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1995 Honda Prelude - Purpose-Built

From the back burner to the front and center.

Sep 2, 2013

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to step behind the scenes at HaSport, located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, there are a few things that probably jumped right out at you. First and foremost, the wall-to-wall parts, engines, and the remains of countless Honda carcasses strewn about. You may have also noticed a number of dusty race cars from various generations; some complete, some not so complete, and others barely flirting with the possibility of being next on the operating table. While Brian Gillespie, HaSport’s chief development and marketing guru, would prefer to work on race cars morning, noon, and night, the engine mount business comes first. Reaching a fever pitch over the past few years, Gillespie has had little time to dedicate to his stable of track cars. However, as successful as the company has been over the past 14 years, even HaSport felt the crunch of a faltering economy that put a stranglehold on the automotive aftermarket. Though it was able to tough it out, the pressure was enough to put this K-swapped track car on the back burner…until now.

Before the Prelude was even a thought, the engine you see pictured, an ERL-built K24A4, sat nicely between the fenders of a ’01 Civic sedan. Plans to compete with the four-door halted rather quickly as Gillespie had his doubts about the MacPherson strut suspension serving as a solid basis for a formidable track weapon. Gillespie adds, “I spoke with Bernardo Martinez, and he suggested a mid-’90s Prelude. One of the main reasons being that its large wheel arches would allow for wider, more aggressive wheels and tires without resorting to flared arches. We eventually found an ex–World Challenge car owned by SCCA Club Racer Dwight Kelly. The car originally belonged to Taz Harvey, and back in 1996, he was narrowly defeated in the World Challenge T2 Driver’s Championship by RealTime Racing’s Prelude. Only two points separated them.”

Getting the keys to an excellent chassis for the build that lay ahead, Gillespie and crew transported the car back to HaSport where they did what they always do with expert precision; they swapped the engine. The K24 was nestled comfortably in its new home for what seemed like only moments before Full-Race put together a custom turbo kit to abuse the ERL-built mill. Based on a Garrett GT3076R, Full-Race took care of all of the cooling and piping duties and supplied one of its race-proven exhaust manifolds. Next, they paid a visit to Joe Sawyer of Locash Racing so he could work his tuning magic, the result of which was a smooth graph topping out at 500 hp. Doing its best to put the power to the ground is an RSX Type S transmission equipped with a Clutch Masters Stage IV clutch and Mugen 1.5 way differential.

With the project moving along so well, everyone was caught off guard as the momentum was slapped right in the face. Gillespie adds, “It was shipped to Bernardo [Martinez] for more fab. This was in 2009, and due to the souring economy, the project was put on the back burner.” Though there were short flashes of progress along the way, Gillespie admits that it was slow. “The stock brake system was changed to Wilwood’s top-mount pedal assemblies and a dual master cylinder setup for better brake bias control. The rollcage was modified so the driver seat could be moved back to better fit the brake pedal changes. The fuel system was upgraded for the big-horsepower turbo motor with a total of four fuel pumps feeding the engine. Complete replumbing of brake lines, boost control, and all wiring. That’s about it during that time.”

In 2011, as the economy finally began to turn around, at least in the performance aftermarket world, HaSport’s mount kits were flying off the shelves at breakneck speeds, and the project was resurrected. An influx of new business meant new machines being added to the HaSport compound, including a water jet, TIG and MIG welders, and sheetmetal-bending capabilities. Under the consultation and watchful eye of renowned aerodynamicist John McNulty, the Prelude was treated to a number of aero enhancements solely focused on functionality and efficiency. A custom-built wing, radiator shrouding, side skirts, and rear diffuser were incorporated. Andy Hope of Circuit Monsters fame hand-laid his patented vinyl wrapped graphics scheme just days before a set of Rays Gram Lights 57DR wheels from Mackin Industries arrived. To match the performance of the fully built Prelude, a set of Toyo Proxes RS1 competition slicks were mounted and stenciled.

According to Gillespie, the car is ready to do battle. He states, “It’s ready for the track now, though the big challenge will be putting all 500 hp to the ground—additional tuning will be handled by Church Automotive Testing. The car’s computer is Hondata’s K-Pro, and we’ll be using their gear-dependent boost controller along with Hondata’s new traction control system.” Gillespie is confident in the car’s ability, once all of the intricacies are sorted out on track. Armed with 500 hp, virgin slicks, and between the three of them (Gillespie, Bernardo, and Hope), a pool of knowledge and experience that runs deeper than most, Gillespie closes comfortably with this, “Rest assured, track records will fall.”

Owner Specs

Daily Grind

Favorite Sites and

Screen Name

Building Hondas
Long, looong time

Dream Car
Any car that can be swapped

Inspiration for This Build
The need for speed!

Future Builds
How much time do you have?

Bolts & Washers

HaSport mounts
ERL Performance machine work
CP Pistons 9.0:1
Brian Crower rods
Brian Crower cams
Brian Crower valves
Brian Crower valvesprings
Garrett GT3076R
Full-Race exhaust manifold
Full-Race intercooler
Full-Race piping
Full-Race 3-inch exhaust
Walbro internal fuel pump x2
Bosch external fuel pump x2
RC 1,000 injectors
Bosch fuel filter
AEM fuel pressure regulator
CSF radiator, DC/EG/EK version
RSX Type S transmission
Clutch Masters Stage IV
Clutch Masters flywheel
Mugen 1.5 way diff

500+ hp

Moton coilovers
Moton shocks
HaSport custom bushings
HaSport custom alignment
HaSport custom front subframe
HaSport custom front radius rods

Wheels & Tires
Rays Gram Lights 57DR, 18x8.5 +38
Toyo Proxes RS1, 245/640-18 (full slick)

Wilwood calipers
Fastbrakes discs
Fastbrakes brackets
Carbonetic pads
Custom brake lines
Wilwood dual master cylinder

Custom front bumper
HaSport splitter
HaSport diffuser
HaSport side skirts
HaSport rear wing
Circuit Monsters vinyl wrap

Interior paint by Bernardo Martinez
Sparco seats
MOMO steering wheel
HaSport shift knob
Wilwood pedal assembly

Hondata K-Pro
Hondata boost controller
Hondata traction control
Hondata datalogger
AIM datalogger
AIM gauges

ERL Performance, Brian Crower, CP Pistons, Full-Race, Fastbrakes, CSF Radiator, Church Automotive Testing, Locash Racing, Mackin Industries, Toyo Tires, Nacho Speed Garage

In Search Of Function

Gillespie and crew are looking for absolute performance with this build, and as mentioned, aerodynamicist John McNulty played a major role in the search for an appropriate amount of downforce. The wing, a McNulty original design, mounts directly to brackets that transfer downforce to the chassis of the Prelude. The front splitter mounts directly to the chassis as well, utilizing adjustable brackets so that its height can be fine-tuned at will. The rear diffuser is also mounted on adjustable brackets and will eventually be integrated into a complete flat bottom piece. The low-hanging side skirts were designed to take advantage of the downforce created by the spiraling vortices coming off the wheels. As you’ve probably figured out by now, this car wasn’t just thrown together. Every part serves a definitive purpose.

Hasport 1995 honda prelude engine bay Photo 17/20   |   1995 Honda Prelude - Purpose-Built


HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Mackin Industries
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Full-Race Motorsports
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Circuit Monsters
By Rodrez
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