With the exception of trust-fund babies who modify their motor just for the hell of it or possibly a tax write-off, motivation for the buildup of any car comes from somewhere. For many it comes from an inherent need for personal expression. We could all have 2.3 kids, drive around in four-door Escorts and get our hair cut the same way every three weeks, but sooner or later boredom would overpower the soul in an Orwellian world such as this.
Of course, you don't have to have spiked hair and tattoos to realize that many automotive platforms can be improved upon. Case in point, the early Acura NSX. While lauded for its light weight (3,100 pounds) and handling prowess, the mid-engined two-seater just didn't pack the K/O punch in the horsepower department. With 270 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque from the factory, the Acura just wasn't up to par with other supercars of the day.
Enter Dr. Ron Warnick, a Midwest-based surgeon whose knife has saved more than a few lives. Ron bought the car in '97 and while his '91 NSX carved canyons with equal precision to his scalpel, there was always room for more ponies in the stable. A Tubi exhaust was soon installed thereafter. For his efforts he took home the best-sounding exhaust award at the 2002 NSXPO convention. At the time, he considered additional modifications but always had an excuse (too little time, not enough money).
In early 2003, Dr. Warnick received a frightening phone call from a physician friend. "Ron, I need your help. I have a brain tumor," said his ailing colleague and compatriot.
Despite the best efforts of Dr. Warnick and his staff, his friend passed away six months later from a malignant brain tumor. "I then had a realization that life is short and I needed to move ahead with my dream car," says Warnick. "Coincidentally, I had just received an application for an MBNA credit card with a $50,000 credit limit. I immediately used this to buy the first $25,000 worth of parts."
The parts purchased included a Comptech supercharger, half the aero parts and some other interior bits. The NSX and its bevy of new parts sat at a local tuner for a while until they (Warnick and the company) realized that although there was help for Hondas in the Midwest, Cincinatti wasn't the daddy when it came to tuning NSXs. To find the father figures of fettling with the mid-engined Acuras, Warnick turned to Science of Speed in Tempe, Ariz. Why them? Well, when you've got two fully sorted NSXs in your stable, one of them with a carbon-fiber body, people are going to call you whether they want work done or not.
Warnick had the car, along with its assortment of aero parts, shipped down to Chris Wilson and Seth Rowan of S.O.S. At first, they decked out the Acura with a Taitec GT500 spoiler and a few other parts from Marga Hills. "I decided this kit looked way too boy-racer and wanted something a little more appropriate for a 48-year-old doctor," says Warnick. "Also, I didn't like the open headlights." So it was back to the drawing board. To replace the slightly barbaric look of the Taitec bits, S.O.S. fitted a GT front bumper from Cantrell Studios. The addition of the bumper, along with the accompanying wide fenders, differs from S.O.S's other signature cars slightly. Its NSXs are modeled after JGTC racers, with a larger spoiler and open fenders. Warnick's does not.
The slightly more subtle carbon-fiber spoiler riding the tail at present is an NSX R-type from Procar. Cantrell Studio's GT wide quarterpanels, Honda 2002 (the NSX is badged as a Honda in Japan) rear valence kit, Craft Square carbon-fiber mirrors and, of course, the 2002 NSX headlight assembly contribute to the custom high-class appearance of this able-bodied Acura.
The icing on the cake comes in several coats of Grigio Alloy paint. This Ferrari 360 Modena color is silver-blue and varies depending on the lighting. On a cute teddy bear, Hallmark-like note, the color was chosen by Warnick's daughter.
So it looks like a predator, a laid-back beast. But is it a sheep in wolf's clothing? Well, after having the supercharger installed at S.O.S., the engine definitely has more of the proverbial horses but there wasn't exactly a riot in the stable. To increase the stomping of hooves and frantic equine whinnying, Warnick had the car shipped out to Autowave in Huntington Beach, Calif.
When it arrived out west, father and son wrenching duo Shane and Michael LaPiere put the car on their Dynojet and found it was having some issues while putting out around 310 hp. Once the revs reached 6000 rpm, it ran way too lean and had to be shut down. It was time for an extreme makeover. First to go would be the stock ECU and accompanying FMU. Replaced with a programmable stand-alone unit from AEM and a set of RC Engineering 550cc fuel injectors, the injectors would no longer have to run 100 pounds of pressure per injector along with a 100-percent duty cycle. The new setup allows the injectors to run at 45 pounds and at 80-percent duty cycle. The new arrangement decreases strain and improves reliability across the board.
