A pursuit of incredible design and a passion for the car culture, has taken JJ owner of this amazing Liberty Walk kitted Acura NSX to the next level.
Words by Tony Matthews and
Photography by Marcel Lech www.mlech.com
Owner JJ Dubec @doczilla12
We have seen the amazing Liberty Walk phenomenon take over the global car culture at a point when widebody kits were done and dusted. The past of over the top bodykits made the scene put them away for good, but then trends do come back around and if done right, can have a major impact like Liberty Walk.
JJ, owner of this SuperFly Acura NSX was one man who has always been on a pursuit of incredible design with his love of cars and when he saw the Liberty Walk kits, that was it for him, he was hooked. We spent time with JJ for him to share his journey, to bring forth his exclusive interview.
1 – How did you get into cars? How old were you?
My interest in cars goes back to my earliest memories of childhood around age 4 or 5. My Father loved cars and he would bring me home some die cast cars from time to time. I loved riding in cars as a child, and going places with my family. Watching movies and TV shows that featured cars like Knight Rider or Dukes of Hazzard were also a huge influence.
2 – What cars or personalities inspired you in the car scene?
Seeing high quality show cars, irrespective of particular genre, were a great source of inspiration to me. I recall seeing the work and effort being put into lowriders in SoCal and high end car audio builds at shows in Florida. Seeing those types of cars in my youth made me want to emulate that level of attention to detail when I would eventually be able to fulfill my own projects. I was also hugely entertained by TV personalities like Chip Foose, Ryan Friedlinghaus, and Will Castro who had shows that gave viewers a look at the process of doing projects from behind the scenes. Seeing how deadlines and impediments during the build affect outcomes was surprisingly helpful in managing my own expectations when I was eventually at the helm.
3 – Whats your profession?
I’m a Physician with a dual specialization in Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine. I went straight into a Science degree after high school and went straight into medical school after that. I had a huge interest in art and illustration and was able to parlay that into doing artwork for medical journals and textbooks. Most importantly, I’m a proud husband and father to two super cool kids aged 8 and 4. They both love cars too!
4- What was your first car? And what cars have you owned or now own?
My first car was an old silver Willy’s Jeep that I got on my 10th birthday. I was living at the Philippines for a 3 year stint at the time and my dad said for my birthday he would teach me to drive a manual transmission (with the choke and all the lovely nuances of the old jeeps), but he bet me that I would probably stall it on the first try.
He said if I didn’t stall it…I could keep the Jeep. Well, to his surprise, I followed all his instructions and I didn’t stall and I kept that thing and drove it nearly every day to and from our farm. I was never bothered by the local police. I was a huge 10 year old and I never took it into the downtown areas. Other cool cars I’ve owned range from a 2013 R35 Nissan GTR LibertyWalk Widebody, 2015 Ferrari 458 LibertyWalk Widebody, 2016 Supercharged Jeep JK Unlimited with a full pre-runner suspension, and most recently the 2017 Acura NSX LibertyWalk Widebody.
5 – What does the car scene mean to you?
The car scene is incredibly important to me. My local car scene in Vancouver Canada is robust with cool cars and owners and I’m very fortunate to get to see most of the builds at numerous meets and shows throughout the year. What I love even more though is that I feel my builds have extended my involvement to car scenes in Seattle and the West Coast of the USA with various shows I attend, and into areas like Arizona and Florida and even the US East Coast as I have a ton of friends online that I interact with constantly.
If I take it another step further, the social media reach has connected me to friends and fans in the UK and the rest of Europe as well as a large contingent in Africa, Asia, and Australia. I truly feel that I am connected to a global community of automotive enthusiasts that go well beyond the microcosm that I encounter on my daily drives and automotive experiences in Vancouver.
6 – Was it your first time at the Sema Show?
I am so fortunate to say that since I was invited to bring my LibertyWalk GTR to SEMA 2014 by Kato Wataru and DUB magazine, this is now my fourth SEMA Show in a row where I have been asked to bring my projects to display.
7 – Why the Acura NSX?
The first generation NSX is an absolutely iconic vehicle. It was Japan’s first unofficial supercar. My anticipation for the next generation NSX was high and once I was able to see the new design, and more importantly get behind the wheel, I knew that I wanted to go ahead with a widebody project.
8 – Why did you choose the liberty walk kit?
I love LibertyWalk. The friendship that has grown between myself and the crew from Japan is one that I will cherish forever. I like that when they saw my first project, they invited me to display the car at SEMA. They didn’t know anything about me or what I do. They probably thought I was a shop owner or involved in the auto industry.
It didn’t matter that I was a doctor with nearly zero credentials in the automotive world… they just loved the design and the decisions that contributed to the overall project. My entire life and career has been based on a few key people giving me a chance by opening a small doorway and allowing my will, smart work, and conscientiousness to bust the doorway wide open. I am forever grateful for opportunities like that, and beyond car parts and bodykits, that is one of the very special reasons I stay loyal to the LibertyWalk flow.
