Clarion Builds: An Acura NSX With 230,000 Miles
One Can Only Dream

In an ideal world, manufacturers would re-release certain enthusiast cars in an updated version. It’s happened before; Nissan rebuilt a few 240Zs from the ground up, and Toyota brought back the FJ70 series for the Japanese domestic market. Just like you can do in video games, I imagine being able to buy a brand new ’90s Japanese sports car off the showroom floor. And why not? Having growing up around these type of sports cars, they’re what I love.

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Automotive audio company Clarion feels the same way, probably because it’s run by bunch of true car enthusiasts. I’ve previously featured a BMW 2002 that Clarion fastidiously restored and modernised, but that car was eventually sold at charity auction, increasing the value of those wonderful sports coupes at the same time.

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For its next project, Clarion wanted to follow a similar build ethos, but this time using an iconic ’90s Japanese supercar as the base.

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If you could buy a first generation NSX brand new today, this is exactly what it would be like. But this particular car is far from new, it’s a 1991 model with 230,000 hard-driven miles on the clock. Talk about Honda reliability! Could you even imagine a Ferrari 348 with half as many miles?

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The build was entrusted to AutoWave in Huntington Beach, a company that’s previously worked on 728 Acura NSXs, which is about 10 per cent of the cars in the whole of the United States. When Acura needs a car restored, AutoWave is who it calls.

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I had a chance to get behind the wheel of this beauty and push it to its limits on the track, but more on that later.

The Inside That Counts
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The main point of the build was to modernise the ageing supercar, and Leatherseats.com did an amazing job of the interior which once really screamed the ’90s.

All the leather-wrapped panels were reupholstered with some trick stitching, and the steering wheel had its bottom chopped off and was rewrapped by EuroBoutique.

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Given Clarion’s line of business, a big focus was placed on technology, so you definitely won’t find a cassette player in here. There’s a Clarion NX706 7-inch touchscreen, Clarion 32-band equalizer, a new Clarion Full Digital Sound system and a 360-degree camera. And check out that trick subwoofer setup; a carpet panel places over the top to complete the subtle restomod look, but I think it looks pretty neat exposed.

Real carbon fiber trim pieces have be used throughout, and the ignition switch was even updated with an S2000 push button starter.

It’s the little things that make all the difference, like this laser cut shift pattern trim piece. All the controls for the sound and security systems are integrated flawlessly too.

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I wasn’t lying when I talked about the miles this car has done since 1991, and it’s still racking them up after the restoration – many at track days.

Supercharged
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Along with the interior and exterior overhaul, the heart of the NSX was also updated.

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More specifically, the original 3.0-liter V6 was swapped out for a 3.2-liter unit out of a wrecked 2004 NA2 NSX.

AutoWave completely refreshed the bigger capacity engine before adding a CT Engineering supercharger package, and AEM built a custom intake and a high-flow exhaust. Now it puts out 403hp to the wheels, which is almost double the car’s stock horsepower.

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Of course, you can’t upgrade the go-fast bits without improving the brakes, and in this department StopTech provided one of its ST40 kits.

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As for the exterior, Clarion went with an interesting color choice – Blu Caelum two-stage, which is also found on the Lamborghini Huracán. An Italian supercar color for a Japanese supercar? Why not!

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You can’t go wrong with bronze wheels on a blue car, and the RAYS Volk Racing ZE40s look absolutely superb.

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The forged ZEs are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 225/40ZR18s at the front and 265/30ZR19s out back.

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In order to accommodate the wider wheels and tires properly, AutoWave fitted Downforce factory fiberglass fenders, which makes the front end two inches wider than stock. There’s also a Downforce carbon fiber NSX-R-style hood.

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In order to keep everything planted, KW Variant 3 coilovers were fitted. The ride quality is improved and it sits just right, not too low. You could call it function and form all rolled into one.

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As I mentioned earlier on, I did have the chance to run a few laps around the Mountain Road (touge) course at Willow Springs, also known as Horse Thief Mile. It was a blast, even though I drove it with low boost, which was only around 344hp to the wheels.

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I wasn’t going to break any lap records, but just banging through the gears in a supercharged, manual, rear-wheel drive vehicle was heaven on earth.

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To me, this car is the perfect daily driver, and the fact that it felt brand new with a classic updated look just blew my mind. On top of all that it’s comfortable. It has air conditioning and a fully digital sound system. What more could you ask for?