A larger pulley meant for a newer 3.2-liter motor was also added. Remember this is a '91. With the pulley size increased compared to the Comptech charger, the boost is now at 8.5 psi as opposed to the stock 5 psi.
Before spouting off dyno figures, we should establish the fact that the NSX was tuned with streetability in mind, including partial throttle, mileage and a clean pipe. (Which, by the way, is a Taitec straight pipe with Comptech hi-flow cats and JGTC parallel exit exhaust.) While the Acura passes emissions with flying colors, it had trouble reaching the expected 375-whp figure due to an unfortunate combination of 90-degree temperatures and 90-percent humidity.
"The Dynojet (as opposed to a Dynamax) is great for tuning but not so great for the ego," says the elder Lapier.
Excuses aside, 360 whp isn't exactly wimpy. Factor in drivetrain loss and the NSX is easily charging into the supercar company of Ferdinand's finest and Enzo's elite.
With the speeds attainable from this kind of power you'd think Warnick would have had his license revoked. Nope, he's got just what his custom plate reads: NO TICKETS. Even with the array of suspension parts such as the TEIN Type-RE coil-overs and Honda JDM NSX-R reinforcement bars encouraging sideways shenanigans, the nubile NSX remains like a broke teenager heading to a concert, without tickets. Rolling on Volk Racing GT-C rims (18x8-inches in front and 19x10.5-inches rear) you'd think the cops would have pulled him over more than once just to see the Brembo Gran Turismo brake kit bring the widebody to a halt. It just so happens the police have pulled Ron over a number of times, only to let him go when they see his honorary deputy badge. Awhile back, near Warnick's hometown of Loveland, near Cincinatti, an officer was chasing down a Camaro he clocked at 120 mph when he lost control, crossed the median and ran headlong into a rig, incurring severe head trauma.
To make a long story short, Dr. Warnick saved his the officer's life and was subsequently given the honorary Sheriff's badge. "I have no arrest perogative," says Warnick. "But I do get out of a few tickets."
Comptech Sport Supercharger System
AEM Stand-Alone ECU
NGK spark plugs
255lph Walbro fuel pump
Comptech Sport High-Flow Airbox Assembly (Carbon Fiber)
Cantrell Concepts Air Induction System
Cantrell Concepts Ultra-Lite Engine Cover (Carbon Fiber/Lexan)
Science of Speed Valve Covers
Science of Speed Polished Coolant Tank
Science of Speed Polished Fuse Box Cover
Cantrell Concepts Oil Cap (Billet/Carbon Fiber)
Cantrell Concepts Polished Oil Dipstick
Centerforce Performance Clutch
Science of Speed Stage 2 Light Flywheel
Honda JDM Short Gearset
Comptech 4.55 Ring and Pinion Gearset
Cantrell Studios GT Front Bumper
2002 NSX Headlight Assembly
Cantrell Studios NSX-R Style Hood (Carbon Fiber)
Cantrell Studios GT Wide Front Fenders
Craft Square Carbon-Fiber Mirrors
Cantrell Studios GT Side Skirts
Cantrell Studios GT Wide Quarter Panels
Cantrell Studios Race Filler Assembly
Procar NSX-R Rear Spoiler (Carbon Fiber)
Honda 2002 Rear Valence Kit
Honda Dark Rear Tail Lamp Assembly
Sparco Torino Seats (Limited Edition)
TAITEC Sliding Seat Rails (Bottom Mount)
Sparco Steering Wheel (Color 2)
GRF Billet Quick-Release Steering Hub
Autovation NSX Racing Pedals
Honda JDM GPS Navigation Pod
K's Carbon-Fiber Gauge Bezel
Carbon-Fiber Center Console
Science of Speed Rapid Shift Knob
NSX-R Mesh Shift Boot with Carbon Trim Panel
RITMO Carbon Door Sill Garnish
BackYard Special Carbon Door Trim
Custom Red Leather Door Inserts
Sony CDX-M850MP In-Dash CD Receiver
Boston Acoustics Pro 5.25" Speakers
Brakes, Wheels & Tires
Brembo Gran Turismo Big Brake Kit
Brembo E-Brake System
Rays Volk GT-C Wheels: Front (Face-1, 18x8), Rear (Face-2, 19x10.5)
Bridgestone Potenza SO-3 Tires: Front (225/35-18), Rear (285/30-19)