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.

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"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. 

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!

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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!

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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!

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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 **

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





The S600: Honda's Ingenious Roadster

The following article comes to us via King customer Andy Thompson - thanks Andy for this deep dive into a Honda classic!

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Honda S600 Coupe

Honda has historically produced some of the most intriguing small sporty cars: the CR-X, Beat, and City Turbo to name a few. I’d like to take a step back and look at the car that started the trend, the Honda S600. I have grown a great appreciation for this car and will focus on some of the closer details that make this car so special.

Honda S600 Trifold Brochure

In a time where British and Italian companies such as MG, Triumph and Fiat were the primary producers of roadsters, Honda dared to enter the competition with almost no history in automotive design besides the Honda T360. Although the first actual car produced by Honda was the S360 -- unveiled on June 5th, 1962 -- it was never actually put into production due to lack of power. The S500 followed very shortly after in 1963 as a full production model. Although these preceded the S600, I will focus specifically on the S600 -- produced between 1964 and 1966 -- as it was the first majorly successful automobile by Honda.

Chassis

Honda S600 Chassis Cutaway

Roadsters of the 1960s were completely different vehicles than what we know of as a car today. The S600 consisted of a lightweight steel unibody with almost no safety features. Vehicles of this time hardly ever used plastic body panels. This roadster’s delicate chrome bumpers wrapped tightly around the chassis. The slightly arched rear quarter panels offered just enough contour, without disrupting a functional shape. This design style was found on other roadsters of the time and is quite pronounced in the popular Triumph Spitfire.

The S600 was not designed to be the fastest car of the time, but instead to offer the joy of driving in what has been called a motorcycle in car form. The convertible top offered the option to enjoy the world around the driver. The small body was similar to other roadsters of the time, such as the MG Midget. This popular style pushed the focus of automotive travel towards driving and experiencing the car, rather than just getting to a destination.

The S600 was offered as a traditional roadster as well as a “coupe” in standard and SM trim levels. Having various body styling and trim options is somewhat expected in today’s age -- but in the 60s, it was quite rare!

The concept of converting a performance-oriented roadster into a hard top fast back variant gave birth to a styling design that can today be referred to as a shooting brake. Shooting brakes are an uncommon but intriguing body style, as they add a sort of unbalanced complexity to the rear region of an otherwise streamline styled roadster. With this they bring a sort of exotic shape which offers better aerodynamics and generally allows the manufacture to extrude the quarter panels out far past the rear quarter windows.

Shooting brake cars never took the spotlight as only 1,800 S600 coupes were produced as compared to 11,284 convertibles. Similar sales trends can be seen between the Triumph Spitfire and its coupe counterpart the GT6. Honda didn’t pay any less attention to the coupe, as it offered the “SM” trim line to both body styles.

Honda S600 Coupe

Engine

Honda engines are known for their efficiency through such small displacement. The S600’s 606cc engine was no exception. The engine consisted of a DOHC, all aluminum, water-cooled, quad Keihin carb, inline four producing 57 hp. Almost 100 HP per liter! This sounds quite familiar to what Honda has become known to produce, and was quite an accomplishment for 1964 as other competing cars were using much larger displacement engines such as the 1.8 liter found in the MG B and the 2.1 liter engine found in the Triumph TR4.

It goes without saying that for Honda to produce enough horsepower out of an engine one-third the size of its competition, it had to rev. In this case, the magic number was 8500 rpm. Which continued to a redline of 9500 rpm.

In order to keep the hood low, the engine was designed to sit in the bay at an extreme slant. I have included a diagram of the similar S800 engine to show how pronounced this slant is. This slant is similar to that of a four cylinder motorcycle.

Honda S800 Engine Diagram

Drivetrain

The drivetrain may very well be my favorite part of this little car. Like other roadsters of the time, the S600 consisted of a front engine, rear wheel drive platform equipped with a four-speed transmission. In order to achieve power to the wheels out of such a small engine, they chose to use a 6.42:1 final drive -- extremely short gearing. Short enough to cause complaints of seeing 7000 rpm cruising at 70 mph on the freeway and causing quite a bit of noise. Keep in mind this car was originally designed for the tight city streets of Japan.

In the 60s, many automotive manufactures were tinkering with ways to offer independent rear suspension in their performance vehicles instead of a traditional solid rear axle. At the time, the constant velocity joints found in modern axles were very uncommon.

Honda had a solution. Instead of placing the rear transfer case in parallel with the rear wheels. They set it forward in line with the hinge point of the rear trailing arms. The driveshaft would turn into the transfer case and two straight shafts exited the case on either side. A chain drive system connected the exit shafts to the rear wheels. Thus allowing for a fully independent suspension with no constant velocity joints. This system is very similar to how a motorcycle transfers power to the rear wheel, but applied to a car. I have always thought this to be an amazing adaption of design and quite ingenious for the time. This mechanical genius makes the S chassis unique to the rest.

