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It's Been A Long Time Coming...

29 April 2002
The Great NorthEast
I’ve been an NSX owner since 1998. It may have been in ’96 or ’97 when “Car & Driver” columnist Patrick Bedard was asked, “Which automobile would car magazine editors keep in their garage, on standby, fully fueled and ready to go?” His answer…The Acura NSX. That’s where it started for me. Some time later ‘AutoWeek’ ran a story about a guy who took an NSX to Ferrari Day at Pocono International. They let him on the track and he proceeded to ‘Spank!’ Every Ferrari There! That…Was All I Needed To Know! That was the moment I decided to own an Acura NSX.

At the time my daily driver was a ’92 Civic DX that I bought from a hospital bed after my left leg had been paralyzed in a car accident. We named her “Blue Betty” and I gotta tell you, that Civic gave me a reliable, engaging, fun filled and thrifty, 400K miles. And Man, that engine would Hummmmm! She ‘Sang a Really Sweet Song’. One day I had given a lift to these young boys whose car had skidded into a ditch on the side of the road. There were at least 6 people in the car. During the ride one guy piped up, ‘Wow! Ya hear that engine. That sounds better than yours Joe!” ;0) I’ve heard it said that Honda is an engine company that happens to build cars. So Yeah, I “Worshipped at the Altar of Honda”.

The NSX was a car engineered with a focused attention to the fundamental elements of performance driving. The degree of consideration given to these elements was such that the car is still highly capable 30 years after its original presentation To The World! As I see it, they pulled out all the stops and offered the car buying public an opportunity to experience advanced technology for the street. Here’s a quick example of the forward thinking approach in the NSX’s development.



I read as as much as I could about the NSX. I found that a small change in wheel alignment had been made in model year 1993. A minor sacrifice in high speed stability was traded for increased tread life. They also addressed a reported transmission gear whine. That year’s model also didn’t carry the extra weight of later models which had been built with extra bracing for the T-Top. The 1993 version of the car became my target.

A nationwide search found a car in Ft Lauderdale, at a place called Exotic Cars Wholesale. They were affiliated with Prestige Imports. They’re no longer around. Finding a car with 20, 000 miles on the odometer was just good fortune. I flew in, had the car inspected at a local Acura dealer, and quickly made the purchase.

My intention was to ship the car home via railroad. But there was a hurricane making its way up the east coast at the time, rail service was disrupted. I hadn’t planned on it but I drove that car back to the Great North East. To this day I’m amazed (and Thankful) that I didn’t get stopped once by any uniformed state, county or municipal employee who, in the performance of their duties drives a car with, cop motor, cop shocks, lights, sirens…stuff like that. I did have a brief conversation at a roadside restaurant in Tennessee with two members of the local constabulary. I asked what was the fastest speed I could travel without being stopped. That became my cruise default.

As any red blooded man or woman would, while driving one of the most incredible cars ever made, I let that engine sing, and danced on the pedals like Michael Jackson. Who could not fall in love with how the chassis would take a set and intimately caress every curve that comes its way. It was really a blessing to have friends and family along the route that I could stay with as I drove her home. I gave everybody a ride!

Part of the reason that I wanted a ‘Great Car’ was that I had a ‘Great Drive’…actually, a Pretty Long Commute. I mean if you have to drive about 100 miles, one way to work, it makes sense that you enjoy it! Im glad I didn’t have to drive it every day. But, I did put a lot of highway miles on the car. Every Single One…was an Absolute Joy!

The NSX has a Style and Beauty all its own. It follows then that thieves would consider it a desirable car to ‘take for a ride’. Just for curiosity I pulled up two online vehicles history reports and they both show a clean history. I’m here to tell you, that ain’t the truth. The car has been stolen twice and driven hard enough one time to warp the front rotors. Hooray for Lojack! Those warped stock rotors were replaced with a set of rotors that were crossed drilled. I won’t do that again, the ones I got cracked over time. Ironically, both thefts happened to take place in New Jersey. The cop who filled out the 2nd report said that “Of the top ten cities in the nation for car theft, five of them are in New Jersey.” I had taken a friend to a movie at the Hudson Mall, in Jersey City and had no idea that it was a haven for car thieves. I can only imagine that this condition has changed for the better.

