The C-West S2000 first gained noto- riety in November 2005 when the dry- carbon Honda was freshly shipped in a container from Japan just a few days before its U.S. race debut. With minimal changes performed on the vehicle’s suspension, the car was quickly whisked off to Buttonwillow Speedway as it prepared to wage war in the Super Street and eurotuner Time Attack (Super Lap Battle). The S2000 competed in the Unlimited FR Class and was driven by Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada, using of all things a stock JDM 2.0L motor. The naturally aspirated S2000 ran an amazing 1:53.147 time and was named the Unlimited FR Champion that year. The win was a bittersweet victory for C-West and its S2000 because the car was immediately taken back to the U.S. facility, never to be seen again, sitting in storage for the next two and a half years.
When the ’05 champ seemed to have been forgotten, the car was surprisingly resurrected, with the help of Gary Castillo, owner of Design Craft Fabrication, in early 2008. Castillo just so happened to work in a shop adjacent to C-West, walking past the S2000 on a daily basis while the car sat around catching dust. Sympathetic of the car’s status, he knew something had to be done. With a ’08 season proposal to run the S2000, with C-West Japan’s approval, the car was given a basic tune-up before it was officially un-retired and trailed back out onto the tracks. Using an over-the-counter GReddy turbo kit on the factory engine, the car was taken to a local track event where the now-turbocharged powerplant and lightweight chassis seemed to work well for both driver Tyler Mcquarrie and the C-West S2000.
As time progressed, the S2000 went through numerous changes and picked up sponsors like BC (Brian Crower) and Hankook tires-lending a helping hand to improve its record-setting times at numerous tracks events. Follow along as Turbo magazine and Design Craft Fabrication prepares to swap out the tired 2.0L mill with a custom 2.4L powerplant. You can bet this team, with its new engine displacement and numerous upgrades, is eyeing the coveted track record of 1:43.523 that was set by HKS and its CT230R at Buttonwillow in 2007. Only time will tell before this carbon machine has what it takes to be crowned this year’s Super Lap Battle champion.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gary Castillo three days after the new engine was installed and the shakedown at Willow Springs Raceway during a Super Lap Battle qualifying event.
C-West/BC/Hankook S2000 Shatters Records Again On July 12, 2008The Super Lap Battle was another good shakedown session for the C-West/BC/Hankook S2000. After our win in Utah we were intent on getting even more power out of the car. The new BC 2.4L stroker engine and GReddy T618Z turbo should be able to handle horsepower levels in the 600-zone, but we are only at half that power. As happy as we were about finally finding the problem that led to a loss in power, it was the challenge of solving the issue that was killing us. We were able to get the power up but we had to rely on deactivating Honda’s VTEC control. This was a temporary fix because the car should jump up in power once the issue is resolved. We’re looking to make over 100-plus more horsepower out of the engine once we can solve the VTEC issues. Nevertheless, the boost was not falling off like it did in Utah, and power was pulling throughout the powerband so we were forced to run the car as is. Upon our first run session we decided to run the boost controller on low and also run the C91 Hankook tires at a moderate pressure. After our first three passes, race driver Tyler Mcquarrie explained that he had to battle a slight understeer issue at the high-speed turns as well as an aerodynamic drag issue in straight-line, high-speed performance. When the timing sheet was posted, it revealed that we broke last year’s track record time of 1:28.10 posted by HG Motorsports. On the S2000’s first run session it blasted a time of 1:25.05, shattering the record by over three seconds. For the next pass the decision was made to lower the wing by 10 degrees and reset the tires to a much lower pressure and change the rear shock adjustments. On the Honda’s second pass it was obvious the changes worked when a 1:23.50 time was announced. The next closest competitor was Tanner Foust in the Crawford Subaru with a 1:37.20. With two more runs left in the day, we were left with the one of two decisions: unload even more power in case one of the competing teams was holding back or play it safe or leave the car as is. The decision was made to try and get more power using a set of BC prototype cams for our third run. During the run it was obvious that we didn’t have the proper fueling and timing, so Mcquarrie decided to scratch session three. The original BC cams were reinstalled and boost was turned up 4-more psi for the fourth and final run session. With track temperatures cooled off, the S2000 stopped the clocks at a record 1:23.14. Due to traffic, the car was not able to get a clean third pass, and results have always shown us that with the Hankook tires the third pass always runs the fastest with the rubber up to temperature. While we did ended up winning the event with a record time for the Super Lap Battle, an interesting note about the time was that it is the only production car to run that fast at Willow Springs, compared to full-tube chassis cars and open-wheel cars. The time falls in Willow Springs record list at number 26 in the Top 65 cars fastest to run at the track. Keep in mind that this weekend’s win is all testing for the big race coming this weekend at California Speedway. Be sure to look out for upcoming magazine coverage in Super Street, Modified, Turbo, Import Tuner, and Sport Compact Car. Hope to see you all at Auto Club Speedway, formally known as California Speedway.Gary Castillo, Team Design Craft
Redline Time Attack, Buttonwillow, Mar. 22-23First Place Unlimited RWDFirst Place Unlimited ClassFirst Place OverallOne of five cars to run in the 1:48 timezone
Super Lap Battle, Long Beach Grand Prix, Apr. 19-20Second Place Unlimited RWD
Redline Time Attack, Utah, June 28-29First Place Unlimited RWDFirst Place Unlimited classFirst Place OverallFirst Place Super Session BattleTrack record
click HERE to read more
Road Atlanta and Global Time Attack are a match made in heaven. If you combine a 2.54 mile road course that rolls through the green hills of Georgia with an open rule set where maximum speed and minimum lap times are all that matters, you’re bound to have an incredible event.
Thanks to GTA series sponsors like Continental Tire, Whiteline Suspension, Garrett Turbo, Spec Clutch and Meister Watches, the battle for Road Atlanta certainly did not disappoint, with new competitors in the mix, newly set fastest lap records, and even big crashes!
From the perspective of Professional Awesome Racing, Road Atlanta was a shakedown and tuneup for the heavily revised 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. Gone were the Active Center Differential and Super Active Yaw Control rear differential, replaced with mechanical differentials front, center and rear.
Having switched from Street Tire to Limited class at the Global Time Attack finale in November 2012, it was also a time to learn the nuances of driving differences of the Hankook Ventus TD in comparison to the Ventus RS-3.
Unfortunately, Day 1 proved to be a challenge from start to finish. Chasing issues of excessive oil consumption, the car would not run consistently enough to put together one flying lap. Having a never-say-die attitude, team members Grant Davis, Mike Lewin and Jordan Gilsinger embarked on a parts search throughout the greater Atlanta area, devising a solution that proved to work extremely well by the end of the day.
With the problem solved, the crew proceeded to help fellow competitor, Tony Szirka, replace a transmission in his Unlimited Class Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Szirka and Professional Awesome have a long history of working together under the most adverse circumstances to fix record breaking cars at the last possible moment!
A threat of rain was in the forecast for the second day of competition, but feeling confident that all major issues had been addressed, Professional Awesome hit the track hard looking to gain lost time from the previous day.
The car performed flawlessly in the first sessions of the day, and I with became even more comfortable with the vehicle changes as the day progressed. Minor tire pressure and alignment changes were all that was needed to maximize grip and to dial in the balance for optimal performance, though a new issue had peaked its head.
The car was running perfectly, but low on boost at only 22psi. The car had already set the new limited record with a time of 1:31.717, but quick adjustments were made to the tune to see if more power could be coaxed from the Evolution. Based on the previous year’s data, the team believed a 1:29.xxx lap was possible and expectations were high for the fifth session.
The fifth session proved to be the final session of our 2001 Evolution’s life.
Following another 1:31 second lap, I entered turn 1 and lost control of the car after an outside tire dipped into the Georgia clay. A hard crash ensued, but luckily I walked away with only minor bruising and a good headache.
Following the crash, the final session ran and everyone prepared for the awards ceremony.
At the podium ceremony, champagne was sprayed, big checks collected and fast lap Meister watches given to competitors.
Much to the surprise of Professional Awesome, new Limited Front Wheel Drive record holder Doug Wind (left) gave his event winnings to the team to help the rebuilding process and Tony Szirka (right) followed suit, also donating his winnings.
It was an incredible ending to an incredible event which saw competitors from the West Coast, East Coast and everywhere in-between.
