Miriam Macmillan's 1990 CRX SiR
Sharing is caring. That's what most parents are expected to teach their children. But what happens when someone doesn't share? Are there benefits to being selfish? Arm chair philosophers might disagree, but for Miriam Macmillan of Torrance, CA, the answer is a definitive "yes." Her husband Doug Macmillan wouldn't share his land speed Hondata Acura RSX, and Miriam, having developed an incurable racing appetite, quickly found a remedy for the dilemma. She decided to build her own 200 MPH-bound land speed Hondata CRX. The whole "his and hers" concept is pleasantly extreme in the Hondata household.
Miriam's land speed journey began in 1997, as her husband had just set his first land speed record in New Zealand. On what is known as the "Seven Mile Road" south of Timaru, his '90 CRX SiR was armed with a stock B16A engine, custom intake, and exhaust. "The car was his daily driver and company car," she says. He set the record at 148 MPH and still holds the record for that particular engine class today.
The Macmillan family, now with two children, immigrated to the U.S. in 2000. The family mainly focused on Hondata for the next seven years. In 2007, Doug, along with his family and friends, began working on his RSX land speed racecar. At one particular event, spectators protested the RSX's front nose as illegal. Hondata flew in an alternate nose and he continued racing. The Macmillans presented the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) with two records; one with the questionable front fascia, and one with a more traditional version. The two times were only one MPH apart. "It was this experience that made me want to get involved in the racing community. Reasoning that you couldn't change anything if you weren't actually involved," Miriam explains. This simple ordeal fueled Miriam's drive to not only build her own land speed racer, but also to pilot the car herself.
Miriam attended the Danny Thompson High Performance Racing Course to prepare herself for the extreme motor sport. Doug decided to revive his old record-setting (and holding) CRX SiR from New Zealand. "The poor old car had a tough life and was pretty well beat up," Miriam says. The old Rex's chassis was bent. Brian Kono of Afterhours Automotive asked the Macmillans to leave the problem with him, and Brian quickly found another CRX SiR which allowed the project to move forward.
The Hondata crew descended upon the newly acquired Rex and began preparing the soon-to-be land speed racecar. Miriam stripped the CRX herself. "I even learned how to remove the sound-proofing tar on the inside using dry ice and a gasket scraper," she says. Various companies and people contributed to the build: Afterhours Automotive, Church Automotive Testing, David Kirsch, Hasport, and Kinsler. On the power side, Superior Automotive performed the machine work, and Prototype Racing assembled the engine, while Portflow Design ported the cylinder head. Exodus Graphics designed the vinyl wrap and Sport Graphics applied the design to individualize the CRX. Miriam took the initiative and painted the inside of the vehicle and the roll cage.
Currently using a 2.0 liter K20Z3 engine destroked to a 1.5 liter, the powerplant features a slew of custom parts, including a one-off billet crankshaft. She's used the same motor with a stock crankshaft before at the full 2.0 liter mark, and now the debate is ongoing as to which setup to use and whether or not to utilize a turbo or nitrous oxide system-or both. Miriam believes the 1.5 liter modified K20Z3 with a turbo will prevail at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah; although there is one catch. "It has to fit nicely. I want my car to keep looking pretty," she asserts. Miriam is going to try different combinations at the El Mirage dry lake bed in California.
Miriam is an avid land speed racer and there's no question that shifting properly in severe race conditions puts a huge smile on her face, though she admits the CRX SiR is a handful. She focuses on driving with her fingertips to avoid oversteer. "I also talk nicely to her. Once she is over 150 MPH, the aerodynamics kick in and she sucks down and is very well-behaved," she explains.
The Hondata crew recently returned from an event held by the SCTA at the El Mirage dry lake. The journey began on a Thursday night as Miriam and Doug loaded the race trailers. They left early Friday morning and returned Sunday evening with Miriam able to complete two successful runs. "And we didn't break anything" she adds. Unfortunately, the SCTA had to end the event early on Sunday due to unsafe wind conditions. Miriam is eagerly looking forward to the next land speed race event.
Racing preparation and days are quite unique. Miriam and the Hondata Bonneville Team, comprised of Doug, Daniel Butler, and Craig Corbin, are determined to be in the 200 MPH club. Every little detail is scrutinized, especially transmission gears. "Doug has a magic spreadsheet of all Honda gears and engines...you should see it, it's amazing!" Miriam says. Tire selection depends on random factors: the weather, engine setup, transmission gears, length of course, and which set of tires have not deteriorated over the race weekend. Every piece of the puzzle is examined for absolute performance.
