Interior and Safety

Many CRX swaps strip the stock interior to save weight or to just not have to do any restoration. Our idea was to keep the interior mostly stock but to jazz it up with some bling items but also some safety related features as well. The interior was pretty much striped clean except for the dash and the head liner and some of the rear panels. Since the car was originally an automatic we ripped out all the related shifter hardware and sourced a CRX clutch assembly to bolt in to complete the conversion. That part was easy (well, working under the dash is not really easy in this car), even the hole for the clutch cable is present. At this point we did the cutting and drilling necessary to fit the tunnel mounted shifter (see Shifter and Throttle). We removed a lot of the foam insulation from the inside of the firewall but we did not remove any of the acoustic ("tar") insulation. Since we were removing the AC we placed some Dynamat sound insulation on the inside firewall and floor which also provides good thermal insulation. Yes it added a few pounds but we hoped it would make the car more civilized.

Safety - Seats, harness, and roll cage

The big decision is what to do with the seatbelts and seats. We wanted a setup that would be suitable for the occasional track or autocross and one of the best things you can do is get some good racing style seats to hold you in. The other thing that we detested was the automatic seat belts (89-91). So perhaps a street friendly harness would fit the bill. The problem, however, becomes a safety issue. Stock seats and belts are design to allow you to "duck", or move to the side in a roll over incident, perhaps saving you a broken neck (not good). If you go to a racing style seat, the conventional seatbelt shoulder strap does not really work well. The other safety consideration is the CRX is devoid of most modern safety features such as airbags and antilock brakes. So a harness is attractive, as it ties you in tighter, and is nice for track and autocross. But the harness plus racing style seat made me nervous, we really did not want any broken necks. So what we decided to do is to add a roll cage into the equation, but not a full cage. By going with an Autopower Race bar (not the street bar which has no cross bracing) we had something suitable for autocross and time trial and would also save our necks in a roll-over accident. One further advantage of the bar is it stiffens the chassis and gives us a mounting point for our harness.

For seats we are both relatively narrow hipped but our legs are different lengths so we wanted an adjustable seat. So after much deliberation and sitting in seats we went with the Sparco Fighter with an adjustable bracket. The fighter is comfortable and relatively light without getting into the real high price items. This is not a fully approved racing seat but for our use it was perfect and affordable, looks good too.

The harness is another interesting challenge. A full 5 or 6 point harness is a pain on the street and if you switch passengers you need to give a 30 minute tutorial on how to get into it and adjust it. After a lot of research we came up with the Schroth Rallye belts. They are really 4 point harnesses but they have a unique (patented) technology which makes them much safer than conventional seat belts which is called anti-submarine technology or ASM. It is a simple and elegant design where a release is sewn into one of the shoulder straps which gives on a collision and positions the body forward to prevent you from submarining under the belt. You can go to their German site and read about ASM and who they are, very impressive, we feel safe already. Now, not to go to deep, but people get concerned about the legality of changing the seat belt system in cars. One thing that the Schroth USA distributor for Schroth automotive products claims is that the belts are DOT approved and therefore no problemo. They even give evidence in the form of a response to Schroth's president from the USDOT on the issue. Well, if you read very carefully and follow the reference materials, basically you are allowed to make changes, as long as it is your car and you are not a dealer or manufacturer. It is a very fuzzy gray area but the documentation is likely to discourage over zealous law enforcement personnel. Schroth is no fly-by-night company either. They are a German company now owned by BAE Systems. BAE supplies equipment to the military and aviation industry, including, you guessed it, harnesses. A lot of R&D goes into these products, imagine a restraint system for a gunner in a Humvee or tank.

On the 89+ CRX you will find a mounting point already exists for the passenger side seat on the door sill for the harness/seatbelt. I believe this is installed for the use of child seats. On the drivers side there is no mounting point and we had to weld in mounting plate and nut here.

The other advantage of the Schroth is it is very easy to use and reasonably easy to adjust. It fastens with a conventional type seat belt buckle and the shoulder harnesses just fall into place. We really like this setup and it is reasonable for street use and works really very well in autocross. In any event, and most importantly, I am also convinced our setup is substantially safer than the original setup.


We did do a few bling things to the interior in that we put in a decent, modern, Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X492 CD Receiver which plays music on USB sticks and has a nice digital iPOD interface which is coupled with decent Alpine SPS-17C2 6-1/2 speakers. Unfortunately we could not use the rears due to the rollbar location, safety first! We could have relocated them but even Brian says it's more fun to listen to the engine.

We changed the ugly CRX steering wheel out for a Momo Jet steering wheel. We love the feel of this wheel and it really is more than just bling, it works great. We also put on a Momo Pit Stop EBrake handle and leather boot to get rid of the crummy stock one and also a set of Momo Stealth pedals, that was total bling but does look nice. I also found a leather shift boot from Redline and I used the shift knob from the 06+ Civic Si which is leather and metal and cheaper and nicer than many aftermarket knobs. That, and except for the A pillar mounted Autometer Digital Pro shift light, the rest of the interior is 100% stock. All the panels were in pretty good shape and were just cleaned up. We did replace the carpet with an aftermarket one from People complain about these but the trick is you need to do a bit of fitting to make it all work and it will look pretty good.

The one bummer was there was an interference of the door panels with the roll bar. This would not happen on an 88 which has a different door panel. But the automatic seatbelt required a thicker panel so we had to hack it a bit. At some point we will come up with a cleaner solution, perhaps by recovering the panel.

And Momo pedals add the final splash of bling
You can see the shift setup, Momo wheel and Ebrake, and even new berber floormats
Finished product from the passenger side
The rollbar has a harness tube and the Schroth belts are wrapped, it ain't going nowhere!
The seats, harness, and cage all together, matching blue even
Bummer hack, but we will clean it up, at some point
The danged door panels on 89+ CRX with auto seatbelts interfere!
Rollbar from the rear
Installing the roll bar was pretty straight forward but did require some elbow grease
The original interior was in relatively good shape and except for a few uglies, charming