New lap records were set in Street Rear Wheel Drive, Front Wheel Drive, Limited All Wheel Drive and Limited Front Wheel Drive which will give new goals for 2014 competitors to strive for.
At the end of the day, it was amazing to see how tightly knit the time attack community is, helping out fellow competitors from start to finish! We look forward to seeing what will happen in November at the Global Time Attack Finale in Central California’s Buttonwillow Raceway on November 15, 2013.
MotorMavens has thousands more photos from GTA Road Atlanta! Stay tuned to MotorMavens for the next GTA photo update!
:: Dan O’Donnell
Can you guess what kind of car this is? If Mad Max drove a vintage Honda in a time attack series, is this what you would imagine his car to look like?
We were carspotting at the most recent Speed Ventures event at Streets of Willow, and saw this old school Honda with monstrous box flares, front lip spoiler and a huge front bumper. Let’s not forget the big wing up top, and the center mounted driver seat and steering wheel!
It looks something like a classic Honda meets time attack car built by Mad Max meets a dekotora meets Mater from the Pixar film Cars. This thing looks ridiculous, and we LOVE it.
Can you think up a good caption for this photo? The winner gets props and a shout out on our Facebook page and/or Instagram!
Now that I’ve given you guys a broad look at Wekfest LA 2013, it’s time to close out my coverage with a Spotlight-o-Rama featuring some of the most interesting cars from the show. The result of my hunt has brought a mix of clean street cars, mad stance machines and some cool engine swaps. Let’s begin with the RHD EG Civic pictured above.
With so many high quality Honda builds appearing at events like Wekfest, it can be hard find the cars that really stand out. But there was just something about this particular Civic that I really liked.
The car was in immaculate condition inside and out, and the right-hand-drive cockpit was set off with with a few cool details like a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. I also like the use of the factory seats rather than aftermarket buckets. How can you not like those cool 1990s seat patterns?
The wheels on the EG were also quite special: 16-inch Desmond Regamaster Evos that have been custom-widened into some very aggressive sizes.
All in all, this Civic is a perfect example of the extreme attention to detail you find on so many cars at Wekfest. It was certainly one of my favorite Hondas of the day.
We’ll be sticking with the Honda theme for the next car – a CE1 Accord Wagon from the City Stars Crew. I might be slightly biased because I used to own one of these things, but the I absolutely love the long-roof version of the Accord.
Before I continue on with the Spotlight, just a little piece of trivia on this generation of Accord Wagon. Did you know that even the Japanese market versions of these car were actually assembled in Ohio before being exported to Japan and labeled as the ‘US Wagon’?
Anyway, this particular wagon was really built as a perfect cruiser. A set of old school Volk Racing mesh wheels are a fine choice to go with the 1990s style – although the fitment and stance are something that’s a little more contemporary.
Inside, a simple leather interior was complemented by a few small bits like another wood Nardi wheel and a classic bubble shift knob with Crown Royal boot.
Good style, tons of room for passengers or parts hauling, and bulletproof Honda reliability – it’s not hard to see why the Accord Wagon makes such a good daily driver. I’d love to have another someday.
I know some of you guys have expressed concern over the lack of Toyota MR2s on Speedhunters, so when I saw this Nevada-based SW20 I knew it was the perfect chance to do something about that.
Then again, the car was cool enough on its own merits to warrant a spotlight. In my eye this example seemed to have the perfect balance of aesthetic and performance modifications.
It was also in fantastic cosmetic shape, as evidenced by this view of the cockpit.
As for wheels. the car was equipped with a set of staggered Work Emotion XD9s – a perfect match for the subtle body upgrades and hunkered-down stance.
There you have it – some much needed Speedhunters MR2 love. I suppose the fact that an awesome mid-engined turbo sports car is somewhat ‘overlooked’ really shows just how good Toyota was back in the ’90s.
Next up, we have a car that just might incite some colorful conversation in the comments section. In fact, it almost seems like that may have been the intention with this build.
And whether you love it or hate it, the BMW Z4 from the Low ‘N Slow Crew certainly stops people in its tracks. If there was a negative camber award at Wekfest, this car would have taken it home.
I do have to say that the sweeping body lines of the Z4 are actually a pretty good match for this sort of cartoonish ride height and wheel fitment.
Just look at the way the fenders literally sit on top of the Work Schwert SC2 wheels. Whoa.
Before you go nuts over the nonfunctional suspension setup remember that the car does have “Low ‘N Slow” written down the side of it after all.
Moving in another direction now, we have a car that was clearly built for a little more than just looking pretty on the grass. From a distance it looks like a nice clean example of a first generation RX-7…
… but then you look under the hood and see that the car is powered not by a rotary, but a Honda F20C from an S2000.
To be honest, I’d never really thought about how good of a combination the SA22C and a high revving VTEC powerplant would be. After seeing this car, it all makes sense.
Besides the requisite S2000 instrument cluster, I also really liked how the owner fitted a vintage Mugen steering wheel – just to further throw people off when they peek inside.
So yes, contrary to the beliefs of some commenters there were plenty of cars at Wekfest that were about more than just aesthetics.
Last but not least we have one of the coolest and most unique cars in the entire show. Actually, it’s not even a car but a first generation Honda Odyssey built by Fast Eddie’s Racing.
From certain angles the van looks like your typical cruiser, but the looks are really just scratching the surface of what this minivan is all about.
Sure, there are cool style details like a set of 1990s-era Racing Hart wheels, but you have to look at the engine bay to really see where the magic is.
Under the hood, you’ll find a Honda H22 swap – but not just any H22. This motor has a totally trick reverse head setup based on the Honda Accord touring cars of the 1990s. The front-facing individual throttle bodies really make for a strange response when peo0ple walk by.
So there you have it – a little sampling of the kind of machines found at Wekfest LA. Some were built to go fast, some were built raise eyebrows and some were built to do both.
Hot on the heels of the Corvette unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Honda have showcased the latest evolution of their Acura NSX concept. Unlike the Corvette, that at least tries to hand down some of the family likeness to the new sibling, Honda have had no such qualms about a complete reinvention – mid-mounted V6 aside.
This new version is little changed from the original concept shown off a year ago, with its low and wide stance, short overhangs front and rear and angular lines. But the body has has been subtly streamlined and adds carbon fibre elements, and the nose and tail have been lightly refined with new grilles.
More angular, throwing-star shaped carbonated rims have also been added for 2013.
The 3.5-litre V6 engine is supplemented by a full hybrid powertrain: what Honda call the Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, which is rather a mouthful. It adds three electric motors, one on each front wheel and a third integrated with the transmission and powering the rear wheels. All these systems are tied together with a torque management control system that dynamically delivers power where needed.
A potential new plush interior treatment has been shown off, with a high central tunnel providing a clear definition between the driver and passenger compartments in the cockpit and a simple, driver-focussed set of instruments to minimise clutter.
All this is still being touted as a ‘possible direction’ for the NSX, not the final product – which isn’t due until 2015 – so further developments can be expected as the design evolves. It’s going to be a long two years…
Honda today debuted the much-anticipated CR-Z Concept 2009, the second concept version of the stylish, sporty hybrid coupe, at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show. (see the first version).
2009 Honda CR-Z (b).
While the vehicle displayed at the show is a global concept with a rear seat, the production version that will be introduced to North America in the second half of 2010 will be packaged as a sporty, 2-seat hybrid that provides a personal driving experience for North American customers.
“The Honda CR-Z will expand our lineup of hybrid vehicles and reinforce the fun-to-drive values associated with the Honda brand,” said Erik Berkman, vice president of Automobile Corporate Planning and Logistics for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Beyond great styling and features, CR-Z will bring new levels of engagement and fun to customers interested in a small car or a hybrid vehicle.”
CR-Z will join the Insight and Civic Hybrid in the Honda hybrid lineup, each offering distinct benefits. Civic Hybrid, launched in 2003, was Honda’s first mainstream model to feature hybrid power. The 2010 Insight, introduced in March 2009, ushered in a new era of affordability for a hybrid family sedan. The CR-Z will break new ground as a sporty, hybrid coupe with unique value.
