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Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

An inside look at the very elusive Seeker of Japan.

Micah Wright
Jan 13, 2012
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

He stands at the train platform, looking like some archaic warlord waiting for his noble steed. His attire tells me he is ready to ride into battle, and the lines on his face show me this is not his first skirmish. A leather bag’s straps are riveted by an enormous right hand, while the left hand dabs a towel across a sweat-beaded brow. His garb is traditional. A summer kimono, called a jimbe, clings to the man’s massive shoulders, wraps around his protruding sides, and envelops his noticeable abdomen. Little wooden sandals creak and groan under his weight, as he shifts his girth from one foot to another. Atop his head, a small, black ponytail shoots up instead of down, and upon cresting the skull protrudes forward until it reaches its blunt end. He nods his head in a rhythmic fashion. This vexes me at first, but as I draw near I identify the motive behind his cranium’s undulation, and it makes me laugh. While he might be dressed to the nines in traditional garb, I can now tell that this is a modern Japanese sumo wrestler. You probably are wondering how I came to this conclusion, right? The answer is simple: He is listening to his iPod.

Htup 1201 01+seek and you shall find+cover Photo 2/8   |   Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

When I heard that the Miyamae section of Tokyo was filled with heavyweights in the automotive line, I was excited. But right now all I can see is a heavyweight in the all-you-can-eat buffet line. I hastily try to snap a pic of the sumo, but he gives me a glare that says, “If you take that picture, I’m gonna slap the shit outta you little white man!” So erring on the side of caution I stow my camera and exit the station unscathed.

There are three prominent Honda shops in the Miyamae ward, and they all sit within a stone’s throw of one another. Automotive giants Spoon Sports and Honda Twincam (Feel’s) can be found here; but those guys have been covered so many times my visitation would yield you nothing more than the regurgitation of information you are probably already privy to as an enthusiast. I am searching for the most elusive of the three tuners, in the hopes of getting you, the reader, an inside look at another JDM powerhouse that is changing the face of Hondas. I want the shop no one has talked to yet. But first, I have to seek it out.

Htup 1201 02+seek and you shall find+shop Photo 3/8   |   Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

Heavily modded Skylines, STi Foresters, and Type Rs zip by me as I push further from the station. “I must be drawing close to my quarry,” I think to myself. As I was walking past a minuscule, wedge-shaped building, I noticed an abundance of Hondas littering a tiny parking lot next to it. When I say “tiny” I mean it, too. This little lot could house a handful of Hondas and nothing more. The building’s single garage door reveals a single shop bay, and inside the bay rests a single lift. There is just enough room to fit an AP1 and a couple of mechanics inside, and anything larger than a DC5 will be hard pressed to fit on the “operating table.” Above the front door a simple sign reads “Seeker” and nothing more. A couple glass windows reveal custom headers and suspension goodies to passersby. Save for seeing these parts up close there is nothing about this shop that jumps out to someone driving by. But upon closer inspection there is far more than meets the eye here. There is a story waiting to be told within the confines of this oversize “doorstop” of a building, and naturally that is why I sought these guys out.

Many moons ago Ryo Teraoka had a Nissan Fairlady Z that brought the heat when its turbos spooled up, but its gargantuan fat ass was forever needing a healthy dose of liposuction. After stripping the car of all luxuries Ryo realized that his baby was still too chunky for his tastes, so he swore off “fatties” and dumped her. A friend who worked for Spoon Sports at the time recommended that he try out a Honda for a change. While there certainly were ponies missing, the minute he hit the throttle Ryo quickly realized that what he had been pining for in the 300ZX was available behind the Honda Type R badge. As with all car enthusiasts, bolt-ons were the tip of the iceberg, and before long Ryo’s EK9 was getting “Spoon-fed” all sorts of tasty morsels. Aero, interior, brakes, engine, suspension, and more were pampered until Ryo was satisfied. And man was he satisfied… for a bit.

Htup 1201 03+seek and you shall find+cr z Photo 4/8   |   Seekers CR-Z was built to keep up with the times.

