’78 Minilite Turbo Honda Accord – Phase 1

Action packed, forced air and aftermarket goodness are wrapped up in a sleek package….yeah they had the right idea in 1978 but what was made of it? Competition wheel manufacturer Minilite, based out of Charlotte, NC decided to showcase it’s newest wheel and awesomeness to Car and Driver magazine with a hot rod ’77 Honda Accord hatch. Your next trip to the grocery store just got a lot more exciting!

Turbo Accord 1Introduced to Car and Driver magazine for their “Report from Hot Rod Heaven” section, February issue of 1978, this awesome ’77 Accord hatch breathes new life into something that was not considered a tuner car for it’s time. It was a great looking car in 1976 when it was introduced to the world with it’s revolutionary CVCC 1.6L SOHC, standard options and reliability from point A-B. It was even justified as being the “best damn car to own for the money” during it’s generation run before the 2g generation Accord molded the family sedan segment into what it is today.

Created solely to showcase the new Minilite Maxilite sport wheels and some bling, this Honda Accord brags tons of other goodies that make it noteworthy to any 1G enthusiast. Minilite personally invited the editors to watch and judge the Accord during a test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This allowed them to watch the car be pushed to it’s mere limits before blasting away cylinder 4 and frying piston rings.

minilite
1978 Minilite Maxilite Magazine Ad

Take for example it’s C.A.C.I turbo kit, almost a clone of the Jackson Turbo offered for the Civic. This was the heart of the project and it’s purpose for testing. The setup was able to shed almost 4 seconds off the 0-60 time, 2 seconds off the quarter-mile speed and run a strong 14 pounds of boost during it’s recording. No specifics were given in the article or could be found on the net, but keep it mind it allowed the 1.6L EF to go an extra 20 MPH for it’s top speed. That’s damn impressive for a 68hp SOHC engine that includes the extra auxiliary valve for CVCC. Eat your heart out CVCC haters.

Turbo Accord 2The handling department on the hatch was somewhat improved with changing the Accord’s front-rim offset, wider Maxilite rims, thicker front (.875″) and rear (.625″) sway bars and cutting the stock springs one coil less than stock. Unfortunately at the time the editors thought this was not the correct combination the car needed as it proved to have too much understeer and suspension bottoming out from the cut springs. The unique body flares, rear window louvers and front spoiler, which seemed to serve no purpose during the testing, gave the editors a hard-time understanding the reasoning behind their use. Never the less, with today’s vintage owners, it could be seen as either an awesome gesture to the cars styling ques or a pointless weight de facto.

The interior gained quite a bit of 70’s goods with it’s Australian-made Scheel seats, extra gauges and a Momo Prototipo steering wheel.

Turbo Accord 3

What’s interesting about the Minilite Accord is not much information is known regarding the car except for the article in C&D, which only gives a measly one-page worth of detail. This was to be Phase 1 of the testing, so what was Phase 2? If any information is known about the car or it’s history during it’s development, please comment below.

Forever live the lost Minilite Accord hatch!

Nate Mitchell

Honda Roots Editor-in-Chief A strong SN Honda enthusiast, he currently owns an '80 XR and '81 SN Preludes, supplies parts and operates Honda Roots, Thisoldhonda.org and G1Preludes.com.

4 thoughts on “’78 Minilite Turbo Honda Accord – Phase 1

  • August 2, 2016 at 3:39 pm
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    This was my grandfather’s car!!

    Reply
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  • September 12, 2016 at 3:35 pm
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    The 1978 Minilite Turbo Honda Accord… was actually developed as a personal “street vehicle”… I worked for Minilite at the time and had Minilite Wheels on my Accord that looked so good I decided to take it a step farther… With the help of friends in ancillary businesses… the turbo was modified from an available kit…the flairs and front spoiler
    fabricated in a local shop…Scheel seats and Momo steering wheel were obtained from the manufacturers and the graphics were produced by 3M…
    Even tho the engine was ‘cooked’ during the Car and Driver test at Charlotte Motor Speedway… it was “restored” to life and served me well… Regret selling it a year later… but life goes on…!!!

    Reply
    • September 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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      Hi Dale, fantastic information, please email us when you have time at MyHonda@Hondaroots.com, we’d like to ask you more questions regarding this unique project.

      Reply

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