The car was also hit on the driver’s door when I was unaware of the impact of chronic jet lag on my physiology and cognitive functioning. All repairs were done by the best NSX specialists that I could find. I’d heard of an Acura specialist near the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania reputed to be excellent and knowledgeable. That shop proved to be an absolute horror. I recently read a post on FaceBook about what may very well be the same shop. Seems they have not yet learned to operate with integrity.

I attended the NSX Club of America’s meet in 2005, drove to Connecticut with DocJohn along U.S. Route 84. That was a Blast! I was dancing like a kid at Christmas when the car was featured on the cover of the subsequent issue of the club magazine as we took a parade lap of Lime Rock Park.

Just before the meet at Watkins Glen, a track that I longed to drive, I lost my clutch. I replaced it with the RPS clutch featured by SOS at the time. Yes! It’s Heavy, But, I figured if I ever increased engine power I would want a clutch that could handle it. Fact is I never minded it, even in NYC traffic. I wonder if I’ll continue to feel that way when I’m back on the road. It does help in keeping my weak left leg stronger.

One of the driving schools I went to was Bertil Roos Racing School at Pocono International. Finishing their three day course allowed me to return every year for a ‘Practice Day’ in Formula Fords before putting my car back on the road in the Spring! In 2009 my finances were such that I wasn’t able to. So, on Sundays, I’d hit the local industrial park and do some light drifting to get a feeling for the car. Seems I was doing it to a degree where oil wasn’t getting to the pump; oil starvation lead to rod bearing failure. Suddenly, the show was over.

The car was ‘on blocks’ in my garage for years. I figured I needed about $10K - $12K to rebuild the engine and well, I just got distracted by things like divorce and re-marriage, college tuition for my daughter and other kindsa ‘life stuff’. In 2016 I decided to loosen my grip on some cash and just get the car done! Yeah, It hurts to say that it’s been nearly three years, but I’m sure you don’t wanna hear ‘that story!’

If you’re reading this, I feel safe in saying that you understand the attraction of increased power. Throughout the entire time I’ve owned my NSX my thought process was a little different. Instead of making The Car Faster, I endeavored to make Me Faster. I hold the belief that the NSX is a car whereby the better you can drive, the faster and more safely, you can drive the car. So for me driving schools, and track time whenever I could get them, were purchased in place of “Go-Fast Parts!” And let me be clear, I harbor no illusions that I’m the 2nd coming of Senna…not by a long shot…not even remotely! My right foot has a Deep and Profound Belief in self preservation. Oh! And I’ve never tracked my car. It was always ‘their car.’

In order to maintain the car’s relevance in the millennial age an increase in horsepower is required. I won’t do anything crazy! NSXMugen lives nearby and built a 500 RWHP BEAST that simply overwhelmed the rear wheels! And BTW ‘THANKS’ David! for the input/advice during the rebuilding process, Genuinely Appreciated! I say a prayer for Filip every day.

For me it’ll just be a Balanced and Blueprinted Engine, and your basic I/H/E setup. It’ll feature: Downforce Intake Scoop, backed by a K&N Air Filter. CT Headers and a Custom Exhaust featuring Borla mufflers and fabricated by Nick Saprona of Gouldsburgh PA. I’m going for the “Relatively Quiet But Purposeful” sound. My overall objective is to preserve the essential spirit of the NSX.

The engine was rebuilt by Jeff Murray of ‘Murray Engines’ in Northeast Pennsylvania. Jeff spoke highly of the assistance and consideration afforded him by Wade at Science of Speed, The Cathedral of all things NSX. I’d like to express my gratitude for the level of cooperation, communication and information that the S.O.S. staff provided. Thank You All!!!

