Until replaced by the lugubrious Del Sol, Honda's CRX played the part of spunky younger brother to the Prelude as the company's sportsters. Today's turbocharged Nice Price or Crack Pipe CRX demonstrates that sibling rivalries can be a good thing.
A-Bee-Em-ination was as far as many of you got in describing your opinions on yesterday's Ford-fouled 3-series. Even a full-court press media campaign, including picture album and website, couldn't salvage the car from its 58% Crack Pipe destiny. That bastard child of Henry and Hans represented one way to chew through tires, and while today's Rising Sun refugee takes a different route, it also spins its tires at a different end.
Try as it might, Honda's CR-Z isn't as cool as the CRX was. Maybe it's because Zs are what you catch when you're tired, and X rates a movie that'll keep you awake. Whatever the reason, it may have been impossible for Honda to capture that same lightning in a bottle that was the CRX. First debuting in 1983, the tiny two seater was originally intended, much like the old Chevette Scooter, to provide a low cost and exceptionally fuel efficient transportation option for two. With its light weight, two seats, and small but rev-happy motor, it didn't take long before people realized the CRX had sporting potential, and the second generation, while still remaining a double bucket, offered a larger and more sporting persona than the earlier car, right out the door.
Today's 1989 CRX goes a step – or hell, a whole flight of stairs – further with a turbocharged and air-to-air intercooled B18c5. That engine could originally be found in the 1997 -2001 Acura Intergra Type-R, where it displaced 1,797-ccs. In naturally aspirated form, it pumped out 195-bhp at a castrato-high 7800 rpm, continuing up to a redline of 8500. Here, it gets a turbo and intercooler so horsepower probably has been raised from George of the Jungle to Watch Out For That Tree. The seller makes the claim (don't they all?) of 336 whp out of the engine, which is presently tuned for 10 psi of boost. It's been bored to 2-litres and benefits from an extensive list of brand-name parts, with an exception being the street-sweeper intercooler, the make of which has slipped the seller's memory. Mated to the pressure cooker is a B16 five-speed, rather than the Y80 (I think) that would have been bolted to it in the Acura. Starting the beast is a two-step affair as the builder has mounted a safety toggle in addition to the key lock in the naked steering column. You can get a quick tutorial in the video:
The rest of the interior looks ricerrific, sporting a Sparco driver's bucket and a thick, sculpted steering wheel for all your handling pleasure. Pedal covers rival a bag of Cheetos® for cheesiness, and the flip up screen on the stereo head unit is that kind of gee-whiz accessory that loses its interest after about a day and a half once you realize how long it takes to work. The speedo doesn't work at all, and you can be pretty sure there's no AC on this thing, as that doesn't seem to have been the builder's priority and was still just an option back when the car was new. It's not new any more, and rocks nearly 150K on the clock, although only 15K of that is on the engine.
Outside, it's mostly stock '89 Hf, which, if you weren't cognizant of such things back in '89, meant High Fuel economy, and 12-second zero to sixty times out of its 1.5-litre 60-pony four. In a car only weighing 1834-lbs, that little engine that could managed to squeeze 50 mpg highway out of each gallon of 86 octane pumped into it. Today, that's a feat this CRX probably can't match.
But, is $6,500 a price that should have this CRX matching with a buyer really soon? Or, is that too much, and, with an engine under that kind of pressure, conceivably only the tip of the riceberg?
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