In 1973, the first racing project of the newly formed Mugen Co. Ltd. was the MF-318. Based on the Civic EB1 Civic 1200 engine features dry sump lubrication and Keihin 35mm CV carbs to make 135 ps at 8000 rpm. It was very successful race engine in both formula car and sedan racing. The team at Mugen completely remade or modified every aspect of this engine. Boring the engine to 1300cc, the Mugen MF-318 was victorious in its very first race in the Formula FJ 1300 racing series in Japan. It went on to become the dominant engine in this series for many years to come.
Here is a very rare picture of the Mugen FJ 1200 race car. Pictured here in 1973 at the first Mugen HQ.
Here is a classic from the archives. These humble and concise paragraphs summarize Mugen's origins (and is even written in first-person). The MF-318 was the first true Mugen engine. Designed in 1973 and based on the Civic 1200 block, this engine was extremely successful in both open and closed wheel catagories.
Here is the transcribed text:
In 1973 Hirotoshi Honda decided to start his own race engine manufacturing company with Masao Kimura. This sparked an interest in racing from a few people in Honda's Research & Development group. Working with Hirotoshi and without pay, we formed Mugen. We all had one thought in mind; to be involved in racing and to manufacture the best race car engines. Our first project was an engine based on a Honda 1200cc Civic engine. We either modified or completely remade everything on the engine, including casting the main bearing caps on the oilpan, in order to add stiffness to the engine, which is required for a Formula race car engine.
The engine was bored out to 1300cc and was entered in the Formula FJ 1300 Racing Series. The engine was very successful, the car won its first race. The success also sparked Honda to return to racing and new Mugen and Honda work side-by-side in many racing projects. Mugen has grown and is involved in manufacturing the highest quality racing and performance parts.
Engine Design Specifications:
Name: Mugen MF-318
Type of Engine: In-line 4 OHC 8-Valve
Bore x Stroke: 73 x 76 mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0 : 1
Horsepower: 135 ps/8000rpm
Carburetion: Keihin CR-35mm Carb
Ignition: From Honda Motorcycle