August 2015, Clarion announced it had tapped a 25-year-old Acura NSX as the company’s next project for its Clarion Builds program, a marketing effort that sources abused, neglected, and otherwise overlooked iconic old cars and trucks and shows folks what it takes to restore them to their former glory – maybe even update them a bit. The mostly finished supercar broke cover in January at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev., a scant eight months after Clarion had revealed the first car from the Clarion Builds campaign, a 1974 BMW 2002.
Fast forward to April, when Clarion reached out to invite us to experience the car up close, both to peruse the restoration’s quality as well as sit shotgun on a hot lap. The location was Horse Thief Mile at Willow Spring International Motorsports Park, a road course literally carved into the side of a hill, and the hot shoe was none other than twice Formula DRIFT Champion Chris Forsberg, who normally pilots the NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z in competition.
On this day, however, Forsberg was whipping around a mid-engine RWD, which – let’s be honest – is not the best platform for getting sideways and linking turns. It was all good, though; the car still looked and sounded like sex on wheels, the healthy note courtesy of a CT Engineering supercharged C32 mill swapped from a 2004 NSX. Our old friends from AutoWave in Huntington Beach, Calif., performed the transplant and engine upgrades that also consist of a CT Engineering fuel pressure regulator, Walbro 255LPH fuel pump, NGK Iridium sparkplugs, custom AEM airbox and exhaust, and Koyorad radiator.
Clarion’s NSX originally came with an automatic transmission but AutoWave swapped in a six-speed manual. Furthermore, the supercar now rides on 18x9-inch Volk ZE40 rims up front, 19x9 in back, both shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sport stickiness. StopTech big brakes are also at each corner, as are KW Variant 3 coilovers, and additional chassis tweaks include CT Engineering anti-roll bars and an Okuyama Carbing rear shock tower brace.
The NSX’s exterior has been augmented with a series of Downforce parts that include carbon NSX-R hood and rear spoiler, fiberglass front lip and rear diffuser, second-gen.-styled rockers, and fiberglass fender replacements with marker light delete that are two inches wider than stock. Diamond Hills Collision sprayed the NSX in Blu Caleum metallic 2-stage paint by Glasurit (BASF), and further deets consist of second-generation NSX taillights and side mirrors modified with Clarion Surround Eye Cameras.
In the cabin, LeatherSeats.com from Oklahoma City, Ok., re-skinned the seats as well as freshened up the shift knob, and shift and parking brake boots in perforated and non-perforated terracotta colored leather, black leather, black alcantara, and terracotta colored stitching. The headliner, A-pillars, and visors were all recovered in black alcantara, while a JDM NSX navigation screen was added to the top of the dash for the Clarion Surround Eye Camera System. The OE steering wheel was modified by EuroBoutique to have a flat bottom and sport grip with matching color accents, Downforce supplied a fiberglass center console trim for the 2-din radio, modified to house the FDS control unit and radar system, the custom floor mats come from NSXcarpets.com, and the factory dash was customized with dyed lower panels.
Since this is Clarion’s build, we’d expect a bumpin’ stereo system and are not disappointed. The head unit is a Clarion NX706 with seven-inch touchscreen and is part of the NSX’s Full Digital Sound (FDS) system, a processor setup that includes a 32-band equalizer, adjustable crossover, and amplification for every speaker. Z7 midrange speakers are in the doors, Z3 tweeters in the dash, and a 10-inch Z25W subwoofer is in a Downforce sealed enclosure in the passenger footwell.
The project took some six months to piece together and we’re digging the end result. We’ve even got an offer on the table to take the car out for our own testing, which we hope to get to soon. In the meantime, get into the photo gallery to check out the Clarion Builds 1991 Acura NSX from every angle.