In the introduction to project NSX, the car was half stripped and what started off as some basic upgrades blew out into an all out restro project. The brief was simple; build something special without losing the essence of the NSX.
Where do we start? Well, the NSX Type R was Honda's answer to customers who wanted a pure driving machine. It was special in that it looked like any regular NSX, but had stiffer suspension, a different final drive ratio for better acceleration, creature comforts were removed and any parts that could be made lighter were all done so to yield a better power to weight ratio - it was a lean, mean thoroughbred not for the faint hearted; increased NVH and having no aircon meant in summer, the NSX-R was an uncomfortable place to be in. Losing its complaint suspension for stiff track suspension meant driving on nothing but perfect, smooth roads was a horrible, bone jarring experience. However, the result was a pure driving machine that could very much hold its own on a race track against more powerful cars.
So what can we learn from this? Take all the special bits from the NSX-R and keep all the creature comforts of the normal NSX. Project NSX will be predominantly street driven, and see a track day once a year - so all creature comforts will need to stay put. The already well-sorted factory suspension, well see all OEM bushes replaced with new items and its dampers will be upgraded to coilovers, mainly due to the fact that the original OEM parts are now getting close to 20 years old - most parts will be past their used by date. The engine will see basic bolt on mods, the exhaust will be changed out for a sportier note, and NSX's gearing will be changed for the Type R's final drive for better acceleration.
The optional two tone black roof/body colour that was available on earlier NSX(s) and became an options for later JDM models we think breaks up the car nicely and suits it well, Project NSX being Black from factory makes it super easy for us to go the classic Black roof and Honda's NH-0 Championship White two tone.
All round nice guy and super talented panel beater and spray painter Makito Nakai; owner of Seven Apples, a bodyshop in California, USA - flew over for a holiday and gave us a helping hand painting project NSX. The wonderful thing about being part of car culture is the universal language we all share. Car enthusiasts can go anywhere in the world; meet another car enthusiast, joke about the same things and instantly become mates. Below is a quick interview with Makito Nakai from Seven Apple.
Is the car scene really like how we see it in the blogs from the America?
It is. It's exactly like that, we have a lot of freedom compared to Australia; here in Sydney. With all the restrictions I hear from you guys, we do have it pretty easy; the only thing we have to be concerned about is getting REF checked (same as EPA). Ref meaning when your car is illegally modified and doesn't meet smog requirements, thats when you have to convert it back to stock and pay the ticket, that's the only thing we gotta be worried about.
Whats one of your earliest memory of cars ?
When I was about 4 years old. Mini cars, like Hot Wheels in the States - in Japan we call them "Mini car"; I had a bag full of them. I didn't have a favourite; all transportation were my favourite, I had a variety of cars, trucks and police cars. I was too young then to know any specific manufactures, but you knew which one you liked, right? My parents used to say when we went for a drive, when we stopped at the lights as a baby I would cry. LOL.
Hanging out with us for a week now, I think you got the Aussie slang down pat, have you noticed any similarities or difference to LA?
You guys pronounce things differently. As a country; Australia has a mixture of Japan and America, you guys (in Australia) drive on the right-hand side, and we (in the States) drive on the left-hand side, but the streets and houses look American, it's like a mix culture of Japan and America.
What is it that you like about Australia?
It's laid back, I love the city life, but I grew up out in the country side, so yeah I do enjoy the country a lot, I like the relaxed environment because I'm constantly working, right. So getting out of the city in a relaxed environment, even if it's still in the city, is calming. You guys have a nice balance.
Whats you favourite driving moment?
The most satisfying feeling you can get is fixing your car and driving it, that's what I enjoy. I love driving in itself, but when you have a car you've created and you get to drive it, thats where it's at!
Where do you see Seven Apples headed?
I'd like for the shop to expand in such a way where I don't sacrifice the quality. I just want to take it slow and create what I want, and be able to execute cars that my customers want. It's not about repairing cars, it's about creating artwork. It's good to expand from a business stand point and for my future, but I take pride in my work - so rather than forcing it (to expand) I'd rather see it organically grow
Whats Seven Applies proudest moment ?
We opened back in 2005, but I've been painting since 2001. Man, proudest moment, huh? You know, a lot of the cars are my proudest moment. I just can't pick one because I put my heart into them, and once it's done and you see the appreciation from the customer, that's when it's like; wow! When you see a happy customer you get a real sense of... gratification, so it's not just the one.
Over the course of 2 weeks, Makito and us boys shared a heap of car stories, we talked American politics, introduced him to Aussie slang, he got to drive on the "wrong" side of the road and by the end of the trip he was old an mate.
Makito did an amazing job on the NSX considering he was working in a different workshop and painting in an unfamiliar paint booth, he made do and the results speak for itself. Assembly of the front end is 90% done, most items have either been replaced or cleaned up. John is currently working on rebuilding the ABS unit (a common item to fail when they get this old) and we're just waiting on some final parts to arrive from Honda and its all green lights.