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Spoon Sports Auto Shops - Profiling

Spoon Sports

Phi Phung
Jun 1, 2009
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Htup_0906_02_z+spoon_sports_auto_shops+main_view Photo 1/19   |   The proverbial magic happens here. Inside this temperature-controlled room, engines are torn down, prepped, and rebuilt. Inventory and engine parts are also stored here. This includes engines for everything from Super Taikyu race teams to customers looking for daily drivers.

There's no disputing that Spoon Sports is one of the most prolific names within the Honda world. The name, the logo, even the company's blue and yellow signature colors are enough to get the blood pumping through even the greenest of Honda fan boys' veins. Led by team principle and company president Tatsuru Ichishima, Spoon is synonymous with high quality, high standards, and a rich heritage in motorsports. During its 20-plus-year span, the company has participated in everything from one-make races to international GP events, but Spoon shines when it comes to endurance races, like the 24-hour Nuremberg, the 25-hour Thunderhill, and Super Taikyu events. Located in the greater Tokyo area and easily accessible by train, Spoon's headquarters serves as a Mecca of sorts for enthusiasts who are lucky enough to travel to Honda's home country.

Spoon Co, Ltd is divided into two divisions: Spoon Sports and Type-1. Both shops are located no more than a quarter mile apart from one another, on the same street. The shops are close and, if you make the short trip on foot, you just might cross paths with Mr. Ichishima on his bicycle as he heads to Type-1. The Spoon side of the business handles the production operations, builds engines (anything from B-, to K-, to C-series), and has an extensive research and development program. Each camshaft, brake caliper, and chassis brace, is developed in-house at Spoon. Today, Spoon's expanded its research and development efforts even further, using its extensive track experience to assist Honda in new vehicle development. The Type-1 facility focuses on retail sales and offers service and maintenance to the public. Everything happens inside the Type-1 facility from oil changes and alignments to engine installations and race car preparations.

Since Spoon's facilities are located in the center of Tokyo, space is at a premium, both physically and financially. The situation is not unlike what it would be like to open up a tuning shop in the middle of Manhattan. All of this meant that Mr. Ichishima had to get creative when planning the workspace. As such, every square inch of the Type-1 shop's two stories are utilized. Access between the two floors is made by a rising auto lift/platform, which transports anything from NSXs to pallets of engines to the second floor where you'll find things you'd never expect to find on a second floor, like lifts, rows of engines and transmissions, air compressors, a showroom that's integrated into the shop, and about a dozen Hondas. The lower floor features the company's alignment rack, more lifts, storage space, and a clean room for engine assembly that's positioned right against the sidewalk so passers by can get a glance at what's being assembled. K20A cylinder heads, F20C pistons, and expensive tooling line up along the top of the workbench, just inches away from the glass. Indeed, theft is not a problem in these parts.

By Phi Phung
10 Articles

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