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Gone are the days of audio companies cramming 20 screens and twice as many subwoofers into the cars that they build, and thank goodness for that. I love the direction that Clarion is going with these types of builds, because this is exactly what we want to drive. I just can’t wait to see what the guys will build next…

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

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59 comments

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2

probably the epitome of restomod. Good job well done, Clarion

3

God I'd love to just go and buy a brand new Tommi Mäkinen fresh off the showroom floor

4

Seriously, Clarion is knocking it out of the park.  I appreciate how much effort is going into these cars.  It is very apparent they are not your normal "make-it-pretty-for-the-camera" marketing cars.

5

All of those updates and they forgot to upgrade those halogens to HIDs LOL.

-Alex

6

Matt Farah did a review of this car on The Smoking Tire! Not a supercharger fan, but dang does it sound good with it.

7

pics, article, car itself, the color, the mods...one word to describe it all - BEAUTIFUL

8

I'd like to ask,

9

I hate you click bate! That's exactly what this article is. An NSX with 230k miles, check it out!!!! NO!!!!!!!! ITS A FULLY RESTORED AND ENGINE SWAPPED NSX!! I bet there isn't a single original bushing or weather seal on this car. The only part of this car with that many miles is the metal and even then its been gone through and given fresh paint. You are better than this Speedhunters. We will read the articles you post no matter what the headline, just make the headline accurate. A more suitable headline would be 'Restored NSX' or something along those lines.

10

I hate click bate! That's exactly what this article is. An NSX with 230k miles, check it out!!!! NO!!!!!!!! ITS A FULLY RESTORED AND ENGINE SWAPPED NSX!! I bet there isn't a single original bushing or weather seal on this car. The only part of this car with that many miles is the metal and even then its been gone through and given fresh paint. You are better than this Speedhunters. We will read the articles you post no matter what the headline, just make the headline accurate. A more suitable headline would be 'Restored NSX' or something along those lines.

11

Danteska Pedestrian safety and aerodynamics mosty. They're also heavier than fixed lights cause of the motors and whatnot.

12

What a beauty, if I could marry a car it would be an NA1 NSX.

13

Larry, your detail shots are second to none, that sorcery is beautiful.

14

@ihateyoutoo What does the odometer say?

15

Wouldn't change a thing about this build. To me this is a proper grand tourer.

16

@ihateyoutoo This comment is kind of odd. Would you have rather opened the article and it been clapped out with original bushings and seals? I mean it's not exactly a bait and switch, maybe they put that in the title so people would be like "yeah cool this car has been enjoyed anything they do with it from here is fair game".

17

@ihateyoutoo Everyone uses clickbate. Triggered much?

18

You have made a fair point. I still liked the article

19

Ryan King Danteska Not good enough reason to remove them :D

20

@Larry Chen Which bits of the car have actually done that distance though? It's like Grandpa's axe.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the article and pics a lot.

21

Larry Chen  Come on Larry, you know I'm right.

22

DaveT  good point. only asking for a little less misrepresentation from speedhunters

23

Nice!

24

Please take your heels off before you get in my car!

26

370 Hemi  HID's are terrible.

27

Larry Chen he does have a point. And this car has also been covered to death by many other sites. I call Pay-to-Play...and hope I don't start seeing all the SH crew outfitting their cars with Clarion gear left and right.

28

Larry Chen rook56 @ihateyoutoo D1RGE EXE 

Yes or No, did Clarion build an Acura NSX that has 230,000 miles on it?

It's not a matter of opinion here? Its fact.

29

@ihateyoutoo exactly this.

30

It'd look better with something like a full Taitec kit, with a Backyard Special rear wing. The basically stock aero on this car doesn't do much for me..

31

What are those things hanging down from the side view mirrors?
And also how do I contact the Speedhunters website/moderators? There is a big Buick show coming up and wanted to tell them about it.

32
mikepetersonshanghai

Superb! That is all.

33

This... is the best looking NSX I've seen on the net. Thank you, Larry, for this article and the photos.

34

Buick Man  Cameras for the '360° Camera'

35

I think this is a perfect example of an NSX. I'm between this one and the Advance NSX.

