The Marvelous Tune K-NSX Build: An Introduction…

Well, we haven’t done one of these in quite a while. Originally I didn’t really think to cover this build because Amir Bentatou is such a busy guy but I must admit, I was intrigued when I heard of the plans for his Acura NSX track car. He acquired this NA1 back in October of 2015 and immediately started tinkering with it. The idea was to use the car on the track and a few weeks into ownership, he already found himself deep into modifying it. The NSX wasn’t perfect. It was a friend’s car previously and it had seen better days. The black paint was a bit dated, the motor tired, and it was in need of an overhaul. Amir added his own selection of parts to it and decided to track the car so he could have a better understanding of how it functioned before truly making it his own. The V6 C30A was previously boosted before so it definitely showed wear and tear. Most would probably just drop the engine, rebuild it, and try to make reliable power out of it. The NSX engine is a capable motor, had enough aftermarket support to make it competitive, and well, it is the heart of Honda’s original supercar. NSX purists would find it blasphemous to put anything else into the engine bay but Amir had other plans. He’s never been the most conventional guy when it came to cars so he decided to ditch the idea of a C-series engine completely.

Enter, the K-series engine. K as in K20A, K20Z, K24, K as in, the K-series that you’d find in many of Honda’s newer vehicles, i.e. the RSX, Civic Si, etc. Also the same K that many enthusiasts are putting into ’90s Civics and Integras. This isn’t anything new, of course. People have done this swap before. Amir isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel or anything, and his reasoning for dropping a K-series engine to an NSX is quite simple and practical. As he explains:

 “The C series is a great engine, but it’s antiquated when compared to the K. Making power with the K is easy and K’s are reliable. The cost to make reliable power with a K is a fraction of the cost for a powerful C. The second reason is weight. As you can see here, the C is massive, and it’s size brings a lot of weight. There will be a large weight savings by going to K. The engine and everything attached to it is lighter. Finally, K’s are inexpensive and easy to replace. If anything happens to the drivetrain, finding parts won’t be a problem.”

Simple, right? Not only does he plan on utilizing a K20Z engine, he’s also going to turbocharge it. Forced-induction allows for even more power and if the K is built properly, it will hold a lot of power. It almost seems like a match made in Honda heaven to pair these two together. NSX-owners might not think so but when it comes to building a potent time attack vehicle, it just makes more sense to have a powerplant that has a ton of aftermarket replacement parts available at the fraction of the cost. I decided to jump on board to cover this build because it sounds incredibly exciting to see it all unfold, and I feel like you guys would be interested as well. He’s got big plans for this build. Not only is it going to be a K-series turbocharged NSX time attack vehicle, but it will look the part of a show car too with a full widebody kit and complete re-sprayed body. He also has some really good people helping as well; Battlecraft is there supplying fabrication work and labor, Yokohama USA is providing the rubber, Hybrid Racing joins the party with their catalog of K-series products, and Exceed Japan keeps the NSX competitive with its Short Stroke Dampers. It is going to be a fun project, with loads of potential, and the goal is to have a vehicle that not only churns out a lot of fast lap times, but also looks incredible in the process. I hope you guys stick around to watch this build unfold, because it will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

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A photo of Amir’s NSX prior to tear-down for reference…

Today, as an introduction, I’ve attached some photos of the initial mock-up of the K20 inside the NSX. There are no turbo parts yet, no accessories, just the raw mock-up of the engine inside the bay. The NSX is set to go to paint and body very soon so they wanted to make sure that they had the engine position squared away before sending the car to the body shop. Enjoy…

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The NSX as it currently sits. Most of the body panels are not on the vehicle because they had previously mocked-up all the new body panels to see how they sit…

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The rear quarters aren’t on the vehicle but here you can get a glimpse of the front wide fenders going on the NSX…

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The engine bay of the NSX no void of the original C30A…

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The tired C30A just rests next to the vehicle now, waiting to be sold and rebuilt by its new owner…

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Magical Racing mirrors custom mounted and the gaping hole where the original mirror was mounted now welded-up and eventually will be made seamless…

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Kristian and Yuta guiding the engine in from below while Amir sizes things up from above…

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There aren’t too many obstacles preventing the engine to fit in the bay but being that this engine was never meant for this chassis, certain angles are tricky and make it difficult…

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The body lowered-down onto the K-series engine, awaiting a hoist to pull it up…

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One of Amir’s other toys and perhaps the car that he had previously become “known” for, his 911 Porsche which garnered him the IG name “that911″…

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Amir and Kristian lining things up…

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The lack of a lift inside the shop made things more interesting, but Yuta figured-out a way to guide the engine around with two jacks…

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The K-series engine will also be mated to a fully-built Ghostwerks K-series 6-speed manual transmission…

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Yuta bolting up one of the custom Hybrid Racing engine mounts to the K20Z…

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Finally with the engine bolted in place. I have to admit, it looks quite strange inside the NSX. Strange but exciting because there is so much more to come…

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Time for a beer and to enjoy the view of the NSX’s new heart…

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The boys looking pretty excited about the swap…

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Amir holding up his Borg Warner turbocharger to the area where the unit will eventually go once the turbo manifold is mounted…

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I don’t really have a timeline as far as what and when everything is happening, but the wheels are definitely in motion already with a goal to debut the car this summer. I’ll update whenever I can which hopefully will be regularly. Stick around and watch this K-NSX come together. Thanks for looking!…

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3 thoughts

  1. Cool piece, pics and writing are great.

    Gotta ask though, have the provisioned for the change in weight distribution since pulling out the C?

  2. Great piece! Articles like this in the old magazines is what drove me to modifying my own cars! Keep up the great work Joey!

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