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No Sleep Til Brooklands - Slow Evolution of a Forever Car

Joined
23 October 2016
Messages
57
Location
Irvine CA
Sorry for the long post, just putting my thoughts out there into the world!

I've been lucky enough to own this 94 Brooklands Green over Tan for a little over 4 years now (time flies), it's been on a slow march of improvement. I figured before I get much further into my ownership it'd be nice to document the progress so I could reflect back on the car's evolution over time.

What are the long term goals for the car? To be my version of a perfected NSX. Take the 10+ years I spent working in calibration and integration in the auto industry and apply it to how I would mold the car if I were the chief engineer. Which is something you never get to do as low-level grunt. To go down that train of thought, what really matters to me in a sports car? In today's world of EV's there's no point trying to go fast. If you want acceleration go electric. If you want good ole fashion engagement, go with an manual analog sports car, which an NSX is one of the best! Horsepower won't be a focus, but the manner in which the horsepower is made will be.

The two main goals are Emotion and Engagement. In my head they break down as follows to actual changes on the car.
  • Emotion - it needs to feel special.
    • Sounds - the intake noise is AMAZING. The change over from the VVIS and the VTEC stirs me every time. No work necessary here. It's so good that when I was at GM we actually recorded the intake noise from this car as a benchmark for the C8 Z06! Although, the exhaust noise leaves a lot to be desired.
    • Aesthetics - It's special out of the box, so just some small choice elements to enhance the already timeless and beautiful exterior and interior.
  • Engagement - it needs to drive like a well-executed and integrated vehicle.
    • Dynamic driving experience - It needs to have dynamic excellence and the low CG and KW V3s have got a majority of the way there, but there are a few items that need to be addressed. First the gearing on the USDM 5spd is awkward and incohesive. The steering has excellent feel and feedback when loaded up, but the inputs are slowed by the ratio and the giant school bus steering wheel. Finally, it needs a progressive and predictable handling balance to instill driver confidence.
    • Touch points/driver interface - Probably the only thing that needs improving is the steering wheel, as it's a bit too big. Otherwise, the seats, shifter and pedals are already world class out of the box. Although I can't sit in the seat with a helmet on so that might need to be addressed.
Benchmarks for the end product are:
911 GT3 - perfected dynamic driving experience. I've always admired and respected them, but never truly lusted over one due to the lack of emotion.
458 Speciale - emotion off the charts, it's a perfect 10/10 for aesthetics.
C8 Z06 - Watching this product develop internally. The emotion, dynamic driving experience were sweat over. I want to follow the process the team went through to get the sound right.

So here's the story so far:

Bought it in Feb 2019 around the 30th anniversary of the NSX unveiling. Which is also a rough time in Michigan as you can see...
This car had 167k miles, grinded going into 3rd gear, awkward tire sizes and ride heights, but otherwise a great car to start from. It was mostly stock with CE28s, B-Line intake, DC catback, type S tear drop shifter. The seats have been recovered and the paint is a respray. In good mechanical shape, but VERY far from a collector item. GREAT! No one is going to lose sleep over me slapping on some modifications and piling on the miles!

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The car is actually the same one mentioned in this nice-price-or-crack-pipe jalopnik article.

The first changes were KW V3s, getting more appropriately sized tires 215/40/17 and 255/35/18 vs the 295s that were on there?! There was also small clean up with new sun visors (with the warning labels though.. booooo!), new knee bolster under the steering wheel, door triangle sashes, MITA reinforced inner door panel frames, and Honda MTF trans flush (fixed the 3rd gear grind!). Had a few years where I just enjoyed the car as-is and really learned why it's such an amazing car. I could do 7 hour road trips to Tennessee getting 27mpg in comfort, then turn onto the tail of the dragon and attack it. The duality was amazing, I really learned to respect the car. The steering which feels light in normal operation becomes shifter kart heavy on a backroad as the lateral G's build. Sending direct feedback of each road imperfection. Amazing. It was during this time I often exclaimed this was the best car I've ever owned.
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Living with the car was effortless, arguably more reliable than my daily driver (2001 B5 S4 Avant) and constantly more fulfilling. The only downsides were the constant attention and lack of useable space. I found ways to work around that (see Seasucker bike mount) and sold the daily, committing to a minimalist lifestyle. The additional use led to a worn-out fiberglass lip (see Tail of the dragon image above, already in a sad state). Being low and a daily meant lots of scrappage and I swore myself off anymore fiberglass bodywork.

