Peter Cunningham is washing up as the door opens, as if to demonstrate decades of getting his hands dirty making Hondas and Acuras fly. Turns out, he’d had an incident overnight with an overflowing condensate drain in the air conditioner, and the plaster finish in the shop bathroom revealed a damp stain that threatened to blemish the awe-inspiring structure and cars within.
Ironic that air conditioning is the problem here outside Milwaukee – especially as none of this might have been here if it weren’t for ice racing.
Plus, no mere puddles could distract from the dozens of significant Honda and Acura cars housed in the RealTime Collection Hall. From early motorcycles to the newest Civic Type R, and racers dating back twenty-plus years, Peter Cunningham has assembled a shrine to the best examples of the marques he helped to bring to the pinnacle of American motorsports time and again.
Cunningham got his start autocrossing his Saab 99, and worked into road racing with a variety of makes. Then, in 1986, he bought a Honda Civic Si for the street, and it was all over.
There is just so much history here. We’ve brought you a few of the highlights.
From Ice, to the Forest, to the Track
Peter Cunningham founded RealTime Racing in 1987, and quickly turned it into an ice racing juggernaut, winning championships in the International Ice Racing Association in 1987, 1989, and 1990 – all in Honda Civics. After all, Wisconsin has just one world-class road racing facility, but scores of lakes that ice over for several months a year.
Next came SCCA Pro Rally with a second-generation Integra GS-R – where he won the national championship in the Production class in 1993. Meanwhile, RealTime started in the SCCA World Challenge with a fourth-generation Prelude Si in 1993, winning four straight manufacturers’ titles from 1993 through 1996, and a pair of drivers’ titles in 1995 (Cunningham himself) and 1996 (Michael Galati).
Next came the Integra Type R, which (spoiler alert) won four more manufacturers’ titles for Acura. Later came wins in the NSX, RSX, and TSX, and later the radical TLX-GT, with a longitudinally-arranged twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive.
While Cunningham has handed the wheel-to-wheel duties to pros such “Dinner With Racers” podcast hero Ryan Eversley, he hasn’t slowed down. Indeed, as we visited, RealTime Racing was preparing a TLX-GT for his third straight class win at Pike’s Peak.
We asked Cunningham about the distinctive white and orange livery that defined RealTime cars. He tells us that he inherited the scheme from Comptech, who used the colors to great effect on their IMSA Camel GTP-Lites Acura-Spice racer. Today, these colors remain on the World Challenge NSX GT3 Evo and the Pikes’ Peak TLX-GT.
At the far end of the hall, Cunningham has recreated the façade of Honda’s original office at 4077 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, down to the 1961 Chevrolet Apache truck that was used to deliver those earliest motorcycles. Naturally, the Chevy has a pair of Honda motorbikes in the bed – a Dream and a Cub. Sprinkled throughout the hall are other Honda artifacts – more motorcycles, as well as lawnmowers, generators, and even a replica of a parts counter with NOS parts.
The highlight of – and really, the reason for – the RealTime Collection Hall is Cunningham’s collection of perfect examples of Honda and Acura street cars. Each one selected for their relative rarity and impossibly low mileage, these cars represent the pinnacle of the brands. Here are some particularly tasty examples.