In 1885, the instant classic known as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde took the world by storm as its author, Robert Louis Stevenson, touched on the psychiatric phenomenon known as "split personality." The story revolves around a doctor struggling to maintain his gentle-natured self but is thoroughly tormented by an alter-ego battling for control. The character's inner turmoil creates an incredible tale, and though Stevenson's example was extreme, the phenomenon isn't uncommon. Antwaine Hobbs, owner of arguably one of the cleanest and most lethal street Hondas in Texas, carries the weight of a split personality on a daily basis. By day, his career as a firefighter is one that he takes immense pride in-as he should. The bravery and responsibility placed upon his shoulders during a marathon shift is more than most would care to endure. In fact, just getting your foot in the door is a feat in and of itself. Hobbs remembers his initial testing like it was yesterday. "I must have arrived four hours early when I first tested, and there had to be over 4,000 people there. This line of work is extremely competitive, and if you don't make the cut, you're basically starting all over again."
His ability to work well under pressure paid off on his day of reckoning as he was able to muscle through the sea of hopefuls to land a position with the prestigious Austin Fire Department. Looked upon as one of the premier fire stations in all of the U.S., there's no question that Hobbs has plenty to be proud of. However, beyond the job, there's another side to this Kyle, Texas, resident-one that tinkers in the dark recesses of his garage, spending countless hours in search of the perfect combination of power and style. The years of precision training and detail-oriented conditioning to ensure public and crew safety have spilled over into Hobbs' passion as a die-hard Honda enthusiast. His performance choices are uniform and carefully chosen by their level of functionality, while the look he's established with his coupe is best described as utilitarian, rather than flashy. While a fire engine is universally known to the public as friendly and helpful, his fire-red '93 Civic is the exact opposite. Backed by an overtly aggressive automotive physique, there's nothing friendly about the nasty snarls that emit from this fully built and boosted 2-liter coupe.
Prior to his leap into a life-defining career with the Austin Fire Department, Hobbs had already experienced a long-term relationship with his first Honda. "I'd had a silver EK that I held onto for six years. It made around 400 whp and it was really fun to drive. I promised myself I wouldn't part with the car until I became a firefighter."
Once his career stability became a reality, a wife and new home overshadowed any thoughts of a project car. However, as he began to settle comfortably into his new life, Hobbs felt that a new build in his garage wouldn't be so bad. A salvage titled '96 Midori Green hatchback became the third wheel in the Hobbs household, and just as the build was to be set in motion, its owner had a change of heart. "After three months, I was just tired of the car. Everyone around me thought I was crazy, but I wanted something different. I'd always had a thing for Civic coupes, even more than hatchbacks or Integras." A longtime moderator on Honda-Tech.com, Hobbs had no trouble finding another Texas member interested in a trade for a (clean title) '93 coupe with a B18C swap already nestled inside its bay.
The goal with his newly acquired coupe was fairly simple: make enough power to have fun at the track, while still retaining legendary Honda reliability, and utilizing the stock block. Now with more resources at his disposal, and a head full of knowledge, he set out to rekindle the flame that was extinguished with the sale of his old silver hatchback. Eclipsing the 300-whp mark wasn't difficult at all, but soon after, boredom reared its ugly head once again. Looking for more power, the T1 Race Development crew suggested he try Injector Dynamics' latest offering, which would allow him to run on E85 fuel. The results were astounding, as the coupe picked up almost 100 whp! As most builders know, the B18C bottom end is stout and more than willing to take some abuse, but at over 400 whp, the risk of failure is great. "Blowing the motor became more of a reality, so I decided to sell the block to a friend, and I purchased an already built bottom end from a long-time acquaintance."
The new purchase proved to be more trouble than it was worth, as sealing problems plagued the owner-at one point prompting him to install and remove the engine four times in one long, exhausting day. To get a fresh start, the built block was sold, and a new Golden Eagle sleeved block, complete with Manley I-beam rods, 9.2:1 JE pistons, and accompanying components, was quickly pieced together and prepped for duty. Hobbs then assembled the long block in his garage and dropped the motor into the car, but not before adding a set of custom bump sticks from Alex Soto of Web Cams.
The coupe's exterior was in good condition when he'd taken hold of the title, but riding high on the momentum of the engine build, Hobbs felt the car was in need of some freshening up before he put the body on a "bulking" phase. He recalls, "With the help of my friends Paul Perez and Nick Arch, all of the small dings were pulled out and we re-sprayed the entire car in my garage. It looked great, but it was still missing something. That's when Wil and Exospeed came into play." Three-piece Exospeed front ends can be found on some of the fastest drag cars in the world. What they're not usually found on, however, are street cars. Use of the race aero would not only give the car a whole new look, it would allow wider tires and more contact patch under the front arches-perfect for a high-horsepower street car. Wil liked the idea, and the front end was shipped out, painted (in the garage of course), and installed. Also not found on street cars are Exospeed race wheels. Typically shod in full race rubber and sentenced to a life of drag-racing monogamy, the idea of using these wheels on the street is unheard of. Months of back-and-forth communication between the two, comparing and discussing backspacing sizes, offsets, and clearance issues resulted in the world's first set of Exospeed street/strip wheels. The look is intimidating to say the least, and those in the know can't help but do a double-take in an attempt to convince themselves that what they've just seen was, in fact, a fire-breathing Civic complete with a race-spec front end and street-sized track rollers.
