The Honda CR-Z has yet to prove itself as a strong tuning platform within the Honda community. While they are stylish and resemble the legendary CRX of old, enthusiasts just haven't bought the idea that a hybrid is "cool." The hybrid motor and giant battery under the hood is a deterrent and people tend to shy away from attempting to turn an enviro-friendly green machine into a full-on project. Even if you did, it still isn't very cost-effect to do so. The car itself is still young and they aren't exactly affordable in comparison to older Hondas that are easier to acquire and build upon. A K-swap is certainly possible if you intend to make the car faster, but that too is not the easiest task to pull off, nor is it remotely cheap.
Those that buy the CR-Z are typically buying them to serve as commuter cars or, as we enthusiasts refer to them, daily drivers. If you're in the market for a hybrid, the CR-Z is a good choice; it's green without looking like a generic hybrid vehicle for the overly Earth-conscious. The trouble with the CR-Z is that it tends to attract diehard car enthusiasts who attempt to see greener (no pun intended) pastures and want a car that they won't mod&mdash'but inevitably do because, well, as you all know, the mod bug never really goes away. It also doesn't help that the CR-Z has a healthy dose of support from the Japanese tuning community, particularly from the King of the Honda aftermarket: Mugen.
Marc Ducrow is no stranger to Hondas and has always been a loyal supporter of the Mugen brand. His previous two Honda builds, an Acura RSX and a Fit, were both fully Mugen-themed. When he decided to purchase a Honda CR-Z, it was pretty much a forgone conclusion as far as which route he would take in terms of modifications. The only person that didn't know how the CR-Z would turn out is Marc himself.
"My CR-Z was purchased as a daily driver that I was supposed to leave bone stock, but well, you already know how that goes." He explains. "I swear, I went into it with honest intentions to not touch the car at all, but a trip to Tokyo Auto Salon a couple years ago changed everything. I spotted the two Mugen CR-Z RR demo cars and instantly fell in love with them. They inspired me and I knew I had to build mine. I was lucky enough to actually visit the Mugen headquarters while I was in Japan and picked up the newest Mugen catalog. I studied it religiously and started planning out which components I wanted to pick up first."
With a solid game plan in place, Marc began sourcing the pieces he could find in the U.S. Anything that he couldn't find he would search the world for. The complete Mugen aero kit you see on his ZF1 today originally came from Fizz Auto in Chicago, IL. He really wanted the front and rear L.E.D. lights that were designed for the kit by Mugen, but the main Mugen distributor stateside didn't even know of the rear light's existence until he pointed it out to them. Part after part bearing the Mugen stamp began piling-up in his garage in the months that followed. By the winter season, the aero kit, Mugen shocks/springs, and Mugen's Delta-Tip exhaust were all installed onto the hybrid.
"One of the hardest parts to get was the Mugen MF10s in this specific 17x8 sizing. I contacted Scott from King Motorsports to see if he knew anyone that had a set, and he did. I contacted the owner and came to an agreement with him on a selling price, only for him to back out of the sale the following day. I had to offer him an additional $500 before he eventually changed his mind. He was nice enough to hand-build wood cases for the wheels before shipping them to me from Montreal, Canada."
The MF10s may have been the most difficult to acquire, but the most unique Mugen product on his CR-Z is what sat behind the wheels. The Mugen Monoblock front brakes originated from Greece of all places, and were originally meant for an FN2 Civic Type R. Marc was on vacation in Greece when he discovered the brakes for sale in Athens on eBay. He used his powers of persuasion to convince the seller to ship to America and also negotiated a price that he could afford. Once the brakes made their way overseas, Ducrow had to massage and manipulate them to work on the hubs of his ZF1.
Marc's CR-Z may follow a very specific and often-used theme, but a closer look reveals a lot more than your average Mugen collector. He explains "I like that my car has parts from all over the world on it. It's a funny story to tell. I never intended to make a show car; I just wanted to build a Mugen-inspired CR-Z that could be daily driven. I really enjoyed building this car due to its uniqueness. It often gets overlooked because it is a hybrid but it's a very fun car to drive. Even if you don't like my car, I think you have to appreciate the attention to detail and execution. It doesn't seem like cars are built methodically anymore. The long-term plan is to keep this car forever. No part-out here after it is featured. It would be fun to bring it out in 5-10 years to see how it measures up because I feel that the build speaks for itself."
Bolts & Washers
Mugen carbon fiber intake box
Mugen Delta-Tip cat-back exhaust
Mugen oil cap
Mugen radiator cap
HKS Radiator Cooling Panel
Mugen 5-way adjustable suspension
J's Racing rear shock tower bar
Spoon Sports Motor Rib
Mugen Monoblock front calipers (FN2R Civic)
Custom front brake rotors
Mugen Race front brake pads
Mugen Sports rear brake pads
Mugen slotted rear rotors
Mugen stainless brake lines
Motul brake fluid
Wheels And Tires
17x8 +45 Mugen MF10
225/45-17 Falken Azenis
Mugen lug nuts
Mugen front lip
Mugen front grille w/L.E.D. lights
Mugen side skirts
Mugen rear diffuser
Mugen rear spoiler
Mugen rear L.E.D. foglight
Mugen Hybrid badge
Mugen carbon fiber side mirror covers
Mugen Hydrophilic side view mirror glass
OEM Honda window visors
Mugen MS-Z front seats
Mugen carbon fiber shift knob
Mugen carbon fiber rear mirror cover
Mugen floor mats
Mugen Assist Oil Temperature Meter
Mugen Assist Oil Pressure Meter
Mugen Assist Water Temperature Meter
Takata 4-point safety harness
BackYard Special shifter surround
BackYard Special rear trunk mat
Everyone from Team EMOTION
Kiet "Boo Berry" Hong
Scott from King Motorsports
Ming from Fizz Autosports
Ron from Falken Tire
Julian from Sublime Restorations
Warren at Mobile Electronic Specialties
Honda Civic Mugen RR
Inspiration For This Build
Being at the Mugen booth at TAS 2012
NSX or S2000
Mugen in the blood
Ducrow's Mugen CR-Z is about as close as you'll ever get in terms of overall "Mugen-ness" to the CR-Z RR concept vehicle that ultimately never made it to production. The aero kit is different obviously, because the RR concept's kit is completely one-off, while Ducrow's is the kit that Mugen offers Worldwide. Every other Mugen accessory that is offered for the ZF1 chassis is already in his possession, with one very important performance piece that still eludes him; the Mugen CR-Z Supercharger. The S/C is the centerpiece to the RR Concept, taking the eco-friendly 1.5L engine and bumping up its power to right around 200 horses. Knowing him, he may have already been on the hunt for it and will have it on the car by the time you read this.