Honda S600 Drivetrain

Complimenting the fully independent suspension was a very modern spring-on-strut shock absorber system. The rear shock were mounted at a drastic angle, moving the suspension lower and yielding more trunk space.

Honda S600 Suspension

The S600 is a beautiful little machine that really shows that exotic ideas can be incorporated into an intriguing package. Although it is said that Honda never turned a profit off their early sports cars, they set a foundation of what is expected out of a small, sporty Japanese sports car: Light weight, proper handling, and a flexible high revving engine. The original S Chassis truly is a machine of another time.

Honda S600 S500 Ad

Mugen Official Company Profile Sheet Circa Early 1980s

Right-click to see this sheet at full size!

 

The text:

MUGEN POWER
HONDA POWER SPECIALIST

President:
Hirotoshi Honda
Son of Dr. Soichiro Honda well known. Industrial designer and racing car builder.

Chief design & mechanic:
Masao Kimura
Formerly with Honda racing service center Co., Ltd. Builder of over 15 different racing cars & racing motorcycles. Winner of a total of over 50 races.

Capital stock ¥ 80,000,000
Established March 1973
Land area 6,600m²
Plant space 2,700m²
No. employee 80

We specialize primarily in the design, manufacture, testing and sales of motor sports parts and special racing machine (motorcycle and automobile, both 2cycle and 4cycle) for the Honda manufactured products, and participation in the various races with our products.


Mugen products manufactured by highly skilled personnel with the most up-to-date equipment and developed from extensive research, long experience and rigid testing under many years of gruelling races are used widely by both professionals and general enthusiasts throughout the world.


Local Motion: Andy Thompson’s CR-X SiR



We don’t have to tell you there are passionate Honda owners all over the world. We’ve helped countless enthusiasts achieve their goals, whether it’s a fully-built race car or a daily driver that performs and looks great on the street. One of these enthusiasts is Andy Thompson – and he lives right here in Wisconsin. He’s local to our facility in New Berlin, Wisconsin and is close enough to stop by from time to time. We were lucky enough to see his amazingly clean CR-X SiR at our 2014 Dyno Day event.





His CR-X is a 100% legally imported JDM RHD beauty that took over 3 months to locate and import in 2008. Because Andy imported it, he’s the first and only Stateside owner. He took it from fairly rough shape and has built up an “OEM perfection” build that stays true to the period and is fueled by Andy’s background in both graphic design and mechanical engineering. If you ask us, that’s a potent education for crafting a clean ride. Good taste plus the skills to achieve your vision? That’s a win-win combo.



The love he’s put into his old school Honda definitely deserves a special showcase, so we caught up with Andy to get the 411 on his build. Andy says that compliments can be hard to come by in the import scene, but I think you’ll agree his CR-X deserves them.

Why a CR-X?

Andy: I feel that many people forget to realize the fact that vintage Japanese cars can hold as much history as any other car. It’s true that many older Japanese cars are built like cheap utilities -- including the Honda CR-X -- but that doesn’t make them any less important than any other car in the scope of automotive history. Many of us grew up with affordable tuner cars, including myself, buying my first CR-X at 13 and owning five EFs before I even bothered to try a different car (an S2000), but unlike many, I can’t just forget and leave the EF chassis behind.

At 17 I sold off almost everything I owned in order to seize the opportunity to bring this CR-X into the US -- fully legal and VIN matched. The car was sold as an extremely dirty rolling shell, with engine shipped separate, but it was all there. Rust free, and most importantly able to be registered just before the laws changed.

Having owned a CR-X since 13, I had grown an undivided love towards the weird little cars, and knew instantly that this car had the potential I was looking for.









Classy choices for a teenager Andy! You were raised right! Tell us about your CR-X.

Andy: The exact model is a 1990 EF8 SiR Glasstop in Torino Red Pearl. For a little background info, SiRs were only made in Steel roof and Glasstop models. The Glasstop was a rare dealer option, in which was only sold in black and red. The red models were extremely rare as compared to the black, in which I only know of one that resides in the US at this time.





Since 2008, I have been slowly working at this car to build an example of one of the cleanest CR-X projects while paying respect to what Honda intended when their engineers designed this lovable little machine. I continually strive for OEM perfection, and aftermarket modifications that complement the vehicle in a vintage grip car sort of manner.



Every year I try to do something interesting to the car. This past spring, I completed an EK9 32 mm 5-lug conversion with EK9 brakes in order to fit a set of extremely rare DP Motorsport Pacific wheels I picked up brand new in box from 1987. Because I have a BS in Graphic Design, visual and complementary aesthetics are very important to me; these era-specific turbine wheels were perfect for the car.





