Masterful Engineering: Bisimoto Facility Tour
Bisi Ezerioha, the mastermind behind building the most powerful naturally aspirated SOHC Honda engines in the world, quickly gained notoriety in the mid-2000s. He built the first naturally aspirated Honda to break the 150-mph barrier in the quarter-mile, as well as becoming the first to do so in only nine seconds. Known throughout the automotive industry as a professional drag racing driver, credited engine builder, chemical engineer, and a legitimate master of his craft, Ezerioha has set and reset just about every SOHC Honda record imaginable. He built a name for taking his naturally aspirated Hondas to a level that many of his competitors had only dreamed of accomplishing.
Today, Ezerioha is a successful businessman as CEO and Chief Engineer at Bisimoto Engineering in Ontario, California. His hard work and dedication has landed him on projects with some of the largest names in the automotive industry, and has given him a reputation for always bringing innovation to the table. Simply stated, this intelligent, well-spoken man is cut from a different cloth.
We recently visited the Bisimoto facility to witness firsthand where all the magic happens, including a guided tour to see his vast collection of vehicles tucked away inside this 17,000 square foot complex. Some people love to collect sports memorabilia or jewelry, but there are only a handful like Ezerioha whose love for high horsepower vehicles never left their imagination.
Matt Crooke of Fifteen52, a company that has gained popularity for their aftermarket wheels, has worked together with Bisi on numerous project cars over the past few years. This made the decision easier when Crooke asked Ezerioha to takeover modifying one of his project cars, he gladly obliged.
Crooke’s ’79 Porsche 911SC nicknamed ‘Old Dirt Ball’ is currently going through a series of upgrades including custom individual throttle bodies, full sequential fuel injection, and AEM Infinity engine management system. These additions will pair nicely with the fully built engine running on 2017 electronics technology. Ezerioha mentioned that the project will be up and running within the next month.
This was a project car that Bisimoto engineered a few years ago for SEMA and was torn back down to begin a new lease on life. Ezerioha won’t disclose many details about this car, only that it will be a very unique build using a unique powertrain.
“If you can dream it, we can build it,” said Ezerioha.
The interior is all business and has been modified with a custom roll cage and Racepak IQ3 cluster sitting inside the dash. The rest of the interior has been removed to put this Porsche on a strict diet plan.
I’ve never been a fan of white cars on white wheels, but the custom Eins Gramm wheels seem to fit the bill perfectly. Measuring 18×11-inch up front, and thirteen out back, this wheel setup is the perfect match to this build.
This ’06 Cayman S is one of many vehicles in Ezerioha’s personal collection. He has professed his affinity for this chassis, and considers it his second favorite Porsche, next to his ’76 911. What started out as a daily driver, soon blossomed into a weekend track car that Ezerioha has been continually modifying for the past few years.
“I love Caymans because they are well balanced, but the only downfall is that they lack horsepower. To remedy the problem, we added a twin-turbocharged system and increased the power output from 270hp to 481whp. This car was the reason why I became so involved with road racing. It completely transformed my thought process and appreciation towards road racing. So much to a point where it forced me to invest into purchasing another one and building it into a center seat Cayman project car, which just debuted at this year’s SEMA show.”
The Cayman is equipped with a set of Carbon Revolution wheels. The Australian-based company produces the world’s only one-piece carbon fiber wheel. Ezerioha states that the wheels are not cheap, nor are they some cheap overlay design, and can run up to $14,000 for a complete set.
“These lightweight wheels helped the vehicle save 19lbs per corner, and dramatically changed the way the car accelerated and handled on the track. It was like night and day and a delivered huge advantage both on and off the track. I can honestly say that I would have had to put twice as much work and money into building the engine to net the same type of performance output with allow wheels vs. simply installing these carbon fiber wheels.”
The infamous Bisimoto ’76 911 Carrera was the first Porsche that Ezerioha ever built. Affectionately known as the ‘Blue Bomber’, this 911 has a combination of the classic beauty of an old school Porsche but infused new Porsche technology. With a smirk on his face, Ezerioha mentions that this 820whp car scares a lot of people when they drive it. However for him, it feels right at home and comfortable every time he sits in the driver seat.
The Bisimoto-built 3.4-liter M96 engine pulled from a 996 was custom fabricated with a custom twin turbocharger setup using Turbonetics 58mm inlet and 57mm exhaust housings.
On the wiring side, Ezerioha worked his magic and modified the entire wire harness to communicate with CANBUS, while a 997 6-speed gearbox was mated to the engine to handle the upgraded power.
To adjust traction control Bisi mounted this controller, sourced from a fighter jet, to the dashboard. With some modifications, the pitch angle dial now controls the traction control gain. Pretty ingenious!
Using the latest in automotive technology, Ezerioha was able to integrate a drive-by-wire setup, throttle-by-wire, and other technological marvels you would typically see in many of the newer relatives of this old school, wide-body Porsche.
“This 911 oozes so much raw power it’s on the edge of control, and lack of control, and I love it! It’s one of my favorite cars among 23 other vehicles I currently own.”
