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What Is a Spoon Engine? History, Origins, & FAQ

Honda Vtec Engine

To viewers of the Fast and Furious films, Spoon engines are a thing of legend. But they are more than a legend. They are finely tuned and modified Honda engines that greatly improve performance, and increase power, and have been manufactured by Spoon Inc for more than 40 years.

The engines are expensive but are available for most models of Honda and need to be modified and tuned at Spoon’s workshop in Japan. As well as having the specialist engine fitted, you can also have Spoon Inc tune other elements of the car so that it is perfectly optimized for racing. Alternatively, Spoon parts are available for purchase, but if you install them yourself, you can’t claim to have a Spoon engine.

Designed primarily for track racing, and having competed in multiple track events and endurance races, Spoon engines are real. But their cost and extreme performance mean that they are typically reserved for racers and those that take car performance very seriously.

Read on for more information about these legendary engines.

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Spoon Inc. History

Spoon was founded in 1988 by Tatsuru Ichishima, a former Honda driver and test driver. Ichishima had the full backing of Honda, and Mugen, with the proviso that Spoon would relay race information back to Honda engineers.

Ichishima used his own Honda Civic E-AT as the first car that the company worked on. This work not only guided Spoon Inc’s tuning and engineering philosophies but arguably also helped Honda: the race data provided by Spoon was likely used in the development of the sixth generation Honda Civic Type R, which was a factory car developed by Honda themselves and that could take on finely tuned track cars while also being sensible enough to drive to the shops and take the kids to school.

Following their work on Itchishuma’s Civic, it was found that the modifications could be directly transferred to Honda’s next car, the Honda NSX. Since then, Spoon Inc has been applying its modification to new and updated models of Honda and has taken the track racing world by storm.

What Are Spoon Engines?

Spoon engines are unique. They take the original Honda engine and parts and then modify the parts to strip weight and improve performance. They do not make their own parts and so can’t be considered a parts manufacturer. Rather

Consider that factory-built cars, such as those produced by Honda, need to meet the needs of all potential buyers. As well as avid track goers, who are looking for high performance, Honda’s customers include families looking for a reliable hatchback. They also sell to customers all around the world, which means that their cars need to be able to withstand different temperatures, road conditions, and other variables. As such, Honda’s factory cars are designed to be forgiving and to meet all of these requirements.

On the other hand, Spoon Inc modifies engines for those that want to race and, specifically, for those that want to race on a track. They can more precisely tune every element of the engine to meet track conditions. As such, they strip considerable weight from the engine and the car’s parts. They remap the ECU and make high-precision engines.

Customers that take their Honda to Spoon Inc also have the option to have the rest of the car modified. Spoon aims for perfect balance, in every way, and they can modify the car body and other elements to match the performance of the engine so that the owner is presented with a car that is perfectly optimized for track performance.

How to Get a Spoon Engine

Spoon Inc. is based in Japan, and customers that want a genuine Spoon Engine need to have the engine modified and fitted by them. This means that the car needs to be shipped or transported to Japan and Spoon works on it directly.

It is possible to buy individual Spoon-modified parts or even all of the parts of an engine and have them shipped almost anywhere in the world. The parts can then be put together to recreate a Spoon engine, but it can’t be classed as a Spoon engine and doesn’t include the Spoon engine guarantee. It will provide enhanced performance but it won’t be a genuine Spoon engine.

Another possible way to get a Spoon engine is to buy a Honda that has had an engine fitted previously. If the engine is well cared for and the car is in good condition, such a car will have a heavy price tag associated with it, but buying a car like this negates the need to get your car over to Japan for working on.

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Mugen vs Spoon Inc

As they both sell modified Honda parts and race Honda-based cars, Spoon Inc and Mugen Motorsports are similar brands.

Mugen Motorsports, or M-TEC, was founded in 1973 by Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda’s son, Hirotoshi Honda. The word Mugen means “without limit,” and the company makes tuned performance parts for Honda cars. The company also races Honda vehicles as part of the Super GT racing circuit. Its parts are easier to come by and typically less expensive than those of Spoon Inc, but they do not offer the same high level of performance.

How Much Horsepower Does a Spoon Engine Have?

There are a lot of factors that determine the horsepower of a Spoon engine and because every engine is worked on by hand, the power output can differ from one to the next, even if they are fitted to the exact same model of car. As a guide, however, the Spoon S2000 Coupe, which costs just over $50,000, develops 260 brake horsepower at 8,500 revs. The K20, which can be fitted to the Honda Civic Type R, develops 220 horsepower at 8,000 revs. Owners that have the cars modified by Spoon, as well as the engines, will also have a much lighter car, which means that they will have faster acceleration.

How Much Does a Spoon Engine Cost?

Again, the cost of a Spoon engine varies according to the model of the car and the owner’s modification requirements. Generally, however, prices start at $10,000 which means that the engine can cost more than a second-hand Honda to put it in.

However, considering the improvements made to performance and handling, buying and having a Spoon engine fitted can prove a cost-effective way to acquire a track car that will take on high-end performance cars. This is especially true because the condition of the original engine in the secondhand car doesn’t matter: it will be replaced by a Spoon performance engine.

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Spoon car engines gained some notoriety following the release of the original The Fast And The Furious movie when Hector’s heist cars ran on Spoon engines. Although they are real, for a modified engine to be considered a Spoon engine, it must be modified and fitted by Spoon Inc., which is based in Japan, and the engines will only fit Honda cars. There are options available for all Honda models, and having one of these engines fitted can greatly reduce car weight and increase speed and performance. Alternatives include Mugen performance parts.

Featured Image Credit: RyKing Uploads, Unsplash


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