The Temple Of Vtec: Spoon Sports’ Type One

When I think back to the week I spent in Japan last month it seems like another lifetime in the grand scheme of things, yet I still have a few fruits of my labor left to share. Today we’ll take a look at a very impromptu visit the workshop arm of the Honda-tuning gods Spoon, better known as TYPE ONE.

These days, Spoon is a household name within the tuning industry and thanks to video games and movies, the brand has become thoroughly cemented into popular culture. In more recent years, their heavy involvement with Honda’s S2000 platform has catapulted them into a global phenomenon.

Having grown up messing about with countless Hondas myself, Spoon is a company I have a lot of experience with. In fact, I’ve even visited this very shop before – but after hearing it was recently rennovated I knew I had to make a quick stop to check out the refurbished digs. A chance to meet the legendary man behind the brand, Tatsuru Ichishima, couldn’t hurt either.

Much like many other Japanese tuning shops, TYPE ONE is fairly unassuming on the outside…

Unless of course they happen to be moving cars in and out of the shop during rush hour – then the place can become quite the spectacle! Here we see Ichi-san doing his best traffic cop impersonation.

But once you’ve made your way inside its doors, TYPE ONE has lots for the Honda enthusiast to drool over. Just a quick scan through this selection of valve covers gives a pretty good insight into the brand’s specialties.

Due to the constant struggle for space in Japan, TYPE ONE is able to fight a relatively small footprint by cleverly splitting tasks between two separate levels with an extra third-level mezzanine for car storage. It’s here on the top floor where some of the most recognizable images of the shop are captured.

This is also a place where special and rare pieces are displayed, like this Spoon formula engine. The shape of the header is completely unreal and Ichi insisted that I feel each of the runners with my hands in order to properly appreciate it.

Underneath the engine I found one of Spoon’s most rare pieces for the B-Series engine, the increased capacity cast oil pan. While very similar to the GReddy item for the SR20, I don’t believe this particular piece was ever actually sold – I’m sure there are a few Honda enthusiasts who would pay a pretty penny for one.

Spoon unquestionably carved out a niche for themselves with the surging popularity of the B-series engine in the late ’90s, but they’re definitely pumping out greater variety these days. One of the packages that seems to be on the rise in popularity is their NSX crate engines and rebuild services.

I decided to head back downstairs to have a look at the engine building room and was quite surprised to see just how many motors were in the shop! I guess Hector must have put a little too much boost through the T-66 turbos on the three Civics he took to racewars!

Fast and Furious references aside, I was pretty impressed at how seriously committed the guys at Spoon are to doing something well. I found this gentleman taking some measurements in the midst of a balance and blueprint job.

Here we see some components that were too far out of balance to be considered acceptable. If I recall correctly, one of the pistons was going to be discarded completely and replaced due to what most shops would consider a very minor variance.

Spoon’s ideology has always been to keep things simple and balanced and they’ve done a pretty good job of proving that with a little focus and a serious commitment to upholding your values, you can accomplish great feats.  To Ichishima, power is nothing without balance and durability.

Because of this, Spoon has often be criticized for selling parts that don’t necessarily make a lot of power, but one thing they do well is stand the test of time. This is partially because many of their components are factory derived pieces while others are simply limited by the classes of racing that Spoon usually choose to partake in – like the Super Taikyu series.

TYPE ONE also offers similar obsessive-compulsive services for transmissions as well, although the day of my visit there wasn’t much torn apart.

In addition to the major overhauls, TYPE ONE’s main bread and butter comes from regular maintenance and repairs. Here Ichi is showing me a typical repair sheet that a customer would receive after bringing their car to Spoon for upkeep.

Once you’ve left your car in Spoon’s hands, you can rest assured that a member of TYPE ONE’s crack team of mechanics will be pampering your car. When they aren’t busy completing customer builds, the shop hands are working around the clock to button up Spoon’s demo cars like this EK9 endurance racer which we’ll take a deeper look at soon.

Aside from having meticulous Honda fanatics working on your car, it’s quite an honor for many Honda lovers to have their engine bays adorn the official TYPE ONE service stickers. Believe it or not, even these little badges alone are worth money to the right enthusiast.

I’ve already briefly mentioned Spoon’s popularity amongst the S2000 crowd, but I was blown away by the number of these cars on hand in the shop. I’m sure that on the right day you could probably walk through the doors and find nothing but Honda roadsters inside.

While there is much to be said about Spoon’s entire line of parts for the car, I would have to say it’s their unique body kit that really caught a lot of people’s attention off the bat. In addition to looking like a badass mother, the aero is also completely functional and regularly proven on the circuits by Spoon and its customers.

Yet the same kit seems just as at home on the streets. It’s really quite remarkable how little difference there is between the S-Tai racer and this clean standard example. Looks good enough to buy doesn’t it? Well, if you’re in the market, you’re in luck because it’s actually for sale.

