As many self-proclaimed car enthusiasts will tell you, the itch to squeeze more out of even the best cars on the road can hit you almost immediately upon purchasing a sportscar. While many folks can appreciate a true sportscar for it’s factory-given driving dynamic, many want to, if not feel compelled to, improve every element of their car’s thrill-giving capabilities by turning to the aftermarket.

In the case of our Clarion Builds NSX, we had a clear plan in mind from the moment we began the build, and that was to improve every element of the car, while maintaining it’s aesthetic beauty. If you’ve followed the build, then you know everything from the tires up was replaced with high-performance upgrades designed to handle the horsepower our NSX was going to make when done.

Looking back, when we first got the car and strapped it to the dyno, the 230,000 mile 3.0-liter V6 was putting just 200 horsepower to the wheels, about 50 horsepower shy of where it would have been back in 1991. Sure, we could have refreshed the motor to factory specs, but that would have rendered our list of upgrades pointless. So, with the help of the NSX specialists at AutoWave, we decided to pull the tired old motor and swap it with a 2004 model year 3.2-liter NSX V6, that by itself would have been a significant upgrade. However, we didn’t stop there. We had AutoWave supercharge the motor and retune the factory ECU, and worked with AEM to fabricate a custom one-of-a-kind air intake system and free-flowing exhaust system.


With the car completely finished and it’s official unveiling behind us, we still didn’t have a concrete horsepower rating for the car, but we could tell by the amount of force the car had throwing us firmly into the driver seat when hitting the accelerator, that it was certainly hitting respectable numbers. After our track day, the car was brought back to AutoWave and strapped into the dyno to see if all of the work that went into the engine build paid off. Once warmed up, the car immediately made 338 horsepower to the wheels, after a few runs and several long hot flames out of the exhaust pipes, the car hit its best run of 344 horsepower at the wheels (approximately 380 at the crank).

Starting with 207 horsepower and boosting that figure by nearly 140 horsepower, not only did the hours spent on the motor pay off, they paid dividends with nearly a 70% increase in horsepower from where we started. The car now makes a more than respectable amount of power even by today’s standards, and because of that, has rendered all of the other upgrades made to the drivetrain, suspension and aerodynamics not just complementary, but absolutely necessary.

If you haven’t yet seen the video of the dyno run of the car when completed, be sure to check it out at

Alyson Yarberry