In the hot rod community it seems that almost everyone knows someone who has found a low-mileage jewel, a little dirty but complete, in a farmer's barn in the Midwest. For the purists who find them, the car gets a bath, a thorough tune-up and some new rubber and it's off to the cruise spot. But finding an unmolested example of a classic is getting harder and harder.
With the drive-it-hard-and-put-it-away-wet attitude during the early years of import performance, the import world may not have so many examples tucked away from prying eyes and fidgety hands. One such example that has escaped a hard past is this old-school-to-the-core Honda CRX Si turbo.
Working as a landscaper in Connecticut, Michael Taylor spent a lot of time on the road and in people's yards. One such trip led him past a CRX with a for sale sign on it. The asking price was $16,000. Michael noticed a heat exchanger-a trans cooler, he surmised-behind the front grille and a roll bar inside, but that was it. The price seemed quite steep, but he wrote down the number and went on his way.
The man on the other end of the phone number was Serge Harabosky. Serge was having some medical problems that ultimately lead to his decision to sell the CRX. Over time Michael and Serge became friends and talked about turbos and race cars and the like for hours on end. After hearing Michael's plan to just clean it up if he ever got the funds together to purchase the car Serge gave him the car. We guess the kids who came around and fantasized aloud about putting NOS and 20s on it was too much for Serge to take.
Serge owned a company called A*T Engineering and the CRX was built as a project car for Road & Track magazine, appearing in the July, 1989 issue. If you are confused as to why R & T would do a feature on a rather sedate-looking CRX, that isn't a trans cooler behind the front grille; it's an intercooler for the turbo. According to the R & T article, Serge's turbo system transformed the pretty-darn-good-to-begin-with CRX into one that was "utterly grab-your-seat belts splendiferous!"
This wasn't some half-assed, cobbled-together turbo system, either. After taking delivery of the CRX, Serge had driven to CarTech in Dallas to have turbo-guru Corky Bell design and build the system. Not ones to rush into things, the process took more than eight months. From this time emerged a turbo system that enhanced the Si's engine with an adult refinement, not the lead-footed max-boost attitude of a delinquent. Peaking at 6 psi of boost, the kit was used as a stand-alone bolt-on, with no internal work to the engine to be done.
A Roto-Master turbocharger is the heart of the system. Regulating boost pressure is a Rajay remote wastegate. Only four inches from the throttle body is the water-to-air intercooler. The only modification needed to get the intercooler that close to the throttle body was to relocate the battery to the rear hatch area. Additional fuel was added by way of a Cartech fuel pressure regulator.