In the mid 80’s, with rednecks and underpowered Mustangs and Camaro’s roaming the drag strips, the Acura name began to receive some well received attention for quality, but no respect for its performance. In those days, the Acura enthusiast living in mid-America would do their best Rodney Dangerfield, “I tell you folks, I get no respect, no respect at all—I roll into a Sears Automotive Service Center with a hole in the muffler, and they pull up in a Craftsman ride on lawn mower and tell me my car’s ready… badum-bum.”
Some twenty years later and in comes Matt Piercey’s Acura NSX-T to give a different take on the performance potential of the Acura with his modified NSX 3.2 liter 6-cylinder. Today, the NSX has the potential to stand up on the average blacktop, wrapped in nothing but Michelin PS2 street rubber, against a supercar such as the Porsche 911, Subaru Sti, and Skyline GTR—and those underpowered Mustangs and Camaro’s… Fagitaboutit!
In complete stock form, the 2002 NSX aluminum, 90-degree DOC, 3.2 liter has 290 hp @ 7100 and 224 lbs ft @ 5400, a 6 speed transmission, a 3100 lb curb weight, and can bang out a 0-60 in around 5.0 seconds. The 3.2 was the largest motor for that year and right out of the box included a (VVIS) Variable Volume Induction System, basically a second air intake plenum. The VVIS is located beneath the intake manifold and opens on demand between 4600 and 4900 rpm, creating a sonic pressure wave that boosts the relatively small displacement engines low-end torque and high-end horsepower.
Now we’re talking about turbo and high performance, so you know Matt couldn’t have left good enough alone. To let loose the potential of the NSX VTEC, he had two obvious choices… a supercharger or turbo. The supercharger presents a whole new attitude to the NSX; improved low end torque, superior launching power, 420+ horsepower, and quarter mile times in the mid 12s. Matt really wanted to take advantage of the NSXs rpm capability, so a high flow Comptech turbo was his weapon of choice. A tightly plumbed turbo can get you in high 11s on the track with 550+ horses at your disposal.
The car was built primarily as a light track car that would also serve as a reliable daily street driver and promote his dealership, Planet Acura, in Newport Beach, California. “When we bought the Acura store,” says Matt. “I saw the opportunity to buy one of my all-time dream cars.” Matt no sooner found the car on a lot in San Fransisco, and a Comptech turbo complete with “the works” was already on order. Matt followed up with full Comptech exhaust system (including headers and Spugen test pipes for track days).
The Spugen pipes offer a bit more performance at the expense of noise, but if you like a little music to go with your VTEC, you will no longer need the radio to get your groove on. To take advantage of those new pipes, Matt also installed a Cantrell air scoop, ARC induction box, RC flow tested fuel injectors, and the maestro, a Comptech “black box” to pull everything together and conduct the new orchestra.
The Cantrell inside fender air scoop provided the perfect companion for the wide mouthed ARC induction box. While ARC boxes are known to alter MAF readings, if you’re planning an extensive build, it can be a potent combination. Of course, you won’t be going anywhere fast if you don’t also improve a few parts of the drivetrain and Matt chose an Exedy (225mm) Hyper Single Clutch to facilitate quicker shifts with less heat, wear, and tear. To get power to the blacktop, Matt adopted a front pair of 18 inch Volk LE-37 wheels and rear LE-37 19s.
The NSX is known for its tight sport suspension, but there is always room for improvement. Eibach Sportline springs, Comptech adjustable anti-roll bars, and an NSX-R chassis brace wedged into the engine bay was all that was needed to give stability. The Eiback Sportlines dropped the NSX over an inch and provided a substantial increase in corner firmness, while the Comptech high-grade 6150 steel anti-roll bars helped keep both wheel planted during high speed maneuvering.
Matt didn’t just want a performance sleeper. He upgraded the exterior as well, using a few down home touches, such as a Seibon hood, Dream Sports “R” Wing, and a fresh coast of OEM Spec Silverstone Metallic. The engine bay received its share of due respect with the addition of a Dali Racing coolant tank, fuse cover, Bolind oil cap, and the three most obvious and outstanding features of the NSX’s engine bay… the Comptech strut brace, aluminum cross brace, and engine cover.
The interior, while already stylish in stock form, now has a 2” lower drivers seat, Simpson five point belt, and Comptech harness bar. To keep an eye on things, Matt installed a black face Defi 60mm boost gauge, link meter, and control Unit II. Up to 7 gauges can be used with the Control Unit II via the patented Defi-Link System that runs off a single “daisy chain” wiring system. A sunvisor built-in V1 radar detector and Honda Homelink garage door opener finish off the custom conveniences along with a JDM navigation pod and Eclipse DVD/Navi head unit. To ensure a hearing aid would be in his future, Matt also installed Pioneer 6 ½” PRS speakers backed by Phoenix Gold Amps.
So, what other cars does Matt currently have to tickle his performance itch? A 2006 BMW 530 Xi wagon, 1991 240 SX track car, and about 2,000 Honda and Acura’s (at his dealership). “Come buy some, please!” pleads Matt.
Got anymore NSXs Matt?—cha-ching, bada-bing!
(Story originally written for Turbo & High-Tech Performance)