King Motorsports Unlimited, Inc. - Mugen Performance Products for Honda and Acura

Wheel Nostalgia: Mugen M7

Huge thanks to our friend Russell Laviolette for writing up the following bit of Mugen history! The M7 is truly a unique wheel and we love seeing the passion and time that Russell and others put into restoring and preserving these wheels.

==

"THE SUPER WHEEL!"

The Mugen M7 has come to be regarded by many as one of the most important and well designed wheels in SpoCom history. But it wasn't always so. Its popularity has increased ten-fold in recent years and prices have followed. Initially designed for the NSX chassis the wheel ranges in diameters from 15" to 17" and widths between 6.5" to 9". The smaller sizes suited the expanding Civic lineup as well as larger Honda platforms like the Integra and Legend. The wheel consists of a billet aluminum face cut in the bowels of some of the earliest CNC machines and assembled using unorthodox aluminum 12pt flange bolts (M6x20). The barrels are spun aluminum and bare a specification decal similar to those seen on late MR-5s. In addition a very unique Mugen decal is present, likely indicating a production sequence. One other bit of information is present on the rear lip of the barrel in the form of a two digit number. Besides this no other markings indicate the mysterious history of this wheel or its date of manufacture. Some sources speculate that Enkei likely lent a strong arm in the production process, but recent research has indicated otherwise. M-Tec (Mugen) has informed me (via another source) that, similar to the MR-5, the M7 was produced by Fortran. Despite this it's possible that even Fortran used another manufacturer as this kind of outsourcing is common in Japanese wheel production. Fortran would discontinue operations by the mid 90's which may explain the short, but plentiful, production run of the M7. Practically the wheel has little usage in competitive circumstances due to its increased weight, but is a beautiful cruising wheel on nearly any Golden Era Honda chassis. I anticipate the wheel's popularity will continue to grow in coming years and further solidify itself as one of the quintessential wheels for any Mugen collector.

*Notice the details of the prototype wheel pictured. It is missing the distinct Mugen emblem on the spoke and likely has a different finish than production versions. 

Baking the Mugen RR Advanced Concept



If you've ever been to one of our Dyno Day events, you may have met Kojima San. He travels out every year from Mugen HQ in Tokyo to visit with us, talk to attendees about their cars, and share news from Mugen. So when this year Dyno Day landed on Kojima San's birthday, we knew we had to celebrate in style. We were also unveiling the Mugen Civic RR Advanced Concept (shipped all the way out from Tokyo) and it made for a great opportunity to commission a cake creation as one-of-a-kind, unique and masterfully constructed as the RR.

We looked to Michael Kinjerski, a legend when it comes to Honda cakes (See some of his other Honda cakes here). His son Dustin is a long time friend of King's too.

Here are the photos and the notes Michael shared with us:

==

This is the total construction of the Mugen Civic RR Advanced Concept car from baking the cake to prep work to sculpting and decorating, leading to the finished product. You've seen the finished product, now you'll see what it takes to put this cake together.

Baking the cake using Betty Crocker Super Moist:



Wrap after baking then put into the freezer:



Prep the cake board:







Cut out a foam board template to 1/12 scale of the car:







Utilize template to begin stacking the cake:



Layering the cake with frosting against the foamboard template until the car shape is covered completely in buttercream frosting:









Templates to the exact size are made for all 4 sides:

Templates are pinned to all sides and outlined:

Mugen Civic starting to take shape:











The finished product! This cake took about 5 hrs to decorate not including the baking and other prep work. We even added a "Happy Birthday" message in Japanese to Kojimo San. I 'm honored and humbled to do this project and based on the reaction it was well received. Thank you so much for the opportunity!









Kojima San being surprised with the cake at Dyno Day!:



Hondafest NW 2016: Iron Sharpens Iron

IRON SHARPENS IRON



Collaborating remotely for King Motorsports from Oregon has its pros and cons. On the downside, I don't get out to Wisconsin to see the shop, cars and staff as often as I'd like to. But on the upside, I get to experience the car culture of the Pacific Northwest, with its own unique blend of Mugen-inspired vehicles. And there a few unicorns I have yet to see in person.

Last weekend I set the alarm for 5am and hit the road by 6am for the three hour drive to Hondafest NW at Pacific Raceways just southeast of Seattle. Hondafest NW is an annual Honda and Acura car show put on by NW Motiv. This year there would also be drag races and autocross.

Pacific Raceways has a 2.25-mile road course, drag strip, and plenty of asphalt for autocross crafting. Somehow this entire facility is hidden away by Washington's treescape, and it reminds me of visiting Trees of Mystery. Except there are a gazillion Hondas in line trying to get in.