After driving the EK for a few months and experiencing its modified potential, Ryo started thinking about what it would be like to own his own shop. One like Spoon Sports—where it caters to a specific breed of auto manufacturer and attracts a particular manner of enthusiast. Following a healthy amount of consternation he opted to open his own shop in the hopes of bettering Hondas the world over. Again Spoon Sports came into the picture; and instead of discouraging this “upstart,” it nurtured its inception. Spoon offered advice, listened to his plights, and led by example so that he in turn could make Seeker succeed. Ryo says it is a strange feeling knowing that the men who helped make his shop possible are also his toughest competition. Spoon Sports helped bring Seeker into existence by way of encouragement and example; and with Honda Twincam/Feel’s a few kilometers down the road, the thought of a “Honda Amusement Park” comes to mind.

Times were tough at first in the Seeker shop. No one knew the company or the name in the Honda community. But Spoon Sports was there to help, and this time it helped by sending Ryo some business. If a customer needed a specific job and it was booked solid, Spoon would send the patron down to Ryo. Sure, in those early days things like a stroker kit or a nitrous setup were out of the question. But if brake upgrades, suspension swaps, and interior installs were needed, Ryo was more than willing to oblige. But after a while this, too, grew mundane, and he began to dream of bigger and better things again. Like any true artist he wanted his own line of products, made specifically to his standards, with his logo stamped on every item. After reading up on countless aftermarket accessories that were available for the B and K series, Ryo felt it was time to mock up some prototypes in the hopes of besting the competition.

Htup 1201 04+seek and you shall find+civic Photo 5/8   |   Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

Ryo spent a lot of time (and an ass-load of yen) in those next few months. His day consisted of welding, cutting, fitting, refitting, scrapping, and then restarting projects from scratch. It was a tiresome and expensive foray to say the least. Eventually, acceptable prototypes were fabbed, and then they were in turn put through their paces. Intake, exhaust, pulleys, and transmission parts were pushed to the breaking point and back, both on and off the track. Adjustable Seeker coilovers soon followed, along with high-temp brake pads and some seriously beefy stainless brake lines. Ryo’s Hondas were finally being adorned with his own custom line of performance JDM parts, and he was satisfied with the results. That was up until he started fantasizing about the cosmetic attributes he fancied in a Honda.

As Ryo’s company grew so did his connections in the automotive community. Before long he had carbon front lips, grilles, and wings being made for his shop on a weekly basis. His designs have changed very little, if at all, after all these years. Every one of his parts is simple, elegant, and functional. To me they are somewhat reminiscent of Backyard Special’s style. But where Suzuki-san (of BYS) is more of a traditional architect and draws a definitive line to keep things sophisticated, Ryo likes to throw a more aggressive look our way. Take Seeker’s EK wing for instance; with its antagonistic size, angles, and edges you can tell that Ryo threw out all conventional styling procedures when he designed this wing. Ryo smiles when I mention this particular aero item; I can tell that to this day he is still proud of this “monsterpiece.”

Htup 1201 05+seek and you shall find+s2000 Photo 6/8   |   Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

When Seeker started selling its “cosmetic parts” it realized that not everyone could afford the cost of carbon. So a secondary material needed to be sourced; one that was affordable and yet remained structurally sound in case one was to back into a curb. Fiber-reinforced plastic, or F.R.P. for short, quickly became Seeker’s second material of choice. Lightweight, strong, and considerably cheaper than Kevlar or carbon, this super-strong plastic makes up the majority of Seeker’s aero sales today. Seeker’s gauge clusters, FD2 air filter box, ram intake ducting, and various other parts are also made of this material.

Now let’s get back to the performance side of Seeker. Today the majority of its performance parts are manufactured by a company called K-Tech. When it comes down to needing things like high-compression pistons, sleeved blocks, titanium headers, and forged cranks, these are the guys Ryo relies on. Seeker designs the parts, K-Tech builds them, and then Seeker installs them. Between these two companies there isn’t much they can’t do. Their block kit for the K20 is almost 100 grams lighter than stock, and it is backed by some of the industry’s most advanced engineering. These guys are thinking so far out of the box that they even created a crank for F20C engines that features the world’s first 88mm stroke for that chassis!

