Newport Convertible Engineering (formerly Newport Car Conversions)
Magazine Article #1
A Topless, Turbo NSX - Teaming up to make an exoticar even more exotic
Most "tuner cars" spring from the vision of one person and are the product of one shop, but sometimes competing visions can be combined to great effect. Recently, Bell Engineering in San Antonio, Texas, maker of turbo kits, and Newport Car Conversions Inc., in Norwalk, Calif., which specializes in convertible conversions, worked together for a customer who wanted both for his Acura NSX.
Newport's efforts are the most visible. The company has been doing convertible conversions for nearly I I years, and the NSX fits right in with the prestige cars on which the company built its reputation. "People have really responded well," says Newport's Mathew Kahn, who estimates his company is converting 20 to 25 NSXs a year. To do the job, Newport needs the car for about four weeks. The convertible top consists of a targa roof section and a rear piece made from canvas. The roof and canvas fit in the trunk, while the overhead top support bar folds up neatly under a fiberglass boot. The chassis, naturally, is reinforced.
Ragtop conversion costs $14,500, uses slots and velcro to attach to support bar.
Even though Acura has an NSX with factory targa top waiting in the wings, Kahn figures that few NSX owners will trade in their still-newish cars on an expensive new targa model, but they might be enticed to pop for his targa conversion at $8,500, or the full-boat convertible conversion at $14,500.
Invisible externally, but certainly noticeable from behind the wheel is Bell's twin-turbo conversion. Corky Bell has been creating turbo kits for 20 years, the last three under the Bell Engineering name. So far, the company has sold 12 of the $7,850 NSX twin-turbo kits. CARB certification is pending for the NSX system, but since the turbos and intercoolers are located aft of the catalytic converters and no emission controls have been disconnected, the company anticipates few problems with legality.
Twin Aerodyne turbos fit behind the rear wheels and carry their own oil reservoir. Variable vane design lets turbos spool up quicker, providing improved power at low speeds.
During our brief ride-and-drive we found the thrust from the turbos intoxicating, not to mention license-threatening. The power delivery was smooth, with no hiccups or glitches, and there was only slight shushing sound to let us know the turbos were in use. The convertible too seemed well-made and was reasonably quiet at speed, but headroom will be tight for a six-footer. Still, there's little arguing with the visual, and visceral, impact this car makes. Perhaps two tuners are better than one.
Magazine Article #2
SIDEBAR: Running Wide Open - Honda's supercar goes convertible.
[BL - 99/1/19] This was my old Red twin turbo convertible NSX which I ran at Honda's TRC test track at NSXpo '98. While at TRC I did notice some flex with the convertibles body while doing the skidpad and the mini-track. The convertible chassis was reinforced with an aluminum (maybe steel?) sub-frame to keep the car from flexing. In my opionion, the car looked great but definately was not as rigid as a factory car. The $15,000 "chop-job" was done by Newport Conversions in southern California.
[A/H] You can call it sour grapes from the factory but please be careful when cutting the top off. I have photos of the reinforcement that Newport did to an NSX. REALLY SCARY. I went to their shop to ask what reinforcements they did and they wouldn't talk to me (surprise surprise). I did try to help.
My fear is that a hardtop that is chopped and then involved in a front end collision will fold the dash down on someones legs. Please be careful.