The Eibach Meet: A Non-Honda-Lover's Guide
By: Aaron Bonk
You hate the Eibach meet and all eight degrees of negative camber that it stands for. But don't be bitter because behind every pack of graffiti-covered engine bays, every row of Otter Pop-colored Civics, and every stock JDM airbox short-sightedly matched alongside four-into-one race headers lies all sorts of Hondas and Acuras that care about a funny thing: going fast.
Die-hard Honda enthusiasts always have. Although seemingly outnumbered, humble divisions within the Honda commonwealth that care not about wheel fitment and sticker placement but instead about turbocharger sizing and tire compounds still endure. They're not as easy to find, but at a gathering like Eibach's annual all-Honda meet that was for the first time ever held at Lake Elsinore, California's Diamond Stadium instead of Eibach's nearby headquarters, you needn't look far. The odds of all of that are in your favor, mostly because of the 700 cars and estimated 6,000-plus spectators the meet draws—and that doesn't include the multitudes of Civics, Integras, Accords, and Preludes that fill the surrounding parking lots and side streets outside of the event. There's no mistaking the fact that this is indeed the biggest all-Honda gathering on earth.
Eibach's Honda meet wasn't always this grand, though. Nine years ago when the company's private label manager and Honda fan Ryan Hoegner and now Honda Tuning magazine editor Matt Rodriguez held their first event, outgrowing the spring manufacturer's sprawling piece of blacktop was of little concern. The parking lot proved amicable until 2012 when, for the first time ever, the Honda mega meet was moved from the company's Corona-based property to nearby Irwindale Speedway where it exceeded capacity its first and only year there.
The annual Eibach meet found a new home but little has changed other than the show's zip code. The purple teddy bears dangling from tow hooks are still there. A wealth of decals addressing haters can still be found, each plastered at the appropriate 30-degree angle. As for the die-hard enthusiasts, though—the ones who haven't traded in their slicks for lifetime supplies of quick detailer—they're still there. Marginally outnumbered, but still there.
(When you're done reading all of this, follow this here link to check out a bunch of stock Hondas as we tour American Honda's private Southern California museum.)
|For the past nine years Eibach Springs has hosted what's become the largest Honda gathering in the world. Just recently the meet—although still called the Eibach meet—has moved from Eibach's Corona, California-based facility to nearby Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore.
|Modified Hondas and Acuras rule the Eibach meet but somehow this nearly stock Phoenix Yellow Integra Type R delivered to the show by AEM founder John Concialdi managed its way inside. Part of what made the Type R so special for enthusiasts and thieves alike when compared to the remainder of the 1994-2001 Integra lineup was its close-ratio transmission, hand-ported cylinder head with higher-lift, longer duration cams, Teflon-coated piston skirts, and high-flow intake manifold that's been copied by numerous aftermarket parts companies.
|AEM founder John Concialdi and AEM Intakes brand manager George Hsieh. Concialdi's accolades include tuning and co-building some of the most successful drag Hondas, like Tony Fuch's 10-second Integra and, nearly a decade later, Stephan Papadakis' six-second, RWD Civic. Concialdi also helped simplify and mainstream stand-alone engine management systems for the masses. Hsieh, although not as widely recognized as Concialdi, played his own part in the Honda performance story, developing the first bolt-in B-series engine swap kit nearly 20 years ago under the guise of HCP Engineering.
|Through AEM, Concialdi also developed the first mass-produced adjustable cam gears designed specifically for Honda and Acura engines. Now revised, older AEM cam gears like these are seldom seen.
|It wouldn't be an Eibach meet were Eibach not to display its own wares, like their Multi-Pro R2 coilover system, which features remote reservoirs and independent compression and rebound adjustability. Compared to what was available just a decade ago, the modern-day Honda fan has it easy.
|An important player in the Honda performance world, ECU tuner Hondata attended this year's meet. Before Hondata, Honda enthusiasts had three choices when it came to engine tuning: pre-programmed chips that sort of worked until you made any changes to the engine, boost-dependent fuel pressure regulators that kept you from blowing up but didn't do much for drivability, and expensive and complex stand-alone engine management systems that the average kid with a Civic couldn't figure out. Hondata utilizes the factory ECU for easy integration while including many of the features that a high-end stand-alone system would.
|Honda's B16B engine is indeed rare and unique. Only found in the Japanese-model Civic Type R, the 1.6L engine is based off of the taller-deck 1.8L B-series but features a shorter stroke and longer connecting rods. Although a B16 by name, the B16B is more like a B18C than not and at 1.84:1 yields one of the most impressive rod-to-stroke ratios of any production engine in history.