The H Factor – Part 2 | Mimms Honda Day @ Croft Circuit 2021

If you’re back for more, you’ll be glad you came by once you’ve reached the bottom of this page. Or, if you’ve stumbled upon this somewhere on the net, don’t forget to check out what I kaptured in Part 1.

I’ll stretch out this mid-section of the three-parter to be the meatiest one. So buckle up, as I take you through the bulk of the Mimms Croft Edition 2021 gallery.

Let’s kick off with a golden oldie. Referring to this 1970s vintage gem as an oldie is probably disrespectful, actually. After all, it is the origin of the legendary reputation Honda has upholded all these years.

As the rear sticker indicates, this car would pass as a museum piece found in Honda’s Hall of Fame situated within the grounds of Twin Ring Motegi.

If you’re on the same level as me when it comes to automotive IQ, then the RS badge also may have thrown you off. Not due to it being commonly found on cars made by Audi, but the fact that the Honda RS badge reaches as far back as the first-gen Civic. I only knew of the Honda Fit (Jazz for us UKDM bois), which (in the Asian markets) was available in RS trim during productions runs of the GE and GK chassis.

Unlike the Fit RS – a “sportier” model with slight suspension stiffening – this Civic was used as an attempt at making a civilian car fun to drive; regardless of its drivetrain layout. You could even consider this model Honda’s initial spark to that FF flame, passed on throughout the decades until 1997, the inception of the EK9 Type R.

Honda managed to extract 20bhp+ over the base model’s engine spec. Using twin-carburettors and a freer-flowing intake manifold, this little firecracker puts out 75bhp from its 1.2 single-cam engine. That’s around 125bhp/tonne though (if Wikipedia tells me right) so I bet it makes for some good slow-car-fast thrills. Oh, and RS stands for Road Sailing, if you care to know.

Here’s a couple interior shots I got of the Prelude sat next to it.

Another car imported by BHP Imports was this nifty EG, wearing white on white. I think the owner has a thing for Toda Racing.

First Molding carbon front-lip is enough to complete the face of a street-friendly B-series EG.

Here’s a car I did expect to see atleast one of, but not in this guise.

Its difficult to not get excited seeing an NA1 NSX. The number of shots Hamza and I took of Amer’s car will solidify that fact. But this isn’t any old supersportscar Honda made back in the day.

As remarkable as the machine is in stock form, there’s always potential for enhancement. For you lot old enough to remember and fortunate enough to not forget, this NSX in particular may be recognizable to you. This used to be a demo car belonging to Trial Japan!

The current owner has kept true to the original aesthetic, but at the same time turned it up a few notches with the JGTC-style livery. The front bumper is made by Taitec, a company whom I think run/ran NA1 and NA2 NSXs in Super Taikyu Endurance Series. The rest of the kit I’m unsure of. Whatever the widebody is, it looks mighty fine.

Oh, did I not mention its got a turbo hanging off the back of it? This thing doesn’t just look the part, you know.

As is visible from the interior shots, the premium cabin feel hasn’t been sacrificed in the name of racecar.

The owner (pictured) seemed a cool guy too, offering to open the doors and hatch for people who wanted a gander. Shame it wasn’t allowed on track due to noise violations.

Amer’s brother brought his normal NSX.

Moving back on over to FF Hondas. For me, this grey EK hatch looked the part.

Must have been the SE37s, a design that ranks in my top 3.

I suppose its boosted B-series unit is cool too. Bit miffed that I didn’t get to hear it make a racket; oh well.

An award-worthy EG6 SiR; a Honda some would regard the Holy Grail of 5th-gens.

Simple recipes stand the test of time, so its no wonder this black Civic on white TEs won top prize for “Best Exterior”. Spoon Sports goods give the body a bit more of a pronounced profile by way of a carbon front-lip and rear duckbill spoiler.

From what I remember, the interior was immaculate enough to win its own award. Dash-dodger roll-cage paired up with a set of Recaro SR3s in red, and its ready to attack any backroad bend!

Save the money you spend on drugs, and go purchase a LSD.

Another star of the show, this EK4 Jordan managed to win over the judges, not with its memorabilia collection on the parcel shelf, but in fact with its Sprint Hart Type-D wheels! And yes, I had to research wtf they were, because I’ve never seen a set on anything ever. Their design remind me of classic rally wheels, but this Civic isn’t going anywhere near a ditch let alone off-road.

Engine bay cleanliness to a T.

So, the story goes (Wikipedia comes through once again) in the late 1990s, cigarette-bans forced F1 teams to flip the script with their promo & marketing. Benson & Hedges were the primary sponsor for Eddie Jordan’s clique, so the cars had to retain the B&H namesake someway or another. Apparently, someone had an idea of slappin’ Buzzin Hornets on the side of their Formula car, and that was that! I reckon it had something to do with Team Jordan hearing what straight-piped B16s sound like at full-whack.