If you’ve noticed by now, there’s no shortage of Porsches sitting inside the garage of Bisimoto Engineering. This relatively rare ’68 Porsche 911 2.4T is another customer car that looks to have been rescued out someone’s back yard, or possibly unearthed from a rare barn find. The demand for classic Porsches’ have been steadily increasing, and excellent condition 2.4T models can fetch six-figures in today’s market.
Another soon to be project car is this ’01 996 Turbo, which will be receiving turbo upgrades but continue to run on 91 octane fuel. The car is currently making 420hp with the end goal of 600whp with proper tuning.
“This is one of my prized possessions,” says Ezerioha with an enlightened sigh. “A proper ’82 slant nosed Porsche that I don’t think I would or could ever sell. This beauty is all original with full steel fenders and even came with the slant nose owner’s manual—which was awesome. Uncharacteristic of me, which everyone knows I love to tinker with things or pull cars apart, I haven’t even touched this. Aside from the Epsilon 5-spoke wheels and Bisimoto Pulse Chamber exhaust system, the entire car—including it’s 3.2-liter engine—is bone stock, and I hope to keep it this way for as long as possible!”
Used as a company test bed, this ’03 996 TT is equipped with a rare factory aero kit combined with a custom TechArt body kit. With modifications including Fifteen52 wheels, KW V3 coilover suspension, and twin Turbonetics TNX turbochargers stuffed under the rear bumper, this car is tuned with an AEM Infinity engine management system to the tune of 590whp using 91-octane fuel.
Another prized possession within Matt Crooke’s collection is an old Porsche 964/965 M491. For those unfamiliar with the M491, this is a wide-body naturally aspirated setup from Porsche.
With only 200 produced by Porsche, the M491 is considered an extremely rare ride. The vehicle was purchased without the engine from Texas and towed to Bisimoto with plans of installing a stroked 3.8-liter power plant with individual throttle bodies.
Tucked away in the far corner of the shop sat a dust covered Porsche 912 project that has been hibernating for a number of years.
“I haven’t decided what I want to do with her, other than pulling it into the shop and stripping out the interior,” says Ezerioha.
He also mentioned that the 912 was appealing to him for its lightweight chassis, non-sunroof platform which adds to the overall chassis rigidity, and various engine configuration, which originally came with a flat-four engine but can also accept a flat-six. The possibilities are endless.
Dubbed ‘Ninja Turtle’ by Ezerioha for its obvious color scheme, the car was originally a SEMA display vehicle at the NGK booth five years ago. At that time, the Porsche was outfitted with a twin turbo setup with bolt-on wide body flares.
“We tore the car apart to bring it back to its original elegance. In order to make it happen, we converted it back to its original targa top and reinstalled a set of factory steel flares. It was a great build at the time but truthfully, the large flares were a bit too wild for my taste. Growing older has taught me that building a Porsche isn’t about creating some over the top vehicle, it’s all about keeping that Porsche essence while retaining the classic look from the ’80s.”
If the van looks familiar you’re not alone. Among the performance street car community, this 2014 Honda Odyssey continues to be the most famous—and recognizable—build within the Bisimoto project car lineup. This van’s claim to fame includes an appearance on Top Gear USA, as well as other TV syndications.
Running on E85, this soccer mom van spools a 72mm billet Turbonetics turbocharger and is tuned on an AEM EMS engine management system as it delivers a mind-blowing 1,029whp at 41 psi of boost pressure.
It’s been a while since we last saw this beast, but we immediately noticed a new intercooler setup, which Ezerioha mentioned allows more air-flow efficiency while allowing the front grill to be utilized for a slightly more stealth appearance…not really sure stealth is the best word for it, but nevertheless it looks mighty cool!
Additional modifications include Fifteen52 wheels, air suspension, and an upgraded transmission with straight cut gears to handle the horsepower, which replaced the original Acura TL Type-S manual gearbox. Slide open the rear doors and you might be surprised that all the interior is still intact. The only hint that this isn’t your average commuter is the custom 4-point roll cage.
“I often drive this around town to run errands with the family, and even have my daughter’s baby seat in the back.”
Surprisingly, not all the cars sitting inside the garage have either a Porsche badge or a boxer engine. Sitting alongside the western wing of the building was a Datsun 240Z that Bisimoto is currently building for a customer. The F20C engine that previously powered this Datsun suffered catastrophic failure.
A fresh engine was fully rebuilt from the ground up using forged pistons and Golden Eagle sleeves. The end goal is to reinstall the fresh motor, turbocharge it, and tune it to run on E85 fuel.
Another non-Porsche vehicle we came across was this Bisimoto built ’15 Ford Mustang that debuted inside the Ford SEMA Booth two years ago. We wouldn’t have expected any less from Ezerioha, as we learned that this Mustang was extracting 901whp.
“It was a good proof of concept at the time, but the power band just wasn’t there. The car exhibited a 1,500 rpm usable power band using a huge 76mm turbocharger on the Ecoboost engine, which just didn’t seem to pair well. We did it to prove we could make the power, but it just wasn’t a good driver and was very laggy,” says Ezerioha. The car was recently put back to stock and will be moving on to “greener pastures” according to Ezerioha.
