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MUGEN - Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed

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00:00   |   Jul 18, 2019

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MUGEN  - Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed
MUGEN  - Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed thumb MUGEN  - Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed thumb MUGEN  - Everything You Need to Know | Up to Speed thumb

Transcription

  • (car tires screeching)
  • - [James Pumphrey] What are you supposed to do
  • with your life when your dad is Soichiro Honda?
  • Yeah, that's Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company.
  • Do you hang ten on the coattails of your hugely
  • successful daddy or do you go off and make a name
  • for yourself?
  • Well if you're Hirotoshi Honda, you go start one of the most
  • successful engine building, custom parts making,
  • works motorcycle creating companies of all time.
  • This is everything you need to know to get up to speed on
  • not Meugan, not Megan, not Morgan...
  • Mugan!
  • (electronic music)
  • - Big ol' thanks to Honey for sponsoring
  • this week's episode of Up To Speed.
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  • Now, back to the story.
  • The story of Mugan can begin with the story of Honda.
  • In 1948, Soichiro Honda formed the Honda Motor Company
  • and started producing motorcycles in a small,
  • 170-square foot shack.
  • Some might've thought that was a bad idea, given the
  • motorcycle game at the time was highly saturated
  • in the Far East, but his newly formed company was his baby
  • and he wasn't gonna abandon it.
  • His bikes soon gained popularity for their good looks,
  • reliability, and ease of use, and soon Honda would go on
  • to become the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer.
  • By 1964 was already full swing in the automobile game.
  • During that time, Soichiro was also shaping another baby.
  • An actual human one.
  • His one and only son, Hirotoshi Honda.
  • Like his father, young Hirotoshi acquired a passion
  • for cars, motorcycles, and races but he was never forced
  • to follow in his father's footsteps, a place in
  • the Honda empire wasn't gonna be given to him either.
  • Soichiro saw how the sons of other successful men
  • could easily become failures in their family businesses
  • and he didn't want that to happen to his only child.
  • I wish that my father, a certain very famous
  • British car host wouldn't have forced me to be a car host.
  • A young and rebellious Hirotoshi didn't wanna join
  • the family business.
  • He wanted to travel the world, race motorcycles, and cars,
  • and be chill.
  • Mahalo, baby.
  • But you can only "mahalo, baby" for so long.
  • Been there Bro-toshi.
  • Hirotoshi was back in Japan finishing up college
  • and working in his dad's workshop, building
  • a Honda S800 race car.
  • (engine roars)
  • The kinda stuff you do in your off time at college.
  • He had a passion for tuning the engines made in
  • the factories bearing his last name and in 1973,
  • Hirotoshi formed Mugen Company Limited of Japan.
  • Mugen in Japanese means "unlimited" and the company
  • was also referred to as Mugen Power or
  • Unlimited Power!
  • The Mugen team set out to develop the best race car engines
  • coming out of Japan.
  • Hirotoshi hired a former Honda R&D and
  • racing service mechanic Masao Kimura to be
  • his chief designer and engineer.
  • During his time with Honda, Masao build over 15 different
  • race cars and motorcycles and had over 50 race wins
  • to his credit.
  • Not a bad guy to have you help out when starting
  • your first engine tuning company, okay basically, he was
  • the perfect guy for the job.
  • (laughs)
  • And tune engines they did.
  • The very first race engine they developed was the MF318,
  • Honda's 1169cc 4-banger.
  • The Mugen team took the Dasa 68-horsepower EB1 and bumped
  • it up to a blistering 133-horsepowers, the MF318 had
  • a dry sump lubrication system, dual carbs, and was bored out
  • to a maximum 1300cc's which was allowed in
  • Formula FJ1300 racing, hence, the name.
  • (upbeat tune)
  • I should go back and correct myself a little.
  • I said they tuned engines, that's a bit misleading.
  • Every single part of the stock EB1 was either modified
  • or completely remade in-house by Mugen.
  • To call them simply a tuner would be unfair
  • and disrespectful, my apologies.
  • In December 1973, Mugen entered a car with the MF318
  • into the entry-level Formula FJ1300 Series
  • and won their first race.
  • They would go on to use that same motor end car for