If you don’t know what I mean, go and YouTube “No Good Racing Osaka Kanjozoku”.

This is what dedication looks like. Bonkers. As if they made and sold a Jordan disposable camera! The owner ain’t getting rid of that, or any of his other souvenirs, for sure.

Is the Spoon livery played out yet?…

Nahh, probably not.

Teeky’s EK4 SiR-II(?) These things are rare as they Civics come.

Unicorn-spec for sure, those gold badges are regal as fuck.

I’m gonna dip out here, but don’t you worry, we’re not done yet.

I hope you enjoyed the blah-blah and the photos of course. As you’ve just witnessed, my start to summer show season has been class. But “where’s that trackside vibe?!” I hear you scream.

I gotchu…

Japanaholik’s Journal | Goodnight, Tokyo, Good Morning, Osaka

The thing with Japan is that it has pockets of unique culture and ways of life projected in every different part of the country. On this trip, I made sure to pen in Osaka on the itinerary. In terms of like general knowledge, all I knew of Osaka was how apparently insanely addictive their cuisine is, its home to electronics giant Panasonic, and also a tourist selfie-hotspot in the form of the ‘Glico’ man.

What they don’t show on TV though, is that Osaka is the breeding ground of the hardcore Japanese tuning scene. ‘5Zigen’ have their head office in the prefecture, ‘Trial’ is also situated in Osaka, as are the GT-R maestros ‘Auto Select’, that used “JDM-car” heaven ‘Global Auto’, ‘Kakimoto Racing’ high performance exhaust specialists, and of course the infamous Kanjozoku has its origins in this western part of Japan. That list is only the tip of the iceberg, as you could wander in a rural countryside in Japan and stumble across, oh I dunno, ‘Fujita Engineering’ (which I did intentionally stumble upon; all will be revealed in a future post).

I was advised by Uncle, that the most efficient way to get to Osaka without breaking the bank with a shinkansen (bullet-train) ticket, would be to hop on an overnight bus. So, with seats reserved for the long and dark 350+ mile journey, we just chilled out during the day.

We tagged along with Uncle who was checking up on some work-related matters.

On return back to his house, Uncle got me to pilot his lardy Land Cruiser to the local Super Autobacs which is pretty much Halfords but with more than you could ever need; it is THE autoparts dealer of Japan. This store in particular had a cafe, arcade, bookshop/memorbilia emporium, and a sportswear shop on top floor of all things.

Nothing much else to note during that day and evening, skip to us arriving in Osaka at 7am the next morning. It is hard to get a decent sleep on a moving coach, especially when they have to make regular breaks along the route. Needless to say, I was very groggy getting into Osaka, but my first impressions were that it was a bit more rough around the edges in comparison to Tokyo.

Walking through the city, it was easy to see it was an actively industrial place, with a lot of HGVs present on the streets dashing to and from the shipping ports that make all that international business possible.

I don’t normally look twice at E36 chassis BMWs, but that fire & sun pair parked up back-to-back made me take a closer peek. Good sets of bronze wheels and a drop in ride height results in maximum effect on street cars.

Saw that EK Civic in the corner of my eye as it seemingly floated by with a low-pitch grumble emitted from its exhaust. I should have chased it, but we were dealing with a bicycle rental rep and I didn’t want to be rude and just duck out. Also, he probably would have been weirded out by me running after a Honda to get a photo. If I were to eventually get an EK9, I’d get that sucka sprayed straight red, or maybe Sakhir Orange. As classic as the timeless Champ White colour is on the little hatchback, I think that generation of Civic definitely suits darker hues better.

With our trusty, fully manual two-wheelers, we set out in the direction we were told the Osaka Castle was in, by asking random pedestrians at every traffic light until we found it, basking in all its glory under the low sun.

I’ll leave it at that for this post. Not really anything special, it was just a bunch of photos I took that (for the most part) were not car-related. The next day was a bit more interesting though, so watch out for that post.

V V V B O N U S G A L L E R Y V V V

Japanaholik’s Journal | Supreme Klassiks of the Golden Era

The plan after the Lowstars Meeting in Nikko was to bolt over to Tochigi City, where a private kollection of incredible automobiles are nestled away under the roof of an old train JR (Japan Railway) station.

The ‘Mahoujin Supercar Museum’ is deceiving on first encounter; it seems like an old, unused building that has been preserved for the local community or something of that nature. But step past the ticket barriers (after you pay for admission) and what welcomes you is pretty astonishing.