This line of Honda and Acuras of all ages and levels of polish are 3 wide and maybe a half mile long, but is thankfully moving along.

The roll-in is a glorious chorus of enthusiastic revving, the kind you only do when you are with your own kind and in the middle of the woods with nobody to complain. Mostly we have raspy tenors but there is the occasional baritone and bass. The smell of fuel reminds me of the Dyno Day roll-in at King Motorsports-- my favorite part of the event.

I glance at my fuel meter a few times. We've all been in line about 30 minutes, maybe more? In the lane next to me a maroon Civic sedan starts to ooze white smoke out of the hood just after the passengers offload a custom lowrider adult tricycle off the roof.

Having somewhat misjudged my bathroom breaks, I start glancing around for a porta-john, considering if I should give up my place in line, pull over, and take a break. Just then I catch a glimpse of bright blue in my rearview mirror, about 20 cars back-- Bill Master's EP3 was maneuvering into the special entrance reserved for show cars. Following closely were Mel Diego's white EP3 and Huy Hoang's red DC5. It was then I knew it would be a good show. The long drive here would definitely be worth it.

A few minutes later, I had paid and was turning into the VIP parking area. Helpful event staff guided us on exactly where to park, and that seemed to help keep things organized. I parked my black EP3 next to a nicely sorted black RSX, loaded up my backpack, grabbed my camera and headed for the show car corral by way of the restrooms.



The show cars were a really interesting mix. Quite a good mix of RSX, Integra and Civics. There was a healthy showing of Accord and Prelude, plus a few old school CRX and very early gen Civic hatchbacks. Someone brought their Odyssey, and I even found a very clean CRV. There were a few NSX there too.



The variety is what I love about one-make car meets. Normally a dude with a chopped-up Del Sol wouldn’t consider shining up his car to show at an event for fear of getting the stink eye. But show up to a Honda event with said Sol, and you are instantly family. Sure they may look at you like you are the oddball uncle, but you're still family and people are glad you showed up. Tell me more about how you turned this Honda into a bamboo-lined tropical cabana, Uncle Steve.





I run into Jerimiah Styles, who has just completed the installation of his Mugen aero kit on his white 2nd gen Integra. He’s showing his car and has recently swapped his bronze MF8s for time attack RNRs. His car is looking great and the King Motorsports sticker on his windshield nabs him a bonus +5 HP.



He introduces me to Mel and Bill, who have the only two EP3s in the show. Their builds are legends here in the Pacific Northwest. Mel generously gives me a tour of his white 2003 Civic Si hatch, something I’d been looking forward to. This car is so well-known that it’s usually the first image that comes up when you Google “EP3.” Mel is an old friend of King’s CEO Scott, having worked closely together to assemble Mel’s Mugen wish list.



Mel points out all his parts and describes each with care. He moves along swiftly from part to part, because there is just so much to show off. Full JDM front bumper conversion. Type-R headlights and side skirts, Mugen front lip and radiator duct, Mugen wing, Mugen seat rails, Mugen Twin Loop, Mugen hood, a custom-modified Mugen roll cage that is so well integrated with the OEM interior that it looks like the plastics had been molded exclusively for the cage. His Mugen grill is properly painted with a black background to add extra dimensionality. His CAI draws air from behind the driver side opening on his Mugen lip.





“It’s the details,” he says. And he’s right. Because I also own an EP3, I can process the walkaround at the speed the details are hitting my ears. And I can also appreciate how rare these parts are. I’ve only seen a few of these Mugen pieces on one other car, and that’s the Mugen EP3 in the King Motorsports showroom.





Mel describes the stages of his car’s evolution as “Chapters.” He’s on Chapter 2 now. Chapter 3 involves adding Mugen MF10 17x8, Mugen brakes and Mugen seats. “With some luck and the help of King Motorsports, that will be the final chapter,” he declares. Something tells there will still be an amazing Chapter 4.



Parked next to Mel is Bill’s turbocharged 2003 Civic Si, equally stunning in the dedication and hard work put into it. You can tell these two have influenced each other and made each other’s builds better. Bill also has many of the same Mugen parts and JDM upgrades, but his build still feels distinct. He points out that his paint is actually a remixed, brighter version of Honda’s already vibrant Vision Blue Pearl. Now that he points it out, I’ll never be happy with Honda’s blue again. His version really is so much better.







Having followed Bill on Instagram I’ve seen that his day job is a woodworking magician, creating the HGTV-worthy kitchen and home remodels. That same craft and precision finds its way into his EP. My friend Julio points out the custom bracing for the motor mounts and the custom re-routed AC lines. They were so well done I didn’t even notice them. Overall there is a strong sense of restraint with Bill’s EP build. It feels curated, like he methodically chose only the best of the best parts and mods, the ones that would still be impressive and relevant decades later.



