In the Winter ’10 issue of Honda Tuning magazine, we paid a visit to ASC Speed Metal for a glimpse at their incredible custom fabrication skills. They have the ability to create just about anything you can conjure up, including (but not limited to) hand-crafted suspension pieces, custom exhaust manifolds, complex rollcages, and amazing detail pieces. Second to none in both quality and functional creativity, we gave Dana Czech at ASC a call to see if he’d be up to the challenge of fabricating some custom goods under the hood of our Project CR-Z. The challenge part of that equation resides in the fact that our car is an actual production model, and must be returned to Honda in one piece. That means no cutting or drilling, and basically any mods that are made, have to be completely reversible, with no signs they were ever therea tall order for a very cramped (and rather strangely shaped) engine compartment. Nevertheless, sight unseen, Dana accepted the job and from the moment I popped the hood in front of his Lakeside, CA, facility, it was clear that the wheels inside his head were already turning.
Shock tower bars are often the first mass-produced item that a manufacturer will jump on when a new car is introduced to the U.S. market. The shiny aluminum bar has been a staple in the aftermarket world for years, and whether or not all of them actually make any improvements to the chassis is debatable. They’re not very difficult to create for a Honda, especially since the design of the shock tower has stayed pretty much the same for the past 20 years or so. However, with the latest generation Fit and the CR-Z, the layout is quite a bit different. We were only able to find two bars on the market so far. Both were available as special order from Japan, extremely overpriced, and tough to source. Our preference was for something custom that would make a real-world difference in reducing flex up front. Dana removed the windshield wiper cowl in search of some rigid points, and found an excellent two-bolt anchor right next to the shock towers on each side. Another solid area is the front crossmember, and tying the rear of the engine bay together with the front horizontally, then fortifying the connection with a set of thick lateral bars seemed to be the best course of action.
Dana Czech test fits the freshly cut side cover prior to marking and drilling the panel fo
The OEM plastic engine cover that sits atop a pair of posts is a little silly, and all but begging for some type of replacement. Spending hours going back and forth between the car and the work bench, Dana was able to coax his own version that perfectly bends around each runner on the intake manifold. The larger, much more interesting cover gives the motor a more pronounced appearance, and was scuffed by hand to get a brushed aluminum look. An ASC skull and wrench logo is mounted right in the center to let onlookers know who created the one-off piece.
A closer look at the incredible welds and outstanding fitment of the ASC-built shock tower
Devilish details: Custom battery tray, Dzus fastener anchors, and one of the bad-ass .44 M