The cars you are about to see are what I believe to be the pinnacle of supercar history. The 90’s machines have that perfect balance between technology and rawness, and the cars that predate that decade are pure analogue bliss.

I am sure you will spot some of your all-time favourites in this assortment…

… ‘cos I know I did when I caught this red Delta HF Integrale Evo 2 sitting in the corner of the gallery.

The dudes you see gathering around that Porsche 959 arrived at the museum in a convoy, one had some kind of Mercedes 2-door coupe which didn’t peak as much of my interest as the FD2 Civic Type-R (which I probably should have chosen to rent out instead of the Integra) and the two Alfa Romeo saloons. Dare I say, the Italian 4-doors beat the heck out of the Honda with their sharp looks.

Upon exit, the owners of these cars followed behind and they got chatting after they caught me taking photos of that black 159. I vented my frustration with the rental car, so they offered to phone the company and give them a very polite, Japanese earful. Nothing came out of it really, but at least they tried. A couple of them reckoned it was a faulty crank/cam angle sensor, which I also speculated, but that wouldn’t explain the nasty throttle pedal feel.

Thats all I have for this one, the visit was more of a bucket list check-off than anything, and since it happened to be along the route to our stop in Tsukuba, I thought I’d might aswell pay it a visit.

The post to follow is gonna be exciting, as you might have guessed by the aforementioned destination…

VVV B O N U S R E E L VVV

First Visit to Japan; Another World

It was bound to happen, but this journey out to the ‘land of the rising sun’ came to manifest unexpectedly for me. I can say it was destined, you could say it was just coincidence. My father’s childhood friend who lived in the same village when they were both growing up in India, had travelled further east, and ended up working and settling in Japan. My dad kept in contact with him, I think, on and off meeting up to reminisce whenever their trips to India coincided, or the one time he and his Japanese family visited England years before I can properly remember.

Fast-forward to 2016, almost as if it was at random, my parents had booked flights to Japan and I can remember not being particularly excited at the time. Maybe I was just stunned and could not grasp the fact that it was actually happening.

Anyhow, you will now view the gallery of photos I snapped when I was out there. 59 is the image count, so commentary will be dialled down to the minimum and the pictures will paint the scene. Enjoy…

On the drive from the Narita International Airport, I was armed ready with my camera. The journey to my Uncle’s home was mainly through rural settings, occasionally passing through small parts of town. This was a Mazda I had never laid eyes on before, in all its basic-looking blandness.
Traditional Japanese buildings are a thing of beauty, so much so, it feels blasphemous referring to them as things. More like pieces of art.
Wakaba means ‘young leaf’ in Japanese. It is also the word used to describe the yellow and green symbol found on all these “JDM as f*ck” cars that you see and used as a symbol with an alternative meaning. In Japan, its originally intended purpose was for inexperienced/new drivers to be made known to others on the road, analogous to the ‘L/P’ plates in the UK.
Welcome to Autobacs, the Japanese version of Halfords (kinda). And yes, they sell SSR alloys. This is scratching the surface, but unfortunately I did not manage to get many good photos of the other items for sale, mainly due to the crazily extensive options. You name it, they got it. Then there’s the ‘Super Autobacs’ stores. I never paid one a visit, but from what I have seen online; whole other level.

Literally a minute walk around the corner from where we were staying, this gem of a find which goes by the name ‘Body Make Kazu’ stopped me in my tracks gobsmacked, and this was only Day 2 of the holiday! It was what seemed like three separate buildings in close proximity, perhaps owned by one guy or family run. It comprised of two small garages, a medium-sized storage unit, and then a little single story office/reception building across the road. Very odd, but outside on the yard was a plethora of all sorts. The Liberty Walk GTR obviously caught my attention, but not as much as the cold stock silver RX7 FD. All this wickedness in some random, remote village in Kamagaya about 25 miles away from the airport.

These boxy beaters are ace and look like fun to chuck about on the touge.
Enroute to Hakone, near Mt. Fuji

The highlight of the trip without a doubt. I rented an FD from a small but growing business called ‘Fun2Drive’. Without going into too much detail, the RX7 was a machine that did everything right. The perfect sports car, front to back. Oh yeah, the roads in Japan’s mountainous areas are sublime.

This red legend will be revisited in a future post.

The first R34 GTR I saw on Japanese roads. I went bananas, the people on the bus must have been weirded out.

I almost didn’t get the chance to experience 7’s day that year. But thanks to the typical friendliness of the Japanese, a scenario played out that was written in the stars, for real. Long story short, I was young and dumb, I failed to plan, realised at the wrong time that Daikoku Parking Area is access-only via vehicle, a bystander who had just finished work in the evening offered to take my parents and I into the service station. For me, even that very short 15 minutes, felt like complete heaven.

