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1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

522 Horsepower On A Budget

Aaron Bonk
Feb 17, 2011
Photographer: Eric Tong

Kerry Kaminskie's '91 Civic SI
It used to be that a 500hp Civic made you special. Used to be that a 500hp Civic was damn expensive. Nearly quadrupling what Honda thought was a reasonable amount of power from its sparing and then uninspiring four-cylinder engine was a craft most often left to skilled horsepower sages. And those with large amounts of disposable income. Today, most anybody can do it. Kerry Kaminskie will tell you as much. At just 17 years old, the Honda newbie cut a deal on his first Civic for just $300 and within just a few short years built it up, blew it up, and finally built it up again-at the end netting an impressive 522 hp.

Htup_1103_01_o+1991_honda_civic_si+chargespeed_front_lip Photo 2/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

If it weren't for Kerry's friend Nick, though, he may not have ever happened across this particular '91 Civic Si nor transcended that elusive horsepower mile-marker, all while on a student's budget. A Honda fan and CRX owner himself, Nick pointed Kerry in the direction of his future Si. As you'd expect, $300 doesn't go far and it almost always keeps company with battered-up interiors, questionable bodywork, and at least one hole in an engine someplace not otherwise designed for holes. Kerry's had two.

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2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy

Kerry likely would've seen the two holes sprouting up across the engine block, too, were it not for the fact that the previous owner ran the engine bone dry of oil, leaving the two no telltale trail of evidence on the driveway. It didn't take long for Kerry and Nick to stop cranking the starter, though, and instead back the engine hoist out of its corner. Shortly after the discovery Kerry's dad found him a replacement D-series, which was later swapped into place in his absence. Kerry says it was his girlfriend's birthday the day they'd planned on doing the transplant and, well, you see where this is going. When Kerry finally got home his dad and Nick had the hatchback's replacement engine installed and up and running. So much for waiting.

Htup_1103_03_o+1991_honda_civic_si+rollcage Photo 4/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

Kerry tinkered with his Civic for nearly a year before deciding to turbocharge the rather somber single-cam. Despite the engine replacement, he'd driven the car little, instead, tweaking on it here and there in his spare time and with what little budget you'd expect from a high school student. A turbo kit was sourced from eBay and quickly installed and tuned. Three days later Kerry's eBay turbo kit did a number on his engine block, leaving it in the same sort of condition the previous owner had left engine number one. Like any honest 17-year-old, Kerry was scared of what his dad might say. "I thought my dad was going to give me hell," he says. Instead, Kerry's dad showed up with the trailer, loaded up the Civic and, without more than a few words, returned home to swap in yet another D-series. Here's the trouble, Honda's SOHC engines never quite did it for Kerry. He'd always hoped for a B-series but didn't have the funds to make it happen. Kerry eventually got his B-series, in part because of a three-way engine trade-up he'd arranged with his friend Justin, who just so happened to have two Hondas of his own, one with a B18C Type R engine that, as far as Kerry was concerned, was already his. "When I bought the engine," Kerry says, "this is what I consider to be the start of my real build."

Htup_1103_04_o+1991_honda_civic_si+asr_subframe_brace Photo 5/21   |   An ASR rear subframe brace, Beak's lower tie bar, and Skunk2 rear lower control arms help add rigidity to the rear of the light-weight Civic.

Rather than immediately swapping the ITR engine into place, Kerry removed the head, pulled the bottom end apart, and fitted the block with new pistons, rods, and rod bearings-all without so much as removing the crank. The head gasket was replaced and the head positioned back on top of the block. Machine shops and more conventional engine building methods were spared this go-around as Kerry's prime objective was to cut costs. In the meantime, Kerry dabbled with the car's exterior, repairing prior shoddy repairs and ultimately having the exterior and engine bay resprayed a unique, iron-grey-metallic hue. Kerry also fabricated his own rollcage, exhaust, intercooler piping, and downpipe, all in an effort to keep costs where he wanted them-low.

Htup_1103_05_o+1991_honda_civic_si+skunk2_cam_gears Photo 6/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

Kerry says that he's always had a thing for engines, which meant that whatever engine he had at the time was given priority. It shows. And despite the cost-cutting measures, the triad of single-cam engines, and the fact that Kerry began this project at only 17, his Civic's gone on to make quite respectable power figures, no matter the budget or the era. Used to be that a 500hp Civic made you special. It would seem as though it still does.

