Although it may not be quite as funny as a Scottish-Korean, you have to admit there are some pretty stark similarities between Sunny Wong’s Honda Insight and the Starburst ad campaign. On one hand, it’s a civilized practical family car, but on the other a fierce widebody racer. Even the parts selection is seemingly conflicting—case in point, when’s the last time you saw a J’s Racing 3D-GT wing share space in a spec box with Airrex suspension? From end to end, this car is full of juicy contradictions indeed.
But I have to admit, there’s something ironically satisfying about the bizarre combination and it really hit me as we scraped our way down San Francisco’s infamously switch-backed Lombard street. When everyday people recompose their tourist priorities from the twisty brick street to the car plowing down it you know that the owner is on to something. Thanks to its electronic-assist, the onlookers were treated to the unobstructed squeal of the massive Brembo’s keeping the Insight from plummeting.
As we continued on my tour of San Francisco the noises became more interesting. With every bump, the floating front rotors let out a clunk that sounded as if there was an elf in the engine bay banging the subframe with a miniature sledgehammer. I’ve been in a handful of cars with similar brakes before, but they were always accompanied by sequential gear boxes and open exhausts that masked the sounds—in the Insight it’s all there for you to behold. In his own words, “it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done to the car”, but at the same time, it’s probably the best. A juicy contradiction if I’ve ever seen one.
2010 Honda Insight EX
Hometown San Francisco, CA
Occupation Owner, Franklin Auto Body Shop Inc.
Footwork & Chassis AirREX coilover air cup kit; RCrew Racing 5-lug conversion
Brakes Brembo 4-pot nickel monoblock (NASCAR) calipers with RCrew Racing brackets and 2-piece floating rotors
Wheels & Tirest 17x9" 0-offset Volk Racing TE37; 205/40R17 Falken tires
Exterior PPG Jet Black paint; M’z Speed Exclusive Zeus front lip, side skirts, rear lip and front grille; J’s Racing 3D GT wing; Franklin Auto Body custom 50mm front fenders, 50mm rear quarter panels and custom carbon-fiber roof overlay; black housing headlights; smoked taillights
Interior Recaro SPG seats with ASM optional pillows and seat back protectors; Mugen rear view mirror cover
WWW www.falkentire.com, franklinautobodyshop.com, mackinindustries.com (Volk Racing), mzspeed.co.jp