Join Date: Nov 2004
Ken Fujii’s Widebody Honda NSX
[View with PicLens
Ken Fujii is someone who doesn’t let age interfere with his hobby. Even at the ripe old age of 50, he’s cruising the streets around Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto in what is arguably the widest Honda NSX in Japan.
Just how wide is it? A quick once over with the trusty measuring tape showed 2.06m across the rear! The sheer presence this car has on the narrow roads in Japan is truly incredible and unsurprisingly Ken gets right of way just about everywhere. We met Ken at Central Circuit in Hyogo prefecture one day while casually standing next to his NSX watching his friends lapping the race track. After a quick introduction he was all too happy to tell us his story.
Ken Fujii sells fish for a living and he’s had an outlet at the local fish market (where we did our shoot) in Akashi, west of Kobe, for many years now and is somewhat of a minor celebrity among all the traders. Helping him with his celebrity status is his incredibly generous nature and of course his incredibly wide NSX! Ken tells us that he bought the 1991 NSX about two years ago after it had the original Burn Up, Marga Hills and Route KS wide body kit installed and was painted silver. It was an excellent low mileage example without an accident history, but there was something wrong. It looked great and all but Ken wasn’t happy with the overall presentation of the car. He wanted a truly unique NSX among the 60 or so members of the NSX Owner’s Club in the Kansai area, and according to Ken, that’s no easy task when a good proportion of the members in the club already have some kind of wide body treatment applied to their cars. So what was Ken to do? Make it wider!
The body modifications are extensive and all of the custom work involved making the car as wide as possible. Almost immediately after purchase Ken took his NSX to Car Craft, a small custom body shop in Miki city, north of Kobe. There the owner of the shop, Yourou-san, was given the task of removing the front and rear guards, side skirts and front and rear bumpers and adding 75mm each side to the body kit which already measured 50mm wider than standard. Ken notes that stock NSXs measure 1.81m wide at the rear, so the extra width is very noticeable at the front despite being slightly narrower than the rear by a centimeter or so. The entire body kit is a mix of Burn Up, Marga Hills and Route KS parts, with a Burn Up GTC ‘98 front bumper, Route KS Zero Force front guards, Marga Hills side skirts and rear guards, one-off front and rear diffusers, Marga Hills aero bonnet with one-off air ducts added, Ganador aero mirrors, Route KS rear acrylic hatch, carbon snorkel air duct, trunk lid spoiler and 1900mm wide carbon GT rear wing. Phew!
Ken then tells us that the rear guards in particular have been so extensively modified that he doesn’t regard them as Marga Hills items any more. “Look at the huge ducts built in to the back side of the rear guards” he says, “they’re built from scratch and compared to the original Marga Hills guards there’s around six inches of extra width there on the trailing edges either side.” The front guards have undergone similar treatment and the front bumper has had to be widened to match. The rest of the custom work has involved adding canards and extensions to the front bumper and the front section of the side skirts, round LED stop lights in the aforementioned rear ducts of the Marga Hills rear guards and a huge rear diffuser that has been changed for a redesigned one since our photo shoot. We have to hand it to Yourou-san at Car Craft, the custom work is second to none.
Ken is particularly proud of the tail lights as they are US market Acura items that have been modified with LEDs to include orange turn signals as well as red brake lights. After an extended discussion of the work carried out on the body kit, Ken clears up the notion of his NSX being the widest in Japan: “It’s probably equal widest in Japan at the rear, but at the front it’s the widest. None of us at the club are aware of anything wider getting around at the moment, but there’s bound to be someone working towards that goal sooner or later.”
