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’90s Acura SLX Gets Restomodded for ’90s-Themed Radwood Show

’90s Acura SLX Gets Restomodded for ’90s-Themed Radwood Show
  • acura has restored and modernized a 1997 slx suv for the 1980s and '90s–themed radwood car show.
  • this slx has a modern turbo-four engine and an sh-awd system from the rdx.
  • it will be on display at the radwood show in orange county, california, this saturday, december 7.

    just as boomers recall a rosier youth, millennials reminisce over the 1980s and '90s. the radwood car shows have the younger generations stoked to preserve their childhood cars, and for that we love them. but sometimes, as this factory-restored acura slx shows, that enthusiasm glorifies cars that were never any good.

    in much the same way that acura rebuilt an original legend owned by ludacris, the red slx you see here is nearly a brand-new car. it'll be at the radwood show in orange county, california, this saturday to remind the nostalgia-fueled crowd that acura sold a rebadged isuzu trooper in the 1990s.

    the company's promo video laughs it off with the finest cinematic satire, casting a young suburban couple with twin acura suvs. the husband gushes over a "unicorn" slx he bought for $500 and shows it to his wife, who drives an rdx. as a liter of crystal pepsi spills onto the garage floor, the slx transforms like captain planet into a super 4x4. for three fantastical minutes, a modified 1997 slx is a reborn hero.

    the stock 1997 slx really wasn't so great. how do we know acura agrees? because it ripped out every mechanical part from the original having to do with accelerating, turning, and braking. honda's almighty 2.0-liter turbo four has a custom intake, exhaust, and ecu tuning that belts out more power and torque than it can in the honda civic type r. that 350 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque rip through a 10-speed automatic transmission and the rdx's sh-awd drivetrain with torque vectoring. acura welded fresh subframes to the original ladder frame and ripped out the solid rear axle.

    this now restomodded slx previously belonged to tyson hugie, a 38-year-old phoenix man who owns five pristine early-'90s acuras, fashioned his garage after an early 90s acura dealership, and documented hitting half a million miles in his 1994 legend coupe. hugie sold the 1997 slx to acura for the company's project and then bought himself a nearly identical red 1996 slx, which he has nicknamed the 'pos'lx.

    it's a good name. but here's why the slx isn't funny. in 1996, many automakers reaped huge profits by selling somewhat primitive truck-based suvs and convincing the american public they could drive them like cars. period advertising for the 1996 slx suggested owners take their leather-lined suv "from an african safari all the way to the most exclusive restaurant." sensing a cheap and fast opportunity to enter the luxury-suv market, acura had turned to isuzu, which also supplied the bones for the honda passport suv. the isuzu trooper looked like the perfect body double. so acura shipped out thousands of "a" badges and trusted isuzu engineers instead of its own. it was a mistake.

    consumer reports put a trooper on its cover, on two wheels, and deemed it and the identical slx as "unsafe" just months after the big acura went on sale. both trucks were given the magazine's not acceptable rating. before stability control, adaptive suspensions, modern tires, and a government rollover rating, many 1990s suv were one bad turn from flipping over. but few performed as badly as the slx.

    ’90s <a href=https://www.sharperedgeengines.com/used-acura-engines>acura</a> slx gets restomodded for ’90s-themed radwood show

    consumer reports tested the trooper and slx using its version of the nordic "moose test," in which a vehicle swerves into the oncoming lane to avoid a sudden obstacle and immediately swerves back to dodge oncoming traffic. it wasn't uncommon for a 1990s suv to lift up its inside wheels a little during the test. but the trooper tipped like an unsecured construction crane, saved only by the test driver's expert countersteer. the magazine repeated the test with training wheels extended at both sides, with similar results. isuzu quickly sued cr's parent company, consumers union, for defamation and claimed the magazine ran the trooper too wide through the coned path and used an excessive steering angle when turning back into the right lane.

    cr removed the slx from its blacklist for the 1998 model year, when acura upgraded the truck's engine and made other mechanical revisions. but the public's perception of the slx, right or wrong, that it could injure them in a rollover crash wasn't lost. in 2000, isuzu lost the case right as ford explorers were rolling over and killing people from failing firestone tires. acura in that same year discontinued the slx and replaced it with the 2001 mdx, an entirely honda/acura creation. that turned out to be a much better story.

    sure, the 1996–2000 slx enjoys "unicorn" status, which is a kind way to excuse how slow, sloppy, expensive, and wholly underengineered it was when brand-new. the slx was a rare screwup from an automaker so obsessed with engineering perfection. honda and acura had no business selling a 5000-pound suv back then, let alone marketing it as a premium product. it's worth laughing about now. almost.

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    source:caranddriver.com