Civic Unrest is a fitting title for this excellent example of a street Honda. Disquieted and restless, its owner, Hugh Le of Baldwin Park, Calif. relies on a boosted B20B engine, C-West body tuning treatment and a mean-and-lean suspension to revolt against the mundane and lethargic econo-boxes that overrun the highways of Southern California. V-Spec Performance was on point for the various stages of the project.
The party begins under the hood, where a B20B four-cylinder from a Japanese market SMX micro-van is nestled in the engine bay. The B20 retains its stock 84mm x 90mm bore and stroke, but has been fitted with a VTEC head from a Type R Integra. This swap, known as a Frankenstein engine, gives the engine the advantages of variable cam timing at the top-end and the advantages of additional displacement in the form of torque on the bottom-end. V-Spec handled the engine swap and shocked the Frankenstein motor to life. The head was fitted with Top Fuel turbo-spec cams, but was otherwise left stock prior to being secured with ARP hardware. The intake tract is a Type R affair from the throttle body to the manifold. On the hot side, a Top Fuel stainless-steel manifold is home to the main source of the Civic's revolt, namely a Blitz K3T turbo. The K3T is regulated to 12 psi by a Blitz wastegate and a Blitz Dual SBC controller and blows through a front-mount XS Engineering air-to-air intercooler. A Top Fuel exhaust system, featuring 3-inch, polished, stainless-steel piping with a 3-inch downpipe, a polished straight-through design muffler and healthy polished tip, combats backpressure by expediting the flow of spent gases. The B20B is dressed with an Invidia carbon fiber wire cover, Cusco catch can and Blitz air cleaner, while Energy Suspension motor mounts keep the pressurized powerplant in place as the boost hits. Additional cooling capacity is provided by a Fluidyne radiator.
The fuel system is innovative and engineered for the street, while an A'PEXi Power FC with handheld commander is in charge of the show. The Power FC is an application-specific replacement computer that replaces the original factory ECU. Power FC contains a base fuel and ignition map for stock or mildly modified engines. A'PEXi suggests the Power FC should be purchased from an authorized A'PEXi Power Excel shop with all the necessary equipment and expertise to custom-program the Power FC to deliver optimum, reliable horsepower. (For more on the technical intricacies of this unit, see Turbo December 2000.) The FC oversees a set of 534cc Blitz injectors, a Top Fuel high-flow inline pump and an AEM regulator and rail.
Making 360 hp to the wheels is easy these days, but using it efficiently on a day-to-day basis takes some doing. Hugh employs a '98 LS transmission that runs a Pro Active clutch, an Integra Type R flywheel and Civic Type R linkage to spin 36mm Type R axles. The intensity of the driveline's clamping force was dramatically enhanced with the addition of a Kaaz limited-slip differential. The unit, installed by Elton Lo of Raceline Development, provides the locking effect of a welded diff, while not impacting the vehicle's ability to make a turn without screeching the tires.
With an efficient driveline laying down the power, the suspension system of Le's rocket needed to be up to the challenge. To this end, Le turned to A'PEXi N1 R coil-overs that flex adjustability for rebound, compression and ride height. To aid in lateral stability, a set of Sprint Suspension sway bars are on call, while Sprint camber kits ensure the proper geometry can be maintained at the selected ride height. Top Fuel rear aluminum race arms also help transfer thrust to the ground. Contact with the street is provided by Advan RG wheels from UPRD, wrapped with Yokohama AVS rubber. Stopping power has been enhanced by grafting on Type R calipers, Endless rotors and Endless pads.
Le's mission was to blend style and performance in a single package. The Civic's image therapy consists of a radical C-West body kit, originally destined for a Type R. In fact, the Type R is the blueprint for many of the components on Le's Honda. The car sports a 2000 Type R front-end conversion, Type R spoiler and even Type R window glass; now that's taking it to the extreme. With the Civic's sheetmetal completely stylized, 20/20 Autobody was called on to lay down its championship white finish. Style goes beyond sheetmetal and since the Civic is a driver, Le wanted an appealing atmosphere in the cabin. This was accomplished with a pair of trick Top Fuel Special Edition bucket seats, a Type R tiller, four-point harness, Blitz gauges and a grip of Type R interior trim. Further ambiance was added to the interior by a high-wattage stereo system, featuring a Clarion VRX-8271 head unit, Alpine amps, Boston Acoustic and Rockford Fosgate mids and a 15-inch Cadence subwoofer. A Clarion six-disc changer ensures a wide variety of tunes are a touch of a button away.
Le's hybrid Civic embodies what we mean by a balanced attack. It has head-turning looks, commuter car durability and blistering performance. Wearing Bogarts and M&H gumballs up front, the B20B-motivated Honda blasted an 11.9 in the quarter mile, proving it can also turn heads at the strip. If this is what Civic Unrest is all about; we are feeling quite disquieted around here.
1997 Honda Civic
Blitz K3T turbo
Top Fuel pump,
534cc Blitz injectors,
AEM regulator, rail
Type R manifold,
Top Fuel 3-inch
Blitz Dual SBC
Apex Power FC