The production version of the Honda CR-Z will make its world debut at the January 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
2009 Honda CR-Z (b).
2009 Honda CR-Z (b).
2009 Honda CR-Z (b).
2009 Honda CR-Z (b) headlight.
2009 Honda CR-Z (b) interior.
2009 Honda CR-Z (b) interior.
2009 Honda CR-Z (b) interior.
Want to watch a piece of history hug the curves of a track? Watch as Dario Franchitti takes the famous–and immaculately kept–1965 Honda RA272 out for a spin.
This 1.5-liter V-12, 230 horsepower race car is the very same one that scored Honda its first Grand Prix win at the 1965 Mexico Grand Prix, a race won by Richie Ginther.
Franchitti describes his experience with the car, from the sound of the engine, to its unique handling, saying, “To get in this, to drive such a historically significant car, and a Honda, which obviously is a brand very close to my heart, it’s been a lot of fun.”
There are certain types of cars that immediately stand out to us. Even though we’ve been in this business for what seems like an eternity now, we still manage to be captivated by those special one-offs that are seemingly undeniable. That’s what keeps this job so interesting; we continue to have moments where a Honda build sparks something inside of us and captures our undivided attention. After all, variety is the spice of life and we love seeing all the different builds that make up this great community. The ones that do succeed in capturing our eyes simply have that unique “it” factor—whatever “it” may be.
We first encountered this 1990 CRX at this year’s annual Eibach Honda Meet in Irwindale, California. It was parked in the entrance of the event where cars were being staged before entering the lot, with many other Hondas surrounding it. Aesthetically, it wasn’t too different from what you would normally see at an event of this nature. It was white, like so many other cars that day; it retained its OEM two-tone appearance with subtle modifications like a Japanese-spec front-end conversion and Xenon side skirts. However, it was the tan leather interior that had the two-seater sticking out like a sore thumb. Allowing the harsh sun to shine into the unique interior is a Japanese-only glass top conversion. What was interesting was that we overheard a fellow enthusiasts in a neighboring Honda ask the owner of this CRX how much his right-hand drive conversion cost, totally ignoring the rest of the interior. You see, tan leather on a white CRX was never an option offered by Honda from the factory—no matter what the country of origin. Not only that, but tan leather itself is pretty unique, and one would assume this was nothing more than a reupholstered setup. We wouldn’t reunite with the CRX for a few hours, but when we did, we were stunned by what we saw; the words “CRX Exclusive” embroidered on the front seats indicated that this interior was the stuff of EF legend. Not only was it not reupholstered, it was the original factory option—a very rare, or exclusive, factory option. Though the car isn’t a true CRX Exclusive model, the entire interior most certainly did originate from one of only 350 ever produced.
The Exclusive trim level was a rare option available outside of the U.S. market during the CRX’s production run. To actually see one in person here in the States is something that we thought would never happen in our lifetime. The world is a huge place, and you would be hard-pressed to find anything now that was made only 350 times two decades ago. To say this interior was a rare gem would truly be an understatement. The steering wheel and shift knob have been replaced with aftermarket pieces, but to see this interior as intact as it was made it a mind-blowing experience.
It didn’t stop there, as a look under the hood revealed much more. The stock motor was long gone, and the bay now housed a K20A2. This particular swap was unlike most K swaps because it still retained the factory airbox and intake arm from the RSX Type S that the motor came from. The OEM intake setup was either kept as a novelty item or actually served a specific purpose. We had our assumptions, but it wasn’t until a couple of months later when we finally met the owner, Jaime Galvez, when he confirmed our beliefs.
“I kept the whole intake setup because I needed it to have the K20 swap BAR’d in the state of California,” Galvez explains. “That’s why the motor is basically stock with the OEM (RSX) ignition and fuel system. I even have the RSX gas tank mounted to my CRX. It was a pain to have to make it all work, but my swap is completely road legal in California. I also took the proper steps to register my right-hand drive conversion and have paperwork that proves that everything is legit.”
Although it may be a terribly tasking operation, it makes sense for Jaime to legitimize his project car. Many would just take the chance and do it the more conventional way, putting their money pits in risk of being taken away, but not Galvez—especially with that rare interior. His K may be stock, but the Type S motor in this lightweight chassis packs plenty of punch in factory form. There are no aftermarket power-adders, other than a DC Sports header and Mugen exhaust, but he has made the K his own by dressing it up with gold-plated accents. Maintaining his Honda’s legitimacy is important to Galvez because this car holds quite a bit of sentimental value. He explains, “I love this car because it literally helped keep food on my table for many years while I was on the road as a field service engineer. I used to drive this car an average of 150 to 200 miles per day. It never gave me any problems, and it never let me down. I only had two flat tires the entire time I’ve had it. I’m just spending money on it now because it helped save me so much money in the past—it deserves it.”
Jaime’s CRX is just one of those “it” cars because there is so much more lying beneath its surface. The rare interior is the draw, but everything else about it is what really makes this project special. Practically everything about it is unconventional compared to other, more typical CRX builds, placing Jaime’s car in that “exclusive” club.
Gold-plated HaSport engine mounts
OEM RSX Type S intake box
DC Sports header
OEM RSX Type S catalytic converter
Complete OEM RSX Type S fuel system
Powdercoated OEM RSX gas tank
K-Tuned gold-plated alternator relocation kit
OEM RSX Type S 6-speed manual transmission
Hybrid Racing K-swap shifter
Subaru STi clutch master cylinder
Gold-plated OEM valve cover
Tein Flex coilovers (EK chassis)
Brand-new OEM suspension bushings
Suspension Techniques front drop forks
Powdercoated suspension components
Custom front cross member
Custom radiator support brace
Custom suspension radius rods
Ingalls front adjustable ball joints
RSX Type S 5-lug conversion
Slotted RSX Type S brake rotors
Mugen Active Gate front calipers
Goodridge front/rear brake lines
Gold-plated JDM OEM brake booster
Wheels & Tires
SSR EX-C Mesh 15×7 +21
195/50-15 Falken Ziex
JDM Si-R front-end conversion
JDM right-hand drive conversion
JDM OEM glass top conversion
Xenon side skirts
OEM CRX ZC trunk wing
OEM JDM bronze glass
JDM Honda Verno windshield banner
OEM CRX Exclusive front seats
OEM CRX Exclusive rear seats
OEM CRX Exclusive interior body panels
OEM CRX Exclusive dashboard
JDM OEM climate control
JDM OEM head unit
Mugen steering wheel
Nardi 6-speed shift knob
MOMO Corse dead pedal
Impul brake and clutch pedals
Razo gas pedal
JDM Honda Access Super Sound rear speaker covers
JDM Honda Access Super Sound bass tubes
JDM Honda Access power-folding heated door mirrors with aero covers
JDM Honda Access heated seat console
JDM Honda Access Personal Box
JDM Honda Access front, rear, trunk checkered mats
JDM Honda Access glass top cover
JDM Honda Access tinted CRX trunk glass
JDM Honda Access motor jack
JDM Honda Access road flare
Thank you to my wife Miriam, my big brother Edwin, Roger, Angel, Juan & Johnny Castaneda; thanks to all those people I hardly know who have expressed their sincere props on my build; and of course Honda Tuning!
Technical service manager
Inspiration for this build
My brother Edwin
’87 RHD Civic
While it may be a right-hand drive CRX with tan leather Exclusive interior, true EF aficionados will know right away that this isn’t one of the 350 CRX Exclusives ever produced. How? Well, the two-toned white and black exterior is a dead giveaway. The Exclusive model is considered the rarest of the CRX family, and only came in black. It also didn’t come with the EF8 Si-R front end that Galvez has. Someone could have repainted the body and added the parts, but if you really had a rare piece of Honda history, why would you? What made the Exclusive special was the combination of black paint, tan leather, “Exclusive” badges, glass top, Honda Access “Super Sound System,” and electronic climate-control A/C. Jaime has done an outstanding job of combining some ultra-rare CRX history with modern-day performance. A restomod for the ages.
Aside from the spectacular environment it’s built around and the atmosphere abuzz within it, the beauty of the Leadfoot Festival lies with the machinery. I’ve been to a lot of car shows and motorsport events during my lifetime thus far, but when you’re talking sheer diversity, nothing has come close to the event created by Rod Millen.
I’m going to wrap up my coverage with look at just a few of the automotive gems that made this year’s Leadfoot Festival the spectacle it was.
Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t begin with some the cars from the Millen stable. Aside from Rod’s unfathomably quick Celica which beat out the competition for the third year running, his recently completed RX-3 is right up there in the drool stakes. Built as a modern day interpretation of the car that took him to three consecutive wins of the New Zealand Rally Championship in ’75, ’76 and ’77, the Mazda has an amazing build quality.
It’s also super-quick, with an injected 13B peripheral port engine backed up by a six-speed sequential gearbox. With lashings of carbon fibre and lots of high-end race car technology it might be a far cry from his original car, but all sign-written up in retro livery I think it still perfectly captures its spirit.
With Rod’s son Rhys at the controls, the MillenWorks Tundra made full use of the Ranch’s new off-road detour almost every time it headed out, and why not! The ex-Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) machine was fully designed in CAD and runs a custom designed and built 4WD driveline behind its TRD-built V8 engine.
Filling in for his younger brother Ryan who was unable to attend, Rhys also got behind the wheel of Rod’s SCCA Mazda RX-7 from the ’80s. As the sticker on the driver’s door window proudly announces, this car utilizes a custom 4WD system too.
Rhys had his own car there too: the ex-works Group B Mazda RX-7 that I took a closer look at in this feature last year.
For road legal racers: in this case a Kiwi-built Fraser Clubman S…
…To rally cars…
…to purpose-built hill climb machines. Steve Murphy’s V8-powered, four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Cordia is a bit of a local legend having won New Zealand’s famed Ashley Forest Rallysprint three times.
Easily one of the most valuable cars at the event was a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato. Only 50 of these machines were ever built, and this particular car (chassis #5) is one only of two ever set up for racing.
The road-going Zagato was powered by a 5.3L quad cam V8 good for 440hp and a top speed of 300km/h. With the help of factory-approved RS Martin/Aston Martin 7.0L engine upgrade this one outputs 525hp. I wouldn’t like to guess what the car is worth today, but back in 1989 it changed hands for £450,000 (USD$685,000)…
A little less exotic, but impressive in its own right is the E&H Motors ’09 Subaru Impreza WRX STI back for another Leadfoot Festival with owner/builder Carl Ruiterman behind the wheel. With close to 600whp at the ready and a KAPS sequential gearbox acting as the trigger, it’s a weapon.
The prize for the car most outside of its realm probably needed to go to the #23 DuPont Chevy Monte Carlo. This particular car was raced in the 1998 Winston Cup Series by none other than Jeff Gordon.
This creation parked up in the infield was attracting a whole lot of attention all weekend long, and for good reason. It’s a Bolwell Nagari of which only 118 we factory-built between in the early ’70s ex-Lotus engineer based in Australia.
Borrowing design traits from the Lotus Europa and Elan and Lamborghini’s Miura, the cars were originally powered by 230hp 302ci Windsor V8 engines. This car’s had a bit more work and was re-engineered with a tube frame chassis in the ’80s, and more recently was fitted with stroked 347ci Windsor with MoTeC-controlled fuel injection. Considering 430hp finds its way to the rear wheels and the car weighs around 920kg (2030lb), I’m going to hazard a guess here and say that it’s fast…
On the subject of fast, this Ford Escort RS1800 in Group 4 specification and sporting Rothmans livery from the Ari Vatanen era, wasn’t hanging about…
…And the same goes for that rapid little Mini Cooper S I showed you in the first Leadfoot post.
Also quick – in fact quick enough to take home third place overall in the final Top 10 Shoot-Out – was Joe McAndrew driving his 2002 Jedi. ‘Smokin’ Joe is better known in New Zealand for his former exploits in an ex-Prodrive 555 Subaru Legacy rally car, but he drove the pants off the 300kg/180hp single seater for a 52.71-second run up the driveway.
Others didn’t quite make it to the top.
In my mind one of the coolest cars at the event was 1936 Chevy being run by NASCAR crew chief royalty, Ray Evernham. A throwback to the NASCAR modified series of the late ’60s the Chev runs an injected 350ci V8 backed up by four-speed gearbox and a quick-change rear end.
Not the quickest way up the hill, but plenty of points for style were earned here!
Speaking of style, Billy F. Gibbons’ SO-CAL Speed Shop creation, ‘Mexican Blackbird’, absolutely oozes the stuff don’t you think?
Anything painted this shade of orange with the words ‘McLaren Cars’ on its sides commands respect. This one’s a ’72 M22 Formula 5000 machine.
1978 450SL anyone? Chevy V8-powered I believe this Mercedes-Benz was the winner of the ’85 Australian Sports Sedan championship. It definitely looks like it means business!
This ’71 Dodge Daytona is recent build fitted with a genuine genuine 358ci Mopar NASCAR engine. That goes a long way to explaining why it sounded so sweet!
Another car making all the right noises was this very cool replica of Dale Earnhardt Senior’s short track #8 Chevy Nova driven by former high-ranked American off-road racer Erin Crocker.
Top local driver Emma Gilmour back in the driver’s seat of a very special machine. Built by the late, great Kiwi rally icon Possum Bourne from the Prodrive-built 1998 World Rally Car he once had a works-drive in, the Impreza was de-restricted and modified for hill climb duties in the early ’00s.
Although the power’s been turned down from its ultimate specification, it still had plenty of grunt as Emma proved with one of the quickest times up the driveway during the weekend.
You can’t beat the sound of a BDA engine tuned to perfection, and this new and immaculately presented Escort Mk1 from Neil Allport Motorsport was singing a sweet song whenever it took to the course.
Strangely enough, so was this Renault Dauphine which was most definitely not powered by its original rear-mounted 32hp, 845cc engine..
Opening the side door revealed something just a little more powerful – namely a 350ci (5.7L) Chevy V8 engine borrowed from a Corvette and mounted in a rear-mid position. That’s more like it!
I have a lot of love for this ex-Trans Am Series (USA) ’69 Camaro Z/28, especially when it’s doing this.
And don’t get me started on Mike Delmont’s ’75 BMW 2002 Turbo which has been in a constant state of development for more than a decade. The last I heard it was throwing down well over 500hp.
A collective gasp came over over the crowd gathered at the second hairpin when Peter Sundberg’s Ferrari F40 ran a little wide on the exit. It was a close one!
It’s hard to believe the F40 design is more than a quarter of a century old – but it is. Like the rest of the car, the 471hp, 2.9L twin turbocharged V8 ‘Tipo F120A’ engine is a thing of beauty.
An F40 and a 458 Challenge – nothing to see here…
This Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 is a regular at classic race meets, and thanks to a 2.4L build it’s got plenty of power and pace.
It’s pretty cool to think that two genuine Cologne Capris live in New Zealand – this car: an RS2600 version – and a box-flared RS3100 version, which co-incidently is owned by the guy driving the Ferrari 308 GT4/LM in my first Leadfoot post. Like the 3.1L, the 2.6L gets driven the way Ford Germany’s skunkwork motorsport division of the ’70s intended!
Clark Proctor was doing double-duty at Leadfoot behind the wheels of both his Nissan 3.0L twin turbo powered Ford Escort Mk1, and his March 73A Formula 5000 car. The latter took him to second place overall with a 51.60-second best in the Shoot-Out.
But no one beat Rod who made it look effortless in his legendary Pikes Peak Toyota Celica. 50.92 is the time to beat in 2014…
…But I get the feeling that this man isn’t going to give up his title without a fight. If you’re in New Zealand in late March next year, do yourself a favor and get to this event.
This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to join my friends from Raceline USA and JDM Zipties at the series opener of the Honda Tuning Cup Challenge at Buttonwillow Raceway. There are three announced HT Cup Challenge events for the 2013 calendar so far – Buttonwillow, Chuckwalla Raceway, and Streets of Willow.
Raceline also added a new component to the trackdays they organize – a challenge series for the new 86 Platform,”Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. Even though it is called the 86 Challenge (coincidentally the same name as the previously announced 86 Challenge from Speedventures), the series is tailored towards Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ drivers, not AE86 owners.
This is Elton Lo. He’s the head honcho at Raceline, even though he came to the track disguised as a King Taco employee.
Raceline USA is a race shop in Temple City, CA, specializing in race car builds and maintenance. Although they’re capable of working on any type of car, most of their popularity stems from the modified Honda scene. This being said, it came as no surprise that there were some pretty good looking Hondas and Acuras trackside running the Raceline banner, like this Integra Type R. It’s awesome seeing well cared for cars built with top notch parts attacking the race track! This is what Raceline is all about!