In order to fill the massive guards, some equally massive wheels and tyres are needed but Ken has chosen only adequately sized wheels with SSR Professors measuring 17×9.5 at the front and 18×11.5 at the rear. Rather than order custom offsets to properly fill out the guards, Ken has installed 50mm wide spacers at the front and 60mm wide spacers at the rear and he says even these aren’t enough! The problem centres around the cost of the tyres. The 235/40/17ZR (front) and 295/30/18ZR (rear) Bridgestone Potenza RE010s are expensive enough as they are, going for wider rubber just isn’t justifiable at the moment. To save the NSXs one-off customised body work from road rash, Ken has chosen Quantum aluminum coil overs with Swift 12kg springs front and rear coupled with a remote controlled Roberuta Cup air jack-up system which is installed above the coil overs enabling the car to be raised and lowered a total of 90mm. The system is very compact and the slim air canisters don’t impede too much at all even with the 10lb NOS bottle in the trunk as well. The standard brake callipers, Project Mu brake disks and pads are installed front and rear at the moment and are the next parts to be upgraded. In typical fashion Ken will only settle for the biggest rotors and callipers that will fit behind the SSR wheels but as of now he’s still undecided on what brand to go with.
So the outside of the car delivers a firm slap to the face to unwary onlookers, does it have the power to back up its looks? Originally Ken had the 3.0L V6 engine overhauled by Racing Factory Yamamoto (RFY) which included ported and polished heads, TODA valve springs and oil pump, a larger 2.5L capacity oil pan, and oversized throttle body and a GReddy e-Manage which increased the power to 330PS and maximum revs to 9,600rpm. It still wasn’t enough so he had a 75HP NOS Single Fogger wet system installed which brought the power output to over 400PS. Other parts to compliment the engine overhaul include an OS Giken R2C twin plate clutch, RFY 2 layer aluminum radiator and silicon hoses, RFY silicon engine mounts, a lightened aluminum crank pulley and SARD racing spark plugs, intake funnel, air filter and fuel regulator. Spent exhaust gases escape through a RFY F1 exhaust manifold and a one-off KSP muffler with not two but five exhaust tips! On the street Ken gave the NSX a blast as we left town and all I can say is that the RFY “F1” manifold lived up to its name.
What a sound! The 3000cc VTEC V6 coupled with the NOS system left my humble AE86 Corolla Levin for dead over and over again but the noise it made while doing so was just magic as it climbed towards the rev limiter. It may not be the fastest NSX out there but Ken is happy with the way the engine modifications turned out citing that it now has “more than enough power for an old man”.
The interior has received a little less attention than other areas of the car but still features a few custom touches. A pair of red Sparco Pro 2000 fixed bucket seats replace the factory leather items and the drivers side seat has a TRUST labelled harness although Ken tells me it’s actually a Sabelt item. The MOMO F1 leather steering wheel is apparently quite old and hard to find but Ken was lucky in that the wheel was on the car when he purchased it. The carbon fibre insert in the centre console features Defi water and oil temperature gauges, a NOS pressure gauge and switches to arm the nitrous and for the NOS heater.
Moving up to the top of the centre console there’s an Ultra digital speedometer that reads up to 300km/h and a Razo shift light on top of the steering column. To replace the worn factory items Ken has also opted for a very nice original RFY aluminum gear knob and NSX Type R mesh gear shift boot. If you’re wondering what those three modules are on top of the dashboard, they’re part of the Zeek WonderCat 3 radar scrambling system which I’m told only gets a periodic workout these days! Finishing off the interior mods is a Carrozzeria HDD navigation system with a pre-installed “Orbis ROM”, a CD containing the location of all the fixed position speed cameras in Japan, which works in conjunction with the WonderCat 3 to ensure that Ken never has to fork out for fines.
What Ken really wanted to do with the NSX before he was bitten by the wide body bug was to make it look like a Super GT car, which was a little less outrageous than what you see here. It was a fairly basic plan to begin with but the pursuit of individuality finally caught up with him which has meant that the entire car has had extra parts added over time as Ken got a better idea of what he wanted. So what’s next?
The aforementioned rear diffuser has been upgraded since our photo shoot of which Ken is finally happy with and there’s also the brake callipers and disks which are next on the list to be upgraded. Other than that though the exterior of the car seems to be complete… or is it? While talking to Ken we got the impression that someone out there is planning to take away his wide body NSX crown and that he has worked too hard to get the car to this point to let the title slip from his grasp so easily. So if that day ever comes Ken might just be crazy enough to consider doing the only thing he really can do. Go wider!