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Import Car Shows & News - Four One One

Nov 1, 2008
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Import Tuner Looking For Your EVO/STI
Which is the better car: Mitsu's EVO or the Subaru STI? This is the very debate our second annual EVO/STI Shootout is out to settle, and we're looking for your cars to fight it out for the title. Our Second annual EVO/STI Shootout presented by Continental Tires is fast approaching, and if time attacking either car is what you're into, we want you to be a part of it. Check out 2NR's April '08 issue for last year's coverage, then send driver/car proposals-including full spec sheets, experience, and sample pics-to Mr. Super Lap: via

HIN North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Hot Import Nights tour rolled its way to NorCar recently and 2NR-hired hit man, Danny Tang, took to the sights of his Canon to bring you all the action. Throwing their typical modus operandi out the window, HIN set up their Tar Heel State shop outdoors this time around and conducted the entire event during the day. Dubya T.F., you ask? It was a Nightshift event, and well...guesses are that the HIN crew just felt like catching some southern sun. Motocross and stunt bike demos were added to the roster, joining drift exhibitions, live performances by Halfway to Hazard, First in Flight-a local act, we're guessing-and DJs EmWhy and Cadillac Raw, appearances by your favorite import models, and of course, tons of the area's finest tuned imports that comprise the beating heart of any HIN event. Check out for all the coverage, and for details.

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V-8 Acura?
In pertinent Honda news is the announcement of the 2009 Acura TL, which brags "dramatic new styling", SH all-wheel drive, and "the most powerful Acura engine ever". Only months after hearing rumors that the RL will be receiving a newly developed V-8 when the new generation debuts in three years, we're wondering if the '09 TL might beat it to the punch. As Acura Spokesperson Mike Spencer reportedly hinted to another source, the company's inclusion of a turbo-four RDX, V-6-powered RL, and scheduled V-10-powered new NSX would leave a gaping hole that could be filled nicely with any high-performance V-8 the company may be producing, especially when coupled with their desire to develop a top-tier luxury model capable of competing with dominant Lexus and BMW offerings. Performance shops get ready; what we really want to see is a Savage S2K. Think a Ford 5.0-swapped Monster Miata can kick some ass? What about a high-revving, VTEC V-8-powered S2000? That's our kind of roadster!

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Formula D Red Bull Drifting Goes Global
The people who bring you the Red Bull Air Race, Flugtag, and of course, Red Bull energy drink are allying with Formula D to bring you what's being hailed as the single most diverse, most competitive drift event ever to be held. The world's top 32 drifters will converge on the Port of Long Beach, Calif., in mid November to gun it out for the title of World Champion (and the largest prize purse ever offered in drift competition), including the biggest names in Japanese and American drifting, as well as unsung heroes from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Europe. Triple-digit entry speeds are guaranteed, as is a mix of both fast and technical turns, and multiple trackside viewing areas for maximum spectator involvement. Book your tickets now-this will be one for the history books-and check back with 2NR as we showcase the unknown soldiers in future issues.,

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In legal News
New Jersey state assembly members have introduced a bill that would provide for inspection and emissions exemptions and special licensing and titling for vehicles sporting drastic body modifications, engine swaps, or increased sound emission, among other customizations. If the legislation is approved and signed into law, New Jersey would become the 29th state to enact such a variation of SEMA's Street Rod/Custom Vehicle model bill, which permits exemption to State vehicle codes for owners of modified cars. The catch? The bill only applies to altered vehicles manufactured after 1948 that are at least 25 years old ("custom vehicles") and altered vehicles produced before or after 1948 that resemble a vehicle produced before 1949 ("street rods"). While the SEMA bill is a huge step in the right direction for auto enthusiasts, what this ultimately means is that your Civic, with the quiet cat-back exhaust that improves performance and fuel economy without affecting emissions, is still illegal for highway use in many areas. But if you drive an open-header 190dB, un-tuned, big-block-swapped '32 Ford kit car that smokes more than the Marlboro man himself, averages 1.6 mpg, and has no seat're good to go. Think that's wack? It gets worse. Visit the blog spot at for details.

