A quartet of Kinsler 60mm throttle bodies peeks through a custom hood scoop backed by an overtly aggressive Exospeed front end. Beyond the mean mug lies 2.4 liters of pure, unadulterated grunt, slapped by 13.7:1 Wiseco slugs and a nasty set of Drag Cartel bumpsticks that help spin the rollers to over 300hp. As if to further drive home the primal desire for tire-ripping acceleration, all of the above is packed neatly into a package that tips the scales just north of 2,000 pounds. All things considered, its no surprise that this ghost gray CRX moves every bit as good as it looks.
The very sight of a well-built CRX, for most long-term Honda enthusiasts, drums up thoughts of the ’90s. Often referred to as the import movement’s “Golden Era,” it will forever be recognized as a stretch of time that brought about a massive influx of technological breakthroughs, immeasurable growth, and a gaggle of iconic chassis that still stir up emotion two decades later.
Jason Su, president of Suja 1 Motoring, falls into that group of lucky individuals who witnessed a blossoming culture that helped to fuel an entire industry and, as a result, has you reading the very magazine you now hold. Su adds, “I grew up in Guam, and just like so many others in the ’90s, I was hooked on import drag racing. I started an apprenticeship at a local performance shop and that was it, there was no turning back!” Things became a little more serious in ’97 when Su installed his first turbo kit, and on the streets of Guam, he was able to best just about every competitor who dared lay down a challenge. A few years later, Su relocated to Chicago, but continued with his passion for Hondas, this time in the form of a ’96 hatchback. “I built a B16 for it, but the lack of torque wasn’t doing much for me. I ended up swapping in a K20 (ITR) motor, but as time went on, it seemed like everyone with a sixth gen was doing that swap. I wanted to be different, and I set out to build something that would be hard to replicate.”
The phrase “I wanted to be different” is synonymous with hard-core Honda builders and typically serves as a catalyst for something remarkable. A CRX was the chosen platform to build upon, and Su began a search that eventually led to a theft recovery bargain that seemed too good too be true. Enamored with the old-school chassis, he made the purchase quickly while wearing “build goggles.” That is, the haze of excitement combined with a new canvas with which to create blinded him from the fact that the car’s beauty was but skin deep. “That car should have been crushed at the junkyard. It was Champ white and looked decent, but there was hidden damage and corrosion under the paint. I was just too anxious, but once it was torn down and I saw what I was up against, I decided it needed to be brought back.” The damage was extensive enough to necessitate a new set of rear quarter panels and plenty of body work to rid the CRX of over 20 years of wear and neglect.