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 |   |  1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration
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1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration

With no way to buy a brand-new CR-X, this owner created his own

Rodrez
Mar 19, 2020
Photographer: Henry De Kuyper

Updated by Rodrez 3/16/20: A decade ago, this 1990 Honda CR-X SiR appeared in the pages of Honda Tuning Magazine in all of its K-swapped, restomod glory. The attention to detail and high-quality parts used along with the pristine bodywork made it one to remember. The style and execution still match or exceed today's standards and we're pretty confident this build will maintain its legendary status in 10 more years. Here's the original story from 2010:

Twenty-five years (give or take) have passed since the introduction of a chassis that made arguably the most significant impact on Honda performance as we know it. The CRX chassis, specifically the '88-91 era that now enters double decade territory, represents a number of milestones etched into the Honda history books. Not just minor notes, but major events; like breaking the ten second quarter mile barrier when the doubters said it could never happen with a front wheel drive vehicle. The short, abrupt, rear-end combined with almost cartoonish curves have seen every possible incarnation, from low-rider show stoppers to dominate track-only monsters. It's the unique versatility that's kept enthusiasts enthralled with all things CRX since the late '80's. However, reaching the double decade mark has no doubt taken its toll on the pint-sized workhorse.

If you're in the market for a CRX, you've probably come across more than your fair share of rusted and beat-down examples. Those that are lucky enough to find one in decent condition have a choice to make; return the car back to factory condition through a traditional restoration or, perhaps choose the restomod route. While restorations typically focus on adhering to all things OEM, from the seats to the engine, a restomod build uses modern upgrades along the way to improve a car's performance and safety. There's a bold line drawn between the two, and muscle car enthusiasts have been debating about it for years.

1990 Honda CR X SiR Js Racing Front Lip 01 Photo 18/18   |   1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration

Reynard Mauricio of Winnipeg, Canada, had been searching high and low for a new project car after giving up on local offerings. "I always wanted a brand new CRX and I just got tired of trying to work with local winter-driven rust buckets" he states. Knowing that he'd have to look outside of Canada in order to find a suitable starting point, Mauricio contacted Marv at Coyote Cars, a local importer. After a few months and countless back and forth emails, a 1990 SiR glass-top was sourced in the fall of '07. Just three weeks after picking up his new car, Mauricio started tearing it apart, piece by piece. The way he explains it, the goal was simple, "I wanted to make the car as close to new as possible, but with a few aftermarket upgrades to make it that much better."

The choice to treat his new right-hand drive to a complete restomod started first by pulling out the factory motor. In its day, the stock power-plant would have been more than enough to satisfy Mauricio's appetite for speed. But with twenty years of development now behind Honda, he was more than confident that his project would be better off using a newer form of motivation. With the OEM engine removed and sold, the stripped shell was sent to the body shop for a fresh coat of "Pepper White" from of all cars, a Mini Cooper. "I originally wanted to paint it championship white, but I'd seen that done a few times already. I was looking for something a little different, and to this day, I haven't seen another CRX painted Pepper White" he states thankfully.

Wish a fresh coat of paint also came new OEM moldings, driver and passenger glass, and front windshield. Out back, a set of FAL Lexan windows were chosen to shave a few pounds. To clean up the engine bay, Mauricio took it upon himself to rip out all of the cars wiring and deleted any unnecessary plugs, then added braided nylon sleeves, and performed a brake line tuck.

1990 Honda CR X SiR K20A Engine Photo 18/18   |   1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration

When it finally came time to drop the K20 into its new home, a problem reared its ugly head. Due to differences between the Japanese and U.S. CRX frame rails, his HaSport mounts weren't going to sit flush. The solution was a re-machined EK rear transmission mount, custom sub-frame bracket, and aluminum spacer to fill the passenger side mount. Once that was taken care of, another situation popped up. Due to space constraints, the power-steering pump was removed for hood clearance. This would mean a properly closing hood, but it also meant not being able to use the OEM power-steering rack. Mauricio decided to place an order through Honda Primo of Japan, and received a brand new OEM manual rack. While he had the credit card out, he also opted for a brand new 5-lug conversion to mount a set of Dunlop Formula CP-R.

More recent CRX features
Turbo K24 CRX HF
1991 CRX restoration

In most instances, adding bolt-on power parts is one of the easiest upgrades to tackle. However, with the custom positioning of the motor, that was out of the question. Custom fabrication was needed to securely mount the Full Race traction bar and aluminum ARC intake. A free-flowing exhaust system would also have to be a custom affair. He states "I didn't want to drop a ton of money on an exhaust system and header that would have to be hacked up to fit. I contacted Dougie at Garage Blitz and he built me a custom "pie-cut" header and exhaust piping that leads to a Legalis R muffler. " Well known locally for his custom built turbo manifolds, Mauricio's CRX would be Dougie's first attempt at creating an N/A exhaust manifold. After the ordeal, Dougie assured Mauricio that it will in fact be his last.