Wait so you found classic wheels that are even older than your car? And they were brand new?

Andy: Yes-- I purchased the wheels earlier this year from a guy in Ohio. The wheels were manufactured in 1987 and were still brand new, unused in their original boxes. 2 of the 4 were still sealed in their original bags never opened. So the wheels had sat for 27 years before I got a hold of them.



Holy cow that is awesome. What were the next mods?

Andy: The 5-lug swap project became quite an ordeal once I got into it, including sandblasting and powdercoating most of the suspension and brakes -- and acquiring a lot of new hardware, ball joints, bearings, etc. I met Scott at King Motorsports earlier this year and knew he was the guy to help me tie up all of the loose ends on my laundry list of parts to make the conversion happen.





What does the future hold for you and your CR-X?

Andy: Currently I am very happy with how the car sits. If I were to list future plans for the car, the top of the list would include new old stock front and rear bumpers, trim, and side moldings; OEM fog lights; and a working bumper pole (I have one, it’s just junk). I am also always on the look for old rare wheels, and would love to find a set of SSR Air Stage or Auswuch for it.

I’m happy with the stock B16 engine, it runs perfect and all accessories work, including the AC, thank god. Perhaps unrealistically, I have always considered a Honda N22 swap (I’m a pretty big diesel fan). I think a very interesting project could come about from the swap.

I’m very thankful that King Motorsports is able to help keep these “golden era” Hondas on the road. Valuable resources like that don’t come around often.

Enjoy my CR-X and remember to keep the classics alive!



Exterior
Complete matching VIN Real EF8
Torino Red Pearl Color
JDM SiR Cyber Top (glass roof, rare option)
JDM SiR Wing
JDM SiR front lip
JDM SiR Power folding mirrors
JDM SiR Amber glass
JDM Window visors

Interior
JDM NSX Seats
JDM SiR Back seats
JDM ATC Sprint Steering wheel (Mugen Horn Button)
JDM Mitsubishi Mini Disk Player/CD Player
HKS Shift knob
Cartiva Bamboo Floor Mats

Engine
Original matched B16A
HKS Sport Exhaust

JDM Integra Type R Valve Cover
JDM Integra Type R Oil Cap

Suspension
Skunk 2 Pro C Coilovers
Function 7 Lower Control Arms (Spherical Bearings)
ASR Subframe Brace
Spoon lower tie bar
Skunk 2 Pro Series adjustable control arms front
Skunk 2 Pro Series adjustable control arms rear
EK9/ITR 5 lug Front Spindles (Machined for SiR/DA Wheel Bearing)
EK9/ITR 5 Lug Rear Spindles
Powdercoated DA Front Knuckles
Powdercoated EK9 Rear hubs

Brakes
Powdercoated EK9 Front Calipers
Powdercoated EK9 Rear Calipers
OEM EK9 Brake Rotors
Techna Fit Braided Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Project Mu NS 400 Brake Pads

Wheels
15 X 6.5 +18 1987 DP Motorsport Pacific Wheels
185/55 R15 Yokohama S Drive Tires
Mugen Lug Nuts
Volk Rays Valve Stems










See more pics on Andy’s Flickr account:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/108200011@N02/sets/72157646023680793/

Find parts for your CR-X on King's online store:
http://kingmotorsports.com/s-86-crx.aspx

1989 Civic Si USDM Restoration: Travis Weaver's EF Time Machine



We always enjoy sharing the passion that goes into our customer builds. A typical product of that passion? Countless hours of wrenching. But the lesser-celebrated outpouring of skill, perserverance and resourcefulness? That comes in the form of the hunt for parts. In the case of Travis Weaver of the Pacific Northwest, a hunt for 20-year-old OEM and Mugen parts took him around the USA, then internationally. He became so good at it, he even made a living at it for a time.

Travis recently shared a pic of his Mugen EF exhaust - which he said took him nine years to find. Nine years! That got our attention, and we contacted him for his story.


***

My older brother first got me into Honda's back in the late 1990's when he purchased a teal colored 1992 Civic VX. He ended up swapping in a JDM B16A engine with a GSR tranny back around late ‘98. We had a lot of fun at the local street races in our early teenage years. I eventually bought my first Civic as well in 1999. It was a 1990 Civic STD 4 speed. Back in the earlier days they were largely frowned upon due to their square, boxy look.

