What Matt Galiano wanted for his Honda Civic Si wasn't entirely unreasonable: "To have a nine-second street car that I could pull into a car show and drop jaws with." That's what he wanted, and that's what so many others have tried to attain with little to show for it. That's mostly because making a front-wheel-drive Civic capable of speeds over 150mph in the quarter-mile is hard enough. Doing so with the right combination of show-winning paint and polished bits makes all of this even more challenging.
As it turns out, though, a nine-second show car isn't exactly what Galiano's always had in mind. A daily driver is what he was looking for in late 2012 when he picked up the inoperable Civic Si. "It didn't run, [but] it was a super easy fix," Galiano says. "I intended on using it for a daily driver—to just put some wheels on it, clean up the engine bay, put a new paint job on it and drive it." That's what he told himself anyways. Meanwhile, Galiano was only denying and prolonging what he probably knew all along: "The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to build a car to take to the track."
And that's exactly what he did shortly after getting the only twin-cam, B-series Honda Civic ever offered in the US up and running. By the beginning of the following year, Galiano's Civic Si was parked for good and completely torn apart, awaiting its rebirth. "I began building it with the intention of it still being able to be driven on the street," he says. "It was almost complete and then I decided to make it a full-blown drag race car."
It was the second and final time Galiano would change his mind. From here on out, the Civic would become a dedicated track car. It was also supposed to be completed within the same year. "I set a goal for myself to finish it last year and tried everything possible to do that," Galiano says of the tight deadline. It started with ridding the two-door of its B16A2 engine that was exclusive to the Si and later-model del Sols. Instead, the RSX's K20A2 was dropped into place with the help of Hasport mounts and a seventh-generation Civic Si's transmission. More than 800 horsepower comes by way of a Precision turbo that blows through the fully reworked long block that's been fortified with ductile iron sleeves and forged internals. Externally, the fuel system has been beefed up with 2,000cc injectors and a couple of pumps from Bosch, all of which are controlled by AEM's Series 2 standalone engine management system.
Despite his successfully melding the often at-odds worlds of drag racing beaters and show queens into a single package, Galiano admittedly hasn't always been a Honda fan. "I grew up building and driving older Camaros, and I've loved them ever since," he says, prefacing his purchase of a later-model Chevy sports coupe in 2010. But the fifth-generation Camaro didn't fill the '60s-era muscle car void he'd hoped it would. "[It] just didn't have the same feel like I thought it would," Galiano says as he compares the decades-spanning differences between the two cars.
Ultimately, unloading the Camaro meant only good things for Galiano's Civic, like freed up capital to pay for things like the 15-inch Work Meister S1 wheels stuffed inside a pair of Mickey Thompson ETs up front. It also allowed him to prepare the chassis for nine-second duty, like the addition of the 10-point rollcage that was expertly fitted within the coupe by nearby Diamond Fab.
"I wanted to build this to show people some of the work I can do at my shop. And I wanted the best of both worlds," Galiano says, of how he managed balancing the car's opposing drag versus show theme. The recipe for Galiano's Si is nearly complete. It's ready to drop jaws; now all it needs is to hit the track.
1999 Honda Civic Si
Owner Matt Galiano
Hometown Follansbee, WV
Engine Treblic Tuned K20A2; Hasport engine mounts; Web camshafts; Buddy Club adjustable camshaft gears; Supertech valves, springs and retainers; ARP head studs; Cometic head gasket; LA Sleeves 88mm sleeves; JE Pistons 10.0:1 pistons; Manley Turbo Tuff connecting rods; Nissan Q45 throttle body; Xcessive Manufacturing intake manifold; dual Bosch 044 fuel pumps; Aeromotive A1000 fuel pressure regulator; K-Tuned fuel rail, electric water pump, water pump block-off plate and upper radiator hose; Injector Dynamics 2,000 cc/min fuel injectors; FCS fuel cell; Precision 62/66 turbo; Go-Autoworks exhaust manifold, exhaust piping and intercooler; TiAL Q blow-off valve and MV-R wastegate; Rywire radiator; Earl's steel-braided radiator hoses and AN fittings; custom engine wiring harness; Circuit Hero ignition coil cover; Skunk2 valve cover hardware; Bolt Boys engine and transmission hardware
Drivetrain 2002 Civic Si transmission; Quaife limited-slip differential; Driveshaft Shop level 5.9 axles; Exedy twin-disc clutch and flywheel; K-Tuned shifter assembly and cables
Engine Management AEM Series 2 engine management system; Hondata boost control solenoid
Footwork & Chassis PIC Performance coilovers; Function7 rear lower control arms and rear subframe brace; Buddy Club camber adjustment kits; K-Tuned traction bar
Brakes Hawk HP Plus pads; StopTech steel-braided lines; Wilwood proportioning valve, master cylinder and pedal assembly; Endless fluid; Ken's Kustom Chassis staging brake
Wheels & Tires 15x7.5" +25 Work Meister S1 wheels; 205/50R15 Mickey Thompson ET Street (front) and Kumho Ecsta XS (rear) tires; ARP wheel studs; Project Kics lug nuts
Exterior Grade-A Garage Dupont Laguna Seca blue paint Interior
Interior AiM Sports digital dash; 10-point Diamond Fab rollcage; Status SPA seat; Planted seat bracket; Status harness; Grip Royal MacBeth Classic steering wheel; Speedway Motors steering wheel hub; K-Tuned shift knob
Right about now you might be wondering why Matt Galiano's got a couple of big-honkin' pipes sticking up right through his hood. Or why his Civic doesn't seem to have any sort of exhaust system poking out from underneath its rear bumper. Turbochargers rely on exhaust gases to spin and, in turn, to create boost. The faster and more easily exhaust gases are able to pass through the system, the more efficiently it can get all of this done. A larger exhaust system is the most obvious solution, but for race cars that don't require any sort of sound muffling, directing exhaust gases from the turbine right out the hood makes a whole lot of sense. Here, restrictions are minimized since the exhaust gas pulses have less ground to cover. The results make for quicker spool-up and the ability to produce even more peak power. For good measure, the wastegate's exit tube follows alongside the exhaust, dumping off fumes at full boost to keep the engine from blowing to smithereens.