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2011 Honda CR-Z - Best Of Both Worlds

Creating the "Sport Hybrid" that Honda should have...

Jun 12, 2012
Htup 1207 01 o+2011 honda CR Z+JDP engineering rear diffuser.JPG Photo 1/11   |   2011 Honda CR-Z - Best Of Both Worlds

It was the well-produced commercial that really stoked the fire for 21-year-old Daniel Herrera of Fontana, California. Like many of us, the very sight of the new CR-Z Sport Hybrid mesmerized him as it streamed across the television screen in all of its long-awaited glory. He’d read all of the juicy rumors online, and Google searched countless renderings that carried no more than an ounce of factual evidence to back them up. All of that information, or lack thereof, merely whet Herrera’s appetite for the official release of Honda’s highly publicized hatchback debut. Months of impatient pining had culminated in 60 seconds of purchased airtime by his favorite automaker which highlighted sleek styling, a short but stout frame, broad shoulders, and a sculpted profile—no doubt a nod to the legendary CRX of yesteryear. It was at that very moment that Herrera silently assured himself that he’d own a CR-Z in the very near future. He recalls, “I remember I saw that TV ad and I knew I had to have one. Honestly, it wasn’t easy trying to locate a black six-speed model. No Honda dealerships seemed to have them in stock. After I finally found one, I still had to wait six hours for the car to be delivered to Hardin Honda in Anaheim.” A six-hour waiting period felt like six years as he itched for the keys to his newfound love.

Once home, it took no more than 48 hours before a fresh set of 16-inch Mugen MF10s were bolted on, and shortly after, a set of coilovers helped bring the car down to a respectable height. “I started ordering more parts like the JDP Engineering rear wing and diffuser, a set of Recaro seats that I had to wait two months for, and a set of Cusco bars that I got as a gift from a friend of mine.” The progression, though purely cosmetic, was enough to keep Herrera smiling as he trekked through SoCal’s rough and tumble freeways, albeit at a snail’s pace.

Htup 1207 02 o+2011 honda CR Z+K20Z1 engine.JPG Photo 2/11   |   The Skunk2-enhanced K20 fits right at home in this CR-Z bay.

“When I first got the car, I didn’t like the stock motor because it was so slow. But I also knew not to expect much out of a hybrid. After owning the car for about six months, I began to debate about having Bisimoto do a custom turbo with mild boost, or going with a K swap. I eventually decided to go with a K-series setup since it would make more power than a basic turbo kit and there was plenty of room for more power later. I started doing some pretty extensive research on various shops that specialize in K swaps, and that’s when I came across Sportcar Motion.”

No stranger to the pages of Honda Tuning Magazine, the crew at SCM has been knee-deep in K-series swaps, parts, service, and experimentation for a number of years. With multiple records under their belt in competitive Time Attack and an affinity for building some truly lethal street cars for a wide variety of clientele, Herrera was no doubt in good hands as he handed over the keys to Loi Song, owner of SCM.

While this certainly isn’t the first K-powered CR-Z in existence, it’s not exactly common among the swap-happy Honda community. Many of the parts are still custom one-off pieces that have to be measured, fabricated, produced, adjusted; then right back to square one again to ensure they’ll work properly. One area that is in fact a direct bolt-on is the engine mount kit from HaSport. Developed as a complete swap kit, it includes the signature billet-aluminum mounts, as well as a charge harness and engine harness to make your life a little easier when performing this conversion. To take care of the cooling duties, a custom radiator from Rywire was ordered, along with a K-Tuned adjustable water neck housing and custom lines and AN fittings.

Having a K-series motor under the hood can actually be a curse. Sure, you’re adding almost 100hp over the stock mill, but knowing that you have even more power just begging to be unleashed with a few bolt-ons can really plague a person’s mind. Loi Song of SCM adds, “We offer a complete Skunk2 head package for our K-series customers, and it makes really good power with Hondata. We’ve used the same package on some of our track cars with great results. The bump in compression with the new pistons makes it even better.” To complement the head package, a Skunk2 Alpha Series header was bolted on quite easily due to HaSport’s placement of the engine, negating the need for a custom-built exhaust manifold and ultimately saving Herrera some additional funds.

Htup 1207 09 o+2011 honda CR Z+skunk2 throttle body.JPG Photo 6/11   |   Skunk2 74mm throttle body.

The purchase of a new vehicle, only to rip its heart out a few months later certainly isn’t for everyone—not even Herrera. “I had no idea I was going to take the car this far. One thing just led to another. The car was at Sportcar Motion for a few months, and now I have the chassis that I wanted, with the power to back up the look. It’s the perfect combination. I daily drive the car and will be attending some track days with Sportcar Motion. I wanted the best of both worlds and now I have it!”

Bolts & Washers

HaSport CR-Z/K mounts
Hondata FlashPro
ACL Race bearings
Micro-polished/balanced crank
CP 12.5:1 pistons
JDM ITR rods
Portflow 3-angle valve job
Skunk2 Stage II cams
Skunk2 Pro Series valvesprings
Skunk2 Pro Series retainers
Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold
Skunk2 74mm throttle body
Skunk2 Alpha Series header
Sportcar Motion 3-inch intake
K&N air filter
Skunk2 composite fuel rail
RC Engineering 750cc injectors
Rywire “tucked” radiator
K-Tuned water-neck housing
K-Tuned TPS sensor
RSX Type S transmission
Competition Clutch Stage 5
Competition Clutch flywheel
HaSport custom axles
HaSport custom wiring harness
Earl’s lines and fittings

Htup 1207 11 o+2011 honda CR Z+skunk2 pro series intake manifold.JPG Photo 7/11   |   2011 Honda CR-Z - Best Of Both Worlds

Eibach Pro Street coilovers
Cusco front shock tower bar
Cusco rear shock tower bar

Spoon Sports calipers
Project MU slotted rotors
Hawk brake pads

Wheels And Tires
Advan RG-DS 17x8.5 +33
Yokohama S Drive 215/45-17

JDP Engineering spoiler
JDP Engineering rear diffuser
Spoon Sports aero mirrors

Recaro Speed II seats
Recaro door panel inserts
Takata harnesses
Skunk2 shift knob
JDM push start button
Blitz Power Meter

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Dental industry

Htup 1207 08 o+2011 honda CR Z+front fascia.JPG Photo 11/11   |   2011 Honda CR-Z - Best Of Both Worlds

Favorite site

Screen name

Building Hondas
8 years

Dream cars
NSX Type R, Audi R8

Inspiration for this build
Well-rounded builds

Future build
Acura RSX

HaSport Strikes Again

HaSport had a hand in both Daniel Herrera’s and Eibach’s CR-Z K-swap projects. The industry leaders in motor mount and swap evolution and development, HaSport offers both swap applications and direct replacement mounts for various Honda chassis. Although the guys at HaSport weren’t the first to complete a CR-Z/K swap, they were the first to offer a complete swap kit that requires no cutting of the factory core support or subframe, and even designed a plug-and-play engine harness for a pain-free install. Ground clearance, axle geometry, and compatibility with the eighth-gen Civic (Si) exhaust manifold were at the top of their list in terms of importance during development. With the K24-powered Eibach track car and this K20Z1-powered street car now under its belt, HaSport has perfected the conversion and is already in full production to offer these kits to the public.


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
Mackin Industries
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Sportcar Motion
San Marcos, CA
JDP Engineering
Pasadena, CA
By Rodrez
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