This truly iconic car, the Honda NSX, was purchased by one of our clients and brought to us for detailing, wheel refurbishment and Xpel PPF installation. Bought with only 11000 miles and an impeccable service history means this will undoubtedly be a great long term investment. He wanted a few minor issues to be addressed to make it look it’s very best, and protect it for the future.
The NSX concept was first commissioned in the mid 1980’s. Honda wanted to compete with the Ferrari 328GTS, and later the 348 that replaced it. Initial experiments by the Honda engineers involved cutting a ‘City’ in half (the equivalent of a modern Jazz), and mid mounting an engine. They decided this was the right way to go, so for design help, Honda went to Pininfarina. They are the legendary designers that created many of the Ferrari shapes we know so well. The first concept car was called the HP-X, Honda Pininfarina eXperimental. This later progressed to what we know, the NSX, New Sportscar eXperimental.
The exterior design came from a lot of research into high-performance aircraft, quite specifically the F-16 fighter jet. The ‘cab-forward’ design offers fantastic all-around visibility, and the long tail of the car gives great high-speed stability. As you might expect from a Japanese supercar, it featured pioneering use of materials in its construction. It extensively uses aluminium to save over 220kg compared to using steel in the same places.
To hone the chassis development and ensure best in class performance, Honda consulted with professional racing drivers. They tested on tracks such as Suzuka in Japan, and the Nurburgring in Germany. This included Japanese F1 driver Satoru Nakajima, and perhaps most notably, the late Ayrton Senna. Their feedback during testing sessions was vital, and their observations fed into a Cray supercomputer back at base. The calculations it made led to minor, but important, changes being made to the chassis construction. All in the name of perfection.
The NSX was finally released for sale to the public in 1991.
This particular example is a UK supplied, 2001 model. As mentioned, it has wanted for nothing, but the previous owners collection outgrew his garage space, so the Honda NSX ended up living outside for a while. There was evidence of this in places such as door and boot shuts, and around the fuel filler cap. There were also various bird dropping burns in the paint, and damage from a minor nudge on the rear bumper. The wheels had a few marks, and unsightly wheel balancing weights stuck to the outside of the wheel rims.
The brake calipers had become corroded and ‘furry’. Elsewhere were other minor issues that detracted from the finish, such as a scuff to the drivers seat bolster, and paint was flaking off the windscreen wiper arms (this was a 18 year old car at the time of carrying out this work).
First job was a really thorough clean, working our way around the various places where dirt had accumulated. Here we were using our Essential Soak snow foam, mixed with a little All Purpose Cleanser for added cleaning power, with soft brushes.
There were signs the tyres were past their best, the outer shoulders clearly perished. After consulting our client on his preferences, we sourced a brand new set of Yokohama tyres to be fitted. Once inside and on the ramp, the wheels were removed and sent to be refurbished, with the new tyres ready to be fitted afterwards. The rear bumper was removed by our bodyshop and taken away for repair, so that we could continue working on the rest of the car.
The suspension components were in very good order, suggesting the car hasn’t actually been used on salty, winter roads. Once the brake calipers and hubs were painted, they looked brand new again.
We began polishing the Sebring Silver Metallic paint, using the Rupes Bigfoot polishing system. Japanese paint systems are usually soft, and can be extremely thin, so caution is necessary. Using a paint depth gauge to inspect the whole car, we found a healthy amount of paint present, and proceeded with great care. The paint responded beautifully, displaying extreme clarity and gloss after a multi stage polish.
Whilst working our way around the car, we found some very minor dents in the aluminium panels. For some, this could present a problem, but thankfully we have a very skilled paintless dent removal (PDR) technician to call upon. Using his talent and simple looking toolkit (don’t let that fool you, dent removal is a true artform), he gently massaged the dents until they disappeared. The device in the picture, suckered onto the roof, means that any ripple in the panel is highlighted in the reflection of the straight lines. The dent can be properly removed without the distraction of other reflections from around our Studio.
By now, the freshly refurbished wheels had been finished and returned to us, compete with the new tyres and hidden wheel weights. We\’d suggested to our client that a very slightly darker shade of silver would work really well against the Sebring paint, giving a little more contrast. He agreed, and we had the centre caps refinished to match. It took = painstaking repainting of the black H by hand! Before refitting to the car, we protected the wheels using our Auto Curators Signature ceramic coating.
Given the super low mileage, our client will be able to use this car on occasional sunny days without fear of it becoming too high. With that in mind, he wants to avoid risk of stone chips, so were to install paint protection film to the most vulnerable areas. Xpel have an amazing database of patterns, and efforts have been made to provide at least partial coverage to some important older models. Thankfully the Honda NSX is one of them, so we were able to plot them in house then install film to the whole front end and the lower side sills.
The rear bumper was returned and refitted, and all paintwork had our Auto Curators dual layer ceramic coating applied. The little jobs such as painting the windscreen wiper arms were completed, and our leather specialist, Benchmark, visited to repair the drivers seat. As a very final step, at our clients request, we took the car to a specialist for full 4 wheel chassis geometry alignment. On a brief drive before the work, the steering felt rather heavy in a straight line, reluctant to change direction, and ‘nervous’ whilst cornering. We suspected this was down to more than just the old tyres, so felt this was vital to do, given that the car is all about super responsive handling.
Once at the specialist, it was clear the suspension geometry was a long way from perfect, so a morning was spent adjusting toe angle and camber to exact specifications. The drive back to the Studio was a revelation, the car feeling wonderfully tactile and stable, the steering suddenly much lighter and beautifully progressive turning into a corner. This will also make sure the new tyres wear evenly, and can offer their best performance.
We were proud to hand the car back to our client, it was a privilege to work on such a rare and special car. Only one question remains; why aren’t more cars fitted with pop up headlights? Coolest feature ever!