Sheets of rain pummel the windshields of immaculate Acuras and Honda hatchbacks as attendees wrapped in bright blue Falken plastic ponchos brave Mother Nature's onslaught. It's a cold, angry, early September morn in Marysville, Ohio, and an ongoing joke about how we should have brought a canoe continues to circulate.
Compared to last year's swelteringly hot meet at the Honda Heritage Center, the 2018 gathering was a frigid slosh-fest. Yet despite the weather, devout Honda heads from all across the nation made it out to mid-Ohio (the region, not the legendary track) in order to link up, learn a little more about the brand, and celebrate what makes Honda so special.
With well-known Honda fanatics like Frank Garcia of Downstar fame, ICB Matt, and Big Mike in attendance to join event figurehead Ryan Hoegner of Eibach, the "pull" associated with this event continues to show steam, and the camaraderie in the air hangs heavier than any rain cloud in the sky. Hell, if anything, this year's Ohio meet serves as proof that enthusiasm for the Honda brand is stronger than ever.
From King Motorsports showcasing its vintage, period correct Mugen CRX race car, and J's Racing making a splash with an entire lineup of heavily outfitted builds, to the Wilwood, Falken, and Eibach booths themselves, there was something for everyone in Ohio this year. Pristine Z600 micro machines parked themselves beside bagged NSX showstoppers, as row upon row of both old and new Type R arrived despite the weather. But for some, the big show wasn't just in the parking lot out back, but what was inside the Honda Heritage Hall itself.
Positioned across the street from the plant where the modern day NSX is manufactured, the unassuming building where Eibach's annual Ohio meet is held is a time capsule for enthusiasts. Packed with everything from scooters and side-by-sides, to CVCC classics, watercraft, and even a HondaJet, this place is a gem if Honda history and nerding out are your thing. Here you can see firsthand how the company's assembly robotics work, encounter the exploded inner workings of modern Earth Dreams V6 ingenuity, and get up close with ASIMO and various other robots.
A few favorite takeaways from the Heritage Center include the no. 62 Comptech/HART NSX race car, that minty-fresh red N600, encountering one of the Honda Manufacturing of Alabama's old Odyssey race vans, and drooling over the 200-horsepower, turbocharged F-15X AquaTrax watercraft. Naturally, there were quite a few other displays for keeping attendees occupied while they dried out, with the souvenir shop garnering a lot of attention as well.
Back outside it was time for awards, along with some trivia-based giveaways, as Big Mike conducted microphone duties and handed out custom award plaques courtesy of Honda R&D specialist and local CRX fanatic Eric Pederson. With the clouds clearing, and awards for furthest traveled, best engine bay, best in show, and so forth handed out, it was time to pack things up and reflect upon the day's events.
Was the weather complete crap almost the entire time? Yes, it was. Did that deter legions of hardcore Honda fanatics from descending upon a little-known museum in the middle of nowhere? No, it did not. The dedication this brand and its luxury offshoot imbue is impossible to ignore, and the quality of cars present at the 2018 Eibach Ohio Meet was a shining example of this fact. Personally, I think the rain made those individuals who did make the trek, and the vehicles they brought with them even more special - sentiments that were pretty much summed up by Big Mike when he said, "Eibach is all about community, cars, camaraderie, and class."
Best of Show: Will Wang (Supercharged White NSX on Desmond Evo II wheels)
Best Old School: Ryan Wedig (Mugen-outfitted blue CRX Si)
Best on Falken tires: Michael Zambrano (J's Racing outfitted S2K)v Best Racecar: Jason Tipple (EK drag car trailered by modified Odyssey)
Road Warrior: John Moore (drove 850 miles from Jacksonville, Florida)
Best Engine Bay: Don Luong (boosted red EK hatch)
Think a little wet weather is going to scare Wilwood away? Nah, they were there displaying a number of Honda-friendly brake kits.
New-school Civic Type R smorgasbord
More than meets the eye—up top you see an innocent Insight hiding a supercharged K-series under its hood, while underneath a mildly modded Element with a J-series swap on board.
Yup, we got it; you saw that one high-powered turbo Odyssey on that TV show and it lost the big race. However, this one is Honda's and it's done quite well for itself on the track.
At the Eibach Meet, you'll find a little of the old and a little of the new.