Old-school readers may remember Croydon Racing Development’s
early ’90s exploitation of the Suzuki Swift GTi. What Croydon
did with these little 1.3L screamers remains legendary to this
day for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the power that was seen
from such small-capacity engines was mind-blowing, with 400-odd
horsepower being common in street cars, but there is also the
fact that Croydon played such a major role in making the performance
four-cylinder scene what it is today.
Of course, there were always Geminis and Escorts getting around
as the hot fours of the day, but the GTi marked a hugely significant
turning point in the tuning scene, with enthusiasts’ eyes opened
up to a whole new world of late-model, high-tech modifications.
Croydon’s Jim Souvas was there from the start, and the research
and development that he embarked on more than 20 years ago has
mutated into one of Australia’s biggest and most advanced tuning
houses to date.
It wasn’t always like this, though, with CRD starting out as
Croydon Autosports in the Sydney suburb of, surprise surprise,
Croydon. After turning out some of the scene’s most original
and revolutionary project cars, demand dictated an expansion
into their Five Dock workshop. It wasn’t long after this that
a partnership was formed with Racing Emotion – a one-stop-shop
for late-model Japanese car freaks.
Just one look at the current premises at 9 Blaxland St Silverwater
is enough to realise these guys must be good at what they do,
and are here to stay. Despite the move to Silverwater, the new
name is Croydon Racing Developments. Things have also come a
long way as far as cars commonly found in the workshop go, with
Nissans taking up most of the space. You could say this is a
good representation of today’s performance scene, with imports
being the best bang-for-buck option around. To accommodate this,
CRD has developed a bond with Japan’s JUN Auto, HKS and NITTO
Performance Engineering, bringing world-class engines and parts
to our shores.
A number of engine combinations are available using these parts,
depending on the application, from big-power Street engines
to all-out Drag motors, all assembled in CRD’s engine-building
CRD's reputation is built upon multiple world-class achievements
including winning, multiple Autosalon “Final Battle Dyno” competitions,
multiple Australian Production Car Championships, national endurance
races along with a number of world record breaking drag racing
Screwing together some of Australia's toughest Nissan RB26s,
SR20s and Mitsubishi’s infamous 4G63 are only part of the service,
with CRD being widely respected for its aftermarket ECU tuning
prowess, including a rather impressive reputation for getting
the most out of aftermarket ECU tuning by using the in-house
AWD Dyno Dynamics dynamometer. As part of its current workshop,
Croydon Racing Developments boasts a large showroom, carrying
a massive range of products like Akrapovic, AMS, COBB Tuning,
Haltech, Herrod SCT, HKS, Injector Dynamics, JUN, Motec, NisTune,
Nitto, OS Giken, Tomei, VCM Suite, and more.
Backing up its reputation is a long list of racing achievements,
with the legendary GTR700 R33 GT-R and ‘DEVLSH’ S14 Silvia drag
cars leading the charge. Both cars are due to head back onto
the strip very shortly to continue the assault on the Australian
and world drag stage. As it stands, GTR700 was until recently
the fastest Nissan GT-R outside of Japan, and the third-fastest
GT-R in the world. DEVLSH is certainly no lightweight either,
being the fastest 200SX in the world. CRD’s own FWD drag warrior,
the ‘MRDMGE’ EG Civic, also looks set to make a long-awaited
return to the track.
From humble beginnings, it’s safe to say Jim and the team at
CRD are right up there as one of the most prominent workshops
in the performance tuning industry, in the world outside of
Japan. Be sure to keep an eye on the drag strip as well as the
race track for more wild cars and engines from CRD.