Yellow and blue makes Spoon, everybody knows that. Possessing one of the most famous half and half paint schemes involving primary colors, Spoon Sports' signature theme is both recognizable and uniquely beautiful. But what makes the scheme look so good? Is it because blue and yellow trigger some sort of subconscious animalistic attraction? Not really. Try to picture my neighbor's '84 Tercel; it's flat yellow with a carinkled blue hood and trash bag windows.
Spoon Sports' color scheme is famous and desirable because of the mental images it conjures. Think of Spoon Sports and your mind will fill with thoughts of Group A Integras, time attack battles, nail biting times at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and racing at the world famous German playground, the Nurburgring. You see, besides the quality Honda performance parts they manufacture, Spoon Sports' name and reputation are synonymous with racing. Tatsuru Ichishima, president and founder of Spoon Sports, began creating parts to make Honda's go faster since his amateur racing days and hasn't looked back.
When a meeting came about with an enthusiastic Northern California business called Opak Racing, Spoon Sports began its invasion Stateside. Now the exclusive U.S. importer of Spoon Sports parts, Opak Racing has carried the flag for Spoon into the one battlefield that it is most familiar with: the racetrack. Fully serviced by Opak Racing and driven by Dave Brown, Opak's 2005 United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) series effort yielded a much deserved championship trophy. Brown, a multi-series driving champion and founder of The Next Level Driving School, took Opak Racing to five pole positions and four wins this season. To continue their dominant winning streak next year, Spoon Sports assembled a brand new touring car racer, the USTCC-campaigned 2005 Integra Type-R before your eyes.
Shipped via container from the Land of the Rising Sun, the Spoon Type-R arrived in the U.S. fully assembled and ready to race. Starting with a standard '05 Type-R, Spoon Sports completely disassembled the shell and then rebuilt the car into a racing machine. Requesting rush shipment on their new racer, Opak Racing received the '05 Integra without the sharper, updated headlights of the 2005 model year. Instead, Spoon Sports sent the car out to America with what was available to them, which happened to be an '04 front bumper and headlights. Edmun Laurea, president of Opak Racing, assured us that there was no discernable difference in speed between building the touring car from a '04 body or from an '05. When the Type-R showed up at their doorstep, all Opak had to do was bring the car to Absolute Custom in Petaluma, Calif. for the requisite paint job, which included the mandatory yellow and blue exterior coating. Oh yeah, and then race it.
USTCC race rules are written with the intention that the series be a venue for serious semi-professional drivers that want close racing in compact touring car platforms. All cars are intended to be on a similar level of speed with minimal engine and drivetrain modifications allowed. Instead, cars rely on suspension setup, vehicle weight, and driver skill to remain at the front of the pack. For example, the turbocharged WRX powerhouse races at a minimum weight, nearly 500 lbs. more than this JDM racer. To achieve the minimum weight amount, Spoon Sports stripped the car bare to its shell and went to work. Devoid of all carpeting, interior panels, sound deadening, headliner, stereo, air conditioning, and passenger equipment, this Type-R rocks a freshly painted Spoon Sports roll cage as its only "luxury" amenity. Straight out of Absolute Custom's paint booth, if you lean your head into this racer, you can smell the mind-altering odor of the paint, still curing on to the metal skin.
The stock dash and center console were then re-installed with the space formerly occupied by the stereo now the home of carbon panels that house twin Omori gauges and the ignition kill switch. The center console remains stock and yes, the molded stock cup holders are still present just ahead of the shift lever. I dare you, try drinking a mocha double frapa-dap latte on the way to work in this thing.
Because USTCC rules mandate the use of many stock engine parts, the stock tachometer and gauging are still utilized on this car. The steering wheel was replaced with an airbag-less Spoon Sports piece, and the stock driver's seat has been tossed in favor of a full carbon Spoon Sports bucket seat with a Takata racing harness. The left side of the car, the passenger's side on this Japanese market vehicle, has no passenger seat. Instead of the useless weight of even the slimmest import model, the only item present on the left side of this racer is the ECU, out in the open and easily accessible if need be.
Separated from its former home, the K20 engine was completely disassembled by Spoon Sports. Requiring the use of the stock JDM 11.5:1 pistons, stock Type-R cylinder block, stock Type-R cylinder head, stock Type-R cams, stock Type-R connecting rods, and no porting work allowed, this Integra can only claim a complete assembly and balancing done to Spoon Sports' exacting tolerances. Spoon's work is so good, even Paul Walker was found gushing about it in the very first "The Fast And The Furious" movie. Well, maybe that's not such a good example.
A Spoon Sports baffled oil pan was installed to ensure proper oiling under all the heavy side-to-side g-loads the Type-R was sure to endure with the use of the sticky Yokohama Advan tires the car currently rides on, and the spec Hankook racing tires that will be used later. The yellow valve cover and the carbon-fiber spark plug cover are both by Spoon Sports, as are the reservoir covers. However, unlike my ride, these dress-up parts are all actually produced by Spoon Sports and not by "Scoon Sports." Running pure 100 octane as its fuel of choice, the K20 power plant breathes in through a Spoon Sports air intake box, and out a Spoon Sports header and exhaust. Rough estimates put this Type-R's output at nearly 215hp at the wheels.
The stock Type-R six-speed transmission has to be used as per USTCC rules, although the clutch and pressure plate were changed out for Spoon Sports units. The flywheel remains Type-R stock, even though ligher replacements are allowed by USTCC rules. A Spoon Sports clutch-type limited-slip differential is used in this racer, but the stock final drive, which is already shorter than USDM RSX Type-S models, still remains.
Often protested when it first appeared on the market, the front strut suspension setup on the DC5 chassis appears to be tamed at last. Upgraded with Spoon Sports dampers manufactured by Showa and custom spring rates, this Integra possesses much of the same winning formula that drove Spoon Sports to the 2005 USTCC championship. Tuned with a Spoon Sports front tower bar and Spoon Sports anti-sway bars, this Type-R will be sure to give Brown as many opportunities as possible to show his taillights to the BMW's and Subaru's hoping to chase him down. Plus, on the off-chance that any of those FR or AWD competitors do get in front of him, Brown can pass his way back to the front in the braking zones using his mono-block Spoon Sports four-piston brakes, peeking out from behind the super strong 17-inch gunmetal Work Emotion wheels.
A championship-winning touring car racer right before your eyes. Does it require 800hp, slick tires, wind tunnel testing, or a full carbon-fiber body? No, all it takes to win is a good driver and the preparation skills of Spoon Sports. With their reputation sealed as Honda gurus, the only thing left for Spoon Sports to conquer is, well, everything else in the whole wide world. We've seen the Spoon Sports shirts, shoes, powerboat, and calendar with our very own eyes. According to what we've been told, there are ring tones, a magazine, a Spoon Sports car modification service, and a Spoon Sports club with a driver ranking system in the works. If they start coming up with any more ideas, pretty soon we'll be seeing Spoon Sports day and night in every store, bar, car wash, and shop around. Which might not be such a bad thing after all.
Behind The Build
Name: Spoon Sports/Opak Racing
Hometown:San Bruno, Ca
Occupation: Us Distributor Of Spoon Sports