This is my friend’s sketchy H22-swap Accord. I’ve posted about it before. He drove it in to work today for the first time in a while, so I asked if I could take it for a spin. First impressions and more photos within.

The first thing that struck me is that the combination of small steering wheel and no power steering is not a good one. Yes, this is a small-ish, light-ish car, but backing out of the parking spot was quite an experience. Since it is 93 degrees and 47% humidity right now and the car has no AC no climate control of any sort, I worked up a sweat before I even got out of the parking lot. The situation was made even worse by the fact that the lowered body rubs on the wheels well before you reach lock.

Once on the road above 5 MPH, however, the steering lightens up nicely. It is never what I’d call light, but really has a nice weight that doesn’t beat you up and the whole thing corners like it is on rails. The old suede steering wheel is absolutely disgusting though. Next time, I’m wearing gloves. Also the metal shift knob sitting in the Texas sun is a burn hazard. Believe it or not, the ride is really well composed. I was expecting this thing to crash over every pavement joint, but it didn’t. The S2000 seats are also quite comfy despite their ratty appearance. They also fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, the driver’s chair is bolted in place for the owner’s 6'4" frame and even though I’m just a bit shorter at 6'2", it was a bit hard to fully floor the clutch and brake pedals.

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And you’ll need all of that brake travel. Whoever installed the fancy brake kit on this thing never properly bled it, so the brakes are mushy and borderline useless. At this point a complete fluid swap is probably in order. The clutch is also surprisingly long and heavy. It reminds me quite a bit of my Forester, but with another inch of travel. The engagement point is up high, but it is easy enough to modulate. I’m not sure I’d want to deal with it in stop and go traffic for very long, though. Speaking of the transmission, it is a gem. The gearing is very low and it loves to slam into gear. It grabs and hooks right up. The shifter feels like the original Honda linkage. Throws are longer than I’d like, but it has that typical Honda lightness to it that I’ve never really felt in any other brand of vehicle. And the H22 without any accessories besides and alternator loves to spin up an pull. It really is a great combination. Even in third gear at 2,000 rpm it jumps with good prod of the throttle. You can chirp the front wheels all the way through third. This car just loves to rev. It isn’t really that fast, but it feels fast. With some open roads, or just a big parking lot, this car could be a lot of fun once the brakes are fixed (and with a new steering wheel).

He wants to use it as a daily driver at some point, though, and there are some issues that need to be addressed. The most annoying is that the turn signal doesn’t auto-cancel. You’ll never hear it click, though, because the thing is so loud. And not good loud. Everything inside the car buzzes and rattles. I can’t really tell if the exhaust note is good, because everything else rattles. The Sparco 4-point harness is a bit of a pain and the top straps slide around too much on the roll cage bar to be comfortable. In an ironic touch, the radio is one of the few electronics that works, but you can’t hear it over all of the other noise anyway unless the volume is all the way up, at which point it just contributes to further shaking and buzzing. It also will need working windshield wipers and some leaks caulked up. A working speedometer would be nice as well. Also a horn button rather than touching two wires together. Overall, though, I can see why he bought this thing. The way it pulls and handles out on the road is fun, even if there are some compromises. I still think he overpaid a bit (although some of you commented that there are enough performance and JDM parts in this thing that it could be parted out for well more than he paid), but it is a fun car to have around. I’m hopefully going to help him bleed the brakes soon and take it for another spin where I don’t have to worry about braking 100 yards before each stop sign.

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