Was fortunate to get a large service done but Source 1 in Ohio to keep it running in tip top order. RR halfshaft boot was torn, crank pulley shield put in place, new oil pan seal, valve adjustment, VVIS butterfly screw locktite, Koyo Radiator. Replaced the brake master cylinder as well after the fact. Car should be happy for many miles :)

My wife and I relocated to CA for work, where a daily driven NSX doesn't raise eyebrows anymore. In fact, it almost blends in with the extremely eclectic mix of daily driven cars out here, from Ferraris to Ford Galaxy's. It's a truly wonderous place for a car enthusiast. The real level up was the amount of world class driving roads that can be done within a half day from the house. Those roads combined with the lack of any precipitation convinced me to step up in tire choice. But since I'm cheap I waited a bit to wear out the tires I had. Maybe we'll call it sustainability focused, we are in California after all, I didn't want to just throw these tires into the landfill half-used!

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Did a 'Hillclimb' with VARA at Horse Thief Mile, which finally let me get comfortable with the car over the limit. Those used tires I decided to keep were near the end of life as the car loved to rotate on light braking. Fortunately, the seat time behind a drift car kept me comfortable and HTM's corners are very low speed and low consequence. I could see this behavior being a handful on a higher speed course though, so a change to a more modern set of rubber was in order.
 
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If you're going to replace tires, might as well get new wheels right? The RG3s didn't quite fit the vision I had in my head. I grew up when wheel choice and fitment was uber important for the overall impact of a car. The color combo wasn't right and neither was the thinnest of the spokes. I often found myself missing the multi-spoke look of the CE28s, but trying to find bronze was difficult. Fortunately, Work released the ZR10 with a lovely HGLC bronze color. The multispoke look borrows much from the CE28. To match 215/40/17 and 255/35/18 RT615K Falkens were chosen. Overall, the look is really clean and a touch subtle. Appropriate for a car you want to daily, plus the Green/Bronze/Tan combo is defacto a favorite of mine.

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Started dipping into tracking the car a bit more and it's joyous. Although not perfect.
  • I don't fit with a helmet on with the stock seat. I have to lean back far which requires more arm extension than I'd like.
  • The car is very unstable on trail braking and the breakaway is quite abrupt. Couple that with slow steering and a giant steering wheel, means if you're a bit slow on corrections they take a while to gather back up. I'd like to aim to make this more progressive. This was most notable at Chuckwalla CW.
  • Some like brake fade at Streets of Willow CCW.
Addressing these will be key to perfecting the driving dynamics, but that will come later.

The aspect of the car I wanted to focus on next was the exhaust sound. We've all seen this clip of the Taitec GT009.
That is a sound that scores HIGH on emotion! I decided to chase this. I bought a GT009 and 3 sets of headers. I chose the most equal length and tried to recreate the sound.
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Well it was a complete failure. Immediately after installing it, I drove 3 blocks and turned around drove it back into the shop and took it back off. As most of you know it's LOUD, but I could deal with that, what I didn't like was the tone. With the header setup I had I theorized the sound might not match, but still was curious enough to try it. The reason I suspect is when you add it all up the rear bank was ~5" longer than the front bank which results in an offbeat sound (think 350z, Subaru WRX).

The way forward is to prove the theory, if I can equalize them and get the exhaust lengths the same, I can recreate the smooth F1 like sound. My wife came up with the clever idea of a 'trombone' exhaust... not after the sound of the instrument, but the variable length. The hope would be to have a moveable part sealed with long clamps so one bank's length could be lengthened or shortened to get the exact length to make the right sound. Here I am building this in the alley way of our apartment. The HOA didn't like that (for real they sent us a notice).
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construction is ongoing, but hope to have it completed within the week. Crossing my fingers it makes the right sound! This is a proof of concept. If it works out I have an alternative design I'd like to commission a local fabricator to make from Ti.

