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1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

A truly “exclusive” K-powered CRX

Joey Lee
Jan 2, 2013 SHARE
Htup 1301 01 o+1990 honda CRX+JDM si r front end conversion Photo 1/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

There are certain types of cars that immediately stand out to us. Even though we’ve been in this business for what seems like an eternity now, we still manage to be captivated by those special one-offs that are seemingly undeniable. That’s what keeps this job so interesting; we continue to have moments where a Honda build sparks something inside of us and captures our undivided attention. After all, variety is the spice of life and we love seeing all the different builds that make up this great community. The ones that do succeed in capturing our eyes simply have that unique “it” factor—whatever “it” may be.

We first encountered this 1990 CRX at this year’s annual Eibach Honda Meet in Irwindale, California. It was parked in the entrance of the event where cars were being staged before entering the lot, with many other Hondas surrounding it. Aesthetically, it wasn’t too different from what you would normally see at an event of this nature. It was white, like so many other cars that day; it retained its OEM two-tone appearance with subtle modifications like a Japanese-spec front-end conversion and Xenon side skirts. However, it was the tan leather interior that had the two-seater sticking out like a sore thumb. Allowing the harsh sun to shine into the unique interior is a Japanese-only glass top conversion. What was interesting was that we overheard a fellow enthusiasts in a neighboring Honda ask the owner of this CRX how much his right-hand drive conversion cost, totally ignoring the rest of the interior. You see, tan leather on a white CRX was never an option offered by Honda from the factory—no matter what the country of origin. Not only that, but tan leather itself is pretty unique, and one would assume this was nothing more than a reupholstered setup. We wouldn’t reunite with the CRX for a few hours, but when we did, we were stunned by what we saw; the words “CRX Exclusive” embroidered on the front seats indicated that this interior was the stuff of EF legend. Not only was it not reupholstered, it was the original factory option—a very rare, or exclusive, factory option. Though the car isn’t a true CRX Exclusive model, the entire interior most certainly did originate from one of only 350 ever produced.

Htup 1301 02 o+1990 honda CRX+cigarette lighter adapter Photo 2/12   |   Additional rare trinkets to go with the almost non-existent interior.

The Exclusive trim level was a rare option available outside of the U.S. market during the CRX’s production run. To actually see one in person here in the States is something that we thought would never happen in our lifetime. The world is a huge place, and you would be hard-pressed to find anything now that was made only 350 times two decades ago. To say this interior was a rare gem would truly be an understatement. The steering wheel and shift knob have been replaced with aftermarket pieces, but to see this interior as intact as it was made it a mind-blowing experience.

It didn’t stop there, as a look under the hood revealed much more. The stock motor was long gone, and the bay now housed a K20A2. This particular swap was unlike most K swaps because it still retained the factory airbox and intake arm from the RSX Type S that the motor came from. The OEM intake setup was either kept as a novelty item or actually served a specific purpose. We had our assumptions, but it wasn’t until a couple of months later when we finally met the owner, Jaime Galvez, when he confirmed our beliefs.

Htup 1301 03 o+1990 honda CRX+mugen steering wheel Photo 6/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

“I kept the whole intake setup because I needed it to have the K20 swap BAR’d in the state of California,” Galvez explains. “That’s why the motor is basically stock with the OEM (RSX) ignition and fuel system. I even have the RSX gas tank mounted to my CRX. It was a pain to have to make it all work, but my swap is completely road legal in California. I also took the proper steps to register my right-hand drive conversion and have paperwork that proves that everything is legit.”

Although it may be a terribly tasking operation, it makes sense for Jaime to legitimize his project car. Many would just take the chance and do it the more conventional way, putting their money pits in risk of being taken away, but not Galvez—especially with that rare interior. His K may be stock, but the Type S motor in this lightweight chassis packs plenty of punch in factory form. There are no aftermarket power-adders, other than a DC Sports header and Mugen exhaust, but he has made the K his own by dressing it up with gold-plated accents. Maintaining his Honda’s legitimacy is important to Galvez because this car holds quite a bit of sentimental value. He explains, “I love this car because it literally helped keep food on my table for many years while I was on the road as a field service engineer. I used to drive this car an average of 150 to 200 miles per day. It never gave me any problems, and it never let me down. I only had two flat tires the entire time I’ve had it. I’m just spending money on it now because it helped save me so much money in the past—it deserves it.”

