Marco Arias' EF CRX
The intensification of the JDM craze here is not news. Nor is the fact that JDM-clad imports can be found on just about all of our wish lists. The widespread appearance of I ♥ JDM license plate frames on random hondas all around us serve as reminders of the fine line between being different and trying to be different...Albeit just like everyone else, therefore being no different at all. Occasionally the truly unusual abounds, like this rare righthand drive '91 CRX SiR acquired from Japan by one Marco Arias. Unlike other conversions pieced together from wrecking yard parts and eBay finds making them seem JDM, Marco's CRX is the real deal.
Equipped with the once immensely popular B16A DOHC VTEC engine and wraparound directional lights from the factory, this rex is admired by both form and function crowds. Marco, who says he's not a huge fan of older Hondas, makes an exception when describing the newest addition to his collection of imports. Discussing the interior equipment, he's quick to point out the OEM instrument cluster, which includes a temperature-controlled climate system that others would be hard-pressed to find on newer cars of the same class, even today. As with other paraphernalia sourced from the motherland, true-to-form JDM hondas are more often than not outfitted with extras our USDM counterparts likely won't see for years to come, if ever. This alone is perhaps reason enough to jump on the JDM bandwagon, even if it is has already met its weight capacity. Marco's ride, however, is most often admired for the right-side steering column. "It's really cool to drive around and have the homies wonder how I got my hands on this ride," he says.
Astute Hondaphiles understand the drama associated with importing one's very own Japanese domestic car. Only those residing in the land where left-hand drive is the norm know the scrutinizing process presented by the authorities when it comes to anything else. As such, the waters are often muddied and the lines blurred when it comes to devising clever alternatives to bringing such vehicles over. Not that Mr. Arias did such things but more than a few capers have been known to occur. suppose an alternative was sought, unlike Marco who reportedly went through the proper channels, how then would one bring such JDM-ness to american soil?
The answer lies in the barcalounger. It should come as no surprise that more than a few right-hand drive chassis have made their way to the states under the guise of containers full of furniture. But before you plan on stuffing a CTR in between a dozen or so sofa beds, keep in mind that cars imported without the proper paperwork are about as useless as a two-legged kitchen table because they can never be registered or legalized for on-road use. The cost of shipping, federalizing and making a car 50-state legal runs roughly $15,000 and can only be performed if crash test data is provided to the government. Try registering a car at the state level and be prepared to pay upwards of $25,000. So, short of coughing up such dough, one's best alternative presents itself in the form of furniture, which of course means this little piece of JDM could only legally be driven off-road, but it's significantly cheaper at around $5,000 per container.
At any rate, Marco's SiR arrived in primo condition. The one-owner EF, which was kept garaged and barely driven, came loaded and with the equivalent of approximately 10,000 miles. The Japanese SiR was tuned at the factory to produce 157 bhp, even the folding electric mirrors were added as an option. While the car was still sitting in a container at the port of Los angeles, new Password:JDM custom Recaro seats were being prepared. A custom stitched leather shift boot was also in the works to complement the racing seats. The day the car rolled out of the container Marco went to work mounting the seats, shift boot and MOMO steering wheel.
The man began to make plans for overhauling the engine with the help of Erick's Racing and the drivetrain with Frank at F&S Clutch. Marco will go down the track in a straight line if given the opportunity, which is really the reason why he added nitrous injection to the intake, but he finds road racing more exciting nowadays and that's why he chose the light pedal pressure yet tight gripping F&S clutch setup. Those who've ever driven on a road course competitively for any length of time are likely familiar with Marco's concerns. Drivability is a function of many variables, including suspension. Rare Tsuchiya K-office coilover suspension pieces pulled out of an old box found a new home on the car that is likely to see some serious road gripping action.
Marco thinks that when he finally gets the chance to test the built engine with the Password:JDM carbon-Kevlar intake he'll easily put down 225 whp on the dyno. Chances are that much more mods will follow once the initial results are in, but for now, Marco has plenty of enjoyment to go around from what he's already got. Oh yeah, go ahead and sport that license plate frame.
Bolts & Washers
Marco Arias' EF CRX
Innovative engine mounts
Arias 11.5:1 pistons
Skunk2 Pro1 camshafts
Alaniz Technologies ported cylinder head
Port-matched intake manifold
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Password:JDM carbon-Kevlar intake
NGK R spark plugs
F&S chromoly flywheel
Skunk2 test pipe
SiR muffler and tip
Password:JDM shifter bushings
Skunk2 camber kit
Cusco rear upper strut bar
F&S cross-drilled/slotted rotors
Axxis Metal Master pads
Goodridge steel braided lines
Rims & Rubber:
16x7 Volk racing CV Pro (+45 offset)
205/45r-16 Nitto Neo Gen
JDM optional foglights
JDM optional rear spoiler
Password:JDM limited edition Recaro seats
Password:JDM titanium shift knob
Password:JDM shift boot
MOMO Corse steering wheel
JDM Gathers head unit
Hometown: Whittier, Calif.
What's in the Ipod: Cool G rap: "Fast Life"
All time favorite pair of kicks: Air Jordans
Last DVD bought: Gone in 60 seconds
Bogus traffic tickets: Count 'em: 23
Mac or Pc: PC
Favorite non-honda: Mitsubishi EVO IX MR
Porn star pick: Kendra Leigh Wilkinson
Hottest model: It's a battle between Sophie Berglund and Natalia Marie