Also installed a Momo wheel and Works Bell Locking system. I was using a club for added security, no longer! This piece is sleek!
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So that's the sitrep. Figured I'd include a current modification list status as well.

Exterior:
  • Work ZR10 17x8+38 18x9.2+22
  • New OEM lip
Powertrain:
  • B-Line intake
  • SoS headers
  • DC catback
  • Koyo aluminum radiator
  • Cedar Ridge Fabrication crank pulley shield
Chassis/Suspension:
  • KW V3 coilovers
  • Goodrich Braided brake lines
  • Carbotech XP10
Interior:
  • Momo tuner wheel and works bell hub
  • Type S shifter
  • Skyz Design cup holder
  • GPS tracker
Coming up
  • Pride Carbon brake ducts
  • Cedar Ridge Fabrication non-compliance rear toe links
  • Clear corner markers
  • Custom exhaust
  • New wheel setup
 
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nice updates. I was never a fan of the 18 rear size but like the lower rotating mass of a 255/17 rear. Also when its time for a new clutch a lighter flywheel makes it more sporty. I also like motul 600 for brakes..hopefully your alignment is good.
 
SUBSCRIBED!

Remember you from the Ann Arbor area although pretty sure we never met..... please keep writing, and posting updates.

NSX gets in the bloodstream. 🚑
🚑🚑
 
Nice setup :) Do not forget to go light weight if you want to maximize driving pleasure.

Good tips! I was just looking at clutch/flywheel combos, is there a favorite that people like?
Got the Exedy dual organic on mine, cannot complain, it's even more silent than the OEM one. Pedal effort is almost OEM a tad heavier maybe but you get used to it quickly.
 
Taitec gt lightweight exhaust is hard to beat. I am in laguna niguel and would be happy to show show. Your plan is close to mine. Stock looking light weight sorted nsx. (This is the third one I’ve built). I’d be happy to show you and go over the changes. Message me if you are interested. Regardless good luck and happy press ahead
 
SUBSCRIBED!

Remember you from the Ann Arbor area although pretty sure we never met..... please keep writing, and posting updates.

NSX gets in the bloodstream. 🚑
🚑🚑

Unfortunately, I don't think we ever crossed paths. Summer is coming now enjoy it!

Taitec gt lightweight exhaust is hard to beat. I am in laguna niguel and would be happy to show show. Your plan is close to mine. Stock looking light weight sorted nsx. (This is the third one I’ve built). I’d be happy to show you and go over the changes. Message me if you are interested. Regardless good luck and happy press ahead
I'd love to hear it! I actually have your number from the transmission, so I'll shoot you a text!


As far as the clutch I've got no complaints with the OEM setup so no reason to change it... unless a new trans is in order ;)
 

Exhaust sounds pretty sweet so far! Pretty quiet at low rpms. No drone. Honestly can’t hear it much in the car. The free revs sound pretty close to right! That high pitch near the end at the top of the rev range is what I’ve been chasing. Definitely gets loud once you get on it!

I’d try and get fly by and tunnel videos but heading to cape cod for the long weekend so it’ll have to wait til we get back.
 
Fly by and tunnel sound clips/videos coming this weekend. In the meantime got a new piece in today! Marga Hills gt wing 🤟

I’ve been on the hunt for one for a long time. Need to get the supporting items on the car first before plopping this on 😊

It also did get damaged in shipping which is a bummer… hopefully I can find a way to fix this… may talk to some surfboard shops otherwise not sure who the best person for this is? Would a body shop know how to refinish composites?

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Tried my hand at repairing the wing and it turned out pretty good for being a complete newbie to it! It was really satisfying to try it and develop.


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So I've only read the first two paragraphs of your very first post in this thread and I am all in for this build. I love the concept and have similar thoughts as to how I want my NSX to be. I'm looking forward to reading up on this!!
 
This could be the greatest NSX thread title ever LOL.

Love the build and concept. One thing to note is that the instability you feel on trail braking is due to the play in the rear toe link bushings. Get the Comptech solid rear beam bushings and the Comptech solid rear link (you send Shad your originals and he sends you back a set with the solid bushings pressed in). They completely solve the problem and the back end feels nice and planted during cornering load.
 
