For many Honda owners the NSX is truly the holy grail of all cars. Unfortunately the NSX isn't exactly cheap, common or practical. Along with the hefty price tag of the car, parts and labor are also quite expensive, more often making the car a pipe dream rather than a reality. But if you look long enough you just might find a less than perfect example in a price range you can actually afford, as was the case for Zach Hazelbaker.
In the late-80's, when the car was originally designed, Honda's take on the exotic car was already ahead of its time. Honda worked with Formula One drivers and Italian car designers to come up with the now infamous combination of an extruded aluminum chassis mated to a mid-ship mounted VTEC V6, which were mind-blowing at the time of release. Although the original MSRP was huge compared to any other car from Honda/Acura's lineup, the bang-for-buck was insane. It was reliable enough to be driven every day, capable of roasting nearly every exotic of the time on the road course and cost a fraction of the price.
With the NSX, Honda was the first company to ever produce an all-aluminum (chassis, suspension and body) production vehicle. The NSX was also the first car sold state side to feature VTEC, an acronym that has become synonymous with Honda, even recognizable among non-enthusiasts. In 1995, the NSX was updated and became the first vehicle to be sold with electronic throttle or drive-by-wire. Yet with all of these innovations most people still have no idea that the car exists and couldn't identify one if it were right under their nose.
However, Zach Hazelbaker isn't most people. He was fully aware of how badass the NSX is and knew he had to own one somehow. After coming across an abused NA1 that was within his budget he decided to pounce. "I got a great deal on it," he tells me. "The previous owner really didn't take very good care of the car, it was a few different shades of red and needed some routine maintenance." While most saw patchy paint Zach only saw the raw potential waiting to be realized.
Once the car was in his possession Zach couldn't wait to start tearing the car down. "I have a compulsion to modify any car I own," Zach explains. Knowing that labor rates can get astronomical quickly, Hazelbaker decided to take modification into his own hands. "If you are good mechanically and can do most of the work yourself, it will save you a lot of money in the end. I feel that people view the NSX as a car that you have to send out to be modded or worked on. But you can pick up your tools and do anything you want to this car yourself - you shouldn't be scared of working on your own car."
As amazing of a car as the NSX is, one area it has always lacked in, especially by today's standards, is power output. The 269 crank horsepower that the C30 provided stock just wasn't going to cut it for Zach. To reach his goal of breaking 400hp he knew exactly what he wanted to do, enlist the help of a turbo charger. While turbochargers aren't new technology there are very few NSX owners that go this route. For this exact reason there isn't much in terms of aftermarket kits for the NA chassis so Zach got custom. Using a T67 turbo along with some TiAL bits and an intercooler the rest of the turbo setup was entirely fabricated one-off. This setup proved good enough for 458hp/350lb-ft at the wheels.
Happy with the power it was time to start making the NSX look the part. Since the NSX really isn't much of a sleeper to begin with, Zach decided to make the outside match the performance it was capable of delivering. The kit fitted to the car is made by the Japanese company Sorcery. Known for their high-quality Super GT inspired kits, this is one of very few in existence and the only example I know of that has been fitted to the NA1 flip-up headlight front end. After some reworking of the bumper the kit fits so well you'd never guess it was designed for a stationary headlight model. The kit widens the car quite a bit and is sculpted to enhance the original bodylines of the NSX, making it look even more aggressive.
To finish off the car the right set of wheels had to be installed. Zach decided to go with one of my favorite wheels of all time, the Meister S1. As I've mentioned in other articles the Meister is a wheel where you just can't go wrong, it looks great on any car with proper sizing. To match the car Zach found a set of 19X8.5/20X10.5 Meisters and hammered the car onto them. The look is simply to die for, a stance rarely seen on the NSX. This car really stands out amongst the average neutered-looking NSXs typically owned by middle age men. Hopefully this is a trend we will continue to see as the NSX grows older and becomes more affordable.
1993 Acura NSX
Owner Zach Hazelbaker
Hometown Lewis Center, OH
Engine T67 turbo; custom stainless headers with Y-pipe leading to turbo; TiAL 50mm blow-off valve and 44mm wastegate; stainless braided oil fuel and return line; 580cc Precision Turbo injectors; custom window-mounted intercooler setup and piping; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; custom single-exit exhaust; AEM water/methanol kit
Engine Management AEM EMS
Driveline OEM transmission; Exedy racing clutch
Footwork & Chassis Koni adjustable shocks with coilover sleeves; Dali sway bars
Brakes Hawk pads; stainless lines
Wheels & Tires 19X8/20X10.5 Work Meister S1 2-piece wheels; 215/35R19, 295/30R20 Toyo Proxes tires
Exterior Honda Formula Red paint with black roof; Sorcery widebody kit (fenders, front bumper, side skirts, rear quarter panels); custom rear diffuser with Sorcery outer fins; Type-R style rear spoiler; custom Lexan hatch with scoop
Interior Recaro Pole Position seats in red velour mounted to NSX electric seat rails; re-wrapped dash and door panels in charcoal alcantara; MOMO Tuner steering wheel
Ice Eclipse AVN2454 headunit with navigation; Elemental design 6.5'' component speakers and amps
Thanks You My Mom and Dad, Jeff Hazelbaker for welding, Martin Hoang, Earon Stewart, Jeff Kraft @ Perfection Plus, Honnaman, J&J Auto Upholstery, Slowmotion Motorsports, Wheel Medic, E.T Paul Tires, Bulldog Powdercoating, First Glass, Toyo Tires, Exedy Racing, Elemental Designs
Www koni.com,slowmotionmotorsports.com, workwheelsusa.com