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1991 Honda CRX JDM - Two To Tango

One Man's Obsession With A Modern-Day Classic

Rodrez
Mar 1, 2009

Leon Casino's CRX Duo
In this age of over-consumption, some people simply can't get enough. Call it simple greed, or perhaps a lack of self-control, but we see it almost everyday. For some people, the craving is based on food, for others it might be alcohol, but for Leon Casino of Los Angeles, his obsession revolves around the '88-'91 CRX. With a history of building cars over the past 20 years, his experience is unsurpassed, and his eye for detail is second to none. Leon's Mugen-themed, '91 JDM CRX is well known, so when word got out that Leon would be starting a new CRX project, rumors started to fly that he might be selling off the legendary RHD. With far too much time and energy (not to mention, sentimental value) invested in his EF project, Leon decided to keep his JDM project and use an '89 USDM chassis to build the ultimate street car.

It's no secret that Mugen and Spoon Sports of Japan have some of the most competitive, awe-inspiring race cars in the world. The quality and functionality offered by both companies' product lines are drooled over by the masses. Having built a Mugen-themed showstopper previously, Leon changed directions and decided to use the Spoon parts catalog as the basis for his latest offering. After going down his checklist and sourcing the hardware, the gloves went on and the dirty work began. But before any of the newly acquired bolt-ons could be installed, the chassis needed a little love. Narrowing down a project's color choice is never easy, and Leon's CRX was no different. After finally deciding on the right hue, a JDM front end was installed and the paint booth was quickly occupied. In order to add an extremely aggressive stance, the factory JDM fenders were cut, and custom flares were attached to the trimmed arches. Zenon side skirts were painted flat black and bolted to the body, as was a Password:JDM front lip and an optional OEM rear wing. Lightweight carbon-fiber Vision Type DC mirrors replace the blocky stockers, while in the rear a black Golden Eagle diffuser was added just above the Circuit Hero towhook.

To capitalize on the aggressive look of the custom fender flares, Leon knew that lightweight flat black wheels would fit the bill perfectly. And so 16-inch Spoon SW388s shod in Falken Azenis rubber were the obvious choice for the green machine. Due to a lack of low-offset options from the Spoon camp, a custom set of billet spacers push the front wheels out a full inch. Handling duties were a top priority to this CRX fanatic, and a call was made to Preston of Function and Form for a set of its now-famous coilovers, adjustable camber kit, and rear lower control arms. A complete Energy Suspension bushing kit updates the almost 20-year-old factory rubber, and the Place Racing front crossmember offers a level of rigidity that the OEM version never could. Leaving no stone unturned, Leon also compiled a list of brake components to improve the CRX's stopping power. Spoon calipers mated to 11.1-inch rotors help fill the gap behind the ultra-wide positioning of the Spoon wheels up front and are backed by a rear-disc conversion.

With the suspension and exterior completed, it was time to tackle the power equation. Out came the factory SOHC engine and in went a new heart. Borrowing parts from its sibling, Leon outfitted his B16A with an ITR intake manifold, cams, and exhaust manifold. Toda cam gears and the company's belt make sure the timing is just right, and an SX regulator and Golden Eagle rail keep tabs on the fuel. Spoon spark plug wires sit neatly under a Spoon kevlar cover, highlighted by a retina-burning yellow filter that screams Spoon when the hood is popped. At the opposite side of the engine bay, a custom-built catch can with Orme Brothers custom lines takes care of the excess, as the Koyo aluminum radiator cools temps and adds a bit of shine in one fell swoop.

Years of constant abuse can wreak havoc on any car's interior, so Bride Zeta III bucket seats and Takata 3-inch harnesses put the factory pieces to rest. Leon wanted to add a few race-inspired touches to the cabin and was able to source a Spoon steering wheel and shift knob combo to keep his hands busy. As for his feet, Razo aluminum pedals make sure they're not left out. A JDM gauge cluster and various gauges keep the information coming whether cruising down the freeway or pushing the car to its limits on a road course.

With both a Mugen- and Spoon-inspired projects complete, what could possibly be next for this master builder? Well, believe it or not he's almost finished with a 240SX build that he's been tinkering with for a few years. Don't expect him to stray too far though, Leon Casino is a man blessed with the H badge, and we wouldn't be at all surprised to find him working on a third CRX build in the near future.

