One of the most encouraging things about being a sport compact enthusiast in the 21st century is that it is exceedingly easy to commune with others who have the same automotive vision. We brought up the phenomenon in last October's Detonation, particularly as it pertains to clubs and the Internet, and continue to marvel at its power to create unlikely relationships. Among car people there is truly a type of courtesy between strangers, in essence, that you seldom see anywhere else.
It is through a common passion for CRXs that Ryan Basseri and Chris Scarangella met. Both had a history with the venerated hatchback, but without the scene would likely never have crossed paths. Basseri runs his wiring harness business, RyWire, from San Jose, Calif., while Scarangella is a student in Toronto, Canada. Had it not been for the Northern California CRX Club, of which both are members and Basseri a leader, none of what you're about to read would have ever happened.
Their story begins in October of 1999. That's when Basseri purchased his first '89 CRX Si. He fell in love with that car and showered it accordingly with all the typical aftermarket affection and a B18C swap. Tragically, the car was crashed on the way home from the Southern California CRX-po meet in 2005, an unfitting end to a beautiful six-year relationship.
The silver lining was that the insurer of Basseri's whip was willing to work with him because the car was so clean and heavily invested. From that point on, he knew he had to get another Rex and make it even better.
After selling all the salvageable parts from his wrecked hatchback, Basseri had the funding for a new project. Shortly thereafter, while studying in Bangkok, Thailand, for about a month, Basseri searched Craigslist for a candidate CRX. A K swap was in its future, so the car had to have an SiR front fascia; the JDM front is required to clear the K engine. As soon as he returned Stateside, he picked up an '89 DX for $1,900 and drove it home. It had the SiR front, tails, Si seats, and an EDM Rover engine swap, a D16A8 (Honda sold motors to Rover in the '80s and '90s, basically a twin-cam ZC with a different valve cover). The interior was factory blue and otherwise stock.
The work of sourcing parts and modifying the car then began. Having only Hasport and Pacman to contact for guidance at the time, Basseri was fundamentally on his own as far as composing a parts list. He bought components that he thought would work, and over time began to build the car in his head. He even kept a notebook to jot down random swap ideas.
For a mill, Basseri went to Jeremy at Redzone Performance in San Jose, where he hooked up the JDM DC5 engine. He then cobbled together a fueling system and did the wiring, which took even less time to figure out than he planned. Using the factory pin-out from the DC5 "e" plug, and continuity checking wires on the main harness for the c101 plug, he was able to make an ECU jumper that incorporated the missing plugs into his factory harness.