9 – What was the inspiration behind the build?
This build represents many streams of inspiration. The color and retention of badging pays respect to Honda and the establishment of Acura as the North American brand segment. In my mind, I wanted to respect to the great effort that went into the design and production of this highly anticipated car by enhancing features rather than making drastic changes.
Stancing the car, setting the fenders and track wider, keeping the gorgeous stock paint and badging…I feel they are subtle changes that elevate the overall look and feel that the car conveys. Other streams of inspiration include having my children work on this car with me for the first time. Even simple tasks like drawing and preparing decals or sanding parts for paint prep…just getting them involved and seeing their desire to work on it day after day provided me with a a very cool feeling and fueled me to make it as special a build as I could.
10- Who helped you build the car?
We did the majority of the kit installation in Vancouver at MidVanMotors which is a 47 year-old family owned shop less than 2 minutes from my home. I then drove the car to my usual partners in crime at Phantasy Kolors in Seattle, WA who are famous for SEMA builds year after year showcasing their paint expertise.The largest hurdle we had to overcome as a team was that we received the kit in the first week of October and had about 12 days to get the kit installed and painted before it was to be transported to Las Vegas.
Coordination between Japan and Canada was challenging considering the time difference and language barrier. Thankfully one of the chief designers and technicians Toshiro is excellent at English and with the use of translators –mostly friends (and girlfriends of friends) that speak Japanese, we were able to communicate effectively.
Bottlenecks in the process became the usual ones such as typical production delays with factories and trial and error with respect to some initial designs that evolved and improved over time.
The Armytrix exhaust development was an excellent experience. The team in Taiwan were well organized and in constant communication. I removed my stock exhaust and sent it to them for research and development and we collaborated on many design points. My biggest stipulation was that I wanted a cat-less system that implemented their famous valve-tronic control to open the exhaust or muffle the sound at will. One of the coolest parts of the build was that Armytrix flew out their main engineer to oversee the final installation in Vancouver.
The air ride system was also a huge challenge as there was nothing available so far in the aftermarket world for the 2017 NSX. Thankfully I was able to work with AirLift Performance and my local friends at SerialNine in Vancouver to implement an excellent management system (AirLift 3H) and use custom designed dampers and airbags with custom fittings that we designed on SolidWorks and had a fabrication specialist (Zero Division and the well established USA-based Stance Suspension) make specifically for the NSX. The result was a flawless air control system that retained the factory suspension’s performance feel and still gave a great range of control to deal with different road conditions and driveway angles. Oh yes, and a jaw-dropping overall stance.
Every single one of my many sponsors should be credited for helping me with this build.
There were many individuals who have instrumental parts in making all my build projects come to fruition.
Firstly, my awesome wife and children who support my creative, F7LTHY side and allow me to flex the left and right sides of my brain with these cool projects.
Midvan Motors and Phantasy Kolors for their time and expertise ensuring the appearance and finish of the vehicle is world-class. LibertyWalk Japan for entrusting me with doing the World’s first widebody kit and SEMA debut. As I mentioned earlier, I am a physician and have only been doing this for about 4 years and for them to entrust me with such a responsibility is truly humbling. I can only hope that they are happy with the final product and my representation of their vision.
Acura Canada and Honda Canada have been supportive of my project and I love that they recognize the aftermarket modification community and the love and respect we have for the brand reflected by the effort we put into our customization projects.
Airlift Performance, Armytrix Exhausts, Nitto Tires, Savini Wheels, Vancity Vinyl, BASF and Glasurit paint and finishing materials, and JIN Performance. These companies provide such amazing support and products that I love to use. I am so thankful for their trust in me and my projects year after year.
- 2017 Acura (Honda) NSX – assembly chassis number 0178
- World’s first LibertyWalk full widebody kit including carbon fiber wing – Japan.
- World’s first 2nd Gen NSX AirLift Performance 3H air ride suspension featuring custom Stance USA Nova Struts and ZeroDivision custom top hats and brackets designed and installed by SerialNine – Vancouver Canada
- World’s first 2nd Gen NSX full Titanium Armytrix catless exhaust with ceramic coated heat sheilding and valvetronic control – Taipei, Taiwan.
BASF Glasurit paint to do match of the factory Casino White Pearl color.
Vancity Vinyl graphics – Vancouver, Canada
- DUB IR Tint / FiveStarEnterprises – Vancouver, Canada
- Savini SV 67-XC 3-piece wheels
- Custom finish – Triple tinted barrels over brushed metal finish. Clear brushed wheel face. Gloss black matching hardware
- Front: 20 x 10″ (-10) with 245/30 -20 Nitto NT 555 tires
- Rear: 20 x 13″ (-55) with 305/30 -20 Nitto NT 555 G2 tires