Parked next to Bill is Huy’s turbocharged 2003 RSX Type-S – aka REDRUM1. This car has all the shine of a Mugen show car fused with the raw functionality of a gutted and purpose-built race car. It sits right on the elusive line between show car and race car. Huy treats me to a guided walkaround, and I am floored. I find it hard to comprehend the amount of time, skill and resources that went into this vehicle.

Huy has an elusive perfect balance of finances + skill + taste that produces something masterful. If you only have finances + skill, you might go overboard on the mods. If you only have skill + taste, you probably restore a car to its original glory. If you have finances + taste, you go buy an NSX. But if you have all three – you build the DC5 elevated to what must be its perfect functional and aesthetic balance.













Like the artist he is, Huy tells me the build started with one thing – the desire to fit a specific set of wheels. To do that, he had the fenders masterfully pulled out and the whole car widened. Everything else flows from there. There is a reason Super Street called it “one of the best Honda builds to date!”



Huy brought two other cars with him, a white Mugen-equipped DC5 and a gorgeous green EK hatch. He tells me that the Autoart Mugen DC5 1:18 die-cast model was his inspiration for his white DC5, and I can see the similarities. It hits me that he’s actually creating big-scale, functional model kits, which in turn are replica of full scale cars. It is life imitating art imitating life. This loop produces impressive refinement in Huy’s hands.

Iron Sharpens Iron

It’s no coincidence that Mel, Bill and Huy are parked next to each other. They are friends outside the car show too, parking their beloved rides in each other’s home garages from time to time. These three friends have sharpened and pushed each other to create functional works of art.

**

More info:

Mel Diego’s 2003 Honda Civic Si
Instagram: @hur1cne@hov
http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/htup-1108-2003-honda-civic-si/

Bill Master’s 2003 Honda Civic Si
Instagram: @siborg_ep
http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/htup-1301-2003-honda-civic-si/

Huy Hoang’s 2003 Acura RSX Type-S
Instagram: @wiiizzer
http://www.superstreetonline.com/features/1510-turbocharged-mugen-2003-acura-rsx-type-s/

Full set of photos from Hondafest NW:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153475333141319.1073741856.110076751318&type=1&hc_location=ufi

Vintage Catalogs - King Motorsports Unlimited

We recently came across an OG customer who had all three catalogs that King created in the late 80s / early 90s. Each of these hand-assembled catalogs was called a Volume and included a carefully curated collection of Mugen parts, King parts, information about Mugen, and information about King's racecars and services. Each include thoughtful introductory letters written by King's CEO Scott and are a terrific snapshot of Honda/Acura performance culture at the time.

Because we don't spend much time looking in the rear view, we actually didn't have these Volumes anymore in our own library of literature. In fact we only printed about 1000 of each Volume. So Bill Yoon generously loaned the Volumes to us (including the price list inserts) for us to scan and make available to share with our friends!

Click an item below to download the PDF scan.

King Motorsports Unlimited Catalog Volume 1

KMS Volume 1.pdf (4.43 mb), Circa 1989

KMS Volume 1 Price List.pdf (1.11 mb)



King Motorsports Unlimited Catalog Volume 2

KMS Volume 2.pdf (5.24 mb), Circa 1991

KMS Volume 2 Price List.pdf (909.23 kb)



King Motorsports Unlimited Catalog Volume 3

KMS Volume 3.pdf (3.79 mb), Circa 1993

KMS Volume 3 Price List.pdf (2.24 mb)

Honda History: The Recalled Acura NSX Emblem

No detail was overlooked by Soichiro Honda -- right down to a seemingly minor design element on the Acura logo. In the late 80s, the Acura brand would be new to the world. Soichiro felt every emblem on Honda's luxury lineup must have a visible connection to Honda's heritage and engineering roots. So when hundreds of "incorrect" emblems were already installed on every brand new Stateside NSX, a unique recall was performed.

The following story about Acura's last minute NSX emblem change comes to us via Ed Somers, an NSX owner who originally posted this story on the Facebook group Honda Toys & Collectibles. Many thanks to Ed for sharing it and letting us re-post it here!