I’d also like to Thank Brian of Shelby Racers, I believe he's in Minnesota, for an excellent Crankshaft. That was the lynch pin of the entire rebuild. Joe Toth in Brooklyn, NY got me a solid connecting rod and Christian Mittendorfer got me an engine oil cooler at the very last minute. Thank You All So Very Much!

Now, Jeff Murray is known as a master engine builder among the dirt track crowd in this part of Pennsylvania. His clients also include those who track their cars at Monticello Motor Club in upstate New York. His engines are held in high regard as they present increased performance and reliability, while fully complying with race series engine build specifications. I’m confident that this engine will be a jewel.

Build Specifics:

Engine Block Line Honed

SOS High Volume Oil Pump with Oil Pan Baffle and Billet Steel Gears

(no more oil starvation for me)

SOS RS Spec Type A Pistons (Wiseco lightweight forged pistons with graphite and molybdenum skirt coating).

SOS Performance Valve Springs with Titanium retainers

Ceramic Coated CT Headers

ATI Super Damper Harmonic Balancer

Kevlar Timing Belt

Cometic Gaskets

OPL Radiator

DiscItalia Stainless Steel Brake Lines with Teflon Inner Line

EBC Slotted Rotors and ‘Yellow Stuff’ Brake Pads

Downforce Air Intake Scoop

Custom Exhaust Featuring Borla Mufflers, Fabricated by Nick Saprona.

I made sure to get the oil pan baffle as oil starvation caused the bearing to fail in the first place.

I kept the con rods stock because, after all the NSX was the first production car to feature titanium connecting rods. I count them as ‘Good Enough’!!!
I also added a set of SOS adjustable sway bars and a set of Koni
Sport shocks. I may consider springs or coilovers at a later date.

I would like to auto cross. It affords me the opportunity to compete, not so much against others, but against myself. I like the idea of making myself better. Maybe one day that 2nd coming of Senna tag will apply [insert ‘laughed so hard I cried’ emoji here]!

The one area that I think I didn’t get quite right, was the wheels. I’m a ‘5 Spoke’ guy. I LOVE the look of Brushed Silver Advan Kreuzer V1’s. I was committed to a 17”/18” Wheel Setup. I searched everywhere and just could not find those wheels. I even looked at a vendor in Hong Kong. If anyone knows of a set in 17/18 and is willing to talk or negotiate please hit me up. I settled for a look that I thought was similar. Based on the attached JPEG Image.


I really think I blew this, not in terms of fitment, but in terms of appearance. The wheel is ARC’s VF495. It’s not what I wanted in that the spokes are much wider than they appear in the sales image. But they are Custom-Made, Lightweight, 2 Piece, Forged Wheels and well, they’re paid for. So, they’re mine! It is ,what it is and it’ll be what it’s gonna be!

Next on the list is lights and sound.

I hear that LED’s are the way to go on lighting. So I’m digging into that now. I’ve pretty much decided on a blue tooth setup for audio. I believe that Daryl guy in Texas has the best system. I’m considering Daytime Running Lights and will most likely get those first as I see that as an immediate and vital improvement in safety. Hey, my right foot isn’t the only body part interested in self preservation!

I’m expecting to get the car within the next 2 weeks…Can’t wait until Springtime.

Color me EXCITED!

Be Smart, Be Safe and Keep the Wheel Side Down!


So here I am just under three months after getting this car back on the road. In July I took my first long drive. I drove out to my daughter’s house, a trip of about 106 miles one way. I am not as nimble as I once was and getting used to driving her again was surprisingly not as free flowing as I thought it would be and after surgery, my hip is a little stiff. Getting back in this car was my first time driving a clutch in about 9 or 10 years. There are certain things that you don’t forget, but I found that I lost my ‘Heel & Toe’.

On the way back home from my daughter’s, I developed a problem getting the car into gear. I had to slam the shifter for gears to engage. I limped home just hoping that I didn’t hit traffic but of course that was inevitable in NYC metro. Somehow I managed to get home with nothing more than an elevated BP and the shocking realization that I had lost all my hair!!!

Turns out a seal on the clutch slave cylinder had been leaking and one of the forks in the assembly was actually broken or bent to something like that.