Pride Performance
East Coast tuneing kingpin and NOS poster boy Ernie Manansala recently announced the opening of his own sport compact performance shop and install garage, Pride Performance, by throwing an open-door grand opening event at the shop's Keensburg, N.J. grounds. Home of Siphon's issue #6 Yaris cover car and the NOS-backed twin turbo SC300 HIN tour car, Pride lays claim to having built some of the country's most well-known import/sport compact projects, and brags a customer base including Travis Barker and RJ DeVera. East Coast staples Eat Sleep Race,, Drift Alliance, New Jersey Tuners, and Local Scene were in attendance, as was any East Coast gearhead looking to get a year-long 25 percent discount, and sneak-preview of upcoming project cars, just for stopping by.

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1972 Honda Z600:
This Honda Asks The Civic, "Who's Your Daddy?!"If ever there was a car worthy of a profile in 2NR's Roots section, it's Honda's Z600. Love it or hate it, the Civic is the single most identifiable car with the import scene, and this little guy is its predecessor. Produced from 1970-1972 (just before the Civic's introduction in 1973), the Z600 was actually a coupe variant of Honda's first automobile exported to the states: the N600. As such, it's sometimes called the Honda 600 Coupe, or Honda Z360 (the N600 was sold as the N360 in its early years).

The Z600 was designed and built to Japanese kei car specs, which meant it was absolutely tiny by American standards. Wheelbase was 78.7 inches, and the car measured just under 118 inches, bumper to bumper. By comparison, an EF hatch measures in at 156.1 inches, bumper to bumper, with a 98.4-inch wheelbase. And its 1,300-pound curb-weight is even more indicative of small stature; an EP3 Civic weighs more than twice what a Z600 does. Contributing to its light weight is an equally small engine. Japanese law mandated kei car engines of the day be limited in size to only 0.36 liters of displacement, so JDM Z600's rocked an air-cooled, 354cc two-cylinder engine. Americans lucked out with a 598cc, air-cooled inline-two that brought a little more horsepower-36, to be exact, in total. The good news? How about an overhead cam, 9,000 rpm redline, and 100-plus mpg fuel efficiency when driven lightly (as much as 136 mpg, according to one source)? And let's not forget the synchromesh four-speed manual trans-featuring smoother shifting than many high-dollar cars of the day. The Z600 could reach 75 mph without a problem, but how long it took to accelerate to that speed is anyone's guess; ours is no one had the patience to find out.

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Equally dualistic are the Z600's footworks: front-independent, coilover-shock suspension and power-assisted disc brakes? Great. Rear beam axle, leaf springs, and drum brakes? ...Not so much. The interior was billed as "luxurious", but is laughable by today's standards; the Z600 advertised seating for four, but the rear seats were typically regarded as "kid seats". A radio was available, as was an adjustable antenna and a tachometer, but not too much else.

Honda estimates as many as 15,500 Z600 coupes reached our shores (officially coded "AZ600"), the first 600 of which were sold exclusively in Hawaii-and came equipped with 20 percent more power, thanks to a more aggressive camshaft and freer-flowing carburetor. Best estimates put remaining AZ600s at fewer than 300, and the chance of finding one roaming U.S. streets is slim to none. With an original MSRP of $1,800, a properly maintained Z600 will have more than tripled in value today. Our search turned up only one car on the market: a '72 in excellent condition on eBay, with a current high bid of over $5,000, and a reserve not yet

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Then vs Now 1972 Z600 2004 CIVIC SI
OUTPUT 36 HP / 31.8 LB-FT 160 HP /132 LB-FT
REDLINE 9,000 RPM 6,800 RPM
QUATER-MILE 22.6@58.8 15.7@88.6

Excuse Status: Fail
A 20-year-old Port Orchard, Wash., man recently found himself behind bars for underage drinking charges after a neighboring Kitsap County deputy caught him urinating on the side of the road next to a parked car facing on-coming traffic. When asked about his impromptu bathroom break, the man stated that he'd "drank a lot of beers" that evening. When questioned why he was slurring his words, he replied that "his dentist advised him his mouth was too big for his tongue."