****



Several years ago when I purchased my first NSX and drove it back home 1500 miles, I got stuck in Louiseville, KY due to a master and slave cylinder problem. While I was waiting, I walked into a book store and purchased a Hemming’s Sports & Exotic Car Magazine. I happened to spot a letter to the editor in response to a past article on Acura’s history. It was from an employee of the ad agency that helped develop the Acura logo. In 1989, with the role out of the NSX quickly approaching, the agency had already printed brochures with the logo on the prototype cars and incorporated in the text. These brochures were printed early. In fact, so early that Soichiro Honda, who was retired but was still the “Supreme Advisor” of the company that bears his name, hadn't approved the logo which resembled calipers without the cross member of the Honda H. When he saw it he went ballistic and had it changed to the current logo of the Honda H pinched at the top to resemble the letter A to symbolize the connection of Honda to Acura and calipers of precision engineering.

However, some printed brochures had already gone out. And the NSX prototype used in the brochures had the unapproved hood logo as well. The first printing of the silver and black table book also had the wrong logo and the reprint of the August 1990 Road & Track First Test article had the wrong logo also. Most were returned before they were given out. There are also supposed to be some hood emblems out there with the wrong logo that the ad agency had. This story is per the letter to the editor.

Now, move to a year ago when a thread was posted on the NSX Prime forum about the first brochures. I posted that I happen to have two brochures with the incorrect logo. Told the story from the letter to the editor. And I mentioned how cool it would be to have one of those hood emblems.

“Well ask and ye shall receive.” Prime member LMR (Les), who is also the NSXCA southwest rep, posted, that a week earlier, he was contacted by a gentleman that worked for Honda/Acura in Torrance, Ca. And that the gentleman had one of the "original" emblems for the NSX. He wanted to sell it to an NSX owner who would appreciate the history behind them. He told Les, basically the same story I had posted. Les got me in contact with the owner of the emblem and I got the emblem in its original package, part number 75700-SL0-A02 which no longer exists. The current emblem for 91 to 01 NSXs part number is 75700-SL0-A03.

I spoke at length to the seller who retired from Honda/Acura after 27 years service. He told me that few people know that the first load of NSXs (300 of them) that came to America had the wrong emblem and the Honda president in Tokyo ordered the emblems taken off the cars as they left the boat and replaced with the correct emblem. The incorrect emblems were to be sent back to Japan and all had to be accounted for. He told me that they were pried off with a screwdriver and most all of them broke but all were sent back. I asked him how he got this emblem and he said he worked in the parts division. All of the spare parts were sent back to Japan except for the one he has and one that the now retired Honda PR director Kurt Antonius showed in an interview with Honda Tuning Magazine in August last year. He (the seller) said there may be a few at the ad agency and one or two in Japan but it was his understanding that the rest were all destroyed. I also found a small blurb on Wikipedia that verifies the story:

"Honda emblem inACURAte"

Peter, Nunn (October 1990) Wheels (Sydney): 28.
"Development of the Acura badge you see here — destined for upscale American Hondas such as the NSX and '91 Integra and Legend — caused an enormous amount of agro for company underlings. The original design was okay-ed without Mr Honda's approval, getting as far as full, final production before “The Man” cast eyes on it. With 5000 examples stamped — 309 of which had already been fitted to US-spec NSXs and the balance on Integras and Legends — "Honda San" firmly suggested the vertical goal posts be joined by a small horizontal bar. The bar, he reasoned, made the design A (for Acura) and an H (for Honda) — and his was the final word. The decision caused a flurry of activity, with badges being pried off and on paintwork with screwdrivers. Every single original badge has been accounted for — and destroyed." [Mr. Nunn wasn’t entirely accurate.]

The timing of all of this is just incredible to me as I hadn’t given much thought to “emblemgate” since I read that letter to the editor. I couldn’t imagine seeing one of these much less actually owning one. I’m not sure but it just could be one of the rarest of Honda/Acura NSX artifacts. I found out later that some of the Honda executives have emblems that were pried off the cars-- and one of those sold to another NSX owner but it has damage from its removal.



CRX Si Reunion Story - Part 2

In this post, longtime friend of King Motorsports Russell Laviolette completes his amazing reunion story. Continued from Part 1. Thanks Russell!

==

Fast forward to 2015. I’ve since sold the Civic Hatchback and purchased a 2000 Acura Integra LS. It’s a fantastic car. But the problem is it isn’t “my” car. At least not my *first* car. It’s not *my* blood, sweat, and tears that linger on its chassis, though I’ve spilled my fair share.

About two years ago, I began the search to find my first car. I’ve heard stories before of guys doing the same, but my hopes weren’t high for this one. CRXs aren’t treated as well in their old age as Barracudas and Camaros are. Searching Craigslist, Autotrader, and forums every night for weeks came to no avail. This year I began to intensify the search and enlisted the help of two communities on Facebook - CRX Community and CRX Owners Group. I knew from a quick VIN search on the state DMV that the car was still in the state and had been recently registered. This gave me tremendous hope the car was still drivable and potentially in an acceptable condition. Many of the guys in the aforementioned groups were tremendously helpful. Many went right to work for me and started looking in their hometowns, local Craigslists, and other Facebook groups.