Out with the RPS, in with the EXEDY HYPER Single Plate.

I went with the EXEDY Single because while I may eventually autocross, my driving is not yet at the point where I can really handle more power. Mind you the upgrades to the engine internals plus the I/H/E setup must have improved horsepower and torque. But honestly, the car does not feel as fast as it once did. I will Dyno the car when time and funds permit. I’ve found one nearby and plan to use that when I am ready to power up. Presently, it seems that my first move in that direction will be the AEM EMS V2. Engine Control Unit.

As it stands, once the car gets up to speed she feels SWEET! I can handle curves at velocities equalling those of my B8.5 Audi (with that Seriously Sublime Quattro Grip). The NSX amazingly feels more secure in the corners and I know there is more left. I want to get more comfortable with my old friend before I attempt to take her beyond certain limits. Learning how she breaks away and managing that drift is next on the list. But I will approach that in a safe and controlled manner. That’ll be my excuse for time at a local cart track. I am deeply satisfied with how the car feels in a curve and under braking.

Like I said earlier I’m still trying to find my “Heel and Toe”. When I’m at a comfortable position in terms of distance from the clutch, my knee hits the bottom of the steering wheel when I shift. Beyond that I have yet to habitually position my foot on the brake in order to allow that smooth rollover to the throttle, the one that generates that matching blip that sounds so sweet when done right. But each time I drive her I can see that I am slowly but steadily getting better.

But I gotta tell you that I’ve noticed something…

Every time I’m on the road and having fun. If I come up on somebody with a hot car…they back off! I suspect that a lot of YOU GUYS have intimidated the hot car driving populace. They think I have, what YOU GUYS have under the hood. You know, Superchargers and Turbochargers and that Nitrous stuff.

My exhaust systems SOUNDS!

At low RPM’s the car sounds angry…like a muscle car in my opinion. But at higher revs it doesn’t sound bad at all. Check it out…I think because of that noise they think I’m armed for battle.


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great to see you getting back in the saddle. there is another pocono region owner who is very handy with the nsx Jerry aka acuhon...
Welcome back . If you gone go autoX , send me a PM. I would take my NSX for a spin or two . Where is the industrial park you can drift? Oil baffle was one of the first mods I did. Hope that you have all new hoses also. See you at the NSXPO or sooner?
Great to see you back!! Great build, the engine is done the right way.
+1 if you go autoX ping me, will def go too.
Welcome back . If you gone go autoX , send me a PM. I would take my NSX for a spin or two . Where is the industrial park you can drift? Oil baffle was one of the first mods I did. Hope that you have all new hoses also. See you at the NSXPO or sooner?
Hey Jerry - DocJohn mentioned you above. NSXMugen wants is on the autoX so when I get settled and have all the info I'll definitely holla at you guys!
Welcome back . If you gone go autoX , send me a PM. I would take my NSX for a spin or two . Where is the industrial park you can drift? Oil baffle was one of the first mods I did. Hope that you have all new hoses also. See you at the NSXPO or sooner?

Oh! send me a PM and we'll talk about that drifting spot...��
Thanks Man! It's a Pleasure to get 'Back in The Saddle' The car was just delivered on Wednesday. home Again.jpg

I'm waiting to get the original registration restored (wanna keep my old plates). I bought an LED DRL setup and I'll have that installed this week.and I'm looking to get the widow tracks cleaned and lubricated. I'll have the guys come to my house for that. Then gonna spend some time with a clay bar, polymers and polish. Can't wait for a nice sunny Spring day to take a long run on the highway! 😜😜😜
Well - I have the car back and I have to tell you I am not very happy right now. Primarily because the exhaust is an RFL exhaust RFL as in REAL F*ckin' LOUD! It sounds like a muscle car! NOT what I specified. Mechanically the car is sound. I need to attend to some small aesthetic details, wash, clay, polymers and polish, stuff like that but the exhaust is killing' me.....I'm not what you would call a loud guy!. So....I gotta figure something out here....��

