Acura gets down with Radwood by modifying this 1997 SLX

The Radwood effect is real. People are paying to attend the show all over the globe. Prices are rising for surprising machines, which previously were getting no love. And now The Brands are playing along as well. This is a good thing though when it’s done right. Case in point: The 1997 Acura SLX featured in the video below.

This SLX didn’t just receive some paintwork and then it was sent on its way. Oh no! Acura swapped in its SH-AWD system under the skin. That’s paired with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a ten-speed automatic gearbox. No, the engine isn’t a basic four-cylinder turbo either, as Acura says this one is “race tuned” and it cranks out 350 horsepower.

There’s an independent rear suspension under the booty. The wheels are from Fifteen52. And that paint was touched up so it looks better than any hue applied to an SLX prior. But this work wasn’t an easy task. The donor car is a 1996 SLX that wore an original MSRP of $33,900. It made 190 horsepower from its 3.2-liter V6. A four-speed automatic fed the four-wheel-drive system and a solid rear axle sorted out bumps out back. Body and frame were separated for the modern upgrades. The entire suspension system has been reworked, the brakes are larger, and the track is quite a bit wider as well (59.6″ front/59.8″ rear changed to 64.4″ front/65.1″ rear).

Anything else?

Besides the wonderfully modified SLX, Acura is bringing a 1991 Acura NSX (with VIN: 00052, which makes it the earliest known NSX in North America), an ’86 Integra Coupe, and an unmodified 1996 Acura SLX.

Acura is clearly falling headlong into its Radwood love fest. And we heartily approve. Get to Radwood LA this weekend if you want to see the SLX in person.

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7 responses to “Acura gets down with Radwood by modifying this 1997 SLX”

  1. crank_case Avatar

    Are these a rebadged Isuzu Trooper (or whatever it was called in other markets)?

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Yes, which makes this sort of an odd choice, although their only other 90’s SUV choices would have been the Honda Passport (also a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo) and the Crossroad(? – the rebadged Land Rover Discovery). I’d sort of like to see what they could do with an original Honda Odyssey.×1200.jpeg

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      My thoughts exactly. I remember the Passport well enough, but not the SLX. It’s an odd piece of history for Acura to embrace, considering it represented a gap in their product line that had to be filled by another automaker.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        It’s not a bad idea, just more unusual back then than now. As part of their tie-up with Rover group back in the 90s they sold Honda Badge Land Rover Discoverys in the Japanese market too (as mentioned already by Maymar). You get it a lot with Kei vehicles too, especially the more functional ones, but even the “Mazda”/Autozam AZ-1 was a Suzuki that Mazda took a shine to.

        1. Zentropy Avatar

          Oh, it’s a great idea, but it does reflect a slight misinterpretation of the market. You don’t see Chevrolet and Ford reaching back to celebrate the LUV and Courier pickups, and they even had shareholder status with respective manufacturers Isuzu and Mazda. Honda never held even partial ownership of Isuzu, did it?

          I honestly like the Isuzu Trooper, but in addition to Honda/Acura, it whored itself out to Holden, Chevrolet, Opel/Vauxhall, and Subaru. It’s a vehicle that only Isuzu should be proud of, and the SLX is about as far from something brand-representative that Acura could have chosen. Acura has never built a body-on-frame SUV, and only one vehicle with a RWD architecture.

          When I think 80s/90s Acura, I think of the NSX, Legend, and Vigor (one of the best names for a car, ever). In my opinion, a ’91 Vigor with a transplanted Accord Sport turbo four and 6-speed manual would have been much more interesting, but I realize sedans are passé these days.

  2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    Actually, we’re going to be doing that a little differently for this year… stay tuned.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    That’s an amazing restomod. Trends like Radwood make me a bit wary – it’s good for vehicle preservation, but I am not quite sure how long lasting the effect will be. What is more surprising to me is how much I like the video. Corporate really nailed it this time.

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