When it comes to most car guys, brand loyalty is everything. Whether it's the weekend racer who kills himself all week in hopes of scrubbing a quarter of a second off of his lap time on track day, or the daily driver who receives battle scars on local roads and highways, each has a distinct dedication to his chosen automaker. In rare instances, a soldier may go A.W.O.L. and end up defecting to another army. While some would cry foul, switching automakers is sometimes the absolute best way to determine where you belong. Fred Chapman of Hayward, CA once proudly embraced the VW culture. His past builds include multiple MK1 Euro Rabbits, Jetta, Scirocco, and a few others throughout a five year period. Like so many before him, the Honda bug bit, and he was willing to leave his VW fetish behind. Wasting no time in getting comfortable with the Honda camp, Chapman dove in headfirst and has owned no less than eight different cars since 2000. Being that his very first Honda encounter was a black CRX; the online ad he happened to surf across struck a chord immediately. "It just gave me that feeling of being reunited with a lost one, LOL. I love the EF chassis and this is like owning a collector's car for me. It's getting so hard to find a CRX in decent condition now, I wanted to get this and preserve it," he states. While some would feel motivated to revitalize the aging SiR before its two decade milestone, Chapman had thoughts of completing a mini-restoration inside of two very short months.
Upon finding the car for sale on NWP4Life.com, Chapman began to hammer out the details that would lead to his next project car. Not willing to miss work in order to make the 14 hour roundtrip for pick up, the decision to hire a transport company at the advice of the infamous Phase2 Mikey was a logical alternative. The thought of making a "sight unseen" vehicle purchase would have most buyers running for the hills; however the seller's excellent reputation provided more than enough confidence to support the transaction. After the painful waiting period, the car was finally delivered in one piece.
At just shy of twenty years old, this EF chassis had certainly seen better days, but wasn't in complete disarray. Beyond a few minor dings, the expected paint fade, and various moldings that managed to trade their deep black appearance for a strange chrome hue, the SiR arrived in a respectable state. The empty engine bay and stock steel rollers further prompted its new owner to grant some serious quality time with the ATS Garage. A visit to Brian at Wek'sos proved to be the cure for the various body dings and faded body panels. New OEM moldings and seals were purchased to emphasize the newly revived exterior, and to rewind its biological clock a few years. With the outside of his new pride and joy shining bright, irrational thoughts of completing the car in a short three week period began to cloud Chapman's vivid imagination. He recalls "I was making good progress and I really wanted to attend the big Wekfest event. It's the biggest event of the year in NorCal, and I just decided to challenge myself to get the CRX there!"
To get the car running, Chapman opted to install a slightly massaged USDM ITR motor. There's no denying that bolting a B series motor into an EF chassis isn't exactly rocket science, but completing the transplant without an engine hoist can be downright crazy. Relying on a set of floor jacks and a prayer, the motor made its way into its new home from the bottom of the chassis. A bump in compression combined with an angrier set of bump sticks push the power equation over the 200whp mark, backed by a healthy 135 lb-ft of torque. The ATS-Garage has always prided themselves in their ability to exploit well thought out build themes. Where other guys might shrug off the minor details as tedious, Chapman and his crew relish in the understated fine details of a properly built car. Old school HKS cam gears feature a purple and teal anodized finish that sets them apart from the sea of available sprockets. Chapman powder coated his carefully-trimmed valve cover to add even more eye catching contrast to the black engine bay. As your eyes make their way around the engine, the purple anodized washer and stainless steel bolt combo adds a little extra spice under the hood. With the car up and running, the final days of completion revolved around installing parts as fast as they arrived. With enough deliveries to make the UPS man feel like a member of the family, Chapman managed to complete the car just hours before the big event.
After defecting from the VW way of life, Fred Chapman saw the light with his first Honda, a black 1990 CRX. Eight years later, after building a number of showstoppers, this Northern California icon has come full circle. It's tough enough to find a clean, legitimate SiR stateside, but to bring one home and breathe new life into it in just under three weeks is an absolute miracle.
Bolts & Washers
Supertech dual valve springs
Supertech titanium retainers
Supertech flathead hi-compression valves
Skunk stage II cams
HKS adjustable cam gears
Spoolin Performance 4-2-1 exhaust manifold
HKS Sport exhaust system
Custom 3in intake w/HKS filter
Professional Products 68mm throttle body
Port matched ITR intake manifold
Greddy timing belt
Mishimoto dual-core aluminum radiator
Mishimoto slim fan
Samco Sport hoses
Gotelli Speed aluminum overflow tank
Cusco radiator cap
HKS oil cap
Road Sailin’ Industries stainless steel dipstick
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
RC Engineering 310cc injectors
Ross Machine fuel rail
B&M fuel pressure gauge
JDM B16a YS1 transmission
Exedy stage I organic clutch kit
OBD I conversion – P28 ECU w/Crome program
Relocated firewall brackets and fuse box
Questoyz anodized washer kit
B&G adjustable coilovers
OEM JDM anti-roll bars
All OEM SiR
Rims & Rubber
Mugen NR10 15x6.5 (+45 offset)
Falken Azenis 205/50-15
J’s Racing EF8 front lip
Vision Type “MC” side mirrors
EDM EF optional rear wing
JDM optional door visors
Recaro SPG D-Force edition bucket seat (rare green logo)
OEM dual din deck
Takata 4-pt harness
Momo Monte Carlo 320mm steering wheel
Road Sailin’ Industries stainless steel shift knob
JDM optional “Personal Box” ashtray replacement
My son Jaylen CHAPMAN
my Mom Zeny
brother Steve CHAPMAN
The ATSxDPK collabo family
Phil “The MAYOR” Sison
ROAD SAILIN’ INDUSTRIES
Ernesto “Big Sexy” Jr. doing the NORCAL/WEKFEST events
Wuhhht Duhh’s powder coating
All the WEST COAST/CA and tuners holding it down
RIP: Vince “jdmEFsedan” Pascua, RHandy “QUESTOYZ” Gagan, Father In-law Zosimo Tabimina, and to everyone who’s lost someone.
Building cars for how long?
14yrs (‘95 to present)
VW MK1 Rabbit, VR6 boosted
My 6yr old son Fred Jr. AKA “JAYLEN” He gets to enjoy a classic when he gets older!
Can't Miss On TV:
C.S.I. Las Vegas
The term Wek’sos refers to the term “weak sauce,” used primarily in automotive-based message forums in the late nineties. Import enthusiast Adam Luong helped bring life to the term as his reputation for accessing hard to find Japanese parts and accessories steadily increased over the years. Eventually, a store front was opened, and with the assistance of Colin Lam and Kenneth Li, Wek’sos Industries has managed to work its way to the top of the food chain as one of the premier parts suppliers in Northern California. The shop carries a number of high end products from both the U.S. and Japan, and has thrown some of the largest enthusiast gatherings in the nation.