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1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It

What Started as a Winter Beater has Evolved Into a Crazy Fast Track Car

Jonathan Wong
Dec 31, 2019
Photographer: Mike Boldt

Car enthusiasts always think they're slick when they try to convince themselves a beater car will always remain just a beater. "Promise it's staying stock. Only a set of lowering springs and wheels....OK, I swapped the engine." We've heard our fair share from friends who bought beaters to replace their once-daily-drivers-turned-dedicated-track-cars only to have the beater become the secondary track car. Simply put: Racing fanatics just can't leave good enough alone.

1989 Honda Civic PCI Rear Wing 02 Photo 32/32   |   1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It

Allan Tung from Vancouver, Canada is the proud owner of this beater Civic hatchback, which, as it turns out, is also crazy fast. It used to be his winter car...about 10 years ago. Purchased from a friend, it had already been swapped with a 2.0L B20 with a B16 transmission, to which he later bolted a GReddy turbo kit since he had one sitting around at home. He drove it like that for a couple of years, until the engine gave out, then he swapped it with a built LS motor for which his friend no longer had use.

1989 Honda Civic BS Series LS VTEC Swap Photo 32/32   |   1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It

"I wanted more power, so I looked into converting the motor to an LS-VTEC," Allan says. "I went to Independent Speed Shop looking to have the crew install a built/ported B16A cylinder head and tune it. Turns out it had become damaged by another shop, so I had Independent order me a 4Piston Racing CNC ported head instead." After spending tons of money on the cylinder head, Allan went ahead and built the bottom end himself. However, he wasn't sure if it could hold lots of power, so he went back to the Independent team to have them order a long-block from 4Piston Racing to match the cylinder head. Sure, he thought about going K-series, but the cost originally held him back. "I eventually built this LS-VTEC so much that I could've built a K," he says with a laugh. "But I'm glad it's B-series, so I can keep it more period correct with the chassis."

With more than 700 whp at his fingertips, Allan focused on making the exterior styling more aggressive. "The look just came to me, exactly how I pictured it in my head," he says. "I took inspiration from other builds and changed it based on my personal taste." The front bumper is unique; he took the OEM bumper and molded a J's Racing replica lip to create his own one-piece bumper. He even removed the factory roof for a carbon-fiber replacement from Five Mart/Osaka JDM, which not only saves a bit of weight but looks pretty damn cool.

1989 Honda Civic OMP Carbon Kevlar Seats Photo 32/32   |   1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It

A 30-year old economy car's suspension was never intended to support a 600+hp increase so to that end, Allan's list of suspension upgrades is lengthy, and packed with purposeful changes like a set of KW V3 coilovers, a slew of PCI goods and even a Honed Development rear trailing arm gusset plate and geometry correction kit. FWD staggered Work Meister CR01 and Toyo R1R rubber do their best to combat the power output.

1989 Honda Civic PCI Rear Wing 01 Photo 32/32   |   1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It

Allan's Civic is a perfect hybrid of North American and Japanese styling—the type of car equipped with enough power to satisfy a hardcore racer or the enthusiast who thinks a beater car needs a "couple of upgrades" to make it perfect. In Allan's case, going overboard was the right move.

By Jonathan Wong
507 Articles
1989 Honda Civic - Just Beat It
Tuning Menu
Owner: Allan Tung
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Occupation: Automotive Collision Technician
Power: 717.9 whp; 478.4 lb-ft of torque
Engine: B-Series LS-VTEC engine swap; 10:1 pistons; ERL sleeved and five-point main girdle; Ferrea Competition valvetrain; ACL Race bearings; Manley Turbo Tuff rods with ARP +625 bolts; Bisimoto 2.4 turbo camshafts; 4Piston Outlaw CNC ported B16 cylinder head and CNC port-matched Skunk2 Ultra Race intake manifold; Skunk2 Ultra Race plenum spacer, 90mm throttle body, Ultra Race fuel rail and low-profile valve cover washer kit; ARP head and main bolts; Koyo radiator; Fluidampr crank pulley; custom one-piece catch/overflow tank, oil cooler, 3.5-inch downpipe, 4-inch intercooler with Swept tanks, 3.5-inch stainless exhaust with 4-inch muffler, 4-inch cold pipe; Samco radiator hoses; Hasport billet engine mounts; Sheepey T3 top-mount turbo manifold; TiAL wastegate (x2) and Q 50mm blow-off valve; Spectrum Motorsport Solutions 58mm SR/63 turbo; custom 3.5-inch downpipe; Walbro 450-lph fuel pump; 8AN feed line; Aeromotive A1000 fuel pressure regulator; Injector Dynamics ID2000 injectors; Flex Fuel sensor
Drivetrain: Quaife/DMRR five-speed sequential gear box; Geartronics Flatshift kit and LED gear position indicator; DMRR billet shifter; Driveshaft Shop Pro-Level axle kit, wheel hubs, and custom axles with Porsche CVs for Quaife unit; ACT twin-plate clutch; Wavetrac LSD; Hush Performance cable-to-hydro conversion kit
Engine Management: Link G4+ Fury ECU; M&W Pro4 CDI; Honda CBR1000 ignition coils; T1Race cam trigger kit; Rywire Mil-spec engine harness
Footwork & Chassis: KW V3 coilovers; PCI front upper control arm, upper control arm offset bushings, lower control arm inner bushings, lower control arm shock bushings, rear upper camber kit, rear toe link, rear lower control arm (road racing edition), rear trailing arm bushings; Honed Development rear trailing arm gusset plate kit and geometry correction kit; Z10 traction bar with custom radius rod; Suspension Techniques sway bars; custom
chromoly rollcage
Brakes: '90 Honda CRX Si rear-disc conversion; ASR/AP Racing big brake kit; Ferodo pads; Tilton proportioning valve; custom HEL stainless brake lines; CNC staging brake
Wheels & Tires: 15x8 front, 15x7 rear Work Meister CR01 wheels; 225/45R15 front, 205/50R15 rear Toyo Proxes R1R tires; Project Kics R26 lug nuts
Exterior: Five Mart/OsakaJDM carbon-fiber roof; custom OEM front bumper with molded J's Racing-style lip; Tracklife Composites fender cutouts and fender flares; carbon trunk lip spoiler; PCI rear wing with custom mount, 4-inch side skirts (modified by Rampage Fab); rear diffuser
Interior: AiM MXG display dash with Rampage Fab mount; OMP steering wheel, carbon/Kevlar seats with custom low-profile seat mounts and pedals; Works Bell Rapfix2 quick-release short-boss hub, Rapfix flipper and quick-release lock; Whitfield MFG alloy door cards; Aero Spec Racing carbon dash vent delete; Joe's Racing rearview mirror; Vancity Stitches custom shift boot
Thanks: Bill at Independent Speed Shop for all the hard work and being an awesome friend; Sunny, for painting the car; Austin T and Mike Boldt for the pictures; everyone who encouraged me to finish this project

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