  • the next five years.
  • It was that good.
  • Their success in the FJ Series did a few things for Mugen.
  • It got daddy Honda interested in the company.
  • The backbone of the Mugen race cars were Honda's motors
  • and at the time, the Honda factory team was on
  • a racing hiatus.
  • That means a break.
  • They saw the Mugen brand as a way to get back into the game.
  • Mugen continued to work on Civic engines but in 1975
  • they saw a market for other race parts and began selling
  • their first body kits.
  • You want your Civic to look like the Mugen one on track?
  • No problem because you could order a custom, Japanese-made
  • body kit and spice up your first-gen Civic in a jiff.
  • (engine roars)
  • This was unheard of at the time.
  • While continuing to work on the MF318 and race in
  • the FJ1300 Series, Hirotoshi had enough capital coming in
  • to expand his efforts into other passions of his.
  • Motorcross, yeah!
  • Mugen went to work on their own custom 2-stroke dirt bike,
  • the ME125 and the ME250.
  • Based on the CR250 Elsinore, the ME250 was
  • by today's standards an all-works machine with
  • a modified frame engine and suspension components.
  • In September 1976 Mugen entered their all-works ME250 bike
  • in the final race of the all Japan motocross nationals,
  • the Japanese Grand Prix, and they won.
  • And when your 2-year old company that goes out and wins
  • a major national competition in its first year of racing
  • against the like of Yamaha, Suzuki, and your daddy's company
  • Honda, people start to take a notice, okay?
  • People are like "whaaat?"
  • Mugen was like that hot girl in every 90's movie
  • that walks into a party and everything gets all
  • slow-motiony, Suzuki's all like,
  • "Dang who is that?"
  • And Yamaha's like, "Wow. Wow wow wow wow."
  • And Honda's like, "Chill out guys, that's my son."
  • But the ME250 was expensive compared to its CR250 brother.
  • So a year later doing what Mugen does best,
  • they began selling engine power up kits.
  • Mo' power baby!
  • The kit included a new cylinder head, expansion pipe,
  • piston, rings, gaskets, and clutch components.
  • Between the motocross bikes and the body kits and
  • the race engines, Mugen was rolling in kabash.
  • And in 1979 they expanded and opened up
  • their own factory in Japan.
  • But, like my greedy brother Lars, Mugen had its hands
  • in multiple cookie jars.
  • By 1980 Hirotoshi had his own motocross team and was looking
  • to expand into the American market.
  • They signed up-and-coming racer Johnny O'Mara to pilot
  • an ME125RZ in the States.
  • Johnny wearing all-white gear, aboard his all-white
  • Mugen bike, looked like frikin Prince and went on to win
  • the U.S. Grand Prix of the World GP Motocross Series
  • that year.
  • (engine revving)
  • It was huge for the program and cemented the Mugen brand
  • in the States as the motocross bike to have.
  • And what was even cooler, you could buy the same bike
  • that Johnny was riding.
  • This was unheard of, even today there's no way that
  • you can just go down to the dealership and get an all-works,
  • factory racing motorcycle it just doesn't "works" like that.
  • Okay enough motorcycle stuff.
  • You're here for cars so let's get back to Civics.
  • (engine roaring)
  • Just because the motocross program was getting a lot of
  • attention, Mugen didn't want to stray away from
  • the love of their humble Civic.
  • They were big in the Civic One Make race.
  • Because the cost to get a Civic race-worthy was low,
  • it was a great way to get people racing.
  • And Mugen was selling racing kits that transformed
  • your showroom floor Civic into
  • a Suzuka Circuit track machine.
  • Just watch and listen to this clip of the first
  • Civic One Make race.
  • (engines roaring)
  • (indistinct Japanese commentary)
  • It sounds like a bunch of bees making out with each other.
  • By 1984 Mugen was full bore into selling parts
  • like body kits, wheels, suspension.
  • This was also the first year Huahugit Mugen Parts
  • in the U.S.A.
  • You can walk into your local Honda dealership
  • and order custom Mugen parts sent directly from Japan,
  • which is pretty, pretty frickin cool.
  • By 1985, 10 years before Post Malone was born, Mugen was
  • building motors for the CRX to compete in
  • the SCCA GT4 Class.
  • Mugen took the 1.5-liter EW motors and got it from
  • a stock 76-horsepower to a super ripped,
  • testosterone-fueled 165 buff-ass horses.
  • (engine revving)
  • The car dominated the class and got Americans
  • all hot and bothered.
  • People wanted more of that Mugen race stuff.
  • But dominating the FJ1300, an SCCA, a GT4, and