ByTh3 Number5 1,426
The weight difference, in pounds, between Bergenholtz Racing's drag-prepped '06 Mazda6 and a fully loaded showroom stock model.

Dear 2NR,
While going through your August '08 issue I stummbled on the Syntec Challenge article. As I was reading I instantaneously got annoyed. I hate cocky people, so this article ticked me off. Your reasons for justifying your predicted dominance is "Weak Sos"! So what, the 4G63 was the result of a partnership between Daimler-Chrysler and Mitsu. If they can get 1,000 whp out of a 2.0L then your 800 hp from a 2.2L won't cut it. It doesn't matter who originally designed the engine, as long as there are people out there to modify it to make tons of power then for the most part, it doesn't matter what engine you use.

Plus after reading about everyone's power goals, I have come up with the conclusion that every magazine's entries except the "F24c", 427 Chevy, and VQ35DE (which could run all day long with no problem) are going to explode after three pulls on a dyno. For the record, I am a Nissan guy (S14 owner) but you guys really ticked me off.

- Name withheld, via

PS. You're going to need that 10.5k redline because your 2.2L's powerband won't exist until 8k...that is if your head doesn't explode first. Best of luck Import Tuner; I am hoping to win your SR!!

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Thanks for the encouraging letter! Looks like you "stummbled" through a few literary classes in your day, too-unlike most of our readers, it seems that you're having a hard time picking up what we put down last month. Don't worry; daddy's going to hold your hand this month, and show you everything's going to be OK. Remember: We are going to win this thing. And, no, it's not because of "weak sos". That's just why Pooper Treat can't win. Cocky? Nah...just confident!

First of all, it actually does "matter what engine you use" for a big power build; not all engines are created equal, so picking the one that's best suited for your goal really does bring an advantage. Which is why we picked the SR20DET; its design as a low/mid-range power producer means it's better suited for producing power across a broader rpm range than most others, while still able to make big top-end power when modified. Confused? Let's pick on its arch-nemesis-Mitsu's 4G63-to clarify:

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The 4G63 displaces 1,997cc with a 85mm bore and 88mm stroke, and a rod length of 150mm...meaning a rod-length-to-stroke ratio (rod ratio) of 1.70:1. Without going into a diatribe about rod ratio versus side loading, let's just say that bottom ends with longer rod ratios are more conducive to higher rpm power-and the 4G's long ratio is very rev-friendly. Its cylinder head design follows suit with short, fat ports that are designed to move lots of air at high rpm for peak top-end power...but the 4G63 lacks low- and mid-range torque-a deficit AMS/Modified will be attempting to make up for by increasing the stroke of their 4G to 100mm. More displacement? Yes, but at the cost of dropping the rod ratio to a low 1.44:1, making for a very confused engine; a bottom end that can produce low- and mid-range torque, but can't rev high, paired with a head designed for high-rev power, with poor low-end torque-producing characteristic.

Now let's look at the SR: It displaces 1,998cc with an 86mm x 86mm bore and stroke, and its 136.3mm rod length gives it rod ratio of 1.58:1. Its head was designed with long, tapered ports that help maximize air velocity and power production at low- and mid-range rpm. Unlike the 4G63 that's stuck with short, fat ports, the longer, skinnier SR head ports can be expanded to just the right size to offer a near-perfect combination of low-, mid-, and high-speed airflow-supporting power all across the rpm range. We'll also be increasing the SR's displacement, but only by increasing its bore...meaning our SR will maintain its rev-friendly rod ratio for a more balanced engine; a head that bridges low- and mid-range torque with high rpm power, supported by a bottom-end that can spin to a redline 2-2.5K rpm higher than AMS/Modified's 4G63.

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As for the other guys, we're still not worried. Part of us wants to agree with you that most of them are going to blow up (especially the VW), but the other part is dumbfounded by your apparent distrust in boosted import power. Sure, that over-bored 427 Chevy probably could produce some power all day long without a hitch, but not the power/liter needed to hang with the rest of us-pound for pound, efficiency is what the imports own!

Next Month
Our SR20's head and block come together at G-Dimension, where Alex and Stephen get busy with the fab work! Log onto and vote for Import Tuner for your chance to win our monster SR!!



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