Picture this: You're a company that makes performance parts for import cars. You've been doing it for quite a few years, and you've developed a reputation for building quality components. Based, in part, on that reputation, a major automotive manufacturer agrees to give you a vehicle-no, make that one of its latest models-so you can R&D (research and develop) parts for that model. Would that be the ultimate?
Maybe. But what if after having seen the car and all the work you'd done to it, the manufacturer asked for the car back with all your parts still on it so they could take it to the SEMA show as a representation of what the aftermarket has developed for the car. That would be the ultimate, right? Well, you'll have to ask the folks at Neuspeed how it felt, because that's exactly what happened to them.
The day before this '98 Accord went back to Honda to be shipped to Las Vegas in time for the show, we somehow managed to talk the Neuspeed boys into letting us take it for a quick spin around the block (that's what we told them, anyway). If you read this rag with any regularity, you know that people don't let us drive their cars very often. Especially ones that have been totally outfitted with go-faster parts. What kind of parts? Glad you asked.
Since the whole idea behind getting the car in the first place was so that Neuspeed could develop products for the new-generation Accord, they left nothing out. And if they needed something that they didn't manufacture in-house, they turned to other industry leaders, such as Wings West for the body kit and rear wing, TSW for the 18-inch Trophy wheels, Toyo for the Proxes T1 tires, and Nitrous Express for just the right amount of squeeze.
The first thing to go was the stock ride height. Neuspeed dropped the Accord via a set of Sport lowering springs. Next came a host of other suspension parts, including an upper strut tower bar, a 27mm antiroll bar for the front, and a 19mm antiroll bar for the rear. Once all the suspension mods were in place, the TSW Trophys and Toyo T1 Proxes 225/40ZR18 went on. The Accord then spent a bit of quality time at Wings West, where it was outfitted with a front spoiler, side skirts, rear valance, and matching rear wing.
Next, Neuspeed turned its attention to the engine compartment. The airways were opened, thanks to a P-Flo air intake system, an N2 header, and a high-flow exhaust system. Any of this sounding familiar? This was the same Accord that we used for the header and exhaust story in our November '98 issue. A Neuspeed alternator, 8mm spark plug wires (also Neuspeed's), and a billet aluminum oil cap were the next-to-last add-ons. Last, but not least, was the Nitrous Express nitrous system, complete with bottle warmer.
So how does it drive, you ask? Since we only had the car for a brief time, and since we always obey every traffic law, we didn't get to run it wide open. But if we had found a long straightaway in one of the industrial sections of Camarillo, and if we had armed the nitrous system, we would be able to tell you that this car was a blast to drive. And if we had done that, we would have also run it without the nitrous to test the Neuspeed bolt-ons, only to find that the grin factor was there even without the squeeze. And again, if we had done that, we would have also taken it up into the hills around Camarillo to push the suspension to its limits, only to find that the car far surpassed our expectations in the corners. But we wouldn't do that because, as we said earlier, we never get to drive other people's cars.
Fast Facts Owner: American Honda/Neuspeed Ride: '98 Honda Accord Under The Hood: Neuspeed P-Flo intake, N2 header, Neuspeed alternator and 8mm plug wires, Nitrous Express nitrous system, Neuspeed high-flow exhaust, billet oil cap Stiff Stuff: Neuspeed Sport springs, upper strut tower bar, 27mm front antiroll bar, 19mm rear antiroll bar Rollers: 18-inch TSW Trophys, 225/40ZR18 Toyo Proxes T1 Outside: Wings West body kit and rear wing