Sam Preston | EP3 Honda Civic Type R
While my car remained fairly standard, there was one modification I was keen to carry out which promised to offer a modest-but-effective improvement to the way it drove: a Rigid Collar subframe collar kit.
Designed by Spoon Sports’ very own Tatsura Ichichma over in Japan, and distributed in the UK through Spoon Sports EU, many already swear by these aluminium tapered washers to offer significant improvements in handling, vibration and road noise characteristics.
I decided to try both the front and rear subframe kits to give me the best chance of picking up on the improvements for myself. Arriving in the beautifully presented way we’ve come to expect from Spoon products, the collars are fitted wherever the chassis is bolted to the car’s shell, meaning there’s four pairs up front, and six at the rear.
The theory behind Rigid Collars is that they fill the gaps between the chassis and the shell which occur due to bolt holes being slightly larger than necessary from the factory to assist in the quick and easy manufacturing of cars. By removing play in these bolts, especially on cars that have covered significant miles, the suspension is able to work at full effect without any outside movement affecting performance. In effect, then, Rigid Collars provide a similar improvement as seen on race cars with welded chassis, but with the option to reverse the effect if required.
Although the instructions promise the job can be performed within an hour with the correct tools, I was a little wary when I realised the subframes would have to be dropped 40mm to offer up the collars. Turns out this was easier than it sounds, and with the parts sliding in easily, it was soon time to check out the results.
Following a quick re-alignment (a side effect of performing pretty much any work on your car’s chassis unfortunately – the best bet is to do a lot of chassis mods at once to save on alignment time/costs), it was time for a test drive. As promised, general handling performance was not scuppered in the slightest, but it was instantly obvious that the car felt more solid and confidence-inspiring in pretty much every road condition. In fact, my first impression was that my car felt much more like Honda UK’s low-miler EP3 press car (see the May ’16 issue for more), which is definitely a good thing!
Using an app on my phone, I also recorded a drop in road noise on the test road outside our garage from 68.9db to 65.3db at 50mph in the cabin. Although not enough turn my car into a Rolls Royce, the benefits are sure to add up on longer journeys.
With the Rigid Collars installed, I now have an extremely solid base to build on for parts like coilovers and bushes to further improve the handling. In fact, I have sets of both sitting here just screaming to be fitted. Watch this space…