One gentleman went above and beyond. He offered to run a more thorough VIN check on the car using a paid service (CarFax, etc.), and we identified that the car was about two and a half hours from my home. Coincidentally, the car was located in the very same city as the gentleman who offered to check the VIN. This was surreal at this point and I was optimistic. But what now? It felt like a dead end. He was motivated to help me find the car and even joked about driving around the city until he found it. It was a bit agonizing at this point. I knew what city the car was in, however, I obviously couldn’t just drive down and stalk the town for a little black CRX.

Yes.

Black.

At some point one of the owners decided to paint the car. This saddened me. I knew this as it was identified when the car was last registered. This only complicated things further. Yellow CRXs are rare and easy to spot. Black CRXs are not. For several weeks users on these groups would tag me in For Sale threads, send me Craigslist links, or message me pictures of CRXs all over the South Eastern United States - but all for naught.

Then, a promising lead.

A member of one of the CRX groups tagged me in a listing for a CRX that was for sale in a South Florida Classifieds group. I messaged the seller immediately and heard back from him pretty quickly. We spoke a little about the car, and I asked if he could provide the VIN number. He says he’ll do so as soon as possible, and we continue to talk about the car. Pictures show the sad state this particular CRX is in. It’s been painted black, but it seems as if even the rain is causing the low quality coating to wash away. He tells me he’ll have the VIN shortly, and I wait in eager anticipation. I ask specifically for the four numbers at the end of the VIN as I know that these represent the chassis number that rolled off the assembly line, and no two cars will share this four number sequence. We continue to chat about the car. He tells me “all” the issues the car currently has (I’ll get back to this), but to me it doesn’t really matter.

Motor’s blown. *Don’t care.*

Sunroof panel’s missing. *Probably rusted anyways.*

Interior is trashed. *I plan to replace it.*

The text arrives containing a picture of the VIN.

“5137” are the last four digits.





My heart palpitates. This is my car. My very first car. It’s been almost ten years since I gave it away. We continue to talk further, but I keep my cards close and don’t reveal what’s really going on so as to not be taken advantage of. He starts to note that he has local buyers who are offering a $100 more, and he wants to sell to them. I have to lay it all on the table now. I tell him the history of the car and my relationship with it. Frankly, he doesn’t care. He wants the money. We agree on a price, but I’m concerned any minute he’ll sell to local buyer. I make an appointment to pick the car up a couple days later and hope he doesn’t sell it from under me. A great friend has offered his truck and trailer and says the night planned won’t work for him, and he wants to do it sooner. At first it’s one night sooner than planned. We then realize that very night is the best for both of us and I excitedly acquiesce. The plan is in place. I’ll head to his shop after work and we’ll make the two and a half hour drive to south Florida to recover an old lost friend. We set out, and I’m just as giddy as the first time I made the journey to pick up this black and yellow bombshell.

A lot has changed since this car left my possession. My then girlfriend and I have split. I found a wonderful new woman, married her, and finished college. Started my career and had two beautiful little girls (one just last week as I write this). This car was a link to the past that I remember with fondness. The trip takes us longer than expected, and we make a stop at Publix supermarket for a very late dinner. Part of the fun of this trip was talking about cars - about the future of this particular car and all my plans and aspirations. We arrive a few minutes later and it’s in worse shape than I expected. It will require an enormous amount of work, but I knew that and that’s okay.

At this point in my life I am in a better position to do all the things I want to that I couldn’t when I was 17. High quality Japanese wheels (likely Mugen). As many new old stock OE parts as possible. Thorough bodywork and paint. Anything necessary.

As I mentioned before there were some things he didn’t disclose. The pictures showed a motor, but this isn’t the motor that would come with the car. The original block had received a VTEC head at some point and would eventually give up the ghost when a rod decided to exit through the side. He mentioned something about a “test pass” causing this. I estimate the original block had close to 400,000 miles on it at this point. It will make a nice coffee table. The front bumper was off the car so I could inspect the “frame.” The damaged I caused when I wrecked it many years prior was still evident. When I removed the rear bumper after returning home, I found the car was involved in a rear end collision at some point. This was quite disappointing. They attempted to repair the damaged metal with fiberglass. It was horrendous.



Nevertheless, when I began looking for this car I knew I would require the help of a fantastic community. This will be true of the restoration as well. This sport compact automotive scene often gets a bad name in this regard, but I have encountered numerous people who have gone out of their way to help me make this happen. Sure, I’ve encountered many who weren’t willing to help, but I press on. Those who have helped have certainly outweighed those who laughed at my efforts.

