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11 Things Honda Tuners Are Doing Right - Aug 2014 Road Rage

Top reasons Honda Performance still exists

Aaron Bonk
Sep 3, 2014

Early Honda-centric car shows were really just another stage for the scene's race cars to display themselves on. It was an opportunity for fans to get up close to their favorite track cars and better understand what they'd since only caught glimpses of from the bleachers or behind roped-off pits. Dedicated show cars were few. Clear taillights hadn't been invented yet. Aero pieces were bolted into place with purpose. Somewhere along the line, though, convention halls full of nonsensical and nonfunctional Civics and Integras took precedence, years later leading to all sorts of silly modifications made for the sake of show points, but often at the expense of going fast. Times are changing, though, and the nonfunctional is once again making way for a world of modified Hondas that once again makes sense. Here are the Top 11 things from last May's annual all-Honda Eibach meet that prove that Honda performance still exists.

Camber that works: The Internet has all sorts of names for it besides dumb, but the number of Civics and Integras with excessive negative camber, improperly sized tires, and offsets that disrupt important things like turning are diminishing. An appropriately sized wheel and tire will never go out of style, as was evidenced by this year's Eibach meet and the number of cars displaying off-the-shelf Volk or Mugen wheels designed for, of all things, front-wheel-drive Civics and Integras.

Engine swaps: From the 1.6L, twin-cam ZC powertrain to Hasport's V-6-equipped CRX, engine swaps are alive and well. History proves that there's no other way to generate so much power for so little money and the Eibach meet tell us that just about everybody understands this.

Proper ride height: Reduced ride height can result in better handling, marginally improved aerodynamics, and a lower center of gravity. There's a diminishing point, though, where shock travel can be compromised and handling goes to pot. As Honda fans once again take to the racetrack, the importance of a reasonable ride height at the expense of show weenie points is becoming more obvious.

Quality parts: No other enthusiast base has been taken advantage of more by overseas knock-off parts suppliers hiding behind the cloak of American trading companies than Honda fans. Communication among enthusiasts online has resulted in a number of companies being exposed, leaving a clear indication as to whose parts will perform as expected and whose will only lead to failure.

Thirty-five years of business: The copycat trading companies will never know what three-and-a-half decades of selling high-performance Honda wares feels like. Jackson Racing does, though, who set up at this year's Eibach meet and who's been manufacturing and selling just about everything you need to make your hatchback faster since before your dad used that cheesy pickup line on your mom.

Old-school resurgence: When industry pioneers like Rev Hard founder Myles Bautista and Archie Madrazo set up shop at the Eibach meet, you know something good's about to happen. Like a turbocharged, H22A-powered Odyssey minivan that, among other things, the two veteran drag racers have been working on.

Missing tow trucks: Towing your show car to a meet will never be cool. Seeing nearly 800 Hondas roll past the gates independent of any flatbeds or winches was a good sign.

Functional bays: There's nothing wrong with that brake booster underneath your hood or any of the brake lines that go along with it. As it turns out, a whole lot of others agree and have figured out ways to modify the stuff that matters without getting rid of all sorts of important things that more than 100 years of automobile manufacturing has proved to be pretty darn worthwhile.

Intake, header, exhaust: The path to more power and a better-performing Honda isn't complicated and starts with freeing up the intake and exhaust tracts. Some chose to develop their own formula and reinvent 100 years of internal combustion tuning in hopes of JDM street credibility, but the number of those who comprehend the importance of an intake that's capable of inhaling fresh air, a tubular exhaust header, and some sort of high-flow exhaust system is growing.

Type R (and NSX) revival: Once seemingly out-of-reach Integra Type R and NSX models have infiltrated the mainstream and are being recommissioned exactly how you'd hoped they'd be. Period-correct restorations are the norm along with an assortment of modifications that make sense. If you made it to the Eibach meet, you'd have seen nearly a dozen of them.

Hasport's and HPD's CR-Zs: If we're being honest, nobody really cares about the CR-Z, a car designed for the sport-minded earth-lover who doesn't exist. Hasport's done what should've happened to begin with and fitted its CR-Z with a supercharged K Series powertrain. Honda's own performance development firm, HPD, also delivered a turbocharged version, which retains the original 1.5L engine and all of its hybrid nonsense but gives us the sort of power everyone hope'd it would've had from the beginning.

By Aaron Bonk
415 Articles

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