At the start line, one of the Raceline staffers, Jay Meot Gerolaga, was organizing the run groups and helping people on their way out to the track. Here he is giving some direction to Tony Jackson of Eibach Springs. Or maybe he was hitting up Tony for sponsorship? Haha!
I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks Eibach’s Marketing Manager Tony Jackson looks sort of like Tony Hawk? He was even cruising the Buttonwillow paddock on a skateboard! Ollies and 360s aside, Tony was tearing it up at Buttonwillow in his EG Civic. He actually fought his way to the top of the podium, winning First Place in the HT Cup Challenge, and that was no easy feat!
Here’s Tony in his EG Civic hatchback negotiating the Bus Stop section at Buttonwillow.
Follow the leader. It was pretty awesome seeing these three drivers run full throttle down the main straight! They were battling each other the entire time they were on the track, and there were lots of people gathered near pit road, trying to watch the action as they charged through the entire course! So awesome.
On pit road, Elton took the time to speak with some of the drivers as they exited the course, or stopped in at the Yokohama Tire booth for tire advice or assistance with their air pressure. I was so surprised to see Matt from Yokohama out there at the track. Most tire companies don’t care enough about small grassroots track events to do this type of stuff!
Even though Raceline’s trackdays are primarily attended by fast Hondas, there were a few Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ owners in attendance as well. It looked as if only a few competed in Raceline’s actual 86 Challenge, but there were several FR-S and BRZ drivers scattered throughout different run groups.
It came as no surprise to many that the fastest FR-S in attendance was owned by this man – Robert Fuller of Robispec.
When Robert wasn’t out on the track, he was cruising around the pits, talking to other FR-S and BRZ owners, like Jeff Lushe here. It looks as if Robispec is yelling at Jeff Lushe in this photo! If that were true, it wouldn’t be the only time Jeff got yelled at during the track day… hahaha
Here’s the FR-S/BRZ lineup charging down the front straight and into Sunrise corner! All the cars were pretty dusty and dirty, looking as if they all went off course at the racetrack! However, this wasn’t the case. (Well, I saw a couple cars go off course! Hehe) Most of the cars were dirty, however, because we all had to pass through the snow covered roads of The Grapevine on the drive up to Buttonwillow early in the morning. The Nissan 370Z I drove at the track that day looked filthy from driving through snow/dirt covered roads!
Here are some of the Scion FR-S drivers from the FRS/86 group! But I’m sure these guys need no introduction…
It was super cool seeing one of the guys in the FRS/86 camp rocking these brand new Subaru Motorsports Puma driving shoes that we raffled off at our 86FEST event back in October! This guy was a lucky winner!!! Man, I didn’t even save a pair for myself…
This E46 M3 from Platte Forme AG was sitting pretty in the pit area. This female driven E46 turned a 2:14.8, a new personal best for the driver, Renée Lee. Car is 100% stock other than Suspension Techniques Coilovers & spring conversion and Fikse Wheels wrapped in Continental Tire Extreme DW (340TW) tires.
This Mazda Miata looked pretty awesome with its crazy aggressive rear under-bumper diffuser and GT wing. By looking at the track stickers on the rear panel, it’s apparent that this driver is no stranger to the racetrack. Do YOU recognize all the tracks on the rear end of this Roadster?
Check out the mounting brackets for the under-chin spoiler/front splitter on this Miata, and the license plate mounting bracket. This car was repping our friends from GarageStar in Sacramento.
This Evo X MR looked like it was covered in dirt from the drive up to Buttonwillow as well… but it still looked awesome covered in dirt!
Even though I didn’t know many people at the Raceline event, other than Elton, Danny from JDMZipties, and the FRS/86 guys… I spotted some familiar faces walking through the paddock. This is Mark SlideSquad on the right in the North Face/Nord Schleife parody shirt. Mark recently bought an FR-S, and didn’t waste much time getting it onto the racetrack. I just realized I never really met his friends, but I think the guy in the middle was driving the track too.
Mark used to be very active in the Southern California drifting scene with his S13 Silvias. He’s done many different S chassis buildups, but my favorite is possibly his red S13 Silvia with the RB engine swap and Regamaster Evo wheels. I remember that thing ripping through California Speedway in Fontana back in 2004, pushing out big smoke from its fenderwells. In fact, I have a few photos of it in the hardcover book I published on Drifting back in 2006.
Here’s Mark driving his FR-S out on the track. Not sure how he placed in the 86 Challenge, but he looked as if he was pretty fast.
This is Dave SlideSquad. Before you make any assumptions about these guys being brothers or being in a domestic partnership or something, let me clarify. Slide Squad is the name of their old drift team from Thousand Oaks California.
I met these guys a long, long time ago at a race track far far away. Dave had an incredibly slow, incredibly low EF Civic hatchback that had camouflage spraypaint and Riken mesh wheels if I remember correctly? Dave’s car was always super cool looking, because it was styled to look like a Japanese drift car.
Back in the late 1990s, most of the Civics in Southern California looked horrible. They almost all had Altezza taillights, Saleen Mustang wings, Integra headlights, colored vinyl interiors, Ground Designs 2000 body kits, and 17 or 18-inch garbage wheels.
Dave’s EF was the antithesis of all that crap. It was low, yet purposeful most of the time. (At one point, Dave built an army green graveyard in the spare tire well of his Civic. I’m not sure how functional that was, but it was definitely representative of his quirky personality.) In fact, Dave’s Civic (and Mark’s S13 Silvia) were featured in the now defunct Japanese car magazine Young Version, where they showed off their American interpretations of early 2000s Japanese drift style, complete with stickers from drift teams that Dave met on his trips to Japan to watch drifting.
Yup, these guys were into drifting culture and canyon running “before it was cool.” Japanese car culture hipsters, if you will. Back in those days, Dave and Mark were among the only non-Asian guys I knew in Southern California who were into the car culture of Japan. I can’t believe I’ve known these two guys for over ten years. Damn, we’re getting old.
The Loi Spec Garage guys rolled deep to the track! They looked as if they had a pretty big crew gathered around their pit area, and they looked pretty damn fast out on the track, too.
If the Loi Spec cars were as fast as they looked, then maybe this might have something to do with it. Meticulously built engines that run well.
After packing up at the end of the day, many people took time out to take some cool sunset photos of their cars at Buttonwillow.
After I finished shooting my own sunset photos with the Z, I rolled up to the FRS/86 guys and told them to hurry up! We were all supposed to have dinner together at Willow Ranch BBQ at the Buttonwillow McKittrick Exit!
It started getting pretty cold and the Z Roadster had the top down, so I pulled my beanie down pretty low. I don’t know why everyone was trippin out when they saw me drive up… HAHA Kenny Truffin captured this pic of me telling the FRS/86 guys to hurry up so we could eat! LOL
All in all, the Raceline open trackday was so much fun! The atmosphere of the entire day was super chill, and everyone I met there was super cool. THANK YOU so much for inviting me to the event, Elton and Danny! Driving Raceline USA trackdays is a blast! I can’t wait for the next event at Chuckwalla!
We all left the track together, but our adventures didn’t stop there…
When we finally arrived at Willow Ranch BBQ, I noticed this Girls of Willow Ranch Calendar sitting in their display case. I started cracking up because Jason Dienhart from Global Time Attack sent me a Twitter message, telling me to pick up one of the Willow Ranch Calendars. I had no idea what he was talking about at first..? I assumed he was joking! But he wasn’t. They really do have a Willow Ranch Calendar! LOL.
This was our waitress, Kendall. Nice! She should have (I hate when people write SHOULD OF) worn that outfit to work that day! But she didn’t. We were so disappointed.
If you ever visit Willow Ranch BBQ, make sure you order the FRUIT PUNCH. It is sooooo damn good. After killing one of these glasses of delicious fruit punch, it’s almost like your can feel the diabetes developing inside your body. But it’s so worth it. Mmmmmmmmmm!
One of the new additions to our crew, Kenny Truffin, was sitting next to me at the table. He ordered the beef ribs. Damn son. They look good!
Over the past few months, I cut 90% of the red meat from my diet… but I had to make an exception for this trip to Willow Ranch. I ordered the Tri Tip & Pit Beef combo. Pretty damn awesome. So worth it!
