1985 Honda CRX HF – Homebrewed Hatchback


I first met Scott Giles at a car show in downtown Cincinnati a few winters back. His jovial demeanor, encyclopedia-like knowledge of suspension components, affinity once and for all craft beer, and acute attention to things automotive caused me to take a liking to him almost immediately. We paid little heed to all of the gossamer, technologically laden, and blatantly modern automotive offerings scattered around us on the showroom floor, when we talked. They held little interest to us, with Scott being particularly indifferent. Here was actually a guy who was a firmly devout, fire-breathing believer in a old-school chassis. The only reason he was at the demonstrate that day was to plug the neighborhood SCCA chapter. He kept grumbling in my opinion about how modern cars were too heavy, and just how manufacturers concentrate on technology and power instead of weight stealth and savings. After conversing with Scott for roughly an hour, I finally told him who I was and who I wrote for as an automotive journalist. Realization sank in thicker than smoke off a drag car’s slicks, and Scott suddenly got a mischievous look on his face. He looked around, leaned in, and whispered to me, Honda Tuning, huh? Well shit man, you gotta see my wife’s CRX.

So apparently Scott does the majority of the wrenching on the rustic beauty you can see here, along with hisRenee and wife, does a lot of the racing. She trusts him with all of the R&fabrication and D, while he consequently trusts her to not place the car to the scrap yard. When I asked Scott why they opted to race such an outdated chassis, his response was both direct and rewarding at the same time. If you have the motivation, time and energy and skill, you can have a cheap, old car and make it as fast as almost anything out there. It’s really rewarding and fun to do that … and nothing beats old Hondas. I guess you will be starting to understand why I liked this guy so much. From here, Scott continued at great length in regards to the accomplishments they have obtained making use of their oversized doorstop. Renee has experienced Second and Third Place finishes with the SCCA Solo National Championships, is Southeast SCCA Solo Divisional Champion, and has had multiple divisional and regional SCCA Solo class wins using this car. Together we are the SCCA American Road Race of Champions Enduro Champions, have landed four SCCA Club Racing class wins, and recently we were awarded the Atlanta Region SCCA Rookie of the season, as well as Atlanta Region SCCA Driver of Year. At that point Scott took an in-depth breath and after that he continued, I won us one third Place finish at the SCCA Solo National Championships, was Southeast SCCA Solo Divisional Champion and three time Great Lakes SCCA Solo Divisional Champion. This car has also won me three SCCA Solo National Tour wins, the Ohio Governor’s Cup (SCCA Solo), the crown as NASA East Coast Honda Challenge Champion and SCCA ITSpectacular Champion, as well as VIR 13 Hour Enduro class win as a team driver. Oh, and then there was 14 SCCA and NASA Club Racing wins that it car made possible. Geez, these guys have been busy! Now that we understand how much ass this trifecta ofwife and husband, and CRX have kicked, I only had one remaining question: Why isto begin with, the Gruesome Twosome are experienced track day instructors for SCCA, PCA, NASA and BMWCCA sanctioned events. They are firm believers that data acquisition is overrated and that a real race car can be fine-tuned by feel alone. They already know that in their line of racing, merely a touch of the brakes can ruin your big win, especially when an apex is pulling you toward an ideal exit speed. Scott and Renee know that getting better handling from an already lightweight chassis, and using a peppy little 130-whp powerplant makes it possible for them to snuff out the competition. Yeah, you heard right. 130 whp. After several in-depth interviews using this team of tarmac Tasmanian Devils, I could attest that this really is correctly of going about things. I have also seen this car and Renee’s skills behind the wheel with the local track, and they destroyed the competition! One and only thing that held its own against them was (surprise, surprise) a dented up old Civic hatchback with a lot of suspension mods.

So to the car itself, and every miniscule to massive mod which has been bolted onto its frame. Just to offer you a heads up, this car only weighs 1,498 pounds, and is probably undergoing more liposuction while we speak. It possesses a 1.5L engine from 1986 that is home to all 130 horses, and 120 lbs-ft tq. There are obscure upgrades like OEM aluminum HF rear drum brakes, an OBD0 conversion using a completely one-off distributor, and micro-sized 13×6-inch Volk TE37s. There are also a good number of custom suspension upgrades worth noting on this car. In the forefront, Koni custom re-valved and shortened shocks, and Eibach coilovers respond to many of the handling. But outside of the obvious upgrades you can find little things like custom caster/camber plates, chassis specific Delrin bushings, along with a fully adjustable rear Panhard bar that can help make the already sharp handling of the CRX that more precise. And with an upgraded 1.25/1 HF steering rack quickener into position, this little monster truly corners enjoy it is on rails.

1985 honda CRX HF deleted bumper lights and beamsIf he was considering some serious power mods down the line, i asked Scott about his modest powerband and. To get completely honest with you, we haven’t found ourselves needing any more power. This car gets around speed beautifully, it out handles anything about the track on any given day, and it is insanely reliable. It is actually so simplistic that it can easily be fixed in no time flat. Scott did add that his collection of parts for this car have skyrocketed in recent years, because when something on a chassis that is this rare and old breaks, you can’t go down to the regional auto store and order a new part, and even when something does break. You must source them from from state, hit the junkyard with every spare moment you have, while keeping a running list in the back of your mind concerning what you need to look for next.

So what have we overlooked thus far? Then why not those custom-flared fiberglass wheel arches, the custom cam, unique exhaust, one-off engine mounts, and Mugen limited slip. That list alone lets you know this car means business. And if you look closely, you will notice that you can find quite a few components missing from your equation too. Things like sideview mirrors, headlights, door windows, a vacuum brake booster, and any plush interior amenities that are now nonexistent. Everything that is left is just one lean, mean, ass-kicking machine.