If you recognize the Buick Skyhawk as America’s own affordable Ferrari, then you shouldn’t have to squint too hard to see the Honda Accord as today’s Mini
Cooper S. The Japanese have massaged the formula slightly, but you can’t deny the Accord’s success. America is out there buying these smooth little
sedans faster than the ships can unload.
It’s taken the aftermarket awhile to tool up for the Accord’s potential, but activity is now underway and shelves will soon be stocked with the pieces to build Banzai into this sedate little boxcar. Through sheer right-place/right-time perseverance, we’ve participated in the development of some key components for the Accord.
The folks at Minilite, Incorporated in Charlotte, North Carolina have built a special Accord to demonstrate exactly how nice their O11 wheels look on and work this car. We were allowed first judgement on the project with a test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Inside and out, the Minilite Accord is a conscientious subscriber to today’s hot-rod ing; the handling came from better tires, wider wheels, shorter springs and stiffer anti-sway bars; the driver’s job was aided with a few extra gauges, Scheel seats and a Momo steering wheel; and the standard treatment of spoilers, window-slats and stripes was grafted to the exterior.
We caught this car very early in its development life so our testing was both constructive and destructive. The C.A.C.I.
turbo kit used on this car developed a whopping fourteen pounds boost-which did great things for performance, but bad things to the pistons. While it was still running, we found fantastic acceleration: four seconds off the stock 0 – 60 time, two seconds off quarter-mile ET, seventeen mph added to quarter-mile speed and twenty mph added to top speed. This 110 mph buzz-bomb felt great blasting the banks at Charlotte, but the strain was unfortunately too much for the motor. Cardinal rules number one, three and four (from page 36 ) were all violated and so was a piston.
The good part of our experience with this over-boosted engine is that even in tire-burning, double-horsepower trim, the Accord remained the mannerly mite that
makes it so attractive to every American who lusts after a small car.
The handling was no more sorted out on the Minilite Accord than the engine, and here we also found more promise than performance. Since a variety of wheel widths and offsets were under evaluation, we ended up with a visually awkward combination of extra-wide flares and not-so-wide wheels and tires. Changing the Accord’s front-rim offset had already been deemed an unacceptable modification and this in tum limited the maximum rim width to 5.5 inches (4.5 is stock). Pirelli CN-36 tires are a definite upgrade over Japanese rubber, particularly with the wider rims, but we found road-course cornering limited by severe understeer. The combination of an 0.875~inch front anti-sway bar and all 0.625-inch rear bar is not what this car needs. Understeer was the problem and it was likely due to bottoming the lowered front end (one coil cut from all springs).
This is, however, the essence of hot-rod- ding. The first trial-as the Minilite Ac- cord’s Charlotte outing certainly was-a1- ways reveals errors. Just as they told US in physics lab, that’s what the scientific method is all about.