:: Antonio Alvendia
It’s not often I get stopped in my tracks. I’ve been a lucky boy over the years and have seen a lot of different things around the globe. I’m not jaded or tired of it, no, but usually I can take in the details with relative calm. Not today though. What you see above is the very first picture from the very first moment that I saw Phil Penny’s Honda S600 coupé. I actually uttered the words ‘Oh man…’ as I raised the camera up to my eye. As natural reactions go, I’m pretty happy with that. At least I can type it here.
I am a massive fan of obscure vehicles with what appear to be random modifications. When I first saw the four-rotor Lexus that Brad shot recently I got the same feeling. I boldy said that it might end up being my car of the year – words with weight considering it was only January. Now here I am in February, at Willowbank Raceway just west of Brisbane and this little Honda has just stolen that title. If this is an omen of things to come, it’s going to be the best Summer.
Because yes, that turbo sucked me in from a hundred feet away. Just look at it. In fact, I dare you to try anything else. I don’t care if you think the air flow from the bonnet edge causes disturbance problems or it’s aerodynamically flawed. Just look at that sucker. It’s so offensively large, so seemingly out of place with its home, as though the Honda coupé has been attacked by an alien lifeform that’s clamped on and is burrowing its way under the metal skin.
With the small bonnet removed by releasing these exquisitely simple, old school clips…
…it all makes sense. I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. Maybe an SR? But surely the capacity couldn’t need such a large turbo. Could it be a blown F20 Honda engine? The trouble is with such an off-the-wall build, you can’t predict anything. So when I first saw the Toyota 2J, inline-six I laughed with joy. I’m not sure where you cross the line between necessary and overkill, but just one cylinder from this engine is nearly equal to the entire original capacity of 600cc. Oh and it runs on methanol. This thing just gets better by the second.
In fact I do know where you cross the line: it’s when you go drag racing. I don’t know a racer who has ever had enough power – they always seem to need more, so if you’re going to fit a turbo, fit a really big one. And if you’re thinking lag, think again. Phil specified the Billet turbo with a .96 air ratio, meaning it can spool up far quicker than you’d expect looking at the size of it. Trust me, I’ve seen it go from idle to Defcon-scream in a second or two – hardly a long wait when you’re sat on a dragstrip start line. Remember, this is no circuit racer.
In total there are three Turbosmart wastegates taking care of the boost, their high-end quality matching Phil’s immaculate build ethos. He’s a big fan. The detail is seriously impressive everywhere you look on the engine, but there are just so many questions I have about the whole car as I look at it.
Phil tells me he’s been a fan of the baby Honda since he found one years back. The fact he also loves the lines is undeniable too, which is another thing I noticed as I took a look around. There are some really well thought-out angles and details here.
He’s kept the standard body trim all over, as it’s not like he has to worry about weight saving with the 2J up front. Power? Not a problem my friend.
So let’s get to the figures. All up the Honda weighs 1,000kg. For a start look how small it is compared to that Dodge Ram. Unreal! There are 12 1,500cc methanol injectors feeding the Toyota engine and Phil is running it at 28psi today, which equates to roughly 870bhp at the wheels, but he has the ability to wind the boost up to 35psi and more.
The engine was put together by a very gifted builder named Dave Stevens, whose work has been used to great effect by a number of the fastest space-framed import drag cars in Australasia. In its current guise it can generate 1,650bhp… Yup, the surface hasn’t even been scratched yet. If Phil fancied, with another rail of six injectors fitted the engine has been built to generate and handle 2,000bhp. No messing around: Phil figured he’d do things right the first time. Although he grins and tells me somebody else can try it with that much power.
Another reason Phil loves the S600 is that it comes with a separate chassis and body, lending itself to such wild modification, and with the motor mounted as far back as possible in the tiny 79-inch wheelbase it’s almost mid-engined. His self-proclaimed fascination with boost means drag racing gives him the purest platform to explore the potential it gives him.
Obviously he’s put a lot more strength into the frame now, with the cage…
…and driver safety cell. Just like the gorgeous standard external chrome, Phil has kept the full interior trim too, although that Kirkey alloy seat is anything but standard.
Because when this thing spools up, things get serious pretty quickly and you’d want to know you’re strapped in safe, right?
The fury that emanates from the tiny racer is crazy. The noise and sight of it make me smile and retreat at the same time, all the while taking pictures like a grinning loon.
I turn to a nearby photographer as Phil reverses back to the start-line after another smoky burnout. Smiling manically I nod and he just looks back at me with a deadpan face. Man, I hope I never get that jaded. I don’t care if this is your ‘thing’ or not – he should probably check his pulse.
Along with minimal lag, the other surprising skill the Honda has is its ability to leave the line straight and true. After the drama of first seeing it and the explosion of power in the burnout, I kind of expected it to point both front wheels somewhere in the sky and fire off the line sideways, spitting fire whilst playing this through speakers that could equal a sonic boom.
But just as you’d want it if you were in the driver’s seat, there’s no drama: it just squats on the single rear wheelie bar and goes.
Proper goes… This run was a personal best for Phil, but he insists it’s still early days with somewhere around six to seven passes under the wheels so far. He has some interesting data from this run thanks to the Racepack iQ3 dash unit: in first and second gear he’s pulling 3.5G until roughly half-track, with a time to the 60-foot mark of 1.3 seconds and 5.6 seconds and 130mph at half-track.
When Brad put up a picture of the Honda in his Jamboree 22 coverage, (which is kind of odd, as today I’ve been stood where Brad was last year) there were a lot of comments about the turbo position and how Phil could physically see around it, so asking permission I climbed into the hot seat to see for myself. This is that view: so yeah, pretty distracting… But what a place to be sat. It feels as if you’re connected to the turbo itself, Phil saying of the position that he figured instead of having it poke through the bonnet, this way he didn’t have to lift it to show people.
Everything has been so well packaged inside, Phil saying that the original S600 transmission had two chain drives for the rear wheels, so although there are now dedicated tubs in place to deal with what the C4 auto hands out, the original 14-inch wide items were actually ideal for his early wheel and tyre upgrade plans. It’s almost as if this thing wanted to go fast right from the outset.
Now, an 8.65-second run is quick – quicker than quick in fact, and it’s all too often that we take things for granted. The work Phil has put in to get here is immense. The Honda was his daily driver for nine years – it then ran a blown Fiat twin-cam motor.
But he’s nowhere near stopping yet.We’ve hinted at the potential of the coupé, and as Phil says: “My goal is to run in the low seven seconds at 185-plus mph. It’s a reality; the power is there… It’s still very early days”. Splitting his time between drag racing, building a twin-turbo Porsche 930 and surfing, Phil has got plenty of plans and we’ll be seeing him again for sure.
No matter which way you sway, you can believe in Phil Penny and his ability to entertain, enthrall and make things happen. The man’s a legend in my book. This is not the end, this is just the beginning.
3.2 stroker 2J inline six, resin-filled to core plugs, GRP aluminium rods, Arias ceramic/thermal coated pistons, piston pins 22mm and 8mm thick, factory 3ltr crank offset ground, hardened steel main caps, ARP stud kit, line bored, ATi balancer, 3mm Chromoly flex plate, Dave Stevens modified standard oil pump, 2JZ turbo head, flowed, Ferrara valves, titanium retainers, collets and springs, Sure Cams (NSW) with Dave Stevens grind, head machined for lobe clearance, L19 head studs, Titan front pulley wheels, Hypertune manifold (Sydney), twin fuel rails, 12x1500cc methanol injectors, 102mm throttle body, Engle 110 mechanical fuel pump, custom high rise inlet manifold, 60mm Turbosmart wastegate off the manifold plus another from the turbine housing, Billet Turbo (Gold Coast) 88mm front, 94mm rear, rear housing .96 Air ratio, 5in/120mm dump pipe, turbo to intercooler is four inches, turbine, manifold, exhaust is coated by competition coatings in Brisbane ceramic chrome, PWR water to air intercooler, runs 18 litre water and ice tank inside the car which is pumped through with -16 lines, PWR radiator, Haltech Sport 2000 ECU, PRO 16 M&W CDi box, Racepack data iQ3 dash including GPS! measures G-force, Haltech exhaust gas temp sensors, factory coil packs, factory timing belt and factory turbo multi-layered head gasket, Eboost 2 race control
Ford C4 automatic box, Als Raceglide (NSW), custom-built 1350 series shaft, Ford nine-inch, Strange 33 spline shafts and spool, Mark Williams nine-inch alloy carrier
Torsion bar front, Koni adjustable shocks, rear four link, panhard rod, Strange coilovers, adjustable rebound and compression, single wheelie bar with single shock
Wilwood four-pot callipers, 260mm vented disc, AP two pot rear callipers, 1999 BTCC Mondeo (Paul Radisich) discs and bells, Wilwood twin circuit master cylinder, bias to rear wheels
Wheels & Tyres
E45 polished Simmons, 10x15in, 4x15in, 22inx15, 28×11.5×15 Mickey Thompson ET.
