Your elders warned you to stay off drugs. “Keep off the crack, or you’ll become a good-for-nothing crackhead,” they’d bellow. Well they didn’t say anything about getting addicted to that timeless Honda coupe that just seems to get better with age, the CR-X. Once you get hooked on some CRacX, there’s no going back.
Although the Civics of that generation was the prevailing choice of performance hatch from Honda, the CR-X always had a soft spot in the hearts of Honda enthusiasts. That anorexic weight put it on par with the Civics of its time in terms of performance and that liftback roofline lent it a distinctive silhouette that still sets it apart from the more modern machinery on the roads today.
One of the key factors in its appeal here was its rarity that made it all the more desirable. Today, finding one in decent shape, let alone mint condition, is only equalled by the challenge to marry Kate Upton and make plenty of babies with her. Let’s not even talk about the price of these compacts too.
M-Tuned Racing had the luck of coming across one of the finest CR-X specimens that I could recall for a long time. That being said, it was about to be thrown in the deep end as the factory performance figures were left wanting for its intended application.
Modding a Honda has always been an extremely delicate task with a razor-thin line that sees no pleasing either side of the fanboy spectrum. Personally, I’m a fan of the traditional method of keeping it simple and sweet.
However, as time progresses it would appear that the hunger for power follows suit but at an exponential rate. Those that walk down the naturally aspirated path are becoming scarce and forced induction seems to be the way to go as anything short of below the 200whp mark is considered inadequate.
So M-Tuned Racing decided to go with turbocharging to bring the CR-X up to date and keep it relevant in today’s age of monster performance figures. The first step was to mate a stock B18B bottom end with an uprated head from a B16B Type-R to have the best of both worlds, the larger displacement and the supposedly more efficient flowing head of the B16B. Hasport solid engine mounts keep the entire package held in place firmly.
Nonetheless, the top end did receive some work in the form of a porting job to further improve flow and some Crower valve springs and retainers as well. Then, a T04S turbocharger was thrown into the mix by virtue of being attached to a beautifully-crafted Tonnka exhaust manifold.
Fueling was handled by larger 560cc injectors pinched from an Evo while the excess exhaust gases were channelled out via the Tial 35mm wastegate. Charge air was cooled through a generic intercooler mounted up front and a TurboSmart blow-off valve reduced the chances of compressor surge. Finally, NGK plug cables give an extra jolt to ignite the compressed air and fuel mixture.
Governing the electronic parameters that ensure engine runs optimally is what has been regarded as the best ECU for a Honda, the Hondata package. So how much does it actually pump out? A healthy 385 horsepower to the wheels.
The stock transmission was retained, as was the factory gear ratios. Nonetheless, an OS Giken twin plate clutch was dropped in for less slip, considering that the power figures now are somewhere around three times more than when it left the factory. A full-lock LSD from Spoon keeps the wheel spin to a minimum on corner exit.
On the handling side, the CR-X is already well suited with fully-independent wishbones all around but of course, some extra help was needed to put that additional power down. Tein Flex coilovers now reside behind every wheel while HardRace upper arms and Skunk2 lower arms provide some increase in rigidity and adjustability.
Filling up the wheel wells are a set of Volk Racing TE37 wheels that are as timeless as the CR-X itself. Measuring 15-inches in diameter, the front pair are wrapped in super sticky Toyo R888 rubbers in 205/50R15 sizing while the rear make do with slightly less bite in the form of smaller Achilles ATR Sport rubbers in a 195/50R15 size.
Taking into account that the CR-X weighs next to nothing, braking upgrades came in the form of a simple swap of Civic EK9 Type-R callipers. Not only is it more than sufficient to stop the lightweight compact, it helps keep the overall weight down as well.
The less-is-more theme continues inside with a semi-strip job for everything behind the two front seats. The driver gets a Bride Low Max carbon Kevlar full bucket seat to do his bidding from and does so via a Sparco steering wheel and is held in place by a Takata harness.
Outside, the bold blue wheels are arguably the most noticeable visual aspect as the factory white paintjob is retained, as is the black moulding. Weight is further reduced however by a carbon fibre hood and a pair of Spoon carbon fibre side-view mirrors. A front lip from J’s Racing was also fitted in to add just a dash of flavour to the front end.
With it weighing next to nothing and a staggering 385whp on tap, the power-to-weight ratio in this turbo CR-X is mind-bending to say the least. It might not look like much from the outside, but it would be wise for your health and ego to keep out of its way on the highway.
SPEC CHECK: Honda CR-X EF7
B18B bottom end, B16BType-R head, ported head, Crower valve springs and retainers, B16B Type-R camshafts, T04S turbocharger, Tonnka exhaust manifold, generic intercooler, Evo 560cc injectors, Tial 35mm wastegate, TurboSmart blow-off valve, NGK plug cables, Hasport mountings. Power 385whp.
Transmission: OS Giken twin plate clutch, Spoon full lock LSD, stock gear ratios
Chassis & Handling: Tein Flex coilovers, HardRace upper arms, Skunk2 lower arms
Rolling Stocks: Volk Racing TE37 15-inch wheels, Toyo R888 205/50R15 tyres (front), Achilles ATR Sport 195/50R15 tyres (rear)
Brakes: Civic EK9 Type-R calipers
Interior: Bride Low Max carbon Kevlar full bucket seat, Sparco steering wheel, Takata harness
Bodyworks: Spoon carbon fibre side-view mirror, carbon fibre hood, J’s Racing front lip
Words: Dinesh Appavu | Photos: Haznajims