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"Honda Tuning", May 1, 2012

A Product of the Golden Era

Reviving a classic with modern-day power

BY RODREZ

PHOTO BY RYAN BELVILLE

A quartet of Kinsler 60mm throttle bodies peeks through a custom hood scoop backed by an overtly aggressive Exospeed front end. Beyond the mean mug lies 2.4 liters of pure, unadulterated grunt, slapped by 13.7:1 Wiseco slugs and a nasty set of Drag Cartel bumpsticks that help spin the rollers to over 300hp. As if to further drive home the primal desire for tire-ripping acceleration, all of the above is packed neatly into a package that tips the scales just north of 2,000 pounds. All things considered, its no surprise that this ghost gray CRX moves every bit as good as it looks.

The very sight of a well-built CRX, for most long-term Honda enthusiasts, drums up thoughts of the ’90s. Often referred to as the import movement’s “Golden Era,” it will forever be recognized as a stretch of time that brought about a massive influx of technological breakthroughs, immeasurable growth, and a gaggle of iconic chassis that still stir up emotion two decades later.

Jason Su, president of Suja 1 Motoring, falls into that group of lucky individuals who witnessed a blossoming culture that helped to fuel an entire industry and, as a result, has you reading the very magazine you now hold. Su adds, “I grew up in Guam, and just like so many others in the ’90s, I was hooked on import drag racing. I started an apprenticeship at a local performance shop and that was it, there was no turning back!” Things became a little more serious in ’97 when Su installed his first turbo kit, and on the streets of Guam, he was able to best just about every competitor who dared lay down a challenge. A few years later, Su relocated to Chicago, but continued with his passion for Hondas, this time in the form of a ’96 hatchback. “I built a B16 for it, but the lack of torque wasn’t doing much for me. I ended up swapping in a K20 (ITR) motor, but as time went on, it seemed like everyone with a sixth gen was doing that swap. I wanted to be different, and I set out to build something that would be hard to replicate.”

The phrase “I wanted to be different” is synonymous with hard-core Honda builders and typically serves as a catalyst for something remarkable. A CRX was the chosen platform to build upon, and Su began a search that eventually led to a theft recovery bargain that seemed too good too be true. Enamored with the old-school chassis, he made the purchase quickly while wearing “build goggles.” That is, the haze of excitement combined with a new canvas with which to create blinded him from the fact that the car’s beauty was but skin deep. “That car should have been crushed at the junkyard. It was Champ white and looked decent, but there was hidden damage and corrosion under the paint. I was just too anxious, but once it was torn down and I saw what I was up against, I decided it needed to be brought back.” The damage was extensive enough to necessitate a new set of rear quarter panels and plenty of body work to rid the CRX of over 20 years of wear and neglect.

With the major plastic surgery complete, the chassis was sent off to John of Tech One for a custom-built rollcage to add a level of safety and rigidity that the factory never intended. The next major hurdle was to not only coax a K20 heart into the tight confines of the CRX’s chest cavity, but also ensure that it settled properly. Due to the car’s eventual track duties, crucial factors like engine positioning, hood to ground clearance, and axle geometry were all scrutinized as Su worked closely with Avid Racing on a set of custom motor mounts for the proper fit. An additional surgical procedure by Tim’s Auto Body would involve slathering the car in a healthy coating of custom gray, leaving behind any remnants of rotten quarter panels and rust.

Beyond obvious power upgrades like the Kinsler trumpets and handcrafed Six Sigma exhaust manifold, you’ll no doubt notice intricate details like the Mil-spec wiring harness and carefully mapped braided hoses that occupy much of the bay. Show quality, yet one of its first outings had the CRX blasting down the quarter-mile at over 118 mph in just 11.5 seconds after averaging 35 mpg. Su states proudly “I know the mpg because I drove the car from Chicago to Indianapolis, then raced and won the IndyHP Streetcar Shootout. Right after, I turned around and drove it all the way home to Chicago still averaging about 35 mpg!”

