Top 7 Best Modifications for Honda CRX

There might be a plethora of old JDM classic cars out there that seem like a great potential project car, but none of them can top off the feeling of working on an ol’ Honda CRX. Initially released back in 1984, the Honda CRX quickly became one of the cult classics of the JDM scene in the United States. Sure, it’s antique and has aesthetics capable of inducing nostalgia, but behind its aged and rusty exterior is a legacy that shaped the way sports cars like the Honda NSX were made today.

The Honda CRX is a hip commuter car of the 80s that eventually ended up as a professional racing machine. People back in the day were infatuated with it because of how fun it is to drive. It’s comfortable as a daily driven car, and since it’s got double wishbone suspension, many professional racers tuned it up for competition, transforming it into a mean, green racing machine. Due to its banging suspension and its capacity for being a fun and enjoyable vehicle, many car enthusiasts who’ve managed to get a hold of them have set up a path to restore them to their former glory.

If, by any chance, you have a Honda CRX sitting in your garage for the longest time and you’ve decided to finally start restoring it, congratulations! To help your old and rusty Honda CRX rise from the shadow of its former self, you’re gonna need some of the mods below. They are the best upgrades you can get to make your Honda CRX fun to drive again as if it was still in the ’80s.

#1 Engine Tune-Up

Before you introduce any aftermarket modification to your Honda CRX, it’ll be in your best interest to bring it to your trusted auto repair specialist first for an engine tune-up. Often referred to as preventative maintenance, an engine tune-up is a necessary measure to take if you want your car to function as smoothly as possible without any potential engine problems behind the curtain. An engine tune-up often involves replacing some parts like spark plugs, wires, and any components prone to wear and tear.

Bringing in your Honda CRX for preventative maintenance, along with some miscellaneous activities like cleaning up the engine bay and rebuilding some of the worn-out and damaged parts, can increase the overall health of your vehicle. The Honda CRX is one of those reliable Honda cars that, if you take care of them, they’ll stay with you for another 200,000 miles – or even more! Be sure to have an engine tune-up first before you start with any Honda CRX modifications.

 #2 Suspension

One of the primary reasons why the car enthusiast community loves the Honda CRX is its bespoke suspension. Honda clearly knows how to blend daily comfort driving and some degree of motorsports spirit into this vehicle. With its double wishbone suspension, both front and rear, you’re guaranteed to have a sporty ride anytime you want. And since the car is inherently good to drive anytime and anywhere, many car enthusiasts have modified it to fulfill their specific driving styles. 

Some of the most popular Honda CRX upgrades for the suspensions are coilovers and lowering springs. Both of them are good for slamming the car into the ground, but both have their innate differences. To keep it short and simple, pick coilovers if you’re planning to bring your car to the tracks more often, or maybe you just want the best of both worlds: height and damping adjustment. Pick lowering springs if you just care about dropping the CRX’s ride height without caring too much if it’ll handle like a racing machine.

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#3 Intake Systems

Although the Honda CRX was an excellent platform for almost all kinds of applications, it wasn’t built to be robust and fast. The 1.6 DOHC VTEC B16A1 engine under the hood of the car can only produce up to 150hp. Yes, it’s decent, but if you want to introduce a little bit of extra horsepower to your lego car, then it’d be in your best interest to get some air intake systems. There aren’t many available Honda CRX cold air intake systems out there today, but if you get the right one, it’ll be worth every penny you’d spend.

So what can intake systems do for your car? Aftermarket intake systems eliminate your restrictive stock intake and replace it with a more free-flowing one. On top of that, these intakes often come with innovative air filters that offer top-tier air filtration. Frequently, these air filters are washable and reusable too. With the combination of free-flowing intake tubes and efficient air filtration, you will eventually get more horsepower, better acceleration, and even an improvement in gas mileage.

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#4 Exhaust Systems

Another additional component you can get for your Honda CRX are aftermarket exhaust systems. These bad boys are notorious for stirring up the sound characteristics of your car, transforming it from the subtle, quiet kid at the back of the room into an assertive, dominant jock who knows what it wants. It’s important to note that the aftermarket support for the Honda CRX is not that broad, but there are still some exhausts out there for your four-decades-old car.

So what do exhaust systems do? In a nutshell, it provides a quicker and more efficient path for the exhaust gasses to flow into while exiting the vehicle. For Honda CRXs, they often come in the form of cat-backs, and they can provide you with an aggressive and assertive exhaust note that you’ve always wanted for in a car. The installation of aftermarket exhaust systems will also give you an improvement in horsepower output, improved fuel economy, and often the reduction of backpressure. 

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#5 Wheels

We can all agree that a Honda CRX with the right wheel fitment is an impressive-looking car. And by dropping your vehicle’s ride height, you can almost triple the charm of your vehicle, inevitably gaining the attention of any car-savvy passerby. One of the keys to having a great-looking vehicle is to get the fitment of the wheels right. Fitting in some aftermarket wheels will give your Honda CRX a custom look that is the envy of many car enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for some aftermarket wheels for your Honda CRX, make sure to play around with the stock wheel specs. The recommended wheels specs of this oldie are the following:

DIAMETER: 13″ – 17″

WIDTH: 5” – 7.5”

OFFSET: +30mm – +45mm

By making sure that the aftermarket wheels you’ve chosen fit perfectly on your car and there’s no presence of fender rubbing, you’re now one step closer to having a fully completed project car.

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#6 Tires

If you’re planning to get a new wheelset, then you might as well get a new tire set too. This will give you a complete custom look for your car, which is arguably one of the best reasons why the car community loves restored Honda CRXs. Don’t rely on chance and get yourself a new batch of wheels for your car if you want to ensure the handling and safety of your oldie but goodie vehicle.

There are many benefits you can get from replacing your worn-out tires with new ones. Some of those gains are the improvement of your car’s handling, more stopping power, better traction, and of course, improved overall safety. By getting a new batch of tires, you’re also bound to enjoy your track visits more than you ever did before. And did we already mention how good your Honda CRX would look after the installation of new tires?

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#7 Cosmetic Mods

You thinking about fitting in some cosmetic mods to your Honda CRX is something we’ve seen from a mile away. Of course, you have to get some cosmetic mods: that’s one of the main points of finishing your project car! However, keep in mind that an old 3-door coupe like the Honda CRX looks dazzling when kept in pristine yet simple condition.

For cosmetic mods, you’d want to do a paint job, add in a subtle yet sporty spoiler, or even get a body kit for a more consistent look. Besides that, you can also modify your car’s interior looks by contacting some new leather car seats, armrests, or even a dashboard cover to make it look better on the inside. Just remember not to make your Honda CRX look too much like a “ricer.” Just keep it clean and simple!

Recommendations: 

  • Wings West RS Body Kit
  • CRX Fibreglass Replica Mugen Body Kit

The Honda CRX is a legend of the past, born out of the people’s necessity for a fun commuter car that can also be a track menace at the same time. If you own a Honda CRX today, then you’re one lucky person! Be sure to rebuild and restore it with the proper modifications if you want it to look and perform the way it was when it was first released from the dealership.

About Bryce Cleveland 543 Articles
Bryce founded Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 as a way to write about the cars he found interesting. He currently owns a 2003 Honda CRF450R Supermoto, 2018 Yamaha MT09, 2005 Nissan Titan, and a 2012 BMW 135i. Follow him on Instagram for more @bryce.cleveland.

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