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 |   |  2011 Honda CR-Z - Pay Dirt
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2011 Honda CR-Z - Pay Dirt

The CR-Z That People Want

Aaron Bonk
Jul 2, 2012
Photographer: Rodrez
Htup 1207 01 o+2011 honda CR Z+C west aero kit.JPG Photo 1/10   |   Eibach only purchases material from a handful of mills in the world, as the company requires ultra-high tensile strength. All Eibach springs, whether for your Honda or NASCAR, are made with the same material and manufacturing process.

The people at automotive spring mega-manufacturer Eibach have about as much interest in Honda’s gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain as they do going into the business of selling sandwiches. Which is why after no less than a year of familiarizing themselves with the 2011 CR-Z they arranged to have the factory 1.5L engine plucked for the less environmentally friendly but exponentially more powerful 2.4L K series.

The power-conscious, environmentally careless enthusiast in you tells you that Honda’s CR-Z should’ve came that way from the factory. But Honda isn’t in the business of making cars for power-conscious, environmentally careless enthusiasts like you. It never has been. Even the company’s crown jewel NSX and S2000 sports cars and Type R trims positioned your horsepower and torque wants tertiary to characteristics like efficiency and suspension finesse. But you knew all of that and, as you’d expect, so do the folks at HaSport, who are responsible for transforming Eibach’s CR-Z into the car that you think it should be.

Htup 1207 04 o+2011 honda CR Z+work emotion CR kai.JPG Photo 2/10   |   Work rollers, Toyo rubber, and StopTech's big brake kit control the stop and go on Eibach's CR-Z.

It’s no surprise that the star of HaSport’s CR-Z engine swap kit is the company’s billet-aluminum mounts. Of course, there’s more to it, but not as much as you’d expect. HaSport’s own Brian Gillespie says that the swap is “surprisingly straightforward.” The wiring is similar to the ’06 Civic Si, and aside from yanking the hybrid nonsense from the chassis and shedding nearly 160 pounds, the rest remains almost disappointedly uneventful. Almost. “The hardest part was figuring out where to put the motor,” Gillespie says. “It was in and out 20 times before we settled on its location.” The relentless removing and replacing wasn’t for naught, though. The results are compatibility with the customary ’06 Civic Si exhaust manifold but with room to spare. “It almost seems as if Honda said, ‘This should fit in here,’” Gillespie quips.

Following weeks of engine swap research and development at HaSport, Eibach’s CR-Z was delivered back to its Southern California headquarters where the company’s marketing coordinator, Tony Jackson, would, well, coordinate the remainder of the events. Early on an expanse of suspension components were designed, test-fitted, and later developed for the CR-Z, the most notable of which are Eibach’s Multi-Pro-R2 coilovers. The Multi-Pro system features double-adjustable rebound and compression damping along with remote reservoirs. The double-adjustable damping means that compression and rebound can be dialed in independent of one another while the remote reservoirs help enhance cooling and consistent damping. Jackson also commissioned an Eibach 22mm antiroll bar out back along with an alignment kit and 30mm wheel spacers, also from Eibach, up front. Handling and grip are further improved upon with Work Emotion CR Kai wheels and Toyo R888 tires. Nestled behind all of that is a system of stopping components from brake manufacturer StopTech. Well-rounded additions these all are.

Truth be told, plans for the K-series swap weren’t exactly certain upon Eibach’s first securing the CR-Z. “Our original plans were to maximize power with the stock engine. [We] discussed doing a K swap, but it seemed more like a pipe dream at the beginning,” Jackson says. Jackson, along with Eibach associates Ryan Hoegner, Adam Matthews, and Phong Diep, can be credited with where the CR-Z’s power would ultimately come from, though. “Everyone had their creative input,” Jackson related. “Ryan headed up the project with HaSport to get the K24 in. I’ve been taking the lead on modifications, suspension tuning, and taking it to the track.”

Htup 1207 05 o+2011 honda CR Z+K24A2.JPG Photo 6/10   |   Springs waiting to be shot peened, which increases fatigue life. Most manufacturers avoid this step. One of the many reasons Eibach can offer an unmatched "million-mile warranty."

Jackson explains that as the car progresses, so does the company’s interest in the project. “There’s a lot more enthusiasm from everyone at Eibach now that the car is getting more exposure and track time, and we plan to push forward with this build to make the car better and better,” he says. Originally built for the 2010 SEMA show with a nearly benign modifications list, plans for the car immediately afterward remained modest and certainly didn’t involve track time. That changed quickly, though, in part because of Jackson, Hoegner, and Diep’s longtime affinity toward all things Honda. Since then, the car has made an appearance at the 2011 SEMA show in its K-series garb and competed in a variety of track days and events across Southern California.