The plans are for a full OEM restoration with some exceptions. Mugen products will play a large part in the restoration of this car. But at the same time, I’ve begun to feel a bit nostalgic about many of the parts I’m considering replacing. The more parts I replace with “OEM new” the less it becomes “my” car. I’ve started to feel the desire to just restore some of the original parts. I know that requires more time and effort, but that just seems so much more appealing to me.

Despite it all, stay tuned for updates, and if you’re able to help in the acquisition of parts, especially new old stock OEM parts, please don’t hesitate to connect with me on Facebook. Additionally you can follow my build thread (that has been slow as of late) over on NWP4LIFE (http://forums.nwp4life.com/zerothread?id=49357).

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and many thanks to King Motorsports for their continued support in this endeavor. Thanks are also due to Yoel Rodriguez, Brandon Katrein, Brian Cain, Kyle B., Ryan at Auto Fair Honda, Jose Chacon, Jason Haradon, Scott Zellner, Ronald Wu, and many others. Thank you all!









CRX Si Reunion Story - Part 1

Longtime friend of King Motorsports Russell Laviolette gives us a peek into the special slot in his brain's memory bank reserved for his first car. We'll glimpse inspiration, ambition, a bit of charity, and a community-fueled reunion. This is PART 1 of his story. Thanks Russell!

==

An abundance of stories have been written about the importance of a first car. The sense of independence and adventure personified by these masses of metal is well documented. But what does it look when a car comes full circle and is reunited with a past owner - an owner who first experienced those emotions in this very car?

I, like many, was baptized into the Sport Compact industry during the late 90s. Blossoming from the grassroots movement of the mid 90s, it would reach global status when the blockbuster franchise "The Fast and the Furious" began in 2001. Despite the fact that I was excited by the film, it didn’t quite capture the vision that initially enthralled me.

That vision was represented by the enthusiasts of Southern California. Avoiding fiberglass body enhancements, underbody neon lighting, and a litany of monitors in obscure locations, these gentleman (and of course women) were doing it “right.” Many of them were importing parts from the motherland (Japan) and tempting others with parts the Red, White, and Blue never received. There was one particular car that caught my attention among many great ones: Erik of FF Squad and his gold CRX. The car featured many JDM parts (Japanese Domestic Market) including a CRX SiR front end, RHD conversion, Japanese spec glass roof, and Mugen MR-5 wheels. Ironically, this car is now just minutes from me, thousands of miles away from California. I knew I wanted a CRX and the hunt began.

I was working a miserable job at a local movie theater at the time and knew my only chances for a car lay squarely on my shoulders. Eventually, I would save a decent amount of money but didn’t know if it would be enough. My brother-in-law called me out of the blue and told me he found what I was looking for - a CRX Si - and, best of all, yellow. I traveled as soon as possible to see the car and immediately loved it. It was the first year of the iconic second generation and again, it was yellow! I knew nothing of the Y49 curse fortunately. Some days later I would return with my stepfather to retrieve the car and tow it to its new home. It needed virtually nothing to run save a driver’s side CV axle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy to replace as it should have been. Four broken sockets (including Snap-on) and a breaker bar in excess of three feet long, and the 32mm nut still wasn’t moving. Eventually, we would melt the bolt with an oxyacetylene torch. Desperate times. Desperate measures.



It would take a bit longer to save the money necessary to insure the car and take care of other legal details, but it was now roadworthy. I still remember driving the car forwards and backwards in my yard in an attempt to learn to drive the manual transmission well. After several years of driving the car, I began to tire of it. The pernicious curse struck sometime in 2005. After purchasing an imported JDM engine for the car (DOHC ZC) and investing quite a bit of money into improving the power of it, I was involved in a rear-end collision. It was my fault, and the CRX was a mess. Hood wrinkled like aluminum foil. Life blood dripping from the undercarriage. Despite it, the car fought on. I tethered the hood closed and drove the car home, coolant leaking into the Florida aquifer. The car would run for quite a bit longer, but I lost the vision. I sold many of the parts acquired and began thinking about another car. An opportunity presented itself to purchase a 1995 Honda Civic Hatchback from the original owner, and I wasn’t going to hesitate. I brought what I could to the owner that night and picked the car up the next day.

The CRX was now second fiddle. I would eventually give it to a woman I worked with who was walking to work each day. She was in her fifties, and the Florida heat is unforgiving even in the winter. She would eventually trade the CRX for a minivan much to my chagrin. I had always harbored hopes of reacquiring the car from her in the future, but now that possibility dissipated. Or so I thought.

