The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2012…#1…


…And then…there was ONE…

Welcome back to the final edition of The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2012. From the responses, it seems that many of you have enjoyed the list thus far and are very fond of the new layout. I try my best to improve the list and how it is presented every year and I’m pretty content with how it all came together. You guys and gals have all had a chance to see the previous nine spots so that only leaves one more spot…the number one spot. I’m sure all of you are anxious to see who it is so I’ll spare you the long drawn-out introduction. If you missed the previous two posts containing spots 2-10, there are links below for you to go back and look…

The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2012…10-6…

The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2012…5-2…

*All respect goes out to the photographers whose photos appear throughout the Top Ten list. Without you guys I wouldn’t be able to complete this list, thank you….

In 2012, there were a lot of very great Honda builds but one stands at the very top of the hill….

The number one Honda build of MMXII is none other than…

1. Michael Mao | Location: Southern California



Why it is #1:

While it may not be the obvious choice and certainly the most universally agreeable one, Michael Mao’s NSX is the top Honda build of 2012 because..well…he went out and earned it. This is kind of a controversial choice for some but Mao’s NSX was most certainly the most universally recognized Honda build of 2012. Mike set out to build a very unique Honda and by all accounts, he did it. What I love about this build is that it is so brash and attention-grabbing that it almost forces you to make a decision as to whether or not you absolutely love the car or vehemently hate it. And if you do hate it, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that but you must admit that you paid attention. This NSX is a reminder that there isn’t anything wrong with trying something different. There are, of course, a lot of ways to be “different” but what sets Mao’s NSX apart from some of the more ridiculous sideshow, haggered, try-to-hard builds is that it was built right. The custom fabrication and quality of work is there. Should I also mention that it’s an NSX? It takes balls to take a iconic platform like this and transform it into something unique like Mike has done. In art, there is a very fine line between love and hate. It’s just a matter of whether or not you understand the artist…


Mao’s build started out like many of the others on the Top Ten list. He had two previous builds prior to this, a Civic coupe and S2000, which were also very eye-catching builds. When he found out that he had a chance of owning one of his dream cars, he leaped at the opportunity. Mike then began modifying the vehicle right away, going through various wheel set-ups and catering his car to a more “stance-oriented” build but he wanted more out of his NSX. He decided that he would take his car down to Efren from the BoomBop Shop and they came to a mutual agreement to drop the motor and boost it with dual Garrett GT2871R turbines…


The custom turbo set-up, for those unfamiliar with the NA1 chassis, was no easy feat. All parts were fabricated by Efren-Built and the stock engine mounts and subframe had to be modified just for everything to fit. If you have seen this car at an event than you’ve probably only see the top half of the motor in passing and the dual intercooler cores from the rear of the car. There’s just so much more to the motor that you can’t see unless the motor was dropped from the car. Once the motor was finished and the car running, Mike knew that it wasn’t enough. You couldn’t really see all the fab work to understand the amount of work that was applied so he made a plan that would make EVERYONE look; that’s when he made the controversial decision to cut up a set of Mugen MF10 Mirror Face wheels and rebuild them to his custom specifications…



Purists would argue that he took a classic Mugen wheel and bastardized it by cutting it up but it should be clear that Mike didn’t build this car for purists. He wanted to do things on his own terms and he knew subconsciously that there wouldn’t be an overwhelmingly positive response. As they say…”You can’t win ’em all”..


He didn’t win the admiration of everyone but what he consistently did all of 2012 was win at shows, and win, and win, and continue to win. There was just something about this NSX that kind of shocked people at first, and then slowly won them over as time progressed…


To be completely honest, I was a little thrown off by how the car looked at first as well. I’ve always been a fan of Mugen products like most Honda guys, so it was strange to see a Mugen MF10 in that sizing, with that type of lip, and in that particular finish. I understood what Mike Mao was trying to do though and I got nothing but respect for the guy. He’s a pretty quiet individual and doesn’t seem to really say much, but he’s got a bit of confidence about him or “swag” as the kids would say, and his personality is on full display in his build. I think he really just set out to try something different and the accolades and notoriety just kind of followed him around everywhere he went….


Everyone took notice of this NSX and by the end of 2012, it ended up on the cover of Super Street magazine…


I’ve had a chance to talk to a ton of people last year and have heard it all when the topic of Mike’s NSX comes up in conversation. Some were dumbfounded by it and how crazy it looked, some hated it, but if there is one thing we can take away from the conversations, is that people talked about it. The fact that everyone seemed to have something to say about it shows that this NSX was big in 2012. “If you’ve never been criticized for something you’re passionate about, then you probably haven’t done much with your life” is a saying that I’ve always lived by, and after being in the industry so many years, it’s helped me to understand a lot of different builds and what the owners set out to do with their cars…


Though it isn’t nearly as intricate of a build as some of the other Hondas on the Top Ten list, it deserves to be at the top of this list because it possesses something that the others don’t, and that’s shock value. It’s not a full restoration, a catalog car, a pure-bred race vehicle, a timeless garage gem, or anything else on this list, it is one-of-one… And it hits the marks of unconventionality without missing the elements of quality. This NSX came at the perfect time because it lights a spark under the collective asses of the entire community because it is a reminder that we don’t always have to like every build that we see and many cars won’t always be to our liking but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t respect the work and effort behind it.

Don’t like it? Well that’s just fine…because you’re in luck. It’s the second week of January and you still have 356 days left in the year to make your mark. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up on the Top Ten Hondas of 2013. Let’s continue to build great cars and congratulate the 2012 class of Top Ten Hondas for all their hard work and dedication…



That’s a wrap! The slates been wiped clean and it is time to start anew in 2013!

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  1. Totally deserving of this award. I love this car!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS, Mike! Let’s see what this year has in store!

  3. thank you sirrr’s…..this means so much i cant even believe i made it on this list. i know i made top 25 last year but this was the icey on top. Im so speechless. WOW! thanx everyone for the love and support

  4. Bad ass #1! I want it. Actually, I want all the cars on the list.

  5. Great write-up, Joey! Congrats Mike Mao!

  6. awesome car and well deserved, only wish we had a car like this in the UK to admire

  7. awesome car and can only hope more cars like this pop up in the UK

  8. Reblogged this on Metal with wheels and commented:
    awesome awesome car

  9. Where have you been? 🙁

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