Tatsuru’s Spoon Engine – All You Need to Know
Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by E. Lindgren
The Spoon engine holds a special heart for many of us JDM fans and we’ve got Tatsuru Ichishima the founder of Spoon Inc. to thank for that. Tatsuru wanted to race Honda’s, but since Honda at the time did not race Tatsuru took it upon himself to create what was to become one of the best FWD Race Civic’s to have ever existed. He proved to Honda that they indeed did make great handling cars, and with just some modifications very easily become an unchallenged monster on the track.
And even if you don’t recognize Spoon perhaps you’ve heard it mentioned in Fast and Furious 3 with the infamous quote:
“Hector is going to be running 3 Honda Civics with Spoon engines. And on top of that, he just went into Harry’s, and he ordered 3 T66 turbos, with NOS. And a Motec exhaust.”
Hector clearly was so impressed, that he was not satisfied with one, but required three Honda Civic’s with Spoon engines.
What is a Spoon Engine?
A Spoon engine is a highly modified, high-end Honda engine manufactured by the Japanese tuning company, Spoon Inc.
These engines are first and foremost developed in order to be used in circuit racing. The parts used in a Spoon engine have to be made with extremely low margins of error, meaning the part needs to be manufactured with precise measures and of the highest quality.
There are a few key parts that are refined and improved upon within a Spoon engine:
- Head gaskets
- Throttle body
But a Spoon-specified car will also have upgraded
- Aero parts
- Gusset plates
- Lightened interior
Nowadays there are several different Spoon engines, one for the Honda NSX, S2000, EK9 Type R, and a few others each with their own specification. But it started with one car, the third generation Honda Civic AT Si Hatchback.
In stock form, the Si hatchback had a fairly pokey engine, the 1.6L ZC engine produced a respectable 128 hp. But after Spoon Inc. had done their work, the 1.6L engine produced a whopping 230 hp! And considering the Civic only about 800 kg (1,763 lbs) you could be sure it was fast around a track.
Spoon engines love to rev. Spoon’s version of the 1.6L B16B engine fitted to the EK9 Civic Type R revs to over 11,000 RPM! The sound is just astonishing.
Short History of Spoon Inc. Company
Spoon Inc was founded during the 80s by a man known as Tatsuru Ichishima. At the time, Tatsuru was only 32 years old but he had one thing on his mind, to build a great race car.
Previously to founding Spoon Inc. Tatsuru Ichishima had worked as a test driver for Honda, so he was very familiar with their cars. He knew that Honda’s weren’t just regular commuter cars, there was more to them than that.
Tatsuru decided to build his race car with the base built upon the third generation Honda Civic AT Hatchback Si. And while that may seem like an odd pick, considering small cars like the Civic were more or less developed to be fuel efficient, meaning slow – Tatsuru had his merits.
Honda’s are not only fuel-efficient and cheap, their cars we’re also well-balanced, they were light, and most importantly of all, they were very exciting to drive. The balance and agility of the Civic AT Si is what made Tatsuru pick the Civic as his weapon of choice. And so, the work began.
Tatsuru knew that in order to make the car as fast as possible, it would not be enough to just make more power. The car needed to maintain its balance. So, if Tatsuru increased the power output, he also needed to improve the rest of the car such as suspension, wheels, gearboxes, brakes, and so on in order to keep the balance.
How is a Spoon Engine Made?
Unlike other engine manufacturers, Spoon does not manufacture the entire engine from scratch. Instead, they use mostly original engines, such as the 1.6L ZC engine, and modify them with high-end parts.
But Spoon does not just slap on some bolt-on modifications and calls it a day. As mentioned earlier, absolute precision and quality are required in order for the engine to achieve its full capacity and smoothness.
Each component is measured and weighed in order to ensure they are good enough to be put inside the engine. It is said they use the same variance acceptance of 0.01 grams as Honda. This means, that if the specific component weighed, weighs more or less than 0.01 grams from its planned weight it will either be reworked or scrapped entirely.
The same goes for torquing the bolts down, where tolerance of +/- 1 Nm is accepted. As someone who’s worked within the torquing industry, finding a tool that will torque within a 1 Nm tolerance is not cheap.
And although you could purchase an engine and Spoon parts yourself and assemble the engine for a fraction of the cost you will never achieve the same result as Spoon. The craftsmanship, experience, and eye for detail cannot be copied. It is something that requires decades of hard work and dedication. And that is also why Spoon engines and cars are quite expensive because there is no one else who can do what they do. They are unique, and if you want to be unique, you’ll have to pay for them.
Which Cars Are Good Candidates for a Spoon Engine?
The Spoon engine was originally manufactured to be fitted to Honda vehicles, and that includes Acura’s such as the Integra DC2 Type R. A common swap for the Spoon engine is models such as:
- Honda Civic
- Integra DC
- Honda S2000
- Honda/Acura NSX
I’m sure you’ll be able to swap it into whatever you’d like, but what’s the point of purchasing an expensive aftermarket JDM engine if you’re not going to put it in whatever it was manufactured for.
And if you’re purchasing a used Spoon engine, please be aware that there are duplicates out there. Always check on the block for a plate saying “Spoon” you’ll also find a serial number. You can always double-check the serial number with Spoon Inc. themselves to ensure you’ve got yourself a real Spoon engine. If the serial code comes back negative you know you’ve got yourself a knockoff.
How Much Does a Spoon Engine Cost?
Spoon Inc. sells everything from suspension, exhausts, body kits, to brakes and complete engines. The engines are not cheap.
You can order a completely built K20A, F20C, and F22C engine directly from their websites.
The K20A will set you back $14,500.
And the F20C and F22C will set you back $17,500.
The B-series Spoon engines are no longer being sold as new via their website. Although they can still be found used on various sites such as eBay. Expect to pay around $10,000 for a good example.
Websites such as Nengun.com can offer cheaper prices, you could potentially find K-series and F-series engines for 15-25% cheaper on those sites.
You could always get in contact with them for a custom build. But expect to pay a hefty price.