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
JDM B16A
Ported and polished head
Hondata intake manifold gasket
ITR intake manifold
ITR camshafts
ITR header
Toda camshaft gears
Toda timing belt
Spoon Sports air filter
Custom exhaust piping
Ultra-flow muffler
Koyo radiator
Spoon Sports radiator cap
Spoon Sports radiator hoses
Spoon Sports oil cap
Spoon Sports magnetic oil drain plug
Spoon Sports reservoir covers
Spoon Sports carbon-Kevlar spark plug cover
Spoon Sports spark plug wires
Golden Eagle fuel rail
SX fuel pressure regulator
Moroso breather
John RH custom catch can
Orme Brothers custom lines and fittings

Stance:
Function and Form coilovers
Swift springs
Function and Form lower control arms
Function and Form adjustable camber kit
Place Racing front crossmember
Skunk2 rear lower tie bar
Energy Suspension master bushing kit
Prothane trailing arm bushings
Spoon Sports shock tower bars
Tanabe antiroll bars
JDM SiR spindles

Resistance:
Spoon Sports brake calipers
11.1-inch drilled/slotted rotors (front)
Disc conversion (rear)
Project Mu Titan Kai pads

Rims & Rubber:
16x7 Spoon SW388 wheels (+35 offset)
205/45-16 Falken RT-615
Spoon Sports lug nuts
ARP extended studs
1-inch front wheel spacers

Outside:
Custom paint
JDM front-end conversion
Password:JDM front lip
Zenon Urethane sideskirts
Ace 1 Fabrication front fender flares
OEM optional rear wing
Vision Type DC carbon-fiber mirrors
Golden Eagle rear bumper diffuser
Circuit Hero towhooks

Inside:
Spoon Sports steering wheel
NRG quick-release hub
MOMO steering wheel boss
Spoon Sports shift knob
B&M short shift kit
Bride Zeta III bucket seats
MOMO seat rails
Takata 3-inch harnesses
EM Racing C-pillar bar
Razo race pedals
Broadway rearview mirror
Auto Meter tachometer, voltage, oil pressure, vacuum, and water temp gauges
APEX'i cool-down timer
JDM gauge cluster
JDM rear folding seat
JDM center armrest

Props:
"This project is dedicated to my aunt Nora. May she rest in everlasting peace."

Nick at Falken Tires
Bun 'san' at LOT USA/Bride
Preston at Function/Form
Mark at EM Racing
JHP USA
Rodrez
Pit Crew Motorsports
Camp 1320
Chuck and Rocky at Showstoppers
Options Auto Salon

The Mugen EF6
These days, everybody and their mothers have access to right-hand-drive cars from Japan. But if you tried to source one back in the '90s, you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody even willing to hunt one down for you, much less go through the hassle of importing one. Leon initially imported three JDM CRXs to the States. The plan was to cannibalize them to build the ultimate USDM CRX. However, that plan was quickly thrown out the moment he laid eyes on one that was simply too immaculate to tear apart. With his canvas in front of him, Leon set out to paint a portrait of perfection. He'd long felt that Mugen's six-piece body kit and wing seemed to belong on the CRX, and a matching set of period-correct MR5s added the crowning touch. A set of S1 buckets, along with an FG360 steering wheel and pedal kit fill the spotless cabin, further continuing the Mugen theme. Satisfied with the aesthetics, a built D16A engine complete with Weber side-drafts made its way into the bay, and with the help of some very rare Mugen N1 suspension, the EF6 was complete. After years of care and countless First Place trophies, Leon's masterpiece remains intact, and better than ever, holding a piece of Honda history under its belt.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion:
D16A6
12.0:1 Arias pistons
Eagle rods
ARP rod bolts
Industrial Performance headwork
Stainless steel, nitride-coated vales
ISKY race springs
ISKY titanium retainers
Exospeed custom camshaft
AEM camshaft gear
Weber 45mm side-draft carburetors
TWM runners
Holley fuel pump
Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator
Orme Brothers steel-braided fuel lines
MSD 8980 timing controller
MSD 8.5mm spark plug wires
MSD distributor cap
Quaife LSD
Action dual-diaphragm six-puck clutch
Exospeed aluminum flywheel

Stance:
Mugen N1 race coilovers
Showa N1 dampers
Mugen antiroll bars
Mugen master bushing kit
Vision front upper shock tower bar
EM Racing C-pillar bar

Resistance:
'95 Civic Si calipers
Project MU slotted rotors
Project MU pads
Orme Brothers steel-braided lines

Rims And Rubber:
15x6.5 Mugen MR5 (+45 offset)
205/50-15 Falken Azenis

Outside:
Mugen body kit
Mugen rear wing
AeroDuo carbon-fiber hood
Custom NACA duct air scoops
HID conversion

Inside:
Mugen S1 race buckets
Takata 3-inch harnesses
Mugen FG360 steering wheel
Pivot tachometer
Omori EGT and oil pressure gauges

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Los Angeles

Daily Grind:
Phlebotomist

Favorite Website:
www.myspace.com/ivace1

Building cars for how long:
22 years

Favorite Kicks:
OG slippers

Dream Car:
NSX

Build Inspiration:
Redline and IVACE

Can't Miss TV:
Simpsons

By Rodrez
626 Articles

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