Referred to as the unofficial start of the auto show season, the Orange County International Auto Show was back for another event, jam-packed with over 500 cars from various carmakers that included a very large section dedicated to the Honda brand. Though not quite as large as the LA Auto Show, the Orange County event, held at the Anaheim convention center, has plenty to offer and is a great way to spend a few hours mulling over some of the industries newest offerings.
As I entered the building, no more than 10 feet away sat one end of the Honda-specific section. A wide variety of vehicles that included everything from the Accord Crosstour, to the Civic Si, to a number of Hybrid options were placed proudly on the white carpet. In addition to the typical layout, Honda also had an Indycar on display, along with a number of their non-automotive bits like generators, an outboard boat engine, and even a small model that showcased their revolutionary aircraft.
Acura models were also on hand, though separated from the Honda section, and highlighted multiple levels of sophistication including the entry-level ILX, all the way up to the technology-packed RLX. An older crowd seemed to gravitate toward the Honda/Acura displays with very few teens and 20-somethings in either section. Whether it was just that particular day, or a sign of the times, it was obvious that the younger crowd was drawn toward opposing brands.
Beyond the OEM line up was the ShiftR Automotive and Lifestyle Expo, which displays a mix of aftermarket-clad builds that include sport compact, luxury cars, and exotics. This year there were three Honda Tuning Magazine cover cars positioned within the mix of wild street, show and racecars.
The latest Fit and CR-Z. While the Fit has been a massive hit all over the world, going as far as unintentionally knocking the Civic completely out of the Japanese market, the CR-Z has struggled to find an identity, presumably due to its low power output. Rumors of a more powerful engine have been circulating for a few years; however there's been no concrete evidence.
Honda's Civic (non-Si) line-up hit a roadblock a few years ago with media reviews but after a subtle model refresh seems to be doing better than ever. The sportier, K24-powered Si coupe and sedan are beginning to gain in popularity and aftermarket parts are beginning to surface more rapidly.
The latest generation Accord, in my opinion, is the sleekest and best looking to date. Extremely comfortable, loaded with more tech than any previous model, and if desired, is available with a silky-smooth V6. Also, this unique, passenger mirror-mounted camera that displays your blind spot on the Navi monitor whenever the right blinker is used.
The large, pronounced front grills of the Accord Crosstour and Odyssey minivan.
The shape and styling of the Accord V6 coupe is second to none. It's 278hp J-series engine, when combined with an optional 6-speed manual trans is absolutely outstanding and confuses many, myself included, as to why this car still flys under most enthusiasts radars.
Acura's entry-level sedan, the ILX, places a sporty look and feel within reach of many as its price tag is the lowest in the luxury brands lineup. Powered by a K24 with integrated exhaust manifold, it hasn't drawn in the enthusiast market and parts availability is expected to remain scarce, at least until the ILX has more years under its belt.
The TL and 2nd generation TSX remain in the line up with very minor changes, like the TSX's sculpted lower rear valence.
The unique, jewel-eye LED lighting system of the Acura RLX features 8 LEDs that shine through 16 lenses and provide unparalleled night visibility.
While the MDX boasts more room and cargo space than it's little brother, the RDX feels less like an SUV, and more like a car, especially at speed, through corners.
Honda Bonus Section
Absolutely awesome to witness in person, this Indycar chassis, built strictly in carbon fiber, kevlar, and lightweight composites, features a 3.5L V8 that spins to 10,300rpm! Estimated at 650hp, depending on the type of track, the car weighs between 1,565 and 1,630lbs and has a top speed of 230mhp! First raced in 2006, this particular car picked up wins in 2008 at Kansas Speedway, 2009 at Toronto Indy, and 2011 at Milwaukee 225.
Gorgeous CBR 1000rr on display.
The passion for performance knows no age
In Hondas "other" display area were various products they offer, including land and marine options, as well as a model of their aircraft, the N420HJ that boasts 30% more efficiency over similar jets.
The 2009 HPD L15A7 produces 117hp from it's SOHC VTEC valve train and cast aluminum pistons/forged steel alloy rods. A dry sump set up provides lubrication to the 1.5L.
The tiny L15A7 throttle body compared to an iPhone
This 2012 HI12RT prototype Indycar engine is a turbocharged, 2.4L V6 that is also drysumped and relies on E85 fuel. Having served as the exclusive engine supplier to all 33 teams during the IZOD IndyCar series from 2006-2011, Honda is the only supplier to not suffer any engine failures during the Memorial Day classic. This particular engine is a newer version stuffed into a smaller package that realizes even better performance and efficiency.
This chunk of metal, rubber, and plastic, was once a complete vehicle. Just a remind to keep it off the street, and take it to the track where it belongs ;)
ShiftR Automotive and Lifestyle Expo
Michael Mao's turbo NSX has been on a roll for the past few years landing trophy's at multiple shows, a cover feature in a major magazine, and a ton of attention worldwide. The laid back, soft spoken enthusiast is a regular at every major event in Socal and undoubtedly has one of the most recognizable cars in the industry.
Ryan Basseri of Rywire.com was in the midst of ground-up JDM ITR build when he picked up this 1986 Si as a side project. What started as something to tinker with has quickly turned into a media juggernaut. Currently on the cover of Honda Tuning magazine, as well as a Japanese magazine, the car has continuously appeared in event coverage in both print and web ever since its unofficial debut at this years Eibach Meet. Relying on a B18C ITR swap with Kinsler individual throttle bodies, Basseri implemented a custom, one-off drive-by-wire system controlled by AEM's revolutionary Infinity management and the cars chassis is outfitted with one-off fabrication from front to back.
Michael Lara's 1988 CRX, featured in the May 2013 issue of Honda Tuning, isn't your typical streetcar. It isn't your typical drag car either. What Lara's done is combined the two and while it showed up in battle mode for the auto show, a mere wheel and tire swap and the car is a regular on the street as well. The Whitfield Racing built and boosted SOHC D16Z6 produces over 600whp and has propelled Lara into the 10s.
In August 2012, Evasive Motorsports graced the cover of Honda Tuning with two of their S2000s; one of which displayed at the auto show. Draped in Porsche's muted Mexico Blue paint, the AP2 features Spoon and Voltex aero, and Volk CE28s. The Spoon hood is very unique in that it was originally used on the Spoon Sports' official race car and features deleted vent louvers.
And a Few More Random Photos