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EF Honda Civic - Canada’s Fastest 4th-GEN, Eh?

Show-quality hatchback snaps necks in the paddock and axles on the drag strip

David Pratte
Mar 24, 2014

Like a lot of drag racers, Canadian Mark Gentile got his start on the street. "I have to give credit to my boy, James, who took me for my first blast in a B18C5 swapped EG Honda Civic hatch many, many years ago. When we pulled out on the street and he let it hang First through Fourth, my life was changed and would never be the same again, lol. In the winter of 2006 I acquired a 1990 Integra, and any time or money I had was spent on that car. It was my daily driver that started with a stock B18A motor that lasted a couple months until a small t3 turbo found its way under the hood (shout out to my boy Matt, who gave me my first turbo kit)."

1990 honda civic simpson parachute 05 Photo 2/26   |   EF Honda Civic - Canada’s Fastest 4th-GEN, Eh?

That first hit on the turbo crackpipe was all it took for Mark to swap in a boosted B16, followed by a t3/t4 LS/VTEC setup, and then back to a stock block B18A with a Garrett t3/67mm snail, lumpy Crower 404 cams, and a 14-psi Crome tune that made 380 whp. As Mark put it, "This car was my introduction to learning about forced induction. It saw every bootleg option to go turbo using the stock ECU - FMU, check valves on the MAP sensor, and Prelude injectors that made black smoke pour out the exhaust. Good times! But being 18 to 19 years old with a mid 11-second street Honda is a potential recipe for disaster, especially when sportbikes pull up next to you on the highway. Or another boosted Honda. Or a Camaro. I'm just thankful those days have come and gone with no repercussions."

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy
1990 honda civic borg warner S372r turbo 13 Photo 3/26   |   EF Honda Civic - Canada’s Fastest 4th-GEN, Eh?

Mark packed a lot of living into those first couple of years of Honda hooning, in 2008 making the surprisingly mature decision (for a 20-year old hooked on boost) to get off the street, sell his Integra, and build the 1990 Honda Civic hatchback shell he'd bought from a friend a year earlier. Why the fourth-gen? As Mark explained, "My neighbor used to have this beautiful black cherry EF slammed on Rota Circuit 8's with a JDM SIR front bumper. Seeing that gangster little car sitting so pretty made me say to myself, 'one day I'll build a Civic as cool as his.' Besides, the track is always loaded with EGs, EKs, and DCs, so it only made sense to me to be different and choose an EF."

The cost of being different turned out to be steeper than Mark anticipated, though. "I can't even begin to total the amount of time I've spent on this car. It basically ended up being a full restoration. If there was rust, it had to be removed. If it could be sandblasted and repainted, it was. If it was broken and couldn't be replaced, it was repaired. If it could be bought brand new from the dealer, well you get the point. The quarter and rocker panel replacements were so much work, I've sworn never to do that to myself ever again."

1990 honda civic simpson parachute 19 Photo 7/26   |   1990 Honda Civic Simpson Parachute 19

Dealing with the age of the Honda Civic and refreshing it to like-new standards were just some of the many challenges Mark faced while transforming his car into a 24.5-inch Mickey Thompson tire roaster. "The biggest challenge with this car was trying to fit 20 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound engine bay. I spent countless hours sitting, staring, and visualizing. The other downside to building an EF is race parts availability, because "off the shelf" doesn't exist. I had to fabricate all sorts of custom one-off pieces, plus I have this weird obsession with figuring things out on my own. I don't really like to bother people, so I'll attempt to do it until I fail, and even if I do fail, there are many things to be learned in doing so."

1990 honda civic SafeCraft fire extinguisher system 07 Photo 8/26   |   EF Honda Civic - Canada’s Fastest 4th-GEN, Eh?

Mark actually built the entire turbo setup about 6 years ago and so far it's stood the test of time extremely well, as has his custom 3-piece frontend with its trademark Universal Spinners "blood splattered" velocity stack poking out of the Honda Civic nose. "The frontend of the car is something that I'm very happy with. At the time, a 3-piece frontend was not available for the EF, so I had no choice but to make my own. The front fenders were spun from steel (thanks Dad) and took me two weeks to finish. It was a very painstaking, meticulous job but was so worth it once I got the car back from the paint shop."

When Mark started this build, his goal was to go mid- to high 10's. Then, on his first outing in the Honda Civic, back in 2009, it went 10.44 @ 137 mph while making "only" 565 whp. That's when he realized he had to change his goal from 10's to 9's. The built LS/VTEC, featuring Darton sleeves, Eagle rods, and Wiseco 10:1 pistons, now spins the Magnus Motorsports Dynojet to the tune of 760 whp and 470 whp at 34 psi on VP Q16. Proving the effectiveness of a Magnus tune and Mark's ability to put it to the ground is a best ET of 9.68 @ 157mph at Toronto Motorsports Park back in September, making it the fastest '88-'91 era hatch north of the 49th parallel.