** to be continued in PART 2 **

==

The CRX (Erik of FF Squad) that originally inspired Russell:





Refinishing My Mugen B16A Header

The following post comes to us courtesy of Mugen aficionado Jerimiah Styles! In this post he shares his experience cleaning up his new-to-him Mugen header. Many thanks to him for another contribution of his time and insight!

== ==



I recently picked up a pre-owned Mugen B16A 4-2-1 header from a buddy of mine. He'd offered this header to me many times, but I had until recently declined, as the header needed a little bit of work (cleaning and welding a crack on the bracket). I had always been intimidated to attempt such a project until I received this header. I did a bit of research and decided I was going to sand it up and attempt to polish it. However, I didn't want a high polished "chrome" look, I opted for the original polished raw metal route, the way this beauty came from Mugen.

Here's how it looked when I first picked it up.



One of my good friends is a woodworker and suggested that I try synthetic sand paper. It lasts much longer than conventional sand paper and is easier to use. Unfortunately the finest grit I could find it was 350, but this is needed to really get all of the oxidization off. As you can see just seconds into wet sanding and I was already seeing results. (below)



For this project I wet sanded the entire time. Here is with the 350 grit. Make sure the residue (seen pictured) is constantly wiped down with a rag and kept clean. This not only allows you to see your results, and where you need to sand, but also assures that you aren't damaging the header by getting any pieces of dirt in there that could potentially scratch the surface of the header. (below)



I used a small spray bottle to keep the sand paper wet, and also to keep the header clean throughout the process. This is about halfway through. You can take each step as far as you would like per your own personal preference. (below)



Next I switched to 1500 fine grit, again repeating the same process as above getting progressively finer with 2000, grit, and then 3000. This was as far as I wanted to take it. Again if you'd like a higher polished header go for it, and keep on sanding. After you're happy with the luster that you have achieved, you can take a metal polishing compound and add as much gleam as you'd like. (below)



Here is after sanding. Again repeating the steps and taking each as far as you'd like, 350 fine grit, 1500, 2000, 3000 Before doing any kind of polishing.(below)



A critical step in making sure that your header turns out beautiful is to wipe it down with 99% rubbing alcohol: after polishing, after installation, and before starting your engine. This will remove any remaining polishing materials and oil from the fingers of whom ever installed it. As the header ages it takes on a gorgeous golden hue that adds a touch of Mugen class to any engine bay.



Fakespotting: Mugen Hi-Pressure Radiator Cap 19045-XGER-0000-B2

The following post comes to us courtesy of Mugen aficionado Jerimiah Styles! Many thanks to him for another contribution of his time and insight!

In this post Jerimiah covers some of the differences he's observed with the Mugen Hi-Pressure Radiator Cap. Note that there are two genuine versions of this cap:


19045-XGER-0000:
Civic (1992-1995)
Civic (1996-2000)
Civic (2001-2005)
Civic (2006-2007)
Del Sol (1993-1997)
RSX Type-S (02-04)
S2000 (2000-2003)
S2000 (2004-2008)
TSX (2004-2007)
Integra (1994-2001)
Fit (2007)
RSX Base (02-06)
RSX Type-S (05-06)

19045-XGER-0000-B2:
Civic (1988-1991)
CRX (1988-1991)
Integra (1990-1993)
Prelude (1992-1996)
Prelude (1997-2001)
(this version displays "B2" on the decal and fits Koyo radiators)


This is the way the part is described in our King Motorsports / Mugen 1999 Mugen Pricelist for Integra (
19045-XGER-0000):

This radiator cap is a high-pressure type that increases the pressure inside the radiator, thus raising the coolant boiling point and increasing the cooling efficiency. The open valve pressure is 1.3 kg/cm2 compared to the normal 1.1 kg/cm2. It demonstrates its power under high-load situations such as circuit driving.

== ==

The genuine Mugen cap comes in the traditional Mugen window box with Mugen stripes across the top, and high quality foam to protect the product. Printed Japanese instructions are included.

Genuine Mugen Radiator Cap Package Front

The back of the genuine part has the typical characteristics of all genuine Mugen parts, kanji in the top left corner and sticker with part number and M-Tec information.

Genuine Mugen Radiator Cap Package Front

In this below image, this fake window box is entirely different from its genuine counterpart. These knock off companies are always evolving and continually getting better at their packaging, getting closer and closer to the authentic Mugen boxes. Always look at the part itself and its distinguishing signs to discern if the part you are buying is indeed real.

Mugen Radiator Cap Package Comparison

Here is a close up of the genuine cap. The authentic Mugen cap is high quality metal, nicely polished, but not a chrome finish. There are no indentations or stampings on this cap. The decal has a metallic foil quality with golden letters in the red area along with "NEVER OPEN WHEN HOT" printed in white, and a brushed metal look to the script in the black portion.



