It was time for my annual pilgrimage from Oregon to Wisconsin for the 2013 Dyno Day. I arrived about a day early to help with preparations. This year, Scott had a special project for me: convert the 3 glass showcases in the King showroom into a mini-display of Mugen and King nostalgia items that might be interesting to Dyno Day attendees. "No problem," I thought. How hard could that be?
Turns out it was quite a challenge! This is King Motorsports, and this was Scott. King has worked with Mugen for over 30+ years -- so the amount of items Scott had on hand was overwhelming. The challenge became one of editing -- the hardest decisions were choosing what to leave out!
First up, Scott showed me a stack of 80s and 90s Mugen brochures in his office. Mixed in were original product and vehicle photographs from catalog mockups. I laid out a fraction of the brochures in that first stack, taking it all in:
Honestly I wanted to scan every single page of every brochure and catalog. But my guess is that would have taken about a month for an intern to complete if they worked full time. I was able to snap a few quick pics of a few apparel/accessory pages with items I had never seen before. These pages are from one of the book-thick annual Mugen catalogs:
He had several other drawers full of original Mugen brochures for wheels, brakes, seats, steering wheels, suspension, EG/EK/EF Civics, Integras, S2000, Accord and NSX. Even some product brochures for JDM-only cars. Basically this was the mother load of materials for Mugen brochure enthusiasts.
I found a hand-assembled photo book of the aero parts installed on the prototype Mugen S2000. I had seen a few of these pics before in the Mugen S2000 blog post, but really liked this unique pic demonstrating the strength of Mugen's hood:
As if that wasn't enough, Scott also had a few bins of other treasures in storage to show me. He had shirts, shoes, lanyard, key holder and a necktie from the Mugen Honda F1 Collection.
"Excellent for MEN": Look closely at the necktie to see the black-on-black MUGEN logos.
A super-special addition to the display were these amazing F1 valve covers sent to Scott by Mugen Japan -- these two priceless valve covers were still in the bubble wrap. It was the first time that Scott had opened up these V10 beauties! In the picture below, the upper cover is from the 1997 MF-301HB; beneath is a cover from the 1996 MF-301HA (you can see more of these valve covers and their specs in the "Mugen Cover Art" blog post).
After a few hours, I had the glass showcases cleared out and had started filling them with Mugen and King nostalgia. Originally I thought about a nice, orderly display with items laid out with plenty of breathing room (ala The Smithsonian) -- but quickly realized that would not work. There was just too much good stuff to fit in there. So I took the visual-overload approach!
By day's end the displays were pretty much filled to the brim. Here are the showcases in their final form - ready for the Dyno Day attendees!
Here's a closer look at Showcase #1!
Here's a closer look at Showcase #2!
Check out that newspaper-sized Mugen brochure that says BLOOD OF RACING on it -- it's actually for the NR-10 and NR-10R racing wheels. This promo was a major departure from any print designs Mugen had done up to that point (or since), featuring brooding fashion models posed next to Mugen wheels. The end result was a brochure that was more Abercrombie & Fitch then the Mugen we know today. Inside, the copy is equally inappropriate-- stating that the wheels are great for "street racing". You'll never see a Mugen promo like this one again (we hope)!
These are print elements for King Motorsports very first parts catalog, featuring Mugen parts. The catalog was assembled before the days of Photoshop, Indesign or even QuarkXpress. These were assembled by hand with prints, film, scissors and glue!
Can you spot the Mugen umbrella in this pic below? How about the brochure for the Mugen S2000 prototype?
In the pic below (lower left) is a handmade binder provided by Mugen to its dealers. Within it are photos and specs of their parts lineup with suggested retail prices. No surprise that some of the parts are still selling for the same price (or more) 30 years later. Next to it is a page from a corporate Honda employee magazine describing an event where the Mugen-tuned CRX and race cars were brought out for employees to enjoy!
In the lower right is the Mugen parts brochure for the first-gen Integra 3-door and 5-door!
A major milestone for King Motorsports was when it became Mugen's authorized parts distributor for North America. In the picture below is a letter from Mugen explaining that all future orders within North America should go through King Motorsports. Next to it is King's first flyer announcing their new status. Scott said he remembered going to races and slipping these flyers under the wipers of every Honda he could find!
The cool little 1:43 scale die-cast Civic comes from Scott's personal collection. It sits on an envelope that delivered some of the first Mugen Civic EG parts catalogs to the USA.
Below is a early, redlined draft of King's history that would eventually find its way into King's literature and website. Next to it is one of the "What is MUGEN?" pieces created in the 80s to help introduce the American enthusiasts to Mugen.
Below are correspondence from Mugen Japan from 1990 regarding the limited nature of the fiberglass rear wing kit for Integra and the introduction of 2 new Mugen steering wheels.
More pages from the dealer binder with detailed specifications of available performance and aero parts for Civic, Integra and CRX.
In a stack of old faxes I found this note from Scott to Mugen asking questions about the N-1 suspension. It's clear that the collaboration between the two companies runs quite deep!
And finally, here's a closer look at Showcase #3:
Very cool "What is Mugen" promo literature from the mid 80's plus a Mugen Time Machine watch among other goodies! Can you spot the Mugen folding hand fans? Of all the displays that were assembled, this one actually has the most items that are currently available for mere mortals to purchase. Sadly that awesome mug is not one of them!
This empty container of genuine Mugen performance engine oil is one of my favorite Mugen package designs. Many Dyno Day attendees were drooling over the discontinued black Mugen t-shirt in the lower right of this picture.
Crash lid worn by Bob Endicott for the 2005 SCCA World Challenge (King/Mugen RSX) season and Mugen F1 victory momentos... It's very likely that Dyno Day attendees were the first and last people to ever see these items on display!
I have to give Scott a huge thanks for letting me raid his office and private collections to assemble these displays. We really hoped the Dyno Day folks enjoyed seeing these historic and rare items!
We'll see you at Dyno Day 2014!