Htup 1201 06+seek and you shall find+parts department Photo 7/8   |   A peek into the Seeker storefront

These days Seeker prefers Time Attack above all other forms of racing. Its FD2, AP1, and CR-Z can be found zipping around the track when they are not in the shop being rebuilt. Tsukuba’s Super Battle is in Ryo’s sights for the AP1 this year, so we’ll have to see how things pan out for Seeker on that level. The company’s CR-Z had caught my eye, so I asked Ryo why he chose to race a CR-Z in the hybrid division. He snorts, turns to me, and gives me an answer I never saw coming. Ryo says the only reason Seeker competes in the hybrid class is because all of the other tuners are competing on this level; so to stay competitive (on all levels) he races the CR-Z. Striking aesthetics aside, he thinks the car is way too slow and needs a K20 from the factory. Glad we’re not the only ones who feel this way.

Speaking of the Type R K20, I asked Ryo why he thinks Honda refuses to offer the Type R in America. His eyes popped out, his jaw dropped, then he proceeded to laugh. He thought I was joking. Surely American Honda dealerships offered the “R badge.” When he saw I was dead serious, his disbelief turned into disquiet, and he simply stated, “Why would they do that? Americans love Type Rs from what I have read. That’s just hurting Honda sales!”

Htup 1201 07+seek and you shall find+interior Photo 8/8   |   Seek And You Shall Find - Interview

Well said, sir. Well said.

So what’s next for Seeker, you ask? Well, let me tell you this: It is hell bent on invading America. For years Ryo has dreamed of exporting his JDM goodness to distant shores, but due to economic constraints (yeah, we feel that pinch here, too) he has been a little tentative about expanding his ventures as of late. So if you like what you see, you want what you see, and you know how to make an international call, give Ryo a shout. He’s there almost eight days a week, he speaks enough English to get your drift, and maybe if we bug him enough, he’ll start selling his wares over here in the good ol’ U.S. of A! So be sure to jot down his contact info, and who knows? Maybe one day he can help turn your ride into a real “heavy hitter.” Stay tuned…

Owner Specs
Favorite website
http://minkara.carview.co.jp (Minkara is one of the most popular car community sites in Japan)
Screen name or nickname
Seeker RYO
Building Hondas for how long
10 years
Your dream car
Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage
Biggest inspiration
The daily grind teaches me more than you’ll ever know
What’s playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now?
J-Pop
Greatest movies of all time
The Star Wars series
Your favorite food
Sushi or yakiniku (Japanese barbecue)
Best way to connect with you
info@seeker.co.jp
Ugliest car of all time and why
’98 Saturn SC2 with those ugly headlights!

Civic FD2
Propulsion
K-Tech K215-Super Lambda Prototype Kit: 1mm overbore (87x97mm stroke and bore), F1-style lightweight pistons, lightweight piston rings, lightweight connecting rods
Seeker lightweight pulleys
Seeker high-flow air intake kit
Seeker S.E.S. custom header
Seeker S.E.S. 60mm high-flow exhaust
Seeker titanium tip
Seeker clutch disc and cover
Seeker 4.0kg flywheel
Cusco RS one-way differential, Seeker setting
Exterior
Seeker carbon-fiber front half spoiler
Seeker carbon-fiber front grille
Seeker carbon-fiber door handle cover
Seeker carbon-fiber rear wing
Seeker tail ramp cover
Spoon Sports carbon engine hood
Spoon Sports carbon roof
Spoon Sports carbon trunk
Custom orange Seeker paint job

S2000 AP1

Propulsion
K-Tech F215-SS1 Stroker Kit: custom-sleeved block, F1-style forged pistons, forged crank
Mugen ram-air intake
K-Tech custom titanium header
Seeker S.E.S. 70mm titanium exhaust
Cusco RS one-way rear differential, Seeker 4.4 final gear setting
Exedy carbon clutch disc and cover
Exedy flywheel
Exterior
Chargespeed Super GT widebody kit
Voltex GT wing
Custom orange Seeker paint job

CR-Z
Propulsion
Seeker intake kit
Cusco RS one-way differential, Seeker setting
Seeker S.E.S. stainless exhaust system
Exterior
Seeker carbon-fiber front half spoiler
Seeker carbon-fiber front grille
Seeker carbon-fiber side fins
Seeker carbon-fiber rear diffuser

Sources

By Micah Wright
48 Articles

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