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

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:





Mugen Brochure Roundup!

Who doesn't love to admire Mugen's Honda creations from the 80's and 90's? Here are a few of the more obscure brochure covers from Mugen that you may have missed!

Mugen Accord Coupe



Mugen Accord Sedan



Mugen Accord Wagon



Mugen Prelude Spec II (3rd gen), circa 1988



Mugen E-AB Prelude and a rare color shot!



The Mugen CR-X PRO. circa late 1985. This car was equipped with a Mugen roll bar for track demonstrations.



Mugen CR-X PRO.2 from an early 1988 Mugen promo brochure



Mugen Sports Civic Special-circa 1986! Beautiful white CF-48 wheels on red!


Engine build: EV 1.3 HF

In the King shop last week! We finished up an old school EV 1.3 HF build. This engine will soon be installed in a beautifully restored 1985 HF.



The tricky part of an old school engine build like this EV 1.3 HF is a shortage of OEM rebuild parts- they are getting very scare.

 

Because 1st. over bore pistons are no longer available, we commissioned Wiseco to build a forged piston with the exact dimensions of the factory piston with the bore size we needed. We stress relieved and deburred the factory connecting rods and the whole rotating assembly was balanced to our specifications.



The EV 1.3 HF cylinder head ready for final assembly. Valve seats were carefully blended and just a touch bowl work to increase efficiency. Will 50+ mpg be a reality using yestertech?



We also got this info & picture from Yawsport:

"Captured fresh out of the paint booth over 1 year ago, this champagne Honda Civic 1300 Hatchback (affectionately named "Champ") will adorn the fully blueprinted EV1 engine currently being finished up by King Motorsports. It's been a long road to find some of the engine internals needed to complete this detailed build, but it will definitely be worth the wait. Stay tuned for the full write up of this project as well as some custom suspension goodness."



The EV 1.3 HF engine is almost buttoned up and looking terrific!



http://www.kingmotorsports.com/engine_building.aspx

1985: Mugen Rear Spoiler Lineup



Flip back your calendars with us to 1985 for this look at Mugen's rear spoiler lineup for Honda...

The Prelude - painted or unpainted:



  For the Accord and Vigor:



 For the EF Civic hatch:



For the City:



For the 1st gen CR-X (feeling patriotic?):



 Wind tunnel aero testing on a CR-X Pro. No corners are cut when Mugen design & engineer aero pieces!

Mugen CRX Postcard and Wind Tunnel Testing

In 1985 American Honda mailed this postcard to enthusiasts all over the US to help introduce them to Mugen competition parts.

 

Note the spelling of CRX for the US versus CR-X for Japan. How would you like to see these guys coming up behind you in your rear view mirror?




A Mugen CRX prototype in a full scale wind tunnel back in 1984- Validating all aero mods.


 

 

 

See also our pic of wind tunnel testing for the Mugen DC2 Type-R.


1984 Mugen Apparel, Sticker and Emblem Catalog


We recently dug up these wonderful Mugen catalog pages featuring the apparel, stickers and emblems they were offering for sale in 1984.


The red, blue, and navy shirt colors remind us of shirts we might have had in high school. You can see that Mugen's apparel designers were not afraid to experiment with variations of their Mugen logo and kanji.




Back in the day could have bought your very own Mugen driver suit! The back lists some of the motorsports Mugen had their hands into, including MOTORCROSS and RACING KART. Looks like there was a typo on the price ...




This blue button down would look great in the pits and have a very retro uniform / military look to them. We dig the gold collar. The white tee with red print has a very classic graphic on the front that still holds up years later.



These red, blue and white sweatshirts tug on the 80's era fashion sense. We'd rock these at the next Dyno Day!



Here's the page with hats, stickers, emblems and patches:



I'm not sure if these two hats could be any cooler. Especially the one with the mesh back! UNLIMITED POWER UNIT!




These patches play with rainbow gradations, 3D and unique layouts of the Mugen branding. COMPETITION POWER UNIT SUPPLIER just about sums it up.



CR-X fans will love that the CR-X PRO stickers are featured in this catalog. The front visor sticker properly curves to the front glass. The door graphics come in white or black. We've always loved that cool rear sticker that replaces the OEM CR-X sticker.



Hmm, can you abbreviate "suspension" as "sus."? Works for us!



More stickers! These days you rarely see the color blue used in Mugen branding.



These classic emblems came in multiple colors and sizes.



If you still have any of these unique items, let us know on the King Motorsports Facebook page!


You can see all of the currently available Mugen shirts, Mugen apparel and Mugen stickers on our online store.


Mugen and the First-Gen CRX


There are few Honda enthusiasts who don't have a soft spot in their hearts for the CRX. We found a few rare pics in our photo archives of Mugen's influence on the first-gen CRX in the 1980's.


Here is one of the two Mugen prototype CRX's built for American Honda in 1984. These cars were used as a test bed to develop parts for the American market. Some of you may have never seen CF-48 wheels with the aero discs installed on them. So few aero discs have survived the years.



Test fitting the Mugen exhaust to a brand new CRX Si in 1986 at American Honda in CA. Damn- they were cool....We always loved the way the Mugen kanji badge peeked out from under the bumper!





The Mugen CRX (called the "CR-X" in Japan) demonstrated the huge tuning potential of the Honda platform and from that, a whole generation of Honda tuner enthusiasts were born!


We love the white on white look with the racing red equator line and clean gray door graphics!



When it was introduced in 1984, the CRX turned the automotive world upside down. A small, efficient package that punched far above its weight. The simple addition of a set of Koni shocks and a set of 175/70/13 Yokohama A001R tires would turn any CRX or Civic into a world-class handler with just enough horsepower to surprise the many unsuspecting driver of "marque" cars...



The Mugen body kit accentuates the simple design of the CRX without being over-styled.