Bolts & washers

Htup_1103_13_o+1991_honda_civic_si+passenger_side_rear Photo 13/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

Propulsion
JDM ITR B18C engine
Hasport engine mounts
AEM air filter
BorgWarner S362 turbocharger
Xo2 Racing intercooler
Custom intercooler piping
Skunk2 68mm throttle body
Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold
HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve
AFI Ramhorn exhaust manifold
TiAL 44mm wastegate
Custom downpipe
Custom 3-inch exhaust
Nippon 9.2:1 pistons
Eagle rods
ARP head studs
Skunk2 adjustable cam gears
Precision 880cc/min fuel injectors
BDL fuel rail
Jegs -AN fittings and lines
Jegs fuel filter
Walbro 255-lph in-tank fuel pump
Cxracing radiator
Koyo radiator cap
Jegs radiator hoses
HKS oil catch tank
Skunk2 VTEC solenoid cover
Integra YS1 transmission
Competition Clutch Stage 5 clutch
MFactory limited-slip differential
Neptune engine management

Stance
D2 Racing RS coilovers
EM Racing C-pillar bar
Password:JDM front strut bar
EM Racing rear strut bar
Skunk2 Pro Series front camber kit
Skunk2 rear lower control arms
K-Tuned traction bar
ETD Racing custom traction bar
EM Racing triangulated bar
ASR rear subframe brace
Beaks lower tie bar

Htup_1103_18_o+1991_honda_civic_si+sparco_seats Photo 14/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

Resistance
Cross-drilled, slotted rotors
Integra rear disc conversion
BLOX extended wheel studs

Wheels & Tires
15x6.5 5Zigen FN01R-C (+42 offset)
195/50-15 Toyo Proxes R888 (front)
195/50-15 Kumho AST (rear)
Muteki SR48 Neo lug nuts

Exterior
Iron grey metallic paint
VIS carbon-fiber hood
Chargespeed front lip
JDM Civic corner lights
JDM Civic window visors
Benen front and rear tow hooks

Interior
Six-point rollcage
Sparco Speed seats
Custom seat rails
Takata harnesses
Keys Racing 330mm steering wheel
Works Bell quick-release hub
NRG Innovations short-hub adapter
Sparco pedals
Sparco floor mats
Skunk2 short shifter
Energy Suspension shifter bushings
Skunk2 shift knob
Password:JDM shift boot
Integra center console
EDM Civic 1.6i gauge cluster
Auto Meter oil & boost pressure gauges
Innovate digital wideband
JS boost controller

Props
Dad, mom, sister
Justin (aka Kid)
Armada Motorsports crew
John Kerr
Innovative MotorWorks

Htup_1103_16_o+1991_honda_civic_si+passenger_side_front Photo 15/21   |   1991 Honda Civic Si - Something Special

Owner Specs

Favorite Website
honda-tech.com

Screen Name/Nickname
Butz or Kerris

Building Hondas For How Long
Four years

Your Dream Car
Some sort of Honda

Build Inspiration
My friends

What's In Your Ipod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Rock, rap, and hardcore

Greatest Movie Of All Time
The Dark Knight

B-series, anyone?
Like many disgruntled SOHC Honda engine owners, Kerry Kaminskie longed for a DOHC B-series under his hood. The B-series, after all, has more displacement than any SOHC D-series engine and intake and exhaust valves that are orchestrated independent of one another. It is nothing short of an icon of the Honda movement and, despite the perceived popularity of Honda's K-series engines, remains the bread and butter of aftermarket parts manufacturers, the sustenance of OEM parts suppliers worldwide. It's the engine on which rookie enthusiasts, many of whom are industry leaders today, learned to wrench on. It's the engine that's responsible for more import drag racing records than any other. It's the engine that, in some way, probably has something to do with why you picked up this magazine. Long live the B-series.

Sources

HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
Sparco USA
Irvine, CA 92614
800-224-7223
http://www.sparcousa.com
K-Tuned
877-958-8633
http://www.k-tuned.com
MFactory Competition Products
Clinton, UT 84015
801-425-3844
http://www.teammfactory.com/
By Aaron Bonk
408 Articles

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