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1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King

Even as a child, destined to be a contender...

Joey Lee
Oct 23, 2013
Photographer: Henry Z. De Kuyper

There are certain indicators that present themselves early on in your youth that will help to guide you later in life. Many artists discover their creative sides drawing or painting as children, and musicians often find their love of music early on as well. If you are good at anything in particular, chances are you realized it at an early age. Whether you decide to expand on that talent and transform it into a true skill later is completely up to you and your circumstances. Some just figure out what they are good at and never do anything with it, and many shape their lives because of it. As an automotive enthusiast, you will have probably discovered your interest in cars long before you even knew how to drive. The fascination with cars can lead you in many different directions. You could find that you love to drive competitively, or perhaps just alter them aesthetically, or you might even find yourself captivated by the mechanical side of automobiles with an itch to tear them apart to repair them.

1997 honda civic exospeed 3 piece front end 02 Photo 2/11   |   1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King

Jeffrey Rosario is a car guy through and through. To his friends and acquaintances, he is known as the "Pump Gas King." He's been working on cars since his teenage years and his love of cars and making them go fast has always been a driving force in his life. "I've been working on cars since I was 12 years old and building engines for the last 14 years," Rosario says. "My dad taught me how to wrench at a very young age and I've been working on cars before I was even old enough to drive one. Neighbors would come knocking on the door wanting tune-ups and repairs done to their cars often. I started street racing back in '97 but left that alone soon after because I had some run-ins with the local authorities. Then I made the decision to make my car an all-purpose track car and started running in the Heads-Up All-Motor Street Class."

Rosario seemed to always be a little ahead of his time, and by 2004, he had already put together his first K-swapped Civic. The idea he came up with was to build a reliable 300hp daily driver running strictly on pump gas-a feat that was considered nearly impossible at that time. Three hundred was a number that race cars were familiar with, but not for a daily driven Honda, especially running on conventional gasoline. Rosario explains, "It took me almost 2 years of testing different combos together to finally reach those numbers. Around 2008, my RSX Type-S motor was making 310 hp on 93-octane gas. It was very reliable and driven every day in the rain, sleet, and snow. I drove it to the track, raced it, and drove it home. That's when people started calling me the 'Pump Gas King.' They were surprised by how much power it made back then considering how it was driven every day. When you put it all into perspective, it's funny how only 4 years later 310 hp is not much. Today's advancements have really changed the landscape of the community."

The journey with this Audi Nimbus Grey-painted 1997 Civic chassis began in 2008. It had humble beginnings and started out as just a fun car for Jeff to have, but his competitive nature soon took over. He wanted a track car that was competitive enough to run in the All-Motor Street Class. He had already built a couple of high-horsepower, naturally aspirated engines for local shops, so it was a simple task when it came time for him to build his own. He acquired a K24 CNC cylinder head from 4 Piston Racing and began testing with the help of dyno-tuning expert, Chris Harris of Xenocron. The 4 Piston CNC cylinder heads are unlike any other in their class, featuring a low-turbulence intake port and unique exhaust port design-just what Rosario needed, especially when paired with his Kinsler individual throttle bodies. "The K24 motor I had made great power and I was very pleased. The only weak link was the stock transmission that I was running. Toward the end of 2010, the All-Motor Class had advanced so much that the only way for me to remain competitive was to run a PPG dog box transmission. I ran a personal best ET of 10.73, but it was far from where I needed to be. I needed to build a bigger engine to lay down some lower times."

1997 honda civic QuickCar ignition control panel 06 Photo 6/11   |  
Ignition control panel lights the fire

Another limiting factor that Rosario encountered was with the chassis itself. Everyone else in his class was using a '92-95 Civic chassis, which is considered the more aerodynamic of the two generations. He told himself that he would keep it for one more race season, and if it didn't run the lower 10-second ET that he wanted, he would switch everything over to a different chassis. At the 2011 World Cup Finals in Maryland's International Raceway, he would set his new personal best ET of 10.24, and then followed it immediately after with a 10.22. "A new chassis was not an option. I finally got the car into the low 10s and was running with the rest of the heavy hitters in my class. That is when I chose to give the car a makeover. I acquired a three-piece Exospeed front end, sent it off to Angel Designs for bodywork, and then had it resprayed in this grey tone."

Though Rosario has found great success in the All-Motor Class, there is still more to come. As he tells us, "I am far from done. As an active racer, I can't just sit back and not constantly strive to improve. I already have my eyes on running a 10.00-second ET; hell, maybe I'll even be able to achieve the elusive 9-second pass that everyone in my class shoots for. I'm also entertaining the idea of stepping up to the Prostock FWD All-Motor Class. The future is bright for me. I may even turn the motor sideways and create a turbocharged Pro RWD car."