1965 Honda S600, stainless flutes in front guards, five-inch fuel cap on passenger side wing, rear wing, parachute, aero on rear window, stretched rear arch aperture, bumpers and grille original, voodoo metallic blue
Kirkey aluminium seats, ERG five-point harness, OMP steering wheel
Standard door trims, factory dash, carbon fibre fascia housing Racepack dash, firewall and tunnel 3mm steel, 1in 5/8 Chromoly cage, strengthened standard box chassis
Dave Stevens for the most awesomest engine, Turbosmart for their support with their excellent products, Phil Laird (he’s the tuner, an excellent guy), Christian my son… All the guys that help.
The grunts and collective groans from Honda loyalists haven’t quieted one bit since the introduction of Honda’s CR-Z hybrid last year. Power starved and all but cursed with an aggressive look that, no matter how you chop it up, harkens back to much more exciting times. A time that included the release of the beloved CRX, a car that would change a soon to be overpopulated hot hatch landscape. But why live in the past, reliving glory days while comparing them to rather dreary current times? It’s because looking toward the past can actually produce some answers for today’s most nagging issues.
Someone who knows more than most of the population when it comes to making power, both then and now, is Oscar Jackson Sr. He’s had his hands in tuning Hondas since well before most of our readers were even born. He’s been doubted more times than he can possibly remember, and somehow he’s always managed to rise above, and convert naysayers into avid believers.
These days he’s once again back in the driver’s seat of Jackson Racing with his son, Oscar Jr., riding shotgun as the two embark on a whole new challenge. No stranger to engine swaps, the Jacksons set out to offer a unique alternative to the complex and often pricey K-series swap in the form of a Rotrex-based supercharger kit. Before you assume the mighty K series’ power output will trample that of a low-boost supercharger kit, you may want to take a look at the results. With the factory catalytic converters (both of them) still intact, and the original Honda exhaust system, the Jackson Racing kit pounds out an additional 50 horsepower, and 45 lb-ft of torque. And rather than having to rev to the moon to find that power, almost all of that torque is realized in the midrange, where the majority of driving takes place.
To find the 40 percent increase in power from the tiny 1.5L, a Rotrex C30-74 unit was utilized. Unlike many other superchargers, the “whine” is nonexistent, as the patented traction drive system in the Rotrex keeps a lid on the noise factor. Oil isn’t borrowed from the engine, instead the supercharger relies on its own dedicated, self-contained oiling system, keeping things neat and simple.
If you’re an avid power-hungry enthusiast, gas mileage is probably the last thing on your mind. However, the CR-Z crowd is a bit different, in that they most likely pulled the trigger on the two-seater in hopes of saving some cash at the pump. Adding forced induction isn’t typically conducive to maintaining high miles per gallon, but it’s something that the Jacksons factored into the design of their kit. At cruise speeds, a bypass valve regulates the amount of boost the engine experiences, in turn allowing for factory-like mileage numbers. To add to that, the ability to rely upon the Econ, Normal, and Sport driving modes the CR-Z was originally sold with are still fully functional. This is due in part to the masterminds at Hondata who developed their FlashPro system to open the doors to tuning the CR-Z.
The supercharged test vehicle pictured has been through quite a bit during its short life span. Over 20,000 miles of real-world testing, countless dyno sessions, a new Hybrid Class record at Super Lap Battle, and some of the most intense emissions testing known to man. You see, while the performance of the kit is undeniable, the Jacksons spent over eight months trying to acquire emissions certification to make the kit a street-legal affair. The hard work and admittedly frustrating process finally paid off with the kit passing all emissions lab tests and currently awaiting approval from the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.).
Oscar Sr. has seen it all and done it all, but just about everyone doubted he could pull any usable power out of the CR-Z while remaining within the tight limitations of the government’s emissions requirements. Here’s to proving them wrong…all over again.
Jackson Racing Supercharger kit with Rotrex C30-74 unit
KW Variant 1 coilovers
Volk Racing CE28 17×8 +33
Nitto Invo 225/45-17
JDPengineering carbon-fiber lip
JDPengineering carbon-fiber wing
The bright red 2011 CR-Z you see pictured was fitted with a JDPengineering front lip and rear wing—you might remember the same carbon-fiber pieces being used on the Honda Tuning Magazine CR-Z project early on. The excellent fitment and a clean, functional appearance make JDP an easy choice for this chassis. To help harness the power, specifically through the turns, a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers were chosen, and a tasteful, functional ride height was set. In dire need of wider wheels and better rubber, a set of 17-inch Volk CE28s wrapped in Nitto Invo tires improve the look, feel, and of course the handling of the CR-Z.
Oscar Jr. handed over the keys to their CR-Z and told me to take the car on the road for some spirited driving. The first thing I noticed is the initial startup is identical to stock. No hesitation, no rough idle; in fact, because of the factory cat and exhaust system, it even sounded like it was stock. I pulled away in Normal mode and, driving conservatively, the car showed zero signs of hiccups or stutters. Switching to Sport mode, I stepped into the gas further and the Rotrex did its job of bringing the car up to “above posted speed limit” in rather short order. The torque seemed to pour on effortlessly, and the added midrange power is exactly what the CR-Z is missing from the factory. While the OEM CR-Z begins to fall on its face around 4,500 rpm, the Jackson Racing version is just getting started. The defined pull through third gear, inching close to 7,000 rpm is a sharp reminder of yesteryear, when VTEC B- and H-series motors left you begging to stomp the gas pedal for another zip to redline. While the factory 1.5 struggles to maintain its momentum up hills and around traffic, the Rotrex-equipped version allows you to avoid stirring the gears, and rather “point and shoot” your way through traffic.
The comparison of the Jackson Racing supercharger kit to a K-series swap will undoubtedly come up the moment this article hits newsstands. Though I didn’t have a K-powered CR-Z on hand to test back to back, there are a few things that really stand out to me. The first being the pricing—even the “bells and whistles” version of the Jackson kit is at least half the cost of a K swap. Read that again, because there’s certainly a misconception about the price of a K-series motor swap, complete and ready to roll. As you’re adding it up in your head, don’t forget axles, management, mounts, custom exhaust, etc. The other is the ease of installation and use. There’s no cutting, welding, splicing, or customizing to fit the Jackson Racing supercharger kit—it’s a strictly bolt-on affair and fits like a factory piece. Mileage, power, and OEM fit and finish? This might be the future of tuning.source : hondatuningmagazine.com
Over a year ago, when you heard the phrase ‘It’s JDM Yo!’ you would just think of a bunch of Japanese cars with parts from Japan following a trend. Now, as soon as you hear it, the first thing that comes to mind are the hot models and Tony ‘It’s JDM Yo’ Lee with his posse at every major car show representing. The meet turned out more like a car show but with free entrance and in and out privileges for both people and cars. With vendors, food trucks, free NOS Energy Drinks to quench your thirst, and lots of eye candy the day went by without a hitch. A raffle, emceed by Tony and Miss Natalia Marie from NOS, was held and proceeds went to help fund Big Abe‘s daughter Sophie’s funeral cost (if you don’t know who Big Abe is, he’s the guy with the big ass rim hanging from his neck). I have to give a big shout out to Big Abe for showing up to the meet after going through what he and his family had to endure.
A familiar sight at any major meet or event in the SoCal area, Anthony Do and the Infinit crew rolled deep with 10+ cars. So many that I couldn’t get all of them in a single shot! Each of the cars in team Infinit rock sick JDM wheels from new school to old school and they all have crazy stance and offset, even on the front wheel drive cars!