All of the safety features on the Rex are geared toward the safety guidelines for land speed racers over the 200 MPH mark. For example, Miriam chose a DC2 ITR five lug conversion because the SCTA mandates five lug setups for vehicles racing over 200 MPH. "If you aim high, you'll get their eventually...plus it adds more safety which is always good," she explains.
Miriam has almost hit the 200 MPH mark. "The GPS clocked me at 196 MPH last year but I was on fire at the time and it didn't count" she calmly explains. That's not an exaggeration, her vehicle was literally on fire and the MacMillan's have the video footage to prove it. Together they own an incredible fourteen SCTA land speed records. Currently, Doug has eight or nine, and Miriam owns six. At her rate, and with the new setup, she's nipping at the heels of her hubby Doug. If this continues, the power couple will keep pushing one another to new speeds, and new records, while the competition is left scratching their heads in disbelief.
Destroked to 1.5 liters
Hasport engine mounts
Portflow Design cylinder head porting
Portflow Design cylinder head polishing
Portflow Design titanium retainers
Eibach valve springs
IPS K2 camshafts
CP Pistons 8.8:1
Cunningham connecting rods
Custom built billet crankshaft
Kinsler ITBs (60mm per runner)
Custom ITBs fiberglass air duct
K&N oval filter
Afterhours Automotive 4-2-1 exhaust manifold
Afterhours Automotive 3-inch exhaust piping
Acura RDX injectors
RSX Type-S Modified fuel rail
Walbro 255 lph external fuel pump
NGK 8 spark plugs
Tilton twin-disc clutch
Civic ZC axles
Earl's Performance lines and fittings
Cam external oil system
Peterson dry-sump oiling system
Custom radiator (1/3 of Chevy OEM radiator)
Nano Nitrous direct dry-port system
Hondata K-Pro ECU
Racelogic DL1 data logger
DC2 Type R 5-lug conversion
Neo Super DOT 610 brake fluid
Wheels And Tires
Modified 15-inch OEM spares
Front (acceleration): 21/5-15 Goodyear
Front Runner Eagle Land Speed
Front (top speed): 23/5-15 Goodyear
Front Runner Eagle Land Speed
Rear: 24/5-15 Goodyear Front Runner
Exodus Graphics vinyl wrap design
Sport Graphics vinyl wrap installation
Steve Richie Styling front nose
Afterhours Automotive rear wing
Afterhours Automotive parachute mount
Simpson 12-foot crossform parachute
Simpson 3-inch seat belts
Sparco steering wheel
Safecraft 11-pound FE36 fire retardant
Safecraft 5-pound 1301 fire retardant
Afterhours Automotive roll cage
Auto Meter gauges
SPA Technique 14,000 RPM Tachometer
Superior Automotive (machine work)
Prototype Racing (engine assembly)
Portflow Design (porting and polishing)
Exodus Graphics (vinyl design)
Sport Graphics (vinyl installation)
Afterhours Automotive (custom fabrication)
Baker Precision (oil and race tape)
Simpson Racing (safety equipment and suits)
Earl's Store 1 (fittings)
Deering Industries (lines, fittings, and fire-proof airlines)
Steve Richie Styling (fiberglass fabrication)
Hondata Bonneville Team: Doug Macmillan, Daniel Butler, Craig Corbin
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
Your dream car
Got it already
Husband wouldn't share his car
What's playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
Nickelback "This Afternoon"
Greatest movie of all time:
Southern California Timing Association (Scta)
The SCTA is comprised of 12 groups, with the organization relying on just one paid employee, and a host of volunteers. The association's main objective is to provide structure and safety at land speed race events. The two major locations are the El Mirage Dry Lake located in California, and the Bonneville Salt Flats located in Utah. The SCTA annually holds six events at the El Mirage and two at Bonneville. The land speed racing organization fights an ongoing battle to save the Bonneville salt flats as officials and racers began to notice the length of the salt flats decreasing each year. They formed the Save the Salt Organization (SSO) to combat the problem associated with the mining industry. SSO works with the Bureau of Lang Management and related companies, like Reilly Chemical Co. in the past, and now Intrepid Industries, to preserve the salt flats. Check out www.scta-bni.org for more information.