1997 honda civic CCC racing rear wing 11 Photo 7/11   |   1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King

Bolts & Washers

2.7L K24A1
89.5mm bore
106mm stroke
4 Piston-spec Winberg crank
Wiseco pistons
Wiseco piston rings
15:1 compression ratio
GRP aluminum connecting rods
K20Z1 Type-S oil pump
4 Piston Racing custom camshafts
4 Piston Racing CNC ported K24A1 head
Ferrea valves
PSI valvesprings
Ferrea valve retainers
Ferrea keepers
Ferrea aluminum single lobe rockers
Kinsler 62mm individual throttle bodies
Go-Power Motorsports exhaust manifold
K20Z1 ignition coils
Bosch 044 fuel pump
Custom ASP/NRG Tech fuel cell
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc fuel injectors
Kinsler fuel rail
K-Tuned fuel lines & fittings
K-Tuned fuel filter
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Mishimoto radiator
Skunk2 radiator cap
K-Tuned cooling hoses
PPG 4-speed Dog Box transmission
K-Tuned billet shifter
Competition clutch and flywheel
MFactory limited-slip differential
OEM RSX Type-S axles

1997 honda civic K24A1 03 Photo 8/11   |  
At 15:1 compression, Rosario’s 2.7L K24 pumps out over 380hp and snags 10 second time slips


Skunk2 Pro-C coilover suspension
Skunk2 Drag-Launch springs
Skunk2 upper control arms
Skunk2 lower control arms
Skunk2 rear lower tie-bar
NRG traction/weight bars

'01 Integra GSR front brake calipers
'01 Integra GSR front brake rotors
'01 Integra GSR front brake pads
Custom brake lines
Wilwood brake delete

1997 honda civic sparco sprint 5 seat 05 Photo 9/11   |   1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King

Wheels & Tires
F: 13x10 Weld Racing Magnum Import Drag Series
24.5x9-13 Mickey Thompson ET drag slicks
R: 15x3.5-inch Weld Racing Magnum Import Drag Series
22x3.5-15 Mickey Thompson ET drag skinnies

Audi TT Nimbus Grey paint
Exospeed 3-piece front end
CCC Racing rear wing carbon-dipped by Cruz Motorsports

Kens custom 6-point rollcage
Sparco Sprint 5 seat
Custom race switch panel
Racequip 5-point harness
Tenzo-R steering wheel
K-Tuned shift knob

My dad for teaching me how to wrench at a young age, my wife Jasmin for supporting my passion and putting up with my late nights wrenching on my car, I can't thank Josh & Luke at enough for their killer engine program and help with the build, Chris for his dyno tuning/ track support at, John & Mike at, Jose at JBR for all his help, Joel at for wiring the car from the ecu all the way to the rear lights, Will at Exospeed, Stefan at ASP Headers for all his support, Will at Tunnelvison Racing, Angel at Angel designs for body work and paint, Albert at CCC racing, Tom at nrg tech for fabwork done on the car, Tony at Skunk2, Jake, Tim, Marc P & Pepsi at fast five, and Sha for his midnight runs for last-minute parts for the car.

1997 honda civic skunk2 pro c coilover suspension 10 Photo 10/11   |   1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Mechanic for N.Y.C.H.A

Favorite Site

Screen name or nick name
Jeff16/L Jeffre/Street Mechanic/Pump Gas King/ El Jeffrey

Building Hondas For how long
14 years

Dream car
Bugatti Veyron

Inspiration for this build
Wanted to build a fun a competitive car

Future Projects
All-motor Prostock FWD or Turbo Pro RWD Honda

Team 4 Piston

4 Piston Racing, suppliers of Jeff Rosario's CNC cylinder head, is a household name in the competitive drag racing world. They started out as a sport compact drag racing team from Indianapolis, Indiana, and have since grown into a brand recognized the world over. They supply everything from basic parts to stroker kits, built short-blocks, and even complete engines. Their specialty, however, is all things related to Honda cylinder heads and their development. As they will tell you, they "eat, sleep, and breathe cylinder heads." They turned their focus into the professional drag racing world in 2004 and have since realized the potential of the K series engine. 4 Piston Racing then began campaigning a Honda Insight that now makes 400 naturally aspirated horsepower and runs 9-second ETs all day long.

1997 honda civic exospeed 3 piece front end 07 Photo 11/11   |   1997 Honda Civic - Pump Gas King


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Injector Dynamics
4 Piston Racing
Pittsboro, IN 46167
Winberg Crankshafts
By Joey Lee
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