Htup 1301 12 o+1990 honda CRX+JDM OEM glass top Photo 7/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

Jaime’s CRX is just one of those “it” cars because there is so much more lying beneath its surface. The rare interior is the draw, but everything else about it is what really makes this project special. Practically everything about it is unconventional compared to other, more typical CRX builds, placing Jaime’s car in that “exclusive” club.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20A2
Gold-plated HaSport engine mounts
OEM RSX Type S intake box
DC Sports header
Mugen exhaust
OEM RSX Type S catalytic converter
Complete OEM RSX Type S fuel system
Powdercoated OEM RSX gas tank
Koyorad radiator
K-Tuned gold-plated alternator relocation kit
OEM RSX Type S 6-speed manual transmission
Hybrid Racing K-swap shifter
Subaru STi clutch master cylinder
Gold-plated OEM valve cover

Htup 1301 06 o+1990 honda CRX+K20A2 engine Photo 8/12   |   California-approved, street-legal K20 swap.

Suspension
Tein Flex coilovers (EK chassis)
Brand-new OEM suspension bushings
Suspension Techniques front drop forks
Powdercoated suspension components
Custom front cross member
Custom radiator support brace
Custom suspension radius rods
Ingalls front adjustable ball joints
RSX Type S 5-lug conversion

Resistance
Slotted RSX Type S brake rotors
Mugen Active Gate front calipers
Goodridge front/rear brake lines
Gold-plated JDM OEM brake booster

Htup 1301 07 o+1990 honda CRX+SSR EX C mesh wheel Photo 9/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

Wheels & Tires
SSR EX-C Mesh 15x7 +21
195/50-15 Falken Ziex

Exterior
JDM Si-R front-end conversion
JDM right-hand drive conversion
JDM OEM glass top conversion
Xenon side skirts
OEM CRX ZC trunk wing
OEM JDM bronze glass
JDM Honda Verno windshield banner

Interior
OEM CRX Exclusive front seats
OEM CRX Exclusive rear seats
OEM CRX Exclusive interior body panels
OEM CRX Exclusive dashboard
JDM OEM climate control
JDM OEM head unit
Mugen steering wheel
Nardi 6-speed shift knob
MOMO Corse dead pedal
Impul brake and clutch pedals
Razo gas pedal
JDM Honda Access Super Sound rear speaker covers
JDM Honda Access Super Sound bass tubes
JDM Honda Access power-folding heated door mirrors with aero covers
JDM Honda Access heated seat console
JDM Honda Access Personal Box
JDM Honda Access front, rear, trunk checkered mats
JDM Honda Access glass top cover
JDM Honda Access tinted CRX trunk glass
JDM Honda Access motor jack
JDM Honda Access road flare

Htup 1301 04 o+1990 honda CRX+OEM CRX exclusive front seat Photo 10/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

Props
Thank you to my wife Miriam, my big brother Edwin, Roger, Angel, Juan & Johnny Castaneda; thanks to all those people I hardly know who have expressed their sincere props on my build; and of course Honda Tuning!

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Technical service manager

Htup 1301 11 o+1990 honda CRX+mugen exhaust Photo 11/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form

Favorite site
K20A.org

Screen name
Bridgeport

Building Hondas
14 years

Dream car
Ferrari GTO

Inspiration for this build
My brother Edwin

Future builds
’87 RHD Civic

Black-Tie Affair

While it may be a right-hand drive CRX with tan leather Exclusive interior, true EF aficionados will know right away that this isn’t one of the 350 CRX Exclusives ever produced. How? Well, the two-toned white and black exterior is a dead giveaway. The Exclusive model is considered the rarest of the CRX family, and only came in black. It also didn’t come with the EF8 Si-R front end that Galvez has. Someone could have repainted the body and added the parts, but if you really had a rare piece of Honda history, why would you? What made the Exclusive special was the combination of black paint, tan leather, “Exclusive” badges, glass top, Honda Access “Super Sound System,” and electronic climate-control A/C. Jaime has done an outstanding job of combining some ultra-rare CRX history with modern-day performance. A restomod for the ages.

Htup 1301 09 o+1990 honda CRX+OEM CRX ZC trunk wing Photo 12/12   |   1990 Honda CRX - In Rare Form
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Sources

Hybrid Racing
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
225-932-9588
http://www.hybridracing.com
HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
Tein USA
Downey, CA 90241
562-861-9161
http://www.tein.com
K-Tuned
877-958-8633
http://www.k-tuned.com
By Joey Lee
217 Articles

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