  • Civic One Make races gets boring so they expanded
  • into Formula car racing.
  • The all Japan Formula 3000 Championship allowed
  • for V8 engines.
  • So Mugen went off and built a V8 engine and they called it
  • the MF308.
  • By the way, if you've been wondering what "MF" means,
  • I don't know, leave a comment below if you do know.
  • I'm gonna guess it stands for Morgan Freeman.
  • So the Morgan Freeman 308 is a 3-liter, 32-valve,
  • 500-horsepower monster,
  • revving up to 10,500 RPM.
  • (engine roaring)
  • And it was used in the series until 2005.
  • Quick math, that's 17 years baby boy!
  • A motor used in a racing series for 17 years is insane.
  • That's how good it was.
  • Alright, we get it, Mugen you're good at making motors.
  • What could you possibly do next?
  • - Uh, I think I know.
  • - Okay, well, what?
  • - Formula Ooh?
  • - Yeah, you know this story, you helped write the episode.
  • - In 1991 Mugen build their first F1 race motor,
  • the Morgan Freeman 351-8, a 3.5-liter, 40-valve, V10
  • that put out over 700-horsepower.
  • (engine roaring)
  • - Mm!
  • - At the end of 1992, Honda had pulled out of Formula One
  • but Mugen continued to supply various race teams up until
  • the year 2000.
  • I might add that during this time, Mugen was
  • still racing Civics in the JTC3 Class, not against skylines.
  • And they were winning races.
  • The 96 and 97 championships.
  • (engine roars)
  • While taking what they learned on the racetrack
  • and supplying those custom made parts for the masses,
  • i.e. you and me boys and girls.
  • From exhaust to wheels to aerokits, the Mugen catalog
  • was deep.
  • - Aye uh boss we're about to go home you need anything else?
  • - Start working on some concept cars.
  • Here's some ideas I just drew on this cocktail napkin.
  • Bye!
  • - Aw man, we were almost out I shouldn't have asked him
  • if he needed anything else does stuff like this.
  • - I don't know you wanna order pizza.
  • - Yeah but I'm using the company card, heh.
  • - You may be familiar with some of the concept cars
  • Mugan made over the years, like the 1992 Mugen NSX.
  • An all carbon composite version of the production NSX.
  • They got rid of the pop-up headlights, which was a bad move.
  • (upbeat music)
  • - The Mugen NSX concept really paved the way for them
  • to start making more Mugen concept cars.
  • And they used their concept cars to further drive sales
  • of their custom parts.
  • The model they created was beautiful.
  • Take the cars you already modify for Honda
  • in the racing game, further develop them with
  • your custom parts, take those parts and create concept cars
  • that will never be released, and have people
  • banging on your doors frickin begging you to sell them
  • your spoilers, your wheels, your crankshafts, and anything
  • else that made your common Honda look and perform
  • like a Mugen.
  • They created so much hype with their concept cars,
  • they eventually started selling limited production number
  • Mugen badge cars from the factory.
  • Like this one, the 2007 Honda Civic Mugen RR, a Civic Type-R
  • at its core with all the special Mugen engineering bits
  • added on.
  • Mugen cranked out 15 more horsepower from
  • the already solid 225-horsepower Civic Type-R.
  • They shed 22 pounds by way of carbon composite bumper
  • and grilles.
  • Mugen made 300 of these cars, only available
  • in Japan of course and for a price of nearly $50,000
  • for a Civic.
  • (engine roars)
  • You think that's expensive?
  • Well the car sold out in 10 minutes and that is what makes
  • Mugen, Mugen.
  • (tires screeching)
  • Thanks for watching Up To Speed.
  • I mean it from the bottom of my heart guys.
  • If you didn't watch this I would just be a weirdo
  • yelling about cars to my friends.
  • Also what's your favorite Mugen car?
  • Let me know in the comments below.
  • I love you.
  • Well so anyone can drive it.
  • The shifter can easily be moved from this side of the seat
  • to that side depending on which one you're used to.
  • That's just considerate.
  • The center drive Civic is currently driven by
  • Formula drift driver slash friend of Donut, Dai Yoshihara.
  • Sup dog.
  • - [Dai] James, stop telling people we are friends.

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A big thank you to Jason @HondaPro Jason, for contributing footage!

Mugen Motorsports is one of the most legendary names in Honda tuning. Opening their doors in the early 70s, this small outfit has been behind some of the coolest Honda builds and racecars ever. Join James as he gives you the inside scoop on Mugen!

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