1990 honda civic turbosmart BOV 14 Photo 9/26   |   1990 Honda Civic Turbosmart BOV 14

You might expect a guy like Mark to keep chasing the carrot by setting his sights on a sub 9-second pass, but he's actually thinking about going in the opposite direction. "To be honest, I'm really considering the possibility of putting a stock B-series in the car and putting it back on the street. Besides the cage and necessary safety equipment, it's still a stock, uncut 1990 Civic with working headlights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, and complete front trim." Even the carpeting remains intact, and in true Canadian fashion, the heater core and blower motor are ready for winter.

Don't let his talk of going back to street-spec fool you into thinking he's gone soft, though. As Mark put it, "I would love to make it to Honda Day at Etown again [where HT head honcho Rodrez spotted it]. We had a fantastic time last year, plus we'll do as much racing up here as our work schedule permits."

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
82mm LS block
Darton replacement liners
1st gen B16 head
Eagle rods
Wiseco 10:1 pistons
AEM Series-1 EMS
T1 Cam Trigger
Rywire milspec custom harness
AMS NLR1000
MSD Digital 6+, HVC II coil, billet distributor, and wires
Proper Fabrications exhaust manifold,
Proper Fabrications 4in downpipe,
Proper Fabrications 2.5in dumptube
Proper Fabrications 3in charge piping
Borg Warner S372r
Tial 60mm wastegate
Turbosmart 52mm BOV
ATI SuperDamper
Ferrea roller rockers and cams
Magnus Motorsports intake manifold and 1600cc fuel injectors
Omni springs and retainers
bronze valve guides
Custom 10gal fuel tank
Dual 430lph Walbro in-tank fuel pumps
Aeromotive fpr and fuel filter
P2R dual feed fuel rail
Meziere electic water pump
custom radiator, shroud and fill tank
'92 Integra cable case
MFactory 1st gear, straight cut 3rd/4th gears, cuff, LSD and FD
Speedfactory selector
Competition Clutch twin disc
DSS 3.9 axles

1990 honda civic JDM SiR front bumper 06 Photo 13/26   |  
The 760whp LS/VTEC at rest.

Power
760whp/470lbs ft tq (34psi on VP Q16)

Suspension
PIC drag suspension
Skunk2 adjustable front UCAs w/ Kingpin spherical bearings
Custom front LCAs
Blox rear LCAs and UCAs
Energy Suspension rear trailing arm bushings

Resistance
KVR 4-piston calipers, rotors and pads (f)
Wilwood master cylinder
KKC booster delete
SSBC proportioning valve
Goodridge braided flex lines
Hurst line lock

Wheels & Tires
13x8'' (f) and 15x3.5'' (r) Bogart Flystars w/custom beadlocks
24.5x9'' (f) and 25x4.5'' (r) Mickey Thompson slicks

1990 honda civic custom fender 26 Photo 17/26   |   1990 Honda Civic Custom Fender 26

Exterior
PPG Super Red paint
Custom fenders
JDM SiR front bumper
J's Racing front lip and rear spoiler
Custom carbon fiber splitter and steel front fenders
VIS JDM style carbon fiber hood
Real carbon fiber wrapped roof
Simpson parachute
Aerocatch hood pins

1990 honda civic custom fenders 12 Photo 18/26   |   EF Honda Civic - Canada’s Fastest 4th-GEN, Eh?

Interior
Autometer tach and gauges
Sparco steering wheel
K-tuned adjustable shifter and shift knob
DelSol front seats
Integra center console
Broadway rearview mirror
RJS 5-point harness and window net
NHRA certified cage
SafeCraft fire extinguisher system

Props
Everyone who has helped me in some way shape or form to build this car, I appreciate all the support from my family and friends when we go racing. Thank you for being there. And lastly, you have to thank the haters, the doubters and the whiners, because sometimes you just have to thank everyone ;)

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Fabrication

Favorite Site Facebook

Screen Name
wopsicle69 / Ready F

1990 honda civic JDM SiR front bumper 09 Photo 22/26   |  
Final adjustments made before the attack on the 1320.

Building Hondas
10 years

Dream Car
Twin Turbo 458 Italia

Inspiration For This Build
not enough EF's

Proper Fabrications

If you live in the Toronto area and like the look of the fab work done on Mark's EF, don't be afraid to look him up (facebook.com/ProperFabrications). A division of his father's company, Universal Spinners (metal spinning and fabrication), Mark can tackle just about any custom metal work you can throw at him, from aluminum welding to full turbo systems. As Mark put it, "From milling and machining, shearing and spinning, to bending and welding, it's extremely satisfying to take a raw, lifeless material and turn it into something functional and appealing. Whether you need a pair of 5-inch aluminum downpipes for a twin turbo 10.5 race car or a simple weld on a broken bracket, I pride myself on delivering the same high quality and attention to detail."

1990 honda civic k tuned shift knob 24 Photo 26/26   |   1990 Honda Civic K Tuned Shift Knob 24

Sources

Magnus Motorsports
Concord, Ontario, CA
905-669-8400
http://www.magnusmotorsports.com
K-Tuned
877-958-8633
http://www.k-tuned.com
Darton Sleeves
Carlsbad, CA 92009
800-713-2786
www.dartonsleeves.com
Universal Spinners
416-299-4009
http://www.universalspinners.com
By David Pratte
216 Articles

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