This could be the greatest NSX thread title ever LOL.

Love the build and concept. One thing to note is that the instability you feel on trail braking is due to the play in the rear toe link bushings. Get the Comptech solid rear beam bushings and the Comptech solid rear link (you send Shad your originals and he sends you back a set with the solid bushings pressed in). They completely solve the problem and the back end feels nice and planted during cornering load.

Nice yeah I got the solid link from Cedar Ridge, but not the rear beam bushing! I'll add that to the list!

Some progress! Got the wing and lip on. Pretty darn happy with the result, it may be a little too aggressive for most. To me it's like OEM++, with cars like the GT3RS coming out now aero bits and widgets are getting more common it's not a stretch to think if a Type R was released today it could have a high mount GT wing.

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I also was able to get the new set of wheels on. I've always loved white wheels on dark color cars. Although tradition (?) made me try the Bronze + Green + Tan combo. It was classy, but not really what I wanted. I had a set of white LMGT4 on my FD3S and I LOVED that look it's one of my favorite wheels. I also love the 5/6 spoke stagger as a little bit of JDM extra floss. I was able to get a pair of TE37 RT in white and got some URAS NS01 refinished in white to match. I'm over the moon with the result.

F: 17x8+35 URAS NS01 215/40/17 RT660
R: 18x10+29 Volk TE37 RT 255/35/18 RT600

I'm sure this won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm so proud of the result. I'll have to do a second post to outline the design influences.

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I've been living with the exhaust and I've enjoyed it's balance of civility at lower RPMs, mixed with a clean tone. There's a resonance at ~4-5k where you really hear a nice pitch in the cabin without being obnoxious.
 
Wanted to explain the background behind the exterior vision. I grew up immersed in the JDM drift car scene, where cars are flashy and styled to WOW. Some of my favorite cars were actually relatively modest. Koguchi's S13 and JTP's FC.
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Both had white wheels which really popped against the green paint. Koguchi rocked Rays Nismo LMGT4s my favorite wheel! JTP's Volk TE37 by RAYS were another classic. The wheels are related as the GT4 is basically a 5 spoke version of the TE37. Both also had choice aero elements added to give the vehicles a more aggressive look. High mount GT wing, somewhat tame skirts/front bumper etc compared to other kits in the drift scene. Hopefully you can already see a bit of resemblance.

Now for what aero pieces to add.. One of my favorite cars is @nsx_44 on instagram. Their car shown below is modest yet aggressive and the white wheels really stand out against the dark green paint.
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I wanted to emulate this, but try to think of an OEM++ approach. A couple other cars that I drew inspiration from here are the green F1 LM, the GT2 Le Man NSX, the Brooklands Type R.
F1 LM - it's got a bunch of aero bits, but somehow it looks cohesive. Big 5 spoke wheels, carbon lip.
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GT2 NSX - it looked like someone could run this on a street car. It almost looks like an NSX GT LM essentially. I loved the wing which was simple (no 3D profile), but added a lot to give the car a dynamic rake look. This pretty much decided that the wing had to be close to this. That's how I landed on the Marga Hills piece.
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Brooklands Green Type R - oh look white five spoke wheel again! It looks so crisp!
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So add this all up. Green car, White wheels, 5 spoke, GT wing, other aero elements like a lip and skirts maybe a diffuser.
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Feels about halfway there, the big elements are in place. The feel is almost a car that was built in 2001, tracked, then never changed again. It's treading the line of an OEM++, or what would a Type R look like today with the population's greater acceptance of aggressive aerodynamic elements, bigger wheels/tires for the modern tire options.

Still on the list:
- Side splitters
- Rear diffuser
- Racier side mirrors (gt? ganadors?)
- Clear side markers
- Anodize the wing stands black

Hope that explains my ricer origins!
 
I'd be for bronze on green but that's color preferences, but that wheel spoke mismatch triggers me ;) You should probably try and find matching TE37's for the front.
 
Bronze/green was cool for a bit, but wasn’t quite right for me.

TEs in 17x8 are too flat vs concave unfortunately 😕

No progress on the exhaust, but hopefully sometime in Sept.
 
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