That’s right, Spoon’s latest business ventures have been in the form of buying and reselling cars like this very S2000. They’ll pick up a car they see potential in, then make sure it’s completely up-to-snuff mechanically before reselling it in roadworthy condition. This concept first began a few years ago when the brand announced they would be creating bespoke left-hand-drive NSX Type-Rs.

But that’s not to say that Spoon has given up on selling parts! The Spoon Sports line of tuning parts are still as popular as ever with staple items like the Momo-constructed steering wheel consistently selling out in stores around the world.

Meanwhile other classics like their iconic brakes also remain best sellers as newer items like the CR93 wheels are being added all the time.

There’s no doubt that Tatsuri Ichishima is a very busy man, but also one completely filled with passion for what he does. Although I didn’t really learn anything “new” about Spoon, I must admit that meeting the man behind the company has certainly put his vision into perspective. I think it’s safe to bet this won’t be the last you hear about him.

TYPE ONE

Spoon Sports

More stories by Sean Klingelhoefer on Speedhunters

-Sean


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32 comments
love hondas
love hondas

this is one off my love too do list ...can't wait

SGGarage
SGGarage

how much if i want buy one honda eg6 b16b in full part performances ?

danjapan13
danjapan13

The new design of Type One is super clean.

xracer6
xracer6

Awesome post! Spoon does some incredible work! In the shop and on track...

koko san
koko san

Desktop of the valve covers for us Honda guys...  ;-)

ComJive
ComJive

Ok... got my sleeping bag. When can I move in?

izzy_ortiz
izzy_ortiz

I for one would like to see a documentary on Spoon and Mr. Ichishima...unless there is one?

 

 

perpetualroad.wordpress.com

Flat Four
Flat Four

Heh, I have the same set of wheels that are on the white S2000 on my WRX, same color and offset by the looks of it. That car looks incredible. Another great shoot of a legendary shop, thanks for that!

SVT_Bryan
SVT_Bryan

Woah.  The multi level parking, the cleanliness of the shop, the plants, the engines, DAT NSX  0_0  now I need to go there.

andrewhake
andrewhake

Great coverage Sean! Can't wait to go back to Type One!

FunctionFirst
FunctionFirst

It's a sign of how far Honda has gone downhill when even their tuning arm has relatively little to modify, race or customize that's been built in the last decade. With the death of the 2000, the NSX and the watering-down / non-existent growth of their Type-R lineup, Honda really doesn't have much to offer enthusiasts at all. At least to me they don't, a kitted-out CR-Z has never, and will never, be a desire of mine and is a half-assed attempt at recreating the fun and innovative cars they used to make.

 

All of which is too bad, because they have such great support from companies like Spoon. Hopefully someday soon Honda will remember they actually made fun cars and will try to reclaim that glory in earnest. Right now they just feel like the Japanese version of Chevy. Boring, bland and coat-riding off their past.

Aesthetics45
Aesthetics45

About time to see some s2ks. Good stuff!

Ben Scales
Ben Scales

Sean, thanks for all the quality posts! Your coverage is definitely my favorite, keep it up!

HLB
HLB

Awesome. I never get tired of seeing Type One coverage, I have to see that shop someday.

fnafhan
fnafhan

i want that valve covers pic in desktops section please :)

HighBoOsT100
HighBoOsT100

Thanks that was nice. I always looked at Type One/Spoon Sports as one of the best, if not best for Honda's. Their Honda S2000 are true works of art! Same as any other Honda they do their work on.

Sam
Sam

That mezzanine floor and lift is a brilliant touch.

 

Great article!

JDMized
JDMized

Sean, I was there the day before you showed up! Yoshizawa san told me about a guy with a beard working for SH.....I thought of you :)

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @Flat Four Those wheels are killer, Dino and I couldn't stop talking about how much we liked them. I'm amazed that Enkei's Tarmac line isn't more popular. 

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @FunctionFirst I doubt Honda will ever go back to the way they were in the '80s and '90s since their primary goals have shifted towards safety. I have no doubt that they will one day make another pure sports car, I just doubt they'll ever have the random sporty grocery-getter cars that made them popular ever again. 

SVT_Bryan
SVT_Bryan

 @FunctionFirst  I think the CR-Z is a very sexy looking car, but I'm frustrated to no end by it's lack of potential.  If its character were more akin to an Integra R I'd be all over it.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @HighBoOsT100 They have a very unique approach, that's for sure. As to who is best, it really depends on your criteria, but there's no doubt they are very popular for a reason. 

Sam
Sam

Bullchit, nobody likes the tuna.

Flat Four
Flat Four

@sean klingelhoefer @Flat Four Definitely, I've had them for a couple years now and I'm still in love with them. Really defines the attitude of the car. AFAIK there's only one or two vendors that bring them into the US, so they're just that much more special ;)

SVT_Bryan
SVT_Bryan

You can have any brew you want, as long as it's a Corona.


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