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New Ride, Same Track - Skid Marks

New Ride,Same Track

James Tate
Dec 1, 2007
Htup_0712_01_z+james_tate_posing+formula_one_car Photo 1/1   |   New Ride, Same Track - Skid Marks

It's true. This is my first time writing for Honda Tuning. But the first time I tuned a Honda was back in 1994. My first car was an '89 CRX Si for which I enthusiastically paid $4,700. Honda Tuning had yet to spin off of Sport Compact Car magazine. Like everyone else, I read SCC, even though the coolest feature car in the whole magazine might have been an Accord with chrome Azev wheels, a custom paint job and a big stereo system. What can I say? It was the only outlet we had back then.

I'm talking about a time before JDM and before any real high-performance Hondas were on American streets. And I know you're either thinking, "Man, this guy's prehistoric" or you are sitting back with a smile remembering the days when Honda life was so simple.

I couldn't have been more proud of my big 16-inch 5Zigen DIV3 N1R's. I made sure the stickers sat just right on the fake lip of each wheel, even though nobody knew what the hell any of it meant. My big engine modification was a Bullfrog Stage 2 camshaft. Laugh as you may, it made for a pretty peppy engine when combined with the Brospeed (Bosal) Exhaust and the anodized purple RS Akimoto intake that constantly shorted against the battery.

It was a whole year before I finally broke down and ordered myself a ZC. At the time, swapping in a B16A was just too much to attempt as a kid juggling school, girls and a sweet job at Blockbuster. (OK fine, the girls part isn't true. Just let my hindsight be 20/20).

Anyway, I expected the ZC to really wake the ol' girl up but I found myself pretty disappointed when it was all bolted together. Yeah, the whole engine was $375 back then, but it turned out that being able to claim "dual overhead cams" didn't mean you were actually going to go any faster. I guess the D16 with Bullfrog cam made the car as fast as I originally thought after all.

It wasn't long before my disappointment led me to attempt the B16A swap. I found a killer deal on a clean engine with an extra head and a Y1 transmission with a shortened final drive for just over a grand. A real VTEC ECU was a tough find, so a modified ECU out of an Integra DA did the dirty work in conjunction with a Field VTEC controller. Living in rural Virginia meant I had the shift linkage and the motor mounts made for about 50 bucks.

I'll admit to having bought a Wings West body kit, but how could anyone resist? The propaganda was on the walls, and it was good. You can't go around calling yourself "old-school" unless you still have that red CRX etched in your hippocampus. Oh, I think you know the one. No point in trying to play it off now. The bright red Wings West photo car with the Racing Hart C2 wheels and the "Supra style" wing. Got it? Good. You could probably even tell me which way the car was posed. You're as guilty as I am!

I won't spend every issue yammering about my old CRX. Just found it funny that here I am, 13 years after hooking up my first Honda, at the helm of the one magazine that still keeps the faith alive. So, without further ado, turn the pages and do your part. If you see something you like or something that just needs to go, e-mail us and say so. -James Tate

By James Tate
57 Articles

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