The wheels are not as I envisioned, but up close they're actually nice looking. The 2 piece forged construction is intricate and quite appealing when you look inside the rim. Right now, I simply don't have the cash to get the Advan's that I dreamed of, but these ARC wheels will have to do and they are not hideous, So.....I'm still waiting for my registration to clear, but the state workers are dragging their behinds on this one....but I'm in no hurry. It'll happen soon enough!
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Hi Dacron,

Just found this thread and enjoyed the read ... I always like the story behind the purchase and its nice when this delivers satisfying long term ownership. I also consider my NSX a on-going ‘project’. Always satisfying to drive and over the years as OEM parts approach the time for my own preventative maintainance, where available, I’ve ‘updated’ with more modern hardware such as Stoptech, Bilsteins, and added cosmetic parts from the 02-05 model.

Your engine build sounds incredible, hope you soften that exhaust note to your liking. Mine has an H&S system (UK based), which offers a nice deeper note than you might expect from a big revving Honda, but I like the discreetness compared to some.

Wanting the 90’s look for wheels I stayed with OEM and run the 02-05 17s with Yoko AD08Rs ... really good set-up. When the time is right and you like these, the NSX Shop is producing the 02 style rim in 17/18 combo ...

Look forward to the update of your completed project and you back on the road enjoying your NSX ....

Regards, Paul
What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing and I’m sure you’ll get the exhaust note perfect.
Congratulations on the rebuild, and I hope you can get out soon to enjoy it.

If you want to stay with Borla cans and keep the OEM exhaust tips, the Borla Pro XS is a lot quieter. Louder than OEM of course, but quiet to the point that you can still hear the induction roar under WOT. They are oval and bigger than the S-type, but you may have room with that layout. In VERY general terms, the larger the mufflers the more quiet it will be.

In my exhaust iterations going through about 20 setups, I once had a single 3" Pro XS muffler with a center-exit setup. Good luck!
Thanks for the warm regards, Paul. I'm looking at a few options for a more "discreet" exhaust note right now. As it stands, everybody loves the exhaust note, everybody as in local kids, the detailer guy, my son-in-law, and my daughters mechanic friend. I've got 2 local guys scheduled to come over to clean and lube the window regulators, remove the seats for a deep interior cleaning and to add a set of LED daytime running lights. Once all that's done I can only hope that the state has found my old registration and will allow my to register the car and keep the same old D.A.R.E. plates. I'm looking into "Track Night America" for my first endeavor on the track. I'm figuring this would be an easy initial experience for me to track my car for the first time. I'll then look into North East PA SCCA for some autocross events. Just realized I gotta get a new helmet...as my old one does not meet current standards. That should be fun! BTW I see your in the U.K. I married a Brit and have been to London quite a few times. My wife will be there sometime this summer to see her family, If I decide to join her maybe we can get to gather for a pint.
Well...Here's an update:

The clutch is not as heavy as I remembered it to be. I don't think it'll be a problem at all. Re: that exhaust note. I'm thinking of changing the mufflers first. I'll go with Borla's Touring Mufflers and try to sell the 'S' Types that I have now. I might also get tips with silencers...and see how that goes.

I'm having a local body guy come by on Sunday to take the doors apart to clean and lubricate the window regulators. I'm still waiting for the state to "un-purge" the old registration so I can register the car with the same plates and get her back on the road. I've been driving it around my development (closed gated community) and my neighbors kids are loving the sound of the RFL exhaust. My neighbors tell me they can hear the car from quite a distance when they're in their homes...not at all what I want.

My first track endeavor will very likely be "Track Night America" the program jointly sponsored by SCCA and TireRack. I'm gonna do this slow and easy. Given the shocks, sway bars and wheel/tire changes, I expect the car will "feel' a bit differently than what I'm used to. Once I get a feel for her again...I'll be looking for some autocross venues....I'll Holla at Mugen and Acuhon so we can get some serious running done.

LED running lights have been delivered and are in a box in the garage. Hope to get that initial stage of my lighting package installed this week too.

That's All for now...Still Eager to get out on the open road!

