Ask any Honda enthusiast around the world what they think of the CR-Z and they will collectively tell you the same thing: The Honda CR-Z is a cool-looking car but the only downside is that it is a hybrid. When Honda first came up with the idea to create the virtual next-generation successor to the famed CR-X, they did so with good intentions. They wanted a stylish car that resembled the exterior design of the second-generation CR-X, but also wanted the car to be environmentally friendly. The Honda CR-Z was dubbed the "sport hybrid coupe," but other than the styling cues, there wasn't a whole lot of sport for die-hard enthusiasts to get excited about.
Granted, the CR-X was never a high-horsepower monster but the nimble chassis allowed the car to be highly responsive and fun to drive. For those who wanted more power, they could swap a B18C ITR motor or any other twin-cam B Series and the car would be an absolute blast. The ZF1 chassis has a swap option as well in the form of the formidable K Series engine, though switching over isn't quite as easy as it was in the past. The CR-Z's original 1.5L hybrid engine has a giant magnet attached and without the proper tools and a whole lot of balls, you weren't going to take it out, and if you did, you risk possibly losing a limb. There are those who have done the swap though, and if you are an avid HT reader, you've likely seen a few of them grace these pages.
Ask any automotive enthusiast around the world what they think of a K-swapped CR-Z and they will all collectively tell you the same thing: This is how the Honda CR-Z should have come from the factory.
While K-powered CR-Zs aren't exactly common, there are definitely more popping up every year Stateside. Once the chassis and engines get a little older, cheaper, and readily available on the used market, you're likely to see even more. The idea of having a "KR-Z" is an intriguing one as the swap itself just needs to be simplified for the less-inclined enthusiast to pursue it. Japan has just begun to tinker with K-swaps in recent years and you may be wondering why they're so late to the game, but it isn't for lack of effort. Tuning shops and some privateers have done K Series changeovers in the past so it isn't anything new to them. Swaps with K20/K24 motors just aren't common because it isn't remotely affordable for many. The difference between the United States and Japan when it comes to switching engines is that you can't just go and buy an engine to put into your car—you'd have to buy the entire car that comes with it. This is fine if you are just buying an older Honda for a B Series but costs quickly add up if you have to purchase a wrecked JDM FD2 Civic Type R or DC5 Integra Type R. The guys who do choose to move forward are then faced with having to get rid of the motor-less chassis and pay fees to get rid of a shell. If that isn't enough of a headache, owners of K-swapped cars then have to deal with extremely high vehicle inspection and registration rates to keep these cars on the road. In short, if you live in Japan and purchase a Honda CR-Z, you aren't likely planning to do an engine swap any time soon.
When we recently caught wind of a K-swapped CR-Z in Japan, we were surprised to say the least. The famed JDM tuners from FEEL'S Twin Cam had put a motor together specifically for a ZF1 chassis that they were using as their demo vehicle. They didn't have any apprehension to do the swap because they're a legendary tuning shop with plenty of engines and parts available. It just required some machining and assembly to get the engine ready. FEEL'S wasn't bothered with vehicle registration fees because this car would never need to be driven on the street. FEEL'S deemed the CR-Z their "Time Attack Special." Like most of the world, they too felt that the base vehicle was good in that it's a rigid chassis, quite stylish, but simply lacked the speed factor. What they created was a one-off CR-Z that will undoubtedly force you to forget all about the JDM CR-Z that Honda "should have built."
In search of more displacement, FEEL'S utilized the block from the larger K24 engine, and capped it with a K20A Type R head. TODA Racing upgrades are plentiful, from the pistons to the cams and complete valvetrain. The head has been ported/polished for better airflow that comes by way of TODA's individual throttle-body sports injection. Any remnants of the ZF1 being a hybrid is long gone as fuel delivered by a TODA fuel rail and F20C fuel injectors. The anemic L Series transmission was pulled in favor of an FD2 Civic Type R manual trans with special FEEL'S gearset.
Being as it is a JDM circuit-specific build, the futuristic factory interior was completely removed to save weight. The chassis was then reinforced for structural rigidity along with the addition a full rollcage for safety. FEEL'S coilovers provide optimal damping force while a four-pot APP big brake kit helps slow things down. The entire exterior is adorned in lightweight FEEL'S aero. The wider front and rear fenders allow a wider track to house beefy Hankook rubber wrapped around 18-inch AME Tracers.
Though the language barrier made it a bit of a challenge for us to understand why FEEL'S chose to create a JDM KR-Z track vehicle, from what a representative told us, they just wanted to do the new-generation CR-X justice. The president of FEEL'S also envisions a growth in demand for high-performance hybrids in the next two years. Whether they are true eco-friendly machines or K-swapped monsters like this is left entirely up to the tuner. We're all about being good to the planet but seeing this beast blast through the legendary Tsukuba Circuit at a blistering 1:01.109 just "FEEL'S" right.
Bolts & Washers
K20A (R) head
FEEL'S engine mounts
Balanced K24A crankshaft
TODA Racing pistons
TODA Racing piston rings
Modified K24A connecting rods
Port and polished cylinder head
Polished K20A valves
TODA Racing valvesprings
TODA Racing camshafts
TODA Racing individual throttle bodies
FEEL'S original exhaust manifold
FEEL'S original exhaust system
K20A fuel pump
TODA Racing fuel rail
FEEL'S original radiator
Samco Sport cooling hoses
FD2 Civic Type R manual transmission
FEEL'S Special Cross gearset
FEEL'S Original clutch
FEEL'S Original flywheel
ATS carbon limited-slip differential
Modified DC5 axles
FEEL'S original coilovers
Modified OEM antiroll bar
Pillowball suspension bushings
Adjustable upper mounts
APP four-pot front brake kit
FEEL'S Original rear brake pads
FEEL'S DOT 4 brake fluid
FEEL'S brake lines
Wheels & Tires
18x8.5 +45 AME Tracer TM-01
235/40-18 Hankook Ventus TD
FEEL'S original front bumper
FEEL'S original side step
FEEL'S original front wide fender
FEEL'S original rear wide fender
FEEL'S original Twill carbon rear wing
FEEL'S original rear under spoiler
FEEL'S original blue coat wide door mirror
FEEL'S original seats
FEEL'S original shift knob
Simpson safety harness
Nardi steering wheel
FEEL'S reprogrammed K20A ECU
STACK ST instrument cluster
Honda Twin Cam
Since July 1983
We build them.
Inspiration For This Build
The hybrid base is a good car, but it was slow.
All things Honda-related
FEEL'S Twin Cam may still be somewhat of a foreign name to many North American Honda enthusiasts but they have long been known as one of the premier Honda specialists in Japan. Like many tuning shops, they too started from very humble beginnings. FEEL'S began in 1983 as a small tuning and repair shop catering to only Hondas. In the early years, they sold both parts as well as new and used Honda vehicles. One of the first original products that they created was a shock tower bar for the E-AT Civic (known in Japan as the "Wonder Civic"). In fact, FEEL'S was the first to offer it as a commercial product to the public. The rest, as they say, is history. Three decades later, FEEL'S is a staple in the worldwide Honda community with three different locations throughout Japan. Its' crazy to think that their incredible success started from a simple suspension bar.