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

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

CR-Z Brake Upgrade with DC5/RSX Calipers

At King we love adding performance to the CR-Z. We even had the one-of-a-king Mugen CR-Z: RR Concept Vehicle shipped out from Tokyo for our 2012 Dyno Day.

In our shop recently: We made this CR-Z go fast with an HPD supercharger. Now it's time to make it stop fast as well! On go a pair of rebuilt RSX calipers, Powerslot rotors and Hawk HP+ pads. Rotor size goes from the stock 10.3" to 11.81" with the RSX rotors. Now it stops as well as it goes!!! This is a great upgrade for any CR-Z.





Shipping Mugen: The 6000 Mile Journey


How do you start a journey of over 6000 miles? With a single step!


New Mugen parts are shipped to us directly from Tokyo, Japan. This particular shipment includes ten S2000 hardtops and various other body parts (such as for the DC5). There are countless boxes to track, load up, and transport ... many people are involved in thinking through the logistics. The containers are transported by our partners like Vantec World Transport. By the time we ship these Mugen parts to you, they will have traveled thousands of miles over land and sea. 


These pictures come from a shipment scheduled to arrive to our facility in New Berlin, Wisconsin on or about December 26, 2012. It will take about 5 weeks in all for the parts to complete their journey.


Thanks to our friends at Mugen for snapping these pics of the trucks getting loaded up!



















Get your orders in soon for these high quality FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) Mugen S2000 hardtops! Once they arrive at our facility in late December they will be ready to ship out ASAP to your door.

 

We've dug up a few additional pictures of these high quality hardtops, shown here on the Mugen S2000 Prototype. This prototype features a CRFP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) hardtop, which is identical to the production FRP hardtop -- the only difference is the construction material.





 

The unpainted Mugen hardtop and hood create a stunning contrast on Spa Yellow!



Customer Ride: Perry W's Mugen MF-10 & 5-lug Swap

** This was sent in by Perry W... Thanks Perry! **

 

Gotta send a big thanks to Scott and the guys at King for their help picking out new rims for my 2002 Civic Si hatchback (EP3).

 

Because the 02-03 model Si has a 4x100 bolt pattern, wheel options are limited. Scott pointed me to Volk and Enkei -- but ultimately I had my heart set on the rarity and heritage of the forged Mugen rims.

 

My ideal Mugen rim (for my bolt pattern) was long out of stock: the Mugen MF-8. Those would have been awesome. But just as ideal would be the MF-8's big brother: the Mugen MF-10 (10 spokes instead of 8, with a deeper "webbing" where the spokes converge around the center). King has limited number of these -- in stock and on sale -- so I snatched a set up.

 

But there was a catch. In order to mount these beautiful new rims, I would have to convert my Si from a 4-lug bolt pattern to a 5-lug bolt pattern (the MF-10s are a 5x114 bolt pattern). More on this later.

 

First let's talk about these magestic MF-10s.




The set of MF-10s arrived a few days later from King: 16"x7" +43, in bronze, complete with valve stems and black center caps. They look terrific and have a semi-machined lip that reminds me of the fine workmanship that goes into the Mugen shift knobs. The spokes of the MF-10 have a matte texture that offset the lip. These rims are a work of art and perfection. You can fall into a JDM-induced trance staring into the rich bronze color.  I love these rims so much I even recorded The World's First Mugen MF-10 Unboxing Video for YouTube.

 

I couldn't wait to get these on my car. But I would have to. I had to do that 5-lug conversion, all by myself. In my garage. I live roughly 2000 miles from King's shop. So driving out there wasn't an option. I don't really trust any of the shops out here yet. So it was up to me.

 

At this point I should stop to say that I have absolutely ZERO experience with suspensions. I think I might have rotated tires once. The most technical thing I ever did to the exterior was install side skirts, a wing, a short-ram air intake. Easy stuff.

 

I kept replaying the two comments Scott had given me:

 

The encouraging: "Just do a 5-lug conversion. It's not that bad."


Then the more ominous: "There's definitely a lot involved for the conversion. It's not for the faint of heart."

 

So I started by planning. I bought myself a shop manual, read every forum thread I could find about the 5-lug swap. I bought a bunch of tools, a breaker bar, fluids, ball joint puller etc. I was stocking up and studying nearly every night!

 

The 5-lug came from a donor car in Tennessee -- a 2003 RSX Type-S (DC5). The DC5 shares many of the same parts as my EP3, so the swap is possible and has been done by many EP3 owners. Because the donor car was a Type-S (not the base model), I had the benefit of getting much larger front calipers & rotors as a bonus. But that bonus was offset by the need for new axles (to fit the larger Type-S splines).

 

Here's a picture of the donor RSX parts before they were shipped to me:



Assembling all my tools and parts took about 3 weeks. Lots of mail order, and help from Big Mike and Jude. Jude's advice was something about using beer and copious amounts of swearing. That turned out to be good advice.

 

The actual install happened over 2 weeks, nights and weekends... I lost half a week when I realized the ball joint puller I had purchased was inadequate for the job. And had to hire a mobile mechanic to help me with a stuck axle (lesson learned: get a "BFH," bigger floor jack, bigger jack stands).

 

Picture of the work in progress. You can see the original 4-lug assemblies still on the car. On the floor is the new 5-lug, a fresh socket set, and an old rim (bronze C8).


 

A picture of the stock EP3 front rotor next to the larger RSX Type-S replacement:



 

New replacement axles from an RSX Type-S:


 

My tires are dismounted from my C8's and re-mounted to the MF-10 set! The de-throned old rims shrink back in shame.



Conversion is complete now, and my shiny MF-10s finally mounted on the car. Look closely to see my smiling face in the reflections!!