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lmk when and where your track event is..
OMG! I really have a hard time with people that do not keep their agreements, doesn't matter if it's business or in a personal relationship...absolutely pisses me off! Car's not registered, the state is running in circles trying to unpurge my original registration. I'm hoping they get that straightened out this week. I'm still waiting for this body guy to come to clean and lube the window regulators and install these LED running lights....but I've waited 3 years, not always patiently, so I can be patient for a while longer.
Track dates I'm looking at now are with Hooked on Driving July 6th 7th at Pocono International and Maybe New Jersey Motorsports park in September...
For your first track day / event I would recommend avoiding "Track Night in America". Limited instructor availability combined with yahoos driving high HP cars they have no understanding how to drive properly. Find a local car club (doesn't have to be an NSX / Acura club) if you can. You definitely want to arrange for an instructor at whatever track you go to, especially if you have never been on a track before or if you've never been to a specific track. Instructors will show you the correct line, braking techniques and brake points as well as point out areas where you are making mistakes or where you can improve your technique.

Make sure you get your car thoroughly checked out with a competent shop before the event, preferably a shop that has race prep experience. Having some dope put your car on the rack and shine a flashlight on the underside is not what you are looking for in order to prep your car for the track. Find out who is providing race support at the track. They would be a good go to place for a pre-race inspection. Talk to them about brake pads and what they recommend for a novice. Whatever street pads you are currently running might not cut it. You might want to get your brakes bled with a higher temp fluid as a precautionary measure.

Bottom line - you would be surprised how much more stress is put on your car on the track vs. "spirited street driving" Good luck.
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I appreciate the concern. The only first would be driving 'My NSX' on the track. I've been to several racing schools and while it's been some time (well �� actually not that long given that I've been invited to Porsche Day at Pocono International two years running) since I've been on a track. As I mention in my opening story, I'm not the 2nd coming of Senna, but I am not quite a novice. In any event your advise is well considered. I've recently look into "Hooked On Driving" and they have several track weekends scheduled through out the summer and into the fall. Lime Rock, which is on their schedule was my first track experience in my 2nd 240Z. I've done Pocono numerous times. But I've never driven Watkins Glen and that track is on their schedule. They do offer an inexpensive 1/2 day coaching for intermediate drivers. Right now I just wanna get on the road in my own car and see how it feels with the engine mods and suspension changes. I'll seriously look into autocross...but I wanna get my feet wet with some supervised track time. Patience has been my guiding principle through out this process....so I'll continue to take my time and do it the best way I know how. Thanks for the advice, any insight sincerely offered, is sincerely appreciated...����
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Well, I finally got the registration quagmire cleared up and I took 'My Baby' out for the first time in, well....a Damn Long Time! Took the wife to Wendy's for her first ride in what she calls, "The Red Car!" and her first Wendy's Bacon Cheese Burger (I got "A Thing!" for that Spicy Chicken with Cheese!) The experience was 'eye opening' to say the least (I'm talking about the drive). I forgot how close to the ground you ride. That was kind of exciting! The exhaust note is really really loud, It sounds nice, but it's killing me...and my neighbors...and the people in the next town over. I had an alignment done and the technician described the sound as "Deep and Angry, not at all what an NSX should sound like!" Besides, I'm not an angry guy so we gotta do something about that. Someone suggested Magnaflow mufflers with silencing tips. If that doesn't do the trick I'll look for an old Comptech or CT exhaust.

I had some LED running lights installed (Eurobotique Level 1) and they look 'Very Nice!'. LED headlights are on order! And OMG The Wheels, some guys at the shop described 'The Wheels' as "DOPE!" I Had to laugh cuz they really don't look too bad. Guess I didn't completely screw that up. Honestly, the car doesn't feel as fast as it used to. But when I had the chance she got up to speed with alacrity and the stability at 100 MPH was right there. I ordered an new helmet but I'm gonna take a few months to get used to driving the car again before I track her. But overall it still feels good when strangers comment on how nice the car is....almost as good as it feels to drive. Damn, It's nice to be back!
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