It still feels like it was yesterday when we made it to Takaishi, a small city inside the region of Osaka, Japan. Our agenda for that chilly day in January was to check out a local Honda specialty shop called Car Craft Boon, that also goes under the alias Osaka JDM. Upon our arrival, we were pleasantly surprised their staff had reserved the entire day for us. They had shut down all operations and let us rummage around their shop, ask them as many questions as we had and snap all the photos we wanted. To be honest, they really shouldn’t give a shit about an American-based magazine, so we felt like a kid in a candy store as these Honda heroes gave us their full attention.
Now some of you might skim through this feature because it just looks like another old and boring Honda shop. But if you can appreciate old school Hondas (we suspect you do because you picked up this special issue), then you’ll get a woody from a classic Civic like this EF. Plus, the story behind Osaka JDM is one of the very reasons why we love Japanese tuning and culture in the first place.
For those that get the mag regularly, you already know about the amazing work of Osaka JDM from our Japan issue two months ago. Run by Furukawa-san, the 10 year-old shop works on most Hondas but their specialty and passion is the old school stuff. This is bizarre because most enthusiasts in Japan don’t mess with older Hondas anymore. But these humble guys in Osaka keep it real, still doing what they love. Besides building sweet cars, offering maintenance work and doing the occasional racing, they also offer rare Honda parts and develop some goodies of their own such as brake lines, spoilers, suspension parts and exhausts.
Another claim to fame is the wheel they helped put on the map—the Work CR-01s. With the popularity of retro rollers, Work Wheels Japan promoted the CR-01s with some underground cars to create a buzz. Mounted on nearly every Osaka JDM shop and customer car, the marketing plan worked as the wheels gained instant stardom. Eventually, a relationship between Work and Osaka JDM spawned a limited edition wheel called the Loop 5 only available through Osaka JDM. The Loop 5 is basically a CR-01 but offered with custom sizing, offsets, barrels and thirteen color options for customers. Even Jonathan spec’d out his perfect set of Loop 5 wheels for his Project EF (see elsewhere in the mag).
So during our visit, we had the pleasure of shooting four of Osaka JDM’s project cars featured in the May issue—its breathtaking EF and CR-X, run-around Wagovan and EA-T race car. However, we kept this red hot EF a secret, which was tucked away in the back of the shop.
Owned by one of their most loyal customers, the EF is a pretty simple machine. It shares the same style that Osaka JDM has endorsed in Japan—a mix of USDM and JDM parts. On the outside, you’ll notice the US bumpers and lights along with Osaka JDM’s own rear spoiler. The inside is bare bones with a custom 14-point rollcage fabricated in-house as well as Recaro seats and a Momo steering wheel. Everything else was stripped to shed pounds from the EF.
In the bay, the original B16A motor sits. It was left mostly untouched with the exception of EK9 cams, the usual bolt-ons along and a Mugen N1 ECU to maximize engine speeds and performance.
The chassis was dialed in with a set of 30-way adjustable coils developed by Osaka JDM along with custom-made front knuckles and camber kit.
From the spec list, this EF9 is nothing out of this world. But it’s purpose-built for underground Kanjo racing—all-out car-versus-car racing on the highway. Just check out the Jason mask still dangling from behind the driver seat, which is used to cover the driver’s face when blowing through toll roads. The car doesn’t have 600hp, but it’s reliable, light and nimble to help it maneuver around traffic and tight corners. Plus, it also has a style that keeps the car looking fresh and clean even though the body might be 21 years-old. It’s one of many reasons why we respect and give props to the cars Osaka JDM touches. They are hardcore mechanics, drivers and enthusiasts who still keep the old school Honda scene alive and well.
Honda Civic (EF9)
Owner Nameless Osaka JDM Customer
Hometown Takaishi City, Japan
Occupation Kanjo Racer
Engine B16A with EK9 camshafts; Trybox intake; Osaka JDM 70mm throttle body and catalytic converter; FGK header; Eikoh exhaust; NGK plugs and wires; Mugen oil cap; painted valve cover
Drivetrain five-speed manual with Mugen LSD Engine Management Mugen N1 ECU
Footwork & Chassis Osaka JDM coilovers, 14-point rollcage, custom front knuckles and camber kit; Mugen sway bars, rear strut bar and master bushing set
Brakes ’96 Integra Type R brake conversion; Dixcel Prelude rotors; Seido-ya pads; Osaka JDM stainless lines
Wheels & Tires 15x7" Osaka JDM Loop 5 wheels; 195/55 R15 Yokohama A050 tires
Exterior Osaka JDM rear wing; reinforced fenders; Vision tow hooks; USDM bumpers and lights
Interior Osaka JDM heel guards; Recaro SPG seats; Sabelt harnesses; Integra Type R shifter; Momo steering wheel; WJR steering hub; Mugen N1 window net