Project NSX

Project NSX: Part 4 – We track test KW Suspension, Volk Wheels and Nitto Tires in Pursuit of a Track Record

by Billy Johnson

With almost 5 years of downtime, Project NSX has been on hiatus for way too long.  Between FXMD moving from Las Vegas to California, the motor traveling from Vegas to NorCal to SoCal, and especially with me moving to North Carolina, our little NSX has not had quite the love and attention that she deserves.  But our 4th installment gets us back on track (literally) with a new set of shoes.

It seems like pretty much every project car on MotoIQ has KW coilovers, and for good reason, they are excellent dampers.  However, Project NSX was actually one the first projects to receive KW V3s way back in August of 2009, it just took until now to write about them.  As a long-term update, I can’t really say a whole lot more than what has already been said about KW’s excellent valving, performance, and ride quality other than after tens of thousands of street and track-driven miles, these KWs have been flawless with no leaks or issues whatsoever.  There’s a reason why they are OEM equipped on some pretty awesome cars like Mercedes’ Black Series cars.


Project NSX KW V3
The NSX-specific KW Variant 3 utilizes 343lb spring rates front and rear and uses the durable OEM rubber mounted top hats for comfort and reliability.  With over 150K on our rubber top hats, Honda seems to have designed these pretty well compared to most other cars, and new ones should last forever without needing the maintenance that Monoballs require.  KW does offer a clubsport version with heavier 457lb spring rates and monoball top hats.  We opted for the 457lb clubsport rates and V3 top hats.
Project NSX Front Suspension
The NSX was ahead of its time in many ways.  The design of the all-aluminum chassis, subframes, control arms, and uprights rival those used in modern supercars.  The control arms are aluminum masterpieces that look more like sculptures than what you see in today’s supercars.  The suspension geometry is so good that the country’s fastest time attack car, the FXMD FX750 NSX, utilizes the stock control arms and pick up points and just turned a record-setting 1:37.520 at Buttonwillow.
Project NSX Front KW V3
With the V3s now installed, we examine the unique design of the NSX’s front suspension.  The damper bolts to near the middle of the lower control arm which lowers the motion ratio and wheel rate.  The front mounting point of the upper and lower control arms are connected via ball joints to what is known as a “compliance pivot”.  This rubber-mounted vertical bracket with triangulated webbing pivots to absorb shock and allow for longitudinal deflection of the wheel to improve ride quality.  Most people who track their cars install a clamp here to prevent the movement for a more consistent alignment control on track, but we’ll leave it alone for now.

Honda spent a great deal of time, money, and effort to develop the NSX.  With the goal of beating Ferrari in every category, Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara had set the target for Honda's new supercar extremely high.  During the late 80's, Honda had a significant amount of development resources at their disposal and made use of them.  Since Honda was powering McLaren's F1 program at the time and powered all three of Ayrton Senna's wold championships, it didn't hurt to have access to one of the greatest drivers of all time.  Senna was a crucial tool in developing the handling balance of the car.  He is also credited for the car's strong chassis rigidity and cornering capabilities after testing the prototype which he felt was not stiff enough.  He was also said to have tested the NSX at the Nurburgring amongst various other tracks.


NSX Rear Suspension
The use of unequal length upper and lower control arms are prevalent on all four corners of the NSX's suspension.
Project NSX Rear KW V3
The rear suspension layout is also very interesting.  The damper bolts directly to the upright giving the rear suspension a high motion ratio, closer to that of a strut.  The rear swaybar’s ball joint is actually the bolt for the lower shock mount.
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Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, February 17, 2014 11:15 PM
Wow the car looks good Billy!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 5:49 AM
Ahh, my dream car, I love the way that car looks with those wheels and the Type R rear wing. I know in the future you're looking to boost the motor, however what headers and exhaust are you running on the current setup?
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 7:30 AM
I love the pictures of the fully assembled suspension and brake components removed from the car.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 9:50 AM
I agree, the car looks fantastic. I would love to have one of these, they're still just a tad too expensive for a toy. Maybe in the next couple years... who knows?

If a person was interested in one, are parts for maintenance/repairs easily available? I can imagine parts are expensive even if they're easy to come by.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 10:23 AM
Haven't heard ATB in a while.

BTW, get a little bit of a pucker on that kick back at the end of Talladega?
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:53 PM
I hate race car drivers... I have severe pucker moments when driving like that in video games, I can't even comprehend going balls to the wall 10/10's (or more) in real life on a track...

badass car and badass driving
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:11 AM
A.Reese - Headers and Exhaust will be covered in Part 5, stay tuned!

Burninator - These are Hondas afterall and are extremely reliable. Finding parts is not an issue.

Rockwood - Not really, just a comfort level with the car. The bigger front bar will greatly improve it!
Saturday, March 01, 2014 11:43 AM
sigh... so sexy it hurts.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 1:16 PM
hahaha... I completely forgot about this article and about that video on the last page... after watching it I came down here to basically post the same thing I did 2 years ago in the post above, haha
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 9:57 PM
haha... yeah, and that's why Billy will be racing the Ford GT at LeMans this year.
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