Mugen and Honda share a different type of bond. Unlike TRD and Toyota, or Nismo and Nissan, Honda does not officially own Mugen. Their ties are far deeper than that; it’s as deep as blood. Hirotoshi Honda, son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda, started Mugen in 1973. Soichiro started the motor company, and Hirotoshi started racing and tinkering with both the cars and motorcycles.
Being a part of Honda categorizes this establishment as a tuning wing rather than a tuning shop. Catering to the customer who is looking for more performance from his Honda, Mugen has to develop its cars and products in accordance to stringent regulations and homologations. For this reason you will never see Mugen come up with turbo or supercharger kits, or anything of such an extreme nature. Mugen engineers are more akin to race technicians, fine-tuning parts and cars to extract a little more performance from every possible angle. Careful planning is taken to guarantee that each part will function and be as durable as its OEM counterpart and, of course, give a performance advantage.
On top of offering a long list of soft-tuning options for pretty much every Honda model on sale, Mugen, at times, shocks us all and takes things into its own hands by creating limited editions of the sportier versions Honda creates. The Mugen Civic Type-RR is probably the best example here, a car that was sold in a short production run back in 2007. As they have shown us at auto shows and Tokyo Auto Salons, Mugen knows a thing or two about teasing us all with crazy concepts. The most extreme concept of all—the NSX-RR widebody beast from 2009—is still very much in the minds of every Honda enthusiast around the world.
At their headquarters, just a stone’s throw away from the old Honda F1 facility in Wako, Mugen has a small showroom where some of its past creations are displayed along with a selection of tuning parts and a mouthwatering lineup of old race engines.