The greatest one make racing series of all time
Ever wondered what boxes look like when they go racing?
There is an unspoken rule shared between all motorsport enthousiasts that the less rules and regulations the better. If you give manufacturers all the freedom in the world you will get some of the most insane, experimental and revolutionary race cars in return. Perfect example being the beloved Group B era of rally.
At some point however the insanity ends. Skyrocketing budgets and mortality rates often give way to stricter, more tight regulation. The weird thing is that in racing series with no mechanical freedom whatsoever the action is sometimes even better. It's racing in it's purest form: the best driver wins.
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Porsche 911 Cup are some of the most famous one make championships. But i believe Honda in the the 1980's had the best one of all when they decided to go racing with one of the smallest cars in their line up, The Honda City Turbo II.
The original Honda City was known as an extremely popular small economical hatchback before Hirotoshi Honda, son of Soichiro Honda who founded Honda Motors back in 1948, and his small tuning shop Mugen turned it into a pocket rocket by adding a turbocharger.
Mugen had impressed Honda so much that their City Turbo soon joined it's naturally aspirated brothers in Honda showrooms. It was Mugen's breakthrough car for the commercial market. Soon after came the City Turbo II with a tuned up engine producing 108 horsepower. Not bad for a car that only weighed 745 kg. The added fender flares combined with it's small size gave it the "Bulldog" nickname.
When it came to the one make racing series, Mugen tuned the cars up even more. The City Turbo II R was given a larger free flowing exhaust, bigger injectors, modified camshaft, bigger intercooler and a turbo now capable of 1.5 bar worth of boost. The end result was 140 horsepower in a car that tipped the scales at a featherweight 660 kg.
This was a perfect recipe and soon Japan's most famous racetracks were invaded by the small boxes ready for an all out war. The action that ensued was spectacular. Sights of City Turbos taking up the whole width of the track weren't uncommon.
The sticky racing tires combined with the relative high center of gravity made for some unexpected high speed rollovers but nobody was ever seriously hurt. The racing lasted all the way up to 1986 when Honda revealed the new GA generation of the Honda City. Every single one of the City Turbo II R race cars were sold to an Australian entrepreneur who set out to continue the racing series down under. This is where story comes to a screeching halt.
While the adopted pack of race cars were sitting in a warehouse in Osaka ready to be shipped, a major earthquake hit the city. The building collapsed, crushing all but one City Turbo II R in the process. The sole remaining survivor now resides in the Suzuka Circuit collection hall.
Now the only place to see these mad boxes fight each other is on Youtube. But don't worry, you won't have to go on a mad scavenger hunt for obscure videos as i already did it for you. Almost all video footage of the "Bulldog races" can be found below.
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