36

As with the 2002 they built, I love everything about it aside from the audio install. (Sorry Clarion). I just don't see the point of adding all that weight to a car you're going to take onto the track.

37

@Nick This is one of the most timelessly elegant cars ever designed. It doesn't need anything.
Wait, are you the same guy that was complaining about the green 997 GT3 being boring and preaching about RWB crap?

38
Gianluca FairladyZ

mint

39

Shaunock I've owned cars with Halogens and HIDs. HIDs are far superior. Thanks.

40

@ihateyoutoo The car has 230,000 miles. Nothing is misleading. If Clarion registered the vehicle, they can't claim it has 10,000 miles because they changed out parts. Any car is going to have replaced OEM parts at any given point. If you replace tires on a 10,000 mile car, does that mean it has 0 miles now? No! If you change the oil in a car at 5,000 miles, does that mean the car has 0 miles? No. If you replace a timing belt, does that mean the car's chassis has less useage LOL? C'mon don't be THAT GUY. If the odometer is stock, the car has the miles claimed. End of story.

41

eejjkk  Simple answer, NO! They restored a car that had 230k miles and then they added some go fast goodies.

42

370 Hemi  You're stupid! End of story!

43

It also has laser jammers and a built in radar detector... That's what the controls are for behind the shift knob and to the left of the handbrake

44

@370 Hemi the odo is the only bit that has done the mileage! Please check this out:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

45

@ihateyoutoo Well, at least you tried...

46

rook56 Clarion isn't a vehicle manufacturer. Honda/Acura is though. So when Clarion sells the car, is it legal to advertise the car as having 100,000 miles? Do you think a motor vehicle registry will take that argument? Serious?

47

I agree that it's aged incredibly well, but still..in stock form, it looks a bit too boring in my opinion. A Taitec kit would look just fine, it looks just agrresive enough, without going overboard. Same goes for the Backyard Special wing.
Not like I suggested a Route KS Zero Force kit or something wild looking like that
Also, my age has nothing to do with anything automotive related..nothing at all to do with it. Yeah I did comment on that article, but I didn't say anything like that.
You're putting words into my mouth. So that makes you look like a fool.

48

370 Hemi I'm going to need you to shut up now. You prove to be more stupid every time you speak.

49

eejjkk Larry Chen rook56 D1RGE EXE No, they found one someone else used, restored it, and are soaking in someone else's glory. Don't get me wrong, its fantastic and its an NSX.

50

The NSX Project is fully documented on their YT account.
Low mileage 3.2 engine redone by Autowave.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExvwihyN-YE

51

There's an NSX that shows up to the Denver Concours d' Elegance every year that's seen the continental 48 states. The owner always put up a board of photos of it in different states, including one of it covered in bugs and dirt. The car is much more stock looking. Inspirational, for sure.

52

@Nick Different strokes, I find the Taitec aero pretty ugly. To me the only way to improve the looks of an NSX is with oem R pieces. 
I'm paraphrasing, you essentially said that it would be more exciting with a widebody and a stock engine, but that's neither here nor there. I'm guessing from your response that you're pretty young, not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just wondering if your tastes might change as you age.

53

my Aunty Kaylee got an almost new white Ford C-Max from only workin parttime online... see it here=====net.pro70­­.ℭomllllllll

54

No, I'm not "pretty young" by any means. You assuming I am, makes you look like a clown. I just have eccentric/eclectic tastes in most everything in life, especially when it comes to cars.

55

Folly dares will be defeated cleverness hesitation.



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56

@Nick I'm just going off of the impression you've given me.
Speaking on clowns and fools, it takes one to know one.

57

Here's a trick... Don't go by impressions.

58

@Nick Great advice, I can tell it comes from a perspective gained through years of experience and wisdom.

59

Jeez so much hate in the comments below. Well duh, Clarion are obviously going to put in their own flagship equipment in there. My preference would be for some stealth install (bluetooth or USB stick hidden in glovebox or the like, with a 'trick' period correct head unit. I have a major thing against 90s cars with head units that are younger than them by 15 years or more. 
But anyway this is my idea of a perfect NSX! The ones in Japan covered by I think Dino earlier this year or in 2015 are awesome, they had custom LED tail lights and wild aero but this is my favourite. 

Your pictures are awesome too, Larry.

I am willing to work my ass off and save hard and one day own an NSX just like this.

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