I eventually sold my first car and purchased a 1990 Civic Si in 2002. I fell in love with that car. From when I first purchased the car, I wanted to do a complete JDM EF9 conversion on it after seeing pictures of one in California. In the earlier days if you wanted to find parts you were limited to your local importer (which typically only sold engines), eBay, or do what I did and contact a wrecker overseas and import parts yourself. I found a company in Malaysia back in 2003 with a complete EF9 front clip. With a very risky bet, I sealed the deal and five long months later had my first JDM clip complete with B16A and EF9 conversion. I ended up painting the entire car Milano Red and was the first local person to do a JDM EF back in 2003.

I eventually landed a job working for the largest indoor Honda/Acura Auto wrecker/JDM engine importer in 2005. Soon after I became their Inventory Manager and JDM parts specialist -- which was a great experience but after a few years I got tired of killing Hondas and became more focused on preserving and restoring them.

A few years later -- feeling the pressure of the economy and the unsure feeling of my own personal future -- I decided to sell my 1990 Si. It ended up going to a good home to a guy in East Coast Canada. I must say it was the biggest mistake that I made. I ended up driving a Mitsubishi 3000GT for a few months to focus on school but I got the itch again. I had so many regrets and so many things that I dreamed about doing to my old Si that I decided to start from scratch and do a full 1989 Civic Si USDM restoration. That way I can do things right the first time and go in a slightly different direction so it would not be like history repeating itself. Now I specifically chose the 1989 Civic Si because in the USA it was a one-year-only car, much like the 1997 Integra Type-R. I began to put out ads looking specifically for an ‘89 only.

Eventually I found a good clean shell with perfect seats, straight body and in overall great shape. The only problem is the engine was bad. I rented a trailer and made the three hour drive in the snow to buy the car. Upon arriving the owner informed me it still ran but made a horrible noise from the timing belt area. I towed it back and had my mechanic Thomas Strom diagnose the problem. Turned out to be a bad water pump. With a new factory pump and timing belt, mixed with a valve adjustment, I gave this 1989 Civic Si a new chance at life with 187k miles on her. I sold my 3000GT and with further inspiration from Thomas I decided to make a goal, take my time and stick to it.

My goal was to do a complete factory restoration on the car. We began tracking down rare USA accessories along with new old stock (NOS) parts from Honda. Almost all of the parts were either discontinued or no longer available. I then started contacting specific dealers to see if they had old inventory that was never reentered into the system when Honda changed its part numbers from HondaCode to what we have today. After I exhausted all of my resources here in the States, I then turned to Google Translators. I began contacting dealers all over the world. I managed to source new rare parts from Malaysia, Germany, UK, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, and even Canada – despite the challenge of different part numbers and inventory systems with many of them.

I used to have a Mugen addiction with my original 1990 Civic Si but finding parts for an EF were very hard and very expensive. I was able to source a real EF9 Mugen header along with some Mugen RNR's and a set of MR5 Final Versions. The one item I could not find was a Mugen EF exhaust. I managed to find two different ones that popped up for sale between 2006-2008 but was outbid both times on Yahoo Auctions. With my current restoration I told myself that I have to be true to both the year and the USDM theme that I am going for. It becomes a slippery slope once you diverge from your intended goal. All was fine until my good friend Moe from EFparts presented me with a USDM brochure from 1988 which showed the Mugen CF-48's as a factory option for the fourth gen. I knew that the pre 87's were offered with some Mugen goodies but this little piece of Honda literature gave me a valid excuse to go MUGEN WHORE again while still maintaining the factory look.

I managed to secure a set of crusty 14" CF-48's with aero discs and preceded to restore them. I have been keeping in touch with a few owners of the Mugen EF exhausts over the years in the event that they may want to part ways with it. Eventually I got a taker and finally brought home my current exhaust. Soon after I decided to give Scott Zellner a call at King Motorsports to discuss the Mugen spring rates offered with the sports suspension. After chatting with him for almost an hour he informed me he had two new sets of the old Mugen suspension still in stock. I could not believe that after all these years they were still around. I quickly purchased both new sets.

I could not be happier with how everything turned out for this build. I now have a true time machine that to me represents what Honda of North America was all about.

You can also follow the car's progress on Facebook. I created a page specifically for it here:
https://www.facebook.com/civic.si.944?tsid=0.7764118500053883&source=typeahead



***

Here are pictures Travis shared with us from his build! Thanks Travis, we can't wait to see what you do with it next!




































Mugen Sports Collection: Apparel

Here are Mugen catalog pages for the MUGEN SPORTS COLLECTION apparel circa-- well, do we really need to tell you? Shiny fabrics, disco-inspired logo variations...it's the 80's! These classic Mugen wares hit the streets in 1986-87.

Right-click a catalog page to see a larger version.













+10 STYLE POINTS if you show up to our next Dyno Day wearing this sleeveless tee!



http://www.kingmotorsports.com/c-150-jackets-sweatshirts-outerwear.aspx

http://www.kingmotorsports.com/c-149-hats.aspx