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1994 Honda Civic Coupe Turbo - Blue Bomber

Robert Choo
Apr 1, 2000
Photographer: David Hall
0004_turp_01_z+1994_honda_civic_coupe+front_right Photo 1/13   |   1994 Honda Civic Coupe Turbo - Blue Bomber

9.92 @ 145 mph
9.95 @ 146 mph

Without question, Quick Class competition is the most competitive form of racing in the import-racing arena. And without a doubt, Hondas have become the weapon of choice when building a Quick Class racer. It is no surprise; their super light chassis design and potent powerplant makes for a deadly combination. Who would have thought a couple of years ago that front-wheel-drive Hondas would be eclipsing the 9-second barrier. Today there are nearly half a dozen Hondas that have broken off single digit e.t.s and there are about a dozen more on the brink. One elite Quick Class racer to land in coveted 9-second territory is John Brown of Boca Raton, Fla.

A 1994 Honda Civic Coupe was the foundation that John Brown chose to build his 9-second strip terror. Like all Honda racers, the Civic was stripped down to only the bare essentials. The factory interior, dash, windows, fuel tank and stock powerplant were ripped out of the car. (Who needs creature comforts when you are only in the driver's seat for 9 seconds at a time?)

2016 Honda Civic
$18,640 Base Model (MSRP) 27/40 MPG Fuel Economy

To propel the Civic down the track at a blistering pace, the anemic 1.6 single cam was tossed in favor of a DOHC VTEC -a fully built Braman Motorsports 1.8-liter engine. Braman started off with a B18C GSR bottom-end and stuffed it with all the necessary goodies-low-compression SRP 8.5:1 pistons and Crower con-rods. Swinging the forged combination is a factory crankshaft that has been knife-edged for reduced rotating mass to accommodate for quicker revs. Up top sits an Integra Type-R cylinder head that has been modified by Braman. The head was ported and polished and stuffed with oversized stainless-steel valves. Orchestrating valvetrain events are a pair of custom Braman bumpsticks fine-tuned by STR cam sprockets. Sandwiching the head to the block are heavy-duty ARP head studs.

Force Fed
Building a 9-second Quick Class racer is no easy matter. It takes the right combination of horsepower, traction and track time for quick timeslips. Addressing the first part of the equation, John decided to force feed the 1.8-liter powerplant. John started off the turbo kit with a ported and polished cast-iron manifold from Rev Hard. The manifold gathers all the spent gases and directs them to the turbine side of the turbocharger. The snail of choice was a T4 Garrett 60-1 turbocharger with a .58 A/R housing. A Deltagate wastegate and GReddy PRofec A controller regulate boost pressure to 26 psi. Since detonation can kill engines in an instant, chilling off the highly pressurized charge air is a 750-cfm Spearco liquid-to-air intercooler. The chilled charge air is then directed to 2-1/4 inch I/C piping to the factory Type-R throttle body that connects to a sheetmetal STR intake manifold. To accommodate for the 500-plus horsepower being generated from the powerplant, an additional four-injector bung was added to the intake. The intake utilizes eight RC Engineering injectors and two fuel rails.

Ignition chores have been left to the tried-and-true 7AL-2 from MSD. The MSD box intensifies the spark charge to two Braman coils (one for every two cylinders). The coils deliver the highly juiced charge to the NGK plugs through Magnecor wires.

There is a very fine line between producing a high horsepower powerplant and a high horsepower metal shredder. Making sure the engine produces single-digit timeslips and not pieces is a stand-alone Haltech engine management system that has been installed in place of the factory ECU. The Haltech was chosen because it was rather simple install and has remarkable tuning flexibility. Rosado Racing installed the Haltech system and tuned it to perfection. Rosado Racing was able to extract over 500-plus horsepower to the wheels on the dyno.

A lightened Clutch Masters flywheel and heavy-duty clutch transfers the power from the engine to the wheels. The clutch spins the spline of a factory Integra Type-R transmission equipped with a Phantom Grip differential. A set of custom racing axles torque Bogart one-piece aluminum racing wheels wrapped with Mickey Thompson rubber. Making sure the speedster comes to a halt after reaching a terminal velocity of 145-plus mph is an enhanced braking system featuring Power Slot rotors at all four corners.

As mentioned earlier, a high-horsepower engine is only half the battle when it comes to building a Quick Class racer. Getting all the power to the ground is a whole other story. The Blue Bomber utilizes a hybrid Braman motorsports suspension system. Tokico shocks and Skunk2 coilovers replace the factory units. Out back, a custom fabricated wheelie bar prevents weight transfer to the back.

To make the Civic stand out from the rest of the field, six layers of BASF blue was applied meticulously to the Honda's sheetmetal. The interior of the Honda has also been augmented with immaculate tin work performed by Rosado Racing.

One would think that after breaking the 9-second barrier a racer's life would be complete. But for John it has only begun; John has sold his radical drag sled to Angel Robles and plans on building another Quick Class car. He hopes to construct an even faster vehicle utilizing all the knowledge he has picked up from his first project. Don't worry-you can still catch a glimpse of this Blue Bomber; it will be campaigned throughout the country at various race events by its new owner. So John, are you gonna sell the next race car?


Auto Meter
Sycamore, IL 60178
RC Engineering
Torrance, CA 90501
JE Pistons
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Phoenix, AZ 85043
+61 2 9729 0999
Irvine, CA 92618
Crower Cams & Equipment
Chula Vista, CA 91911-5899
(619) 422-1191
Rosado Racing
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
Braman Motorsports
Greenacres, FL 22463
By Robert Choo
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