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Home 1998 Editions December, 1998

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Traditionally, hot rodding has been as American as apple pie, baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet. Certainly, imported vehicles have been "hopped up," but serious hot rodding has always been dominated by enthusiasts who believe that engines have eight cylinders, pushrods and 16 valves.

For the past 40 years, machine shops catering to devotees of high performance have assembled countless big block and small block V8s manufactured by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Until a few years ago, incorporation of performance-increasing equipment and modifications in a rebuild of an import engine was a practice requested almost exclusively by customers who road raced or autocrossed. Not any more.

Hot rod imports now abound in virtually all regions of the country, and the demand for high performance import engine rebuilds is increasing at a dramatic rate. Surprisingly, the most popular vehicles among import hot rodders are those produced by Honda. Civics, Accords, Preludes and Acura

Integras are regularly modified for improved street performance, and many of these make regular appearances at drag strips.

Racers with terminal cases of Hot Rod Hondaitis combine turbocharging and nitrous oxide injection as a means of coaxing more than 450hp from 1.8L engines. Hot rod Hondas can also be found in oval track competition. Many tracks have classes exclusively for imports and/or domestic cars with four-cylinder engines and front wheel drive.

Obviously, most high performance Honda customers don

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Dave Emanuel

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