The Land-Jet…
Tokyo’s tree in the sky
I found that the Japanese are really enthusiastic when it comes to cars. A big surprise to me, was the amount of non-Japanese marques, like this Mini. Very cool to see.
Roll on chrome… back to the early 00’s

Another tuner/service garage a few streets down from my uncle’s house. This place, ‘Seed Racing Car Engineering’, seemed like it was serious. I am regretting not taking enough photos, being overwhelmed by it all. What a place…

My last day in Japan on that trip. I went for a walk around the neighbourhood’s surrounding area and these final three images conclude this post well. That stall was selling fresh blueberries I think. Unmanned, the CCTV camera caught anybody trying to ‘do the dirty’ and not pay the 300 yen (~£2) in exchange for a box. Also, for some reason, I took a liking to the houses out there. The design of their residential buildings are cool and each house had character. I used to play Pokemon on the GameBoy Colour, and weirdly enough, it felt like I was venturing through one of the fictional towns and villages from the game. Odd, I know…

Cadwell Park TrackDay – The Orange Peeled Off

Last summer on a visit to Cadwell Park, I joined Luke who, at the time, owned a homebuilt kit car. Now, I have never been keen on kit cars, especially the Lotus 7/Caterham “style” variety. It must be something to do with my awkward feeling towards replicated designs. This topic is something I could write on and on about, so I am going to stay on course for this one.

This particular machine Luke built in his garage is an MNR Vortx, space-frame tube chassis, fibreglass lightweight body, driven by a 1.8 BPZE engine from a Mazda MX-5 NB/MK2. The basic concept is excellent though, as I experienced in the passenger seat that day at Cadwell Park, which nestles in Lincolnshire, UK.

This blog post won’t revolve around his car however, as I did not get the best of shots in retrospect, but other cars were out there blasting around the 2.18 mile course which is actually designed for motorcycle racing; picture narrow track width and grassy runoff areas.

Waiting game…
Okay, I am going to have to open with this beauty. The FD RX-7 you see in front of you is a full RE-Amemiya GT kitted spec. The highlight of the car was the colour and unfortunately my photos do not do its aesthetic quality any justice in my opinion.
It was well put together and style like this is rare to come by, definitely in the UK anyway. But it sure is a treat when you witness something as wild, but simultaneously disciplined in the way it stands. I chatted to the owner briefly, I can remember him having some teething issues with a new single-turbo setup, which is a shame but I manage to catch a glimpse of the rotary ripping out on the field.
I do wonder what the status/condition the car is in at the moment…
Good luck trying to find a trackday where an MX-5 isn’t present. I mean, how could you NOT want to drive one of the purest sports cars ever created, on a racetrack?!
Future historic legend; flipped the FF (front-engine front-wheeled-drive) game on it’s head.
There were two EP3 Civic Type-Rs out that day, both equipped with this hatch mounted GT wing. Part of me sees the appeal in it, part of me realises it kind of looks out of place…
Maybe here, with the trimmed rear bumper, the spoiler’s toned down wing-stands suit the chassis more so. Downforce times call for downforce measures I suppose.
Luke getting a feel for the track more than the car, as he had already made some familiarity with it at a previous shakedown which did not go quite as he planned. Good to see him stretching its legs with confidence, albeit the day cut short because of an electrical gremlin…
The highlight of the car’s performance was most definitely its ability to change direction almost immediately. The G-forces you experience are atmospheric, and made me wonder what on earth F1, or even entry-level Formula cars for that matter, feel like.
One off incident occurred that day, which luckily was not too serious, driver was intact and physically sound after bouncing his Ariel Atom off the tyres midway through the day.
Taking a wander in the paddock area where both drivers and cars take a breather, I took a closer look at some of the motors attending. This K20 swapped EK9 was very nice and cleanly done. What is most impressive though, is the fact that the driver had one prosthetic leg, so the car was kitted to enable the driver to operate the clutch by hand control! Incredible.
This ‘RWB’ styled Porsche was cool. I know very little about these German powerhouses, but I have always felt that they have been held with high regard and respect as sportscars, so there must be something to them…
It did/does look good out there though, and it sounded even better.
One-make duel. For French cars, these hot hatches are not all that bad.
This Starlet Glanza is a very uncommon sight, so it was a breath of fresh air seeing it being thrown about. The deep turquoise colour suits it perfectly.
Track check up; the safety/pace-car M235i BMW for the grounds made its rounds.

I hope to return to Cadwell Park in the near future. The entire place has a cool vibe about it. That wraps up this “throwback” post. Getting out there and shooting more track events is one of my aims this year, so, until next time…