Eibach purchased its CR-Z in mid-2010 mainly for parts research and development but soon recognized the once hybrid as a competent race car. With only 49 miles on the odometer and the factory-appointed 1.5L hybrid powertrain still in place, Eibach personnel competed in 2010’s Super Lap Battle held at Buttonwillow Raceway Park—a maiden voyage of sorts for the newly acquired test vehicle. “We were all curious what we could do with the car in stock form with just wheels, suspension, and brake upgrades,” Jackson says. “Since then, we’ve taken the car to just about every local track from Buttonwillow to Streets of Willow to Chuckwalla to Adams Motorsport Park to AutoClub Speedway for testing and competing.” Following the K-series swap, which yields about 215hp, Jackson has gone on to pilot the car regularly in the HFF Challenge’s Modified class where he’s placed respectably throughout the year. And they aren’t finished yet. According to Jackson, the CR-Z’s still got more in it, and once all of its bugs are sorted out, they plan on proving as much.

Htup 1207 06 o+2011 honda CR Z+eibach multi pro R2 coilovers.JPG Photo 7/10   |   2011 Honda CR-Z - Pay Dirt

Honda isn’t in the business of designing, manufacturing, and selling cars that emanate horsepower. It never has been. But that hasn’t prevented the company from producing some of the most iconic and capable subcompacts of our lifetime. The question is: Is the CR-Z one of them? Jackson will tell you the car’s definitely got an enthusiast following, albeit nowhere near as sizable as what the ’88–’91 CRX has seen. “I think once the price drops a little more on used CR-Zs, we’ll see more K-swapped versions out there.”

Bolts & Washers

’06 Civic Si transmission
HaSport engine mounts
K&N intake system
’06 Civic Si intake manifold
DC Sports header
MagnaFlow resonator with custom turn-down
HaSport axles
NGK spark plugs
’06 Civic Si ECU
Hondata FlashPro engine management

Htup 1207 03 o+2011 honda CR Z+eibach warehouse.JPG Photo 8/10   |   Eibach has 260,000 springs in stock at any given time.

Eibach Multi-Pro-R2 coilovers
Eibach ERS springs
Eibach 22mm rear antiroll bar
Eibach front alignment kit
Eibach 30mm wheel spacers, front

StopTech 328mm slotted rotors
StopTech four-piston calipers
StopTech pads
StopTech steel braided lines
Motul RBF600 fluid

Wheels and Tires
17x8 Work Emotion CR Kai, +42 offset
225/45-17 Toyo R888

Rally Innovations custom paint
C-West aero kit
Mugen rear spoiler

Htup 1207 07 o+2011 honda CR Z+K24A2.JPG Photo 9/10   |   HaSport installed and removed the motor over 20 times in order to find proper positioning for its CR-Z K swap kit.

Rally Innovations four-point roll bar
Sparco Corsa seats
Buddy Club seat rails
Sparco 6-pt harnesses

Allen and Jeremy at Work Wheels
Stan at Toyo
Shawn at StopTech
John at Rally Innovations
Alex and Aaron at Ballade Sports
Brian at HaSport
Albert and George at Buddy Club
Katman and Sheng at JHP
HFF Challenge regulars
Adam, Ryan, Phong, Jared, Tanner, and Tony at Eibach

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Slangin’ Eibach goods

Htup 1207 02 o+2011 honda CR Z+C west aero kit.JPG Photo 10/10   |   Tony Jackson pilots the "hybrid" at a number of SoCal track events in between sessions with his personal Civic.

Favorite Site

Screen Name

Building Hondas
15 years

Dream Car
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car

Inspiration for this build
Function over form

Future build
You’re looking at it

The Case for the Sport Hybrid

You’re not likely to find a larger collection of tweaked CR-Zs than you would’ve at 2010’s annual SEMA show where Eibach first debuted its rendition of Honda’s self-proclaimed sport hybrid alongside 11 others, each in their own various states of tuning limbo. Half were brought in by Honda itself via its in-house divisions Mugen and HPD (Honda Performance Development), while the other half were commissioned by Honda but built independently by tuning powerhouse Bisimoto as well as by wheel manufacturer Konig and others, including Honda Tuning. SEMA 2010 gave initial hope to wishful CR-Z enthusiasts that the dawn of the performance hybrid was finally at hand. After all, the Bisimoto CR-Z was said to belt out a reported 533hp yet maintain all semblance of its hybrid powertrain (along with a huge turbocharger, higher compression, and a boatload of fuel). HPD’s pair of turbocharged hybrid hatchbacks—neither of which are reported to ever be available to the public—nevertheless gave further credence to the idea of a truly performance-minded hybrid. SEMA 2010 came and went so now only time will tell if the way of the sport hybrid indeed captures the attention of enthusiasts to come. We’re waiting…


Compton, CA 90220
Eibach Springs
Corona, CA 92879
Work Wheels
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Phoenix, AZ 85040
By Aaron Bonk
416 Articles



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