Abraham Ceja aka Infinit Abe has one of the cleanest and sickest EG hatchbacks I’ve seen. With some low offset staggered SSR mesh wheels and an individual throttle bodied B series the car is always a show stopper when it comes to Hondas at the meet.
Bisi Ezerioha from Bisimoto brought out his fully built Turbonetics/AEM powered Honda CR-Z to the meet. As I arrived to the show, I was expecting to see his design matched trailer and his Escalade pickup, but he told me that he DROVE the car there from his shop. We then discussed what the point of having a car is if you never drive it! Not to mention the car is a hybrid so it is smog exempt.
Arnel Ortiz from Phaze 2 brought out his VIP styled EG Civic sedan with BBS RS mesh wheels with gold plated hardware and a Universal Air ride system to match.
After arriving to the show with my homie Terry Pham, I quickly got out of the car to take this snap of his immaculate 1993 Mazda Miata Limited Edition. I then helped him get the other two Work Goocar wheels off of the car to put his 15×10 Panasport race wheels on the rear. I was with Terry when he originally purchased the car and was stunned at how clean the car was. With an all red interior and OEM hard top/paint job, the only things he changed were the tail lights, now Garage Vary tail lights, wheels and an aftermarket trunk spoiler.
Chumpot Chansonthi from Infinit brought his clean white Mazda FC RX-7 rocking some SSR Type-C wheels. His car definitely is one of the cleanest FC’s I’ve seen at meets and shows. Not only does he have a really clean paint job, Chumpot also went as far as replacing all of the moldings, weather seals and plastic bits to give it a showroom finish.
Mikey Cristi rolled in a bit later with his all metal flared “VIP*BOX” Scion xB with his CCW wheels.
This Phaze 2 1971 Toyota Corolla
Mango Peanut was one of the few Japanese classic cars at the show. I’m really digging the fender mirrors, how about you?
This clean red SW20 MR-2 Turbo with a TRD styled widebody kit showed up later in the day. His wheels were a nice complement to the widebody on this now seldom seen car.
While just cruising through the parking lot I spotted this royalorigin Mazdaspeed 3 with one of the craziest stances of any FWD car.
I normally don’t like bright Lamborghini-esque colored cars but this Civic, owned by Chivas Sotelo, definitely got my attention. Sitting on some dope Sprint Hart CP-R wheels and a chameleon colored engine bay, Chivas drove down from Las Vegas for this weekend of events. His car reminded me of how show car style and JDM can be fused together successfully.
Since this meet was about ‘JDM’ style, this 2007+ Civic Si Sedan was not lacking any. The FD2 Civic Type R rear end conversion is no cheap modification. Usually costing over $1000, this rare mod definitely sets the car apart from other Civics.
Natalia Marie and her friend (I somehow forgot her name) were making sure they looked good for the day ahead of them.
Speaking of eye-candy, the NOS Energy Drink Girls were out giving free energy drinks to the thirsty people. And I’m sure plenty of people were very thirsty at one point during the day. Maybe even a few times thirsty?
There were a few cars not in the meet which had pretty cool setups. This 2007/2008 Civic Si sedan had some awesome stance driving through to the parking area.
The day ended without any hitches and I would have to say one of the most successful “car meets” that I’ve seen in a long time without any drama.
:: Mike Kim
Loi Song and Sportcar Motion have unofficially become the standard destination for SoCal’s K-series crowd. Whether it’s a mild street setup like mine, or an all-out, hard-core race demon like their supercharged, record-setting ITR, the crew at SCM can make it happen. That doesn’t mean that they don’t do plenty of work on every other type of Honda motor, but the K series is certainly a specialty of theirs.
I contacted Loi about having SCM give me a hand on installing some of the new parts that were piling up in my office. Dealing with just about everything K swap related, not to mention plenty of eighth gens day in and day out, SCM is more than familiar with every square inch of the Si’s engine bay.
If you didn’t know about Hybrid Racing before, you’re no doubt familiar with its name at this point. The company has spent the last few years offering a long, long list of high-quality K-series goods to make your car faster, cleaner, and most importantly, make your life a little easier. When I first introduced the Project Si series, I touched on a few of the quirks that seem to pester the majority of eighth gens on the road. The first being that loud “click” which chimes in every time the clutch pedal is engaged/disengaged. Oh, and that lazy clutch pedal is a bit of a nuisance in its own right. I lived with it for a while, but decided I needed to find some sort of fix, and fast. Talking to Tim Schultz of Hybrid Racing, he mentioned they’d come up with a solution for the problem in a clutch master cylinder upgrade that would not only eliminate the click, but would also improve the car’s lethargic clutch pedal feel. Using an EM1 CMC and a braided stainless line, the Hybrid unit is a direct bolt-on with no need for any modification. The eighth-gen CMC, with its plastic internals, uses a transfer chamber that inherently slows fluid down as you work the clutch, causing mis-shifts and aggravation. The EM1 CMC uses stainless internals and is a direct swap. The clutch feels much more solid and swift, with a slightly lower engagement point that aids in smooth pedal work. And that brings me to the next problem: the shift cables.
To be quite frank, I hate cable shifters. They often feel soggy and unresponsive, both of which I was experiencing. Part of the problem, other than regular wear and tear on any used car, is the fact that Honda relies on quite a bit of plastic with the stock cable system. Hybrid Racing on the other hand, does not. It has put together an entire cable replacement assembly that includes stiffer cables with 6061 aluminum rod ends and metal retainers to really tighten up the shifting. Some on the forums have complained about the price of the Hybrid Racing shift cable upgrade, but I have to disagree. Pricing is a steal in my mind, especially after putting some miles on the Si stirring through the gears. If I were to do this entire project all over again, the Hybrid Racing shift cables and CMC would, without question, be the very first on my list—even before suspension or power parts. Drivability is far more important than power or handling, in my mind.
As I’d talked about during the last installment, the engine bay, cowl, and engine position make for some frustrating installation sessions. To make things a little easier, Sportcar Motion dropped the entire motor, which granted more than enough access to swap in a set of Drag Cartel’s new Drop-In-Cams, a freshly powdercoated valve cover, and Skunk2’s low-profile valve cover hardware kit that really cleans up the look of the valve cover. If you’re asking where the valvesprings and retainers are, they’re not needed. Drag Cartel’s Drop-In-Cams work with the stock valvetrain, and I even hit the dyno to see what they could do. (See Part 3 for dyno results.) With the motor dropped, it also granted access to the timing chain tensioner upgrade from Hybrid Racing. Designed from scratch, Hybrid’s tensioner relies on a dual-ratchet design and heat-treated chromoly piston system that actually fits into the timing chain guide tighter than stock, which means you won’t run into alignment and wear issues. It’s a little piece of insurance that everyone should take note of when switching to aftermarket cams, whether they be aggressive or mild, like the DC Drop-Ins.
With the cams and tensioner installed, the motor was set to be bolted back in, but not until the HaSport motor mounts arrived. HaSport had long offered a rear replacement mount for the eighth gen but eventually created an entire mount kit that utilizes the three main mounts: rear, driver side, and passenger side. For a street application, Brian Gillespie of HaSport recommended HaSport’s 62a bushing. This would aid in keeping the engine planted and in transferring torque without causing excessive rattling in the cabin. HaSport does offer a stiffer race application for track cars as well. Like all HaSport mount kits, these were designed using CAD/CAM software, produced in billet aluminum, and the fit and finish are exactly what you’d expect from the industry’s best motor mount supplier—spot-on. Upon initial startup, the mounts can be felt, but as the idle mellows, the vibration is much like that of the stock mounts at stoplights. It’s when you begin slapping through the gears that you really feel them doing their job.
Although the HaSport mounts look great in their polished form, I thought I’d send them, along with a spare RSX valve cover, to Triad Powderworks for a different color. Andrew, owner of Triad, was given the task of coming up with a one-off color. My only direction was that it be some sort of bronze. What he developed was a deep bronze color with a hint of gold that looks stunning when the sun hits it. Smooth coating is something you’ll get from Triad, but the artists there also take the time to clear out any leftover material from the valve cover before returning it to you. It’s a very important step that many aren’t aware of. Bolting a freshly powdercoated valve cover onto your expensive motor with abrasives floating around on the underside is a great way to destroy your pride and joy.source: hondatuningmagazine.com