Now here are a sample of the many fakes that are out there. Fonts, font colors, printing quality, decal size, decal placement, and stamping on the metal are all indicators of a fake. We recently discovered a company on eBay selling just the decal!

Mugen Hi-Pressure Radiator Cap Genuine vs Fake Comparison

Here are a few pictures of the genuine cap's bottom and the included instruction sheet:







Why does it matter?

The Mugen Hi-Pressure Radiator Cap is more than just engine dress-up. It's a functioning part that increases your open valve pressure to a specific 1.3 kg/cm2 for performance reasons. Those that use fakes are not only missing out on performance benefits, but have no idea if the cap has even been manufactured to meet OEM standards. The open valve pressure can be too high, too low, or inconsistent. Fakes can come apart due to bad seals and assembly, causing nasty spills and other headaches.

== ==

Visit the King Motorsports store for genuine Mugen hi-pressure radiator caps!

http://www.kingmotorsports.com/p-38-mugen-radiator-cap.aspx


Fakespotting: Mugen "Formula" Shift Knob 54102-XG4-K0S0

The following post comes to us courtesy of Mugen aficionado Jerimiah Styles! Many thanks to him for another contribution of his time and insight!

In this post Jerimiah covers some of the differences he's observed with the Mugen "Formula" Shift Knob:

54102-XG4-K0S0-BU/BL/G/S/R

This is the way the shift knob is described in our King Motorsports / Mugen 1999 Mugen Pricelist for Integra:

"Formula Quality" is the essence of Mugen's approach to production, since we also manufacture components for formula engines. This machined shift knob exemplifies our high manufacturing precision. Each product is machined individually from aluminum, and then given an alumite hard-coat finish before the Mugen logo is imprinted by laser. This is a sports-type shift knob for the discerning eye. Available in five colors: blue, black, gold, silver, and red. Supplied with a shift pattern plate. For five-speed manual transmission only.

== ==

The Mugen formula shift knob (discontinued) is a commonly replicated item that comes up often on Mugen part searches. While this knob was made in five colors by Mugen, I am going to stick to the black knob for this blog.



Comparing the window box package, they are basically identical from the front. One important thing to look for is the inclusion of the round shift guide badge. Fakes will not include this badge.

Mugen Formula Shift Knob Genuine vs Replica

 

The back of the packaging shows more tell tale signs. While the top left corners appear identical, the bottoms are different. The Mugen package has a sticker with printed description and the fake does not. The fake is also missing the Mugen part number.

 

Comparing the knobs themselves, the first thing to look for is the shape at the top. The Mugen is smooth and rounded. The fake is usually flat and often shows rings from poor machine work. The hard-anodizing of the genuine Mugen part is stunning and shows a depth that the painted surface on the fake can not compare to. A closer look at the Mugen logo/kanji shows that the fake uses a thinner font for the MUGEN logotype.  

Mugen Formula Shift Knob Genuine vs Replica

 

The genuine shift knob's logo/kanji come in both a raw-metal engraved version ("gen 1") and in white ("gen 2"). Below is an image of two genuine shift knobs. You can see the silver knob has a raw-metal logo/kanji.

 

Mugen Formula Shift Knobs

 

In the image below you can see how the genuine knob is domed/rounded on top, while the fake has a flat spot. Flat spot = fake.

 

One more thing to look for is the vertical placement of the Mugen logo/kanji. On the genuine knob, it sits higher than half way on that section of the knob. On the fake, the logo/kanji is vertically centered within that section.

Mugen Formula Shift Knob Genuine vs Replica

Here are instructions that are included with the genuine shift knob. Fakes do not include instructions:

Mugen Formula Shift Knob Instructions

Why does it matter?

Because of the slipshod manufacturing on the fakes, they are known to actually cut driver's fingers. Needless to say that's a nasty surprise. The authentic knob is far better quality that will pass the test of time and add a touch of class to any enthusiast's build. While the hard-anodized finish on the genuine knobs can unfortunately fade over time, it is another way to determine authenticity when buying a used part. The painted finish on the fake knob very easily scars, resulting in an unsightly eyesore in your interior.

Minor update: As you might expect, even fakes have their exceptions. Vivian R. shared this fake knob and package that even includes knock off shift badge and instructions!

Fake Mugen shift knob package

== ==

Visit the King Motorsports store for genuine Mugen shift knobs!

http://www.kingmotorsports.com/advsearch.aspx?ctl00%24HeaderControl%24SearchBox%24searchterm=&IsSubmit=true&SearchTerm=mugen+shift+knob&SubmitSearch=Search