Always in search of more power and faster times, Su decided to swap the 2.0L block for a K24 bottom end and bumped the compression at the same time. Though he’s still working out the bugs, the increased displacement netted an improvement in his personal best, this time landing him an 11.3 at 122 mph. But don’t just assume that’s the end of it, as new plans are already on the table. “There were some learning pains, and our times only improved a little bit, but knowing what we do now after learning so much, we’re going to step it up with a brand-new setup. Wish us luck in 2012!” Something tells us the Suja 1 Motoring crew doesn’t rely much on lady luck, but rather hard work and perseverance. That’s how it was done during the Golden Era.

BOLTS & WASHERS

PROPULSION

K24A1

Hondata K-Pro management

Suja 1 Motoring/Avid motor mounts

ARP main studs

ACL race bearings

Wiseco 13.7:1 pistons

BluePrint billet rods

Kinsler 60mm ITBs

Six Sigma Racing header

Suja 1 Motoring straight exhaust

Drag Cartel Stage 4 cams

Supertech valves

Supertech valvesprings/retainers

Supertech keepers

Bosch 044 fuel pump

ID1000 injectors

Earl’s lines and fittings

Fuelab fuel filter

Fuelab fuel pressure regulator

Suja 1 Motoring fuel cell

ERL S2000 oil pump

Suja 1 Motoring baffled oil pan

Suja 1 Motoring radiator

K-Tuned water pump block-off

Golden Eagle water pump

DC5R transmission

Synchrotech carbon synchros

Hybrid Racing cable bushings

Competition Clutch twin disc

Quaife LSD

Gator Racing axles

Suja 1 Motoring scattershield

RCrew shifter plate

T1 solid-state relay

Suja 1 Motoring Mil-spec harness

Suja 1 Motoring vented valve cover

Suja 1 Motoring catch can

Suja 1 Motoring shaved engine bay

POWER

325 whp

SUSPENSION

PIC coilovers

Suja 1 Motoring hard rubber bushings

Skunk2 camber kit

Suja 1 Motoring/Avid Pro series traction bars

K-Tuned rear stabilizer

DA spindles

4x114.3 hub conversion

ARP extended studs

Rear disc conversion

Function7 LCAs

RESISTANCE

Endless brake discs

Hawk brake pads

Suja 1 Motoring line tuck

Suja 1 Motoring brake lines

WHEELS AND TIRES

Front: Bogart 13x9 wheels, M&H 24.5x9-13 tires

Rear: Bogart 15x3 wheels, M&H 15x3 tires

EXTERIOR

Tim’s Auto Body paintwork

JDM EF8 Exospeed front end

Fiber Images EF8 hood

Suja 1 Motoring hood scoop

INTERIOR

Kirkey race bucket

Crow harness

Spoon Sports steering wheel

NRG quick-release

NRG short hub

Seeker shift knob

CNC staging brake

Auto Meter tach

AEM air/fuel gauge

AEM oil pressure gauge

AEM fuel pressure gauge

PROPS

I love my wife WeiWei, my daughters Janelle and Justine, and the build contributors: the Brandons (BK and BD), Jeremy, Matt, Zach, TK, Chuck Morris, Chris, Marcus, Jake, Tyler, Jazz, Pedro, Yoshi, Ray, Guilbert, Suja 1 Motoring, Team 4Piston, PIC suspension, Competition Clutch, SSR, Avid, Gator, RyWire, Drag Cartel, Hondata, K-Tuned, Tim’s Auto Body, Tech One

OWNER SPECS

DAILY GRIND

Aviation maintenance tech

FAVORITE SITE

suja1motoring.com

SCREEN NAME

PeeBee/PB16B

BUILDING HONDAS

17 years

DREAM CAR

NSX

INSPIRATION FOR THIS BUILD

The team at Suja 1 Motoring

FUTURE BUILD

Another CRX or Integra

CONNECT

GOLDEN EAGLE MANUFACTURING

goldeneaglemfg.com

DRAG CARTEL INDUSTRIES

dragcartel.com

RYWIRE

rywire.com

HONDATA

hondata.com

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