Although Japanese art tends to favor a minimalist approach, they treat their cars differently. Festooned with more ornaments than a perverse Christmas tree, we’ve seen all manner of winged, flashing wonders thunder down streets like enraged Shogun. And then there are cars like the 2002 NSX belonging to Hugh Le, general manager of the vaunted Evasive Motorsport. Understated, clean, and uncluttered, Le’s NSX is a pure example of the tuner’s craft.
We wish there were more like them.
At a time when most kids had posters of Farrah Fawcett, Le plastered his room was with pictures of Lamborghinis and Ferraris…pretty typical stuff. “In truth, I knew these were just pipe dreams,” Le reminisced. “And as I grew older and became aware of financial realities, the NSX became more and more real. I could actually afford this supercar.”
Purchased in 2004 with a paltry 30K on the clock, Le drove the machine with gusto, prodding its limits and limitations. “As good as the NSX was I was a bit bored,” Le recalled. “I knew not to get myself into another build like my EK, a car that ended up needing C16 and a parachute to slow down. I didn’t want to go that extreme. I started with a few smaller things like the brakes.”
Le swapped out the previously installed Brembo GT big brake kit in favor of the Project Mu Racing billet system. The folks at Mackin Industries promised Le he would be more than impressed with their performance mated with the proper pad compound. Turns out they were right. The Project Mu kit is comprised of four-piston calipers that grip a 345mm rotor. The calipers are filled with HC+ front pads and B- rears while Project Mu’s Downforce air deflector funnels additional cooling air to the brakes. Coupled with braided stainless steel brake lines, the Project Mu binders are, Le reports, virtually fade-proof. “If these brakes have limits, I have yet to find them. They bite incredibly hard and are virtually fadeproof,” Le said.
Although relatively modest by 2012’s standards, the NSX has been fitted with a few potent mods to wring every last bit of ...
Initially this NSX was fitted with HR springs, but Le managed to finagle the last set of HKS Hipermax II coilovers (8K front, 9K rear) before they were discontinued. Additional rigidity is aided by a targa-specific Comptech shock tower brace, Comptech front and rear sway bars, Cedar Ridge noncompliance front pivot clamps and CT Engineering front camber kit. The crew at Evasive Motorsports did a competition-spec corner balance and alignment, and the NSX was ready for the Nurburgring.
Well, not quite.
To optimize every bit of horsepower, Le installed an OS Giken 4.4 final drive and limited-slip differential. The box is filled with OS Giken OS-250R fluid, and the shifter has been replaced with an abbreviated SOS gear stalk. An engine torque damper from J’s Racing ensures motor movement is kept to a minimum.
Although relatively modest by 2012’s standards, the NSX has been fitted with a few potent mods to wring every last bit of horsepower. The intake was augmented with a Taitec intake scoop and Uni air filter which flow into a pair of high-flow Magnaflow cats that terminate in a brilliant piece of titanium wrought by the exhaust masters at GT-One. Weighing a paltry 12 pounds, it’s half the mass of the stock system and leaves the car with a head-turning feral tone. DC Sports stainless steel headers and GT-One aluminum coolant tank reside beneath the decklid as well.
Le experimented with several sets of seats before settling with the deeply bolstered Mugen S1 buckets. “The Mugen seats feel like they were made for me…the fit is perfect,” Le explained. “And with the Takata harnesses I literally feel planted behind the wheel. It’s the perfect setup for spirited driving.”
The cabin includes an exceptionally rare Personal Grinta “Kingston” steering wheel covered in black leather with yellow, green, and red stitching. The wheel is fitted to a Works Bell short hub and a Rapfix quick-release. Although Le’s NSX has a fairly loud voice, it’s been tempered with a Pioneer AVIC-D3 navigation and DVD unit with integrated iPod connection. It’s all connected to a bevy of A/D/S speakers and Zapco amplifiers.
As time passed, Le noticed a few creaks and groans during especially hard maneuvers. He eliminated the movement with a Mugen harness bar that essentially ties the chassis together. With the exception of the screaming tires, the NSX was virtually silent.
Le experimented with more than four sets of wheels before deciding on the Volk Racing CE28N measuring 17x8 in front (33mm offset) and 18x9.5 aft (34mm offset). Rolling stock includes Falken Azenis 615 tires measuring 215/40-17 and 275/35-18 respectively. Rays extended lug nuts and T1R forged aluminum spacers keep everything nice and tight.
Given the NSX’s high speed potential, Le paid special attention to its aerodynamics. Although it was originally fit with Taitec bits, Le replaced them with lighter and stronger components from Downforce. The Downforce NSX hood is comprised of top-quality carbon-fiber stock and features a substantial carbon-Kevlar skeleton for extra support. The front undertray, rear diffuser and rear wing are Downforce parts as well. “Around 125 to 130 mph you can really feel the aerodynamics start to work. The faster the speed, the more stable it feels. So yeah, I’m very pleased with its performance,” Le said.
While Le has considered selling this yellow gem, he changes his mind just as often. “I suppose I’ll put it on the market at the end of the year…it might be time for a new project. Then again, this car turned out so well, maybe I won’t.”