Marketed as an economical Japanese sport fastback, the Honda CR-X is a front wheel-drive sports compact that was introduced between 1983 and 1991. In its 2+2 seating classification, the “little Honda that could” was popular for its responsive handling, substantial performance and the sought after good fuel economy. During its 8 year stint in the automotive market, the CR-X had 3 generations where the third gen was dubbed as the targa top “del Sol”. In some markets, the third gen was also known as the CR-X del Sol although the design queue was totally different from the first and the second gen models. The CR-X was the second car to receive a VTEC engine shortly after the Integra. The engine used Variable Valve Timing that provided increased power at its high rev range, while still allowing low fuel consumption and better idling at low RPMs. The desirable characteristics of the CR-X lured Leon Casino, an enthusiast and a recognized Honda connoisseur, to not one but a tandem of CR-Xs.
Leon built two CR-Xs that pays tribute to two of the most respected engine tuner and parts manufacturer in the Honda realm- Mugen and Spoon Sports. His vision of keeping these CR-Xs with an enhance OEM look, non-knock-off parts philosophy and attention to detail makes these two vehicles stand out more from the many Honda builds that we see today. Enthusiasts and tuners that “live and breathe” Honda lust what Leon had accomplished by locating a real right-hand drive from Japan with the desired glass roof and a USDM version with time-attack theme written all over it.
Let’s start off with the Mugen CR-X. With a pristine exterior and intact interior – this canvas was set. It will be a disgrace to let this right-hander be just a parts vehicle for the USDM version. Leon felt that it needed to be saved from getting axed down to pieces. He also wanted to keep the build simple and staying true to the roots of the CR-X. He chose to address the center piece of this Mugen version by bolting down a D16A6 under the bonnet. Before securing the D16, the internals and compression were taken care of by Exospeed in Glendale, Ca; while top end was serviced by Industrial Performance in Carson, Ca. The paring of the 45mm Weber carburetor and polished velocity stacks will not be missed if you peeked under the hood. Of course, with the Mugen theme in mind, all the exterior and interior enhancements were either authentic Mugen or Honda parts.
Aside from exterior and interior Mugen parts, Leon was also able to source front and rear sway bars as well as a Mugen master bushing kit. Dialing in the height of the vehicle were Mugen N1 race-coilovers. Falken 205/50/15 was the tire of choice. Fitted in them were 15 x 6.5 inch Anniversary Edition Mugen MR5 wheels which completed the overall theme for this CR-X. Functional accent to the front end of the CR-X is an Aero Duo carbon fiber hood. Factory Honda paint code from Japan was also obtained to complete this canvas.
Deviating from subtleties of the Mugen CR-X, the Spoon Sports themed CR-X is bold and aggressive. The body lines of this vehicle are well defined and seemed ready for any track action. The exterior was enhanced with Password:JDM front lip, OEM rear wing, Zenon side skirts and Golden Eagle rear bumper diffuser. The widened stance which consisted of the 16-inch Spoon SW388s shoved into Falken Azenis tires and custom fender flares were clear give-a-ways that this sport compact meant business. Coilovers, camber kits and rear lower control arms were provided by Function and Form. Complete bushing kits replaced the tired factory rubber provided by Energy Suspension. With the exterior components already in-line, Spoon Sports calipers were paired with 11.1 inch rotors up front and a complete disc conversion on the rear puts this junkie to a stop.
Every build will not be complete without the huff and puff of the engine. Leon’s poison for the Spoon build was a B16A engine. This was also dressed with cams, intake and exhaust manifolds from ITR. Engine timing was dialed in by Toda cam gears and belt. The carbon kevlar spark plug cover and bright yellow engine cover highlights just solidifies that this CR-X screams Spoon all the way through.
Both of Leon’s vehicles have its own unique character. Looking at them side by side you’ll know these builds were well planned – as the Mugen was more for cruise and very refined while the Spoon provided an antagonistic facade. Nothing will stop one’s creativity when a vision and execution comes together effectively. The ensemble of CR-Xs that Leon Casino shared are examples of what to expect from a true Honda aficionado… and you shouldn’t expect anything less…
Until the next one… Peace!