Eighteen months was all it took to create a CRX masterpiece that flirts with the title of restoration, yet stands proudly under the restomod banner. The one-of-kind custom fabrication and impeccable attention to detail serve as the fountain of youth for this 2-seater classic.

1990 Honda CR X SiR Rear Bumper Photo 18/18   |   1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration

Civic Renaissance Experimental

In the early 80's, Honda Executive Vice President Yoshihide Munekuni had visions of a marketing opportunity like no other. Residing near Riverside during the gas crisis, he noted young couples that were forced to buy overpriced gas to fuel their long commutes to work, while struggling to pay their house note and various bills. His idea was simple, build a Honda automobile that would hit an unprecedented 50mpg. Honda R&D of Japan said the idea was impossible, so Munekuni turned to Honda Research America (HRA) in Torrance, CA to assist in the project's development. Relying on a lightweight chassis and cutting-edge aerodynamics, the HRA team utilized the styling they'd been developing for the third generation Civic that would debut in 1984. This also helped name the new project after it had been referred to a sort of "Civic Renaissance." Eventually, the name Civic Renaissance Experimental, or CRX, managed to crush the 50mpg goal with a 1.3L HF (High Fuel economy) model that squeezed an EPA rated 51mpg city/67mpg highway!

Fun fact

In late 1982, during an 11pm road test of the CRX project, the city Sheriff pulled the car over. The reason; the early prototype was geared so tall that the car couldn't maintain its speed up a hill on Crenshaw boulevard into Palos Verdes. The officer issued a citation for lack of a VIN number and let the test pilots go.

1990 Honda CR X SiR Js Racing Front Lip 02 Photo 18/18   |   1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration
1990 Honda CR X SiR Front Bumper Photo 18/18   |   1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration

Sources

EBC Brakes
Las Vegas, NV
702-826-2400
http://www.ebcbrakes.com
Hondata
Torrance, CA
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Karcepts
n/a, AK
240-490-7173
http://www.karcepts.com
By Rodrez
893 Articles
1990 Honda CR-X SiR Glass-Top Reincarnated w/ A K20 Swap & Detailed Restoration
Tuning Menu
Owner: Reynard Mauricio
Engine: K20A engine, K20A transmission w/LSD, Hasport motor mounts, Hondata K-Pro, ARC super induction box, ARC suction pipe, Hondata intake manifold gasket, GarageBlitz header built with Burns stainless-steel, GarageBlitz 3inch collector, Fujitsubo Legalis R muffler w/Cusco exhaust hangers, Vibrant Performance 3inch resonator, GarageBlitz radiator, overflow, and water neck, Samco radiator hoses, Walbro 255lph, BDL fuel rail, Earl's lines and fittings, Aeromotive fuel regulator, B&M fuel pressure gauge, Wilwood clutch master cylinder, Full hydraulic clutch conversion, DSS stage 2.9 axles, Karcepts A/C and PS removal kit, K-tuned coolant plugs, R Crew Racing IACV delete, J's Racing valve cover, ARC titanium plug cover, ARC radiator caps, Techflex braided wires sleeving
Suspension: PIC select adjustable coilovers (10K front, 8K rear)
ASR rear sub-frame brace, rear sway bar, and end links, Skunk2 rear camber kit, EM Racing bars, SRR rear lower control arms, Brand new OEM '98 spec ITR 5-lug conversion, DA knuckles and wheel bearings, OEM RHD manual rack conversion, Full Race traction bar
Brakes: Brembo cross drilled rotors
EBC "green stuff" brake pads, Spoon 4-pot calipers, Motul brake fluid, Goodridge steel braided lines, Brake line tuck using all AN fittings, ARP extended studs, Project Kics lug nuts
Wheels & tires:: Dunlop Formula CP-R 15x7 +35 front, 15x7.5 +27 rear, Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 195/50-15
Exterior: J's racing front lip, GT Solarwing rear visor
Honda Access window visors, VIS carbon fiber hood, FAL lexan rear quarter windows, FAL lexan rear window, Shaved rear wiper, spoiler, and antenna, Shaved engine bay, Mini Cooper "pepper white" paint, Brand new OEM windshield, door glass and all moldings
Interior: Bride carbon kevlar Gias bucket seats, Bride low-max seat rails, Custom Bride material door inserts, window visors, and floor mats, Takata harnesses, Takata memory foam padsNardi 350mm deep corn steering wheel, Mugen sport pedals, JDM ITR 6-speed shift knob, Honda Access glass roof cover, Honda Access snake light, Kanji climate control, All unnecessary plugs removed, All harnesses re-sleeved in braided nylon
Props: My Mom & Dad, my girlfriend Michelle for always being there for me while I spent so many hours on this project, Randell, Richie, Nate, Eddie, Donnell, Jhorick, G106 Family, Fleet Auto body Crew, Dougie at GarageBiitz, Matt and John at SpeedFactor, Dave at EvoGarage, Lee at DSS, Rywire, Marv at CoyoteCars, Speedtech, Teknotik, and the Honda/Acura Family in the Peg!

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