The newest member to the Bisimoto family is a fifth-generation Dodge Viper. In its naturally aspirated form, the SRT’s V10 delivers 645hp and 600 lb-ft of torque from its 8.4-liter displacement. The exterior of the vehicle features Fifteen52 Spring GT wheels wrapped in Toyo R888 tires, and a prototype body kit made specifically for its NGK booth debut at the SEMA show. The complete kit is made up of a front lip, side skirts and rear wing, which Ezerioha stated was a tribute to the TA 1.0 wing with some added flair. It will be available for purchase in carbon fiber in 3-4 months. Ezerioha also mentioned by the same time next year, Bisimoto will have a ton of performance parts available for the Viper.
Ezerioha was kind enough to pick up, and store Stan Chen’s BMW E30 M3 for a few days and we have to admit, it’s truly a beaut!
From the custom interior work to the fully restored exterior, this ride garnered plenty of attention at this year’s SEMA show.
Among the vehicles of the import drag racing community, the Bisimoto Honda Insight nicknamed “Stitch” is one of the most recognizable—and controversial in its time—to have campaigned the quarter mile.
Without going into too much detail, this 450whp F22 single-cam powered machine broke numerous class and world records with the quickest time of 9.20 E.T. This unibody vehicle was also the first FWD, all-motor drag car to also break 150mph.
“Back then, a lot of my competitors accused us of cheating by using illegal fuel or squeezing Nitrous. Now it’s more common to see the same mile per hours being accomplished but back in ‘08 it was a big deal,” Ezerioha mentioned to us with a big smile.
Sitting adjacent to the Insight was a Civic that Bisimoto built for Honda in 2011 to display at their SEMA booth. While the car doesn’t look the same from when it was on display, this once famous 1,004whp Civic is now used as a test mule for many of the products that Ezerioha fabricates, including various Turbonetics turbochargers, which the company sends directly to his shop for both performance and power response testing.
Currently under testing is Turbonetics newest turbocharger, which uses a C72 wheel. According to Ezerioha, it spools very quickly and gives amazing throttle response, but the tradeoff is that it ultimately restricts top end power.
“We’re also experimenting with sequential gear boxes and the induction piece you see sticking out from out the hood, while moving the turbo towards the firewall to see how it impacts performance.”
This 533hp CR-Z drag car helped launch a longtime partnership with Honda back in 2009 when it went on display at the SEMA show. The once flashy blue vinyl wrap and company logos have now been removed to reveal its original color.
Ezerioha mentioned back then, there were no flash programs for the ECU, so he ended up embedding an AEM Series 2 EMS with the factory ECU. It worked at the time, but it disabled a lot of the vehicle’s factory features. Recently, he decided to install the factory engine harness back into the car and use a Hondata Flash Pro system to make the vehicle more user friendly and easier to tune.
Believe it or not, this is the highest horsepower vehicle throughout the entire Bisimoto garage. Built last year for the SEMA show, this RWD V6 twin-turbocharged Hyundai Santa Fe cranks out an amazing 1,100whp and 870lb-ft of torque on E85 fuel. The most noticeable difference is that the 3.8-liter engine pulled from a Genesis now sits longitudinal, as opposed to the factory 3.3-liter transverse FWD setup.
Forged pistons and rods, a port and polished cylinder head, and upgraded valve train and camshafts were all implemented into this build, which also included twin Precision 5762 ball bearing turbochargers.
Ezerioha even went so far as to convert the engine from direct injection to port injection in order to take full advantage of the features in the AEM Infinity Engine Management System now controlling the ignition and spark.
Although this ’00 Porsche started its life as a 986, it received a special Bisimoto treatment to implement a mid-engine setup from a M96 987 Boxster.
The exterior features a carbon fiber roof, fender flares and 19×12-inch wide Carbon Revolution wheels, wrapped in a set of 325/30-19 Toyo R888R tires. All of which were implemented to lighten the overall curb weight.
Exactly how serious is Ezerioha on a vehicle’s track performance? Take a peek inside and you will be impressed with the custom center seat setup designed to further improve weight distribution. A set of telescoping pedals and adjustable steering wheel wired up with a push-to-pass button offers the driver, “the best driving experience,” according to Ezerioha.
The custom rear turbocharger setup was designed to be adjustable anywhere from 250hp to 550hp depending on the driver’s skills. Stay tuned for a full feature on this wild ride once the bodywork and minor engine details have been ironed out.
Bisimoto also partnered with Hyundai to build a super-eco car for this past SEMA show. Developed with focus on hypermiling rather than speed, Ezerioha and his team upgraded the exterior with a bespoke Dream TA aero kit.
Bisimoto claims that this special Ioniq boosts range from the stock 58 MPG to an impressive 80 MPG. Ezerioha attributes the MPG gains from the extensive aero treatment including the rear wheel covers.
Check out these custom retro-Porsche-style finned wheel covers designed in Europe and mated to a set of Fifteen52 wheels.
From his days of import drag racing, to working on many of the industry’s most memorable builds, Ezerioha has kept it real by maintaining his character and increasing his automotive ingenuity. He is regarded by many as one of the most influential icons in the import tuner community.