The Unsung Hatch: CR-X topped with All Things Mugen
As a third-person observer of the Honda scene, I’ve always wondered why most folks don’t venture past the Honda Civic as their platform of choice. With a host of potent vehicles in their roster throughout the decades, it’s as if the crowd has defined Honda as only having three relevant vehicles: the Civic, the S2000, and the NSX. This of course can’t be any farther from the truth; Everything from Cities, Accords, and the venerable CR-V are decent platforms to modify as well – but the car we’re looking at is perhaps an even smaller niche in Honda’s lineup.
If its EF8 chassis designation is any indication, the second-gen Honda CR-X is a very close relative of the EF Civic – effectively being the ‘coupe/fastback’ variant of the EF. Having only had a 4-year production run (1987 – 1991) compounded by its notorious rust issues, the CR-X population is now dwarfed by the much more common Civic. This makes the CR-X rare globally, much more so the aftermarket parts that were built for it during its time.
Perhaps the most interesting design trait of Hondas during this late 80’s early 90’s era was their penchant for having very clear and open greenhouses for the cabin of their vehicles. Cars like this CR-X and even their flagship NSX sport an interior that has excellent visibility all around – making them easily maneuverable around town. This particular CR-X sports a bronze glass laminated roof that sort of supports this theme, though the headliner still covers the glass roof from inside – you wouldn’t want to be cooked under the sun like an ant through a magnifying glass after all.
That aforementioned glass roof covers quite a mint interior that is made up of mostly USDM EF8 pieces like the trim, dash, and the full leather seats. A few key pieces from Mugen elevate the quality on this otherwise stock interior such as the Racing 3 steering wheel, Formula Duralumin Black Shift knob, and a full pedal set. All of these tie the interior into the rest of the CR-X’s Mugen motif. The hatch end of the CR-X ditches factory quality for an all-business look with a Cusco 8-point Chromoly roll bar.
While the chromoly blue roll bar lends an aggressive ‘motorsports’ look through the backglass, the exterior leans more towards this look as well. A Mugen Pro 2 Kouki EF8 kit comprising of a front and rear bumper as well as side skirts and door cladding on each side all come together to give this white fastback a bit of that racing aesthetic from its era.
Of course, no Mugen build from this generation of Honda is complete without the holy grail of Mugen wheels: the Mugen NR-10. Unseen behind the disk-like face of these wheels are a set of OEM EF8 brakes as well as a Tein Sport Spec HA coilover setup.
A peek into the engine bay reveals a modestly stock B16A with a few basic bolt-ons that make enough of an impact. A Mugen airbox funnels air towards the Skunk2 68mm throttle body to feed more air towards the cylinders, while the exhaust side is addressed with a Fujitsubo Legalis R dual tip chambered catback. Acceleration picks up better than stock thanks to a Y1 4.4 Final drive in its OEM LSD transmission.
Seeing as we have a pair of unique Hondas for this feature, we figured we’d have another quirky Honda tag along for the evening. Now and then we’d see one of these Honda Motocompos at the meets, and usually it generates a lot of interest. Supposedly the Motocompo is a foldable bike that can be stored at the trunk of Honda’s earlier 80’s hatchbacks like the City and the Today, then deployed as a motorbike to get to places too tight to be accessible by car. Nowadays Honda collectors have managed to get their hands on the quirky tiny bike, and we now have an opportunity to appreciate the unique engineering solutions Honda had to offer back in the day.
Weighing about 40KG, you’d have to be quite fit or physically active to lift this off the trunk alone. Still, it presented a unique mobility solution especially in the early 80’s when it was conceived. The Motocompo can easily be fit into compartments thanks to its boxed body. The handles and seats then fold up from the top to fully deploy the Motocompo as a functioning motorbike.
The evening of this feature was made up of all things Honda and it has certainly opened us up to a lot of learning about the brand’s history and heyday in the 80’s and 90’s. We’d call it a healthy experience of the brand compared to the usual toxicity you’d associate with the community surrounding these cars.
For all it’s worth, these cars are certainly worth featuring so long as they’re done properly. We’re definitely looking forward to shooting more quality Hondas in the future.
Words by Aurick Go
Photos by Jose Altoveros
Mugen Pro 2 build CR-X EF8 SiR
B16A First Gen VTEC DOHC engine
Mugen Gen 2 Black Oil Cap
Spoon Sports Gen 2 Coil Plugs
Skunk 2 Pro Series Intake Manifold
Skunk 2 Pro Series 68mm Throttle Body
Skunk 2 black silicon upper lower radiator hose
Y1 4.4 OEM LSD transmission
Mugen High Performace Air Intake System 17200-XG9R-K1S0
Cusco 2pc Construction Tubular Front Tower Bar
Cusco 8pt Chromoly with Optional Rear Carbon Reinforcement Rollcage
Tein Sport Spec Type HA Harmonic Fully Adjustble Height/Dampers Kit
Hardrace Front and Rear Adjustable Camber Kit
OEM EF8 Big Brakes 17cl Front and 7cl Rear
Mugen NR10 15x4x100 6-inch Width By +45off 42700-NR10-1560
Federal RSR 195/55/15 Tires
Kyoei Black Hex Lug Nuts
Fujitsubo Giken Co Legalis R EF8 B Pipe and Dual Tip Finisher Chambered Catback
Full Stainless Catalytic Eliminator
Mugen Pro 2 Kouki EF8 Wraparound Kit (Front & Rear Bumper, L/R Skirt, L/R Door Cladding)
Optional Bronze Glass Laminated Top
Optional Power Folding Side Mirror Set
Complete USDM Black LHD Dashboard Assembly
EF8 Genuine Full Leather Seats
Honda Access EF6/7/8 Optional Mats
Mugen Racing 3 Steering Wheel Black Leather/Red Stitch 53100-XG8-K1S0-B3
Mugen Formula Duraluminum Black Shift Knob 54102-XG4-K0SO-B
Mugen Gen 1 Aluminum Sports Pedal kit 4645-XG5-K0SO
Works Bell Steering Wheel Quick Release
Gathers Tape Deck DIN Stereo
Gathers CD Playback In-dash 6 Disc Player GA-II CS-303S