One of our favorite memories from this busy year was playing host to the Osaka JDM crew at this year’s Wekfest Los Angeles event. We’ve developed a great rapport with them over the past year and the times we’ve hung out in Japan, they’ve always taken great care of us. Kazuhiro Furukawa is an extremely gracious host, to say the least, so when he decided to come to America, we had to return the favor. Many of the cars that they had drawn inspiration from were Hondas that they were only able to see on the Internet previously. The show served as a good outlet for them to finally see some of these cars in person for the first time and display their products to American Honda enthusiasts. It was great to be able to say that we played a major part in bringing Osaka JDM to the States but that day was memorable because we got to witness their enthusiasm for the US scene first hand. Kazuhiro and his friends were genuinely excited to be there. At their core, they are automotive aficionados just like us. That is one of the reasons why Furukawa-san has been so successful throughout the years—because the man’s passion shows and he is relatable to his clientele.
Though Osaka JDM’s operation is relatively small in size, they do have a dedicated fan base. Car Craft Boon’s repertoire of Hondas is deep, though you may have only been exposed to their EF and E-AT chassis Hondas. The older models tend to be the more recognizable builds because you don’t deal with heavy doses of them as you would with say, an EG or EK Civic, particularly when they are set-up in traditional Japanese Kanjo-style fashion. They hold a special place in your memory because they are different than what you are accustomed to seeing. The EK you see here is mundane in comparison to the usual Osaka JDM builds. After all, it’s just a plain U.S. Honda Civic CX hatchback—at least, that’s what your mind is trying to tell you anyway.
Sure, it has the American Honda front end, side moldings, rear hatch, and even the black license plate garnish that would come unpainted on a CX body. The EM1 front lip is not a factory option, but guys have been putting those things on non-Si Civics for years. Just looking at it, one would come to the conclusion that this is just a plain-Jane Civic lowered on wheels that probably lives out its days as Furukawa’s beater. The educated Honda buff knows otherwise because they know that a Civic CX was never offered in Osaka—or anywhere else in Japan. Not only is this not a USDM CX model, it’s an actual EK9 Civic Type R that’s been dressed down. According to Furukawa-san, it also happens to be fast—really fast. This NSX yellow EK9 is no doubt a Type R but it no longer has any visual characteristics of one. You won’t even find a Japanese B16B under the hood. An HKS-turbocharged B18C now powers this wolf in sheep’s clothing and the motor itself has been fortified with Top Fuel and JUN components to handle the additional stress that comes with boost. Airflow to the HKS GT-RS turbo comes via a TRUST intercooler while spent exhaust gases exit through an Osaka JDM exhaust system. To give the engine bay that “USDM” appeal, Furukawa-san has taken the liberty of installing a Password:JDM cooling panel and a pair of brake and clutch reservoir socks by Bisimoto Engineering. You won’t find an über-JDM oil cap on there either because an etched American Bisimoto cap is much cooler in the eyes of the USDM fan.
You could make the assumption that the Civic was dressed down to give it that “sleeper” appeal but that isn’t the case. Remember that a Civic Type R is pretty commonplace, especially in Osaka, where there is a flourishing tuning community. Altering the appearance of the EK9 to make it appear as a CX model Civic actually makes it stand out. Car Craft Boon has developed a deep appreciation for the American Honda culture over time and the CX conversion serves as an homage to the North American crowd. Additionally, they have stepped away from their signature Osaka JDM-styling by not opting to use their signature Work Wheels-manufactured Loop5 wheel. Instead you will notice a custom three-piece wheel produced by Barramundi Designs. The “Toman” is one of three designs offered by the smaller, lesser-known Barramundi. These Japanese-made wheels are growing in popularity and are comparable to CCW here in America. Osaka JDM’s very own coilover system brings the EK9 chassis closer to the aggressively sized 16-inch staggered wheels and their front suspension arms provide necessary adjustments to fit the 8.5/9-inch wide wheels in the fender.
The interior of this CTR takes on a more business-like approach and is devoid of any regionally-specific modifications. Lightweight Recaro SPG bucket seats keep Furukawa-san firmly in place and unnecessary interior elements have been eliminated to save weight. The entire chassis has been spot-welded for added rigidity in combination with a rarely-used Mugen roll cage.
This turbocharged, CX-disguised CTR is not a build that you would normally associate with the fleet of old school Hondas that Car Craft Boon offers, but that’s what makes it special. It shows versatility and a willingness to be different. Think of it as a more modernized, updated take on the classic Kanjo racer-style. Anyone not interested in this look shouldn’t worry; they won’t know the difference between a USDM CX and JDM CTR—it’ll all look like a yellow blur.