After months of dirty fingernails, busted knuckles, and a lack of sleep, the coupe seemed to have reached its full potential. Sporting a full race feel and a built motor, the car couldn't get much better, right? "I didn't feel like the turbo kit was up to par. It worked well, but now the outside looked great, and the engine bay, well, it just sucked. Custom-building a turbo kit seemed to be the only answer."
A polished top-mount manifold with a GT3582R turbo, 3-inch downpipe, Tial 60mm wastegate, and Vibrant intercooler piping and Vanjen clamps completely revitalized the engine bay. BnR Pro-lite fuel lines and fittings and slick new catch can setup were the final touches; it was time to hit the dyno. During the motor's initial break-in, smoke began to form near the turbo. It turned out that the Pro-lite hoses were getting far too hot, so Hobbs pulled the car off the dyno, changed all of the lines to stainless-steel, and back on the rollers it went. At 29.5 psi of boost, the coupe made 670 hp, 483 lb-ft-the highest horsepower ever achieved with a small-frame T3 turbo that Tony Palo of T1 Race Development had ever pulled out of a B-series. Shortly after, an additional map was designed for 93-octane street driving, which produced 515 hp, 380 lb-ft. The combination has already landed Hobbs in the 11-second club in just his first outing with the newfound power.
The story of Antwaine Hobbs is, to some, a rather strange one. Instead of relying on credit cards, life savings, or living outside his means, he worked obscene hours and actually forfeited his original build in order to silence his inner madman-the one that eats, sleeps, and breathes Honda performance. This executive decision awarded him a thriving career, family, and home, yet still afforded him an incredible multipurpose build that transcends street, strip, and show in one fell swoop.
Bolts & Washers
Golden Eagle sleeves (line honed)
Honda OEM bearings
Knife-edged and micro-polished crank
JE pistons 9.2:1 w/ nitrate rings
Manley turbo-tuff I-beam rods
Tial 60mm wastegate
Tial 50mm blow-off valve
Victor X intake manifold
Skunk2 Racing 70mm throttle body
Webb cams custom grind
Golden Eagle cam gears
Super Tech high-pressure valvesprings
Super Tech retainers
Innovative motor mounts
Precision 750hp core intercooler
Hondata S300 w/PWM boost solenoid
Vibrant Performance 3in Vanjen clamps
Burns 2.5in-3in transition pipe
V-band 3in downpipe
Vibrant Performance 3in exhaust system
Vibrant Performance stealth muffler
Reworked oil galleys
Koyo aluminum radiator
Walbro 255-lph fuel pump
Bosch 044 inline fuel pump
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc fuel injectors
Skunk2 composite fuel rail
Clutch Masters Fx700 twin disc
Clutch Masters lightweight flywheel
MFactory heliacal LSD
Driveshaft Shop Level 5.9s
Skunk2 valve cover hardware kit
Skunk2 billet wire cover
Skunk2 Black Series billet oil cap
Skunk2 Pro-C coilovers (12k front, 16k rear)
Skunk2 front/rear camber kits
Skunk2 upper control arms
Skunk2 Black Series rear lower control arms
Skunk2 rear lower brace
Full Race Pro-Am traction bar
Hickman Series performance 8-pt rollcage
OEM brakes and pads
Wheels & Tires
Exospeed Street/Race Edition Star 8s
Exospeed Street/Race Edition Star 8s
Exospeed 3-piece front end
Custom hood-exhaust exit
Sparco R100 bucket seats
Sparco 4-pt cam lock harnesses
Sparco L275 Veloce Lightning Motorsports steering wheel
Skunk2 shift knob
Trunk coated in bedliner
NGK AFX wideband
"I thank God for giving me the strength to complete this. Mary Hobbs, for being my critic and my biggest fan; love you. Bro Anthonie H., Mom, Clayton Harmer, Austin Fire Dept., Brandon of JDMDECALS.com, Skunk2, HRtuning, Exospeed, Matt Hickam, Reuben Cortez, T1 Race, Clutch Masters, Golden Eagle, Audio Outlaws, Mickey Thompson, San Marcos Honda (Dusty), Wholesale Parts (Brandon Shelton), Paul Perez, Deion Forbes, Rudy Lara, Art Ortiz, Brian McMahan, Omar IzaGuirre, Alex Soto, Justin Olvera, Myles Kerr, Dusty Hollister, Rick Amaro, Brian Neito, Vibrant Performance, Full-race, Nick Arch, and Honda Tuning magazine."
Honda-tech, nwp4life, Facebook, Skunk2.com, Paypal... LOL!
Screen name or nickname
ahobbs or Hobbs
Building Hondas for how long
Just over 10 years
Your dream car
I'm on a big truck diesel kick right now. I want a semi!
To be a little different and show with hard work and dedication, anyone can do it.
'06 Element, '95 Civic CX, '02 Dodge Ram
What's playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
Pandora Radio, Young Money, Lil' Wayne, Drake
Greatest movie of all time
Coming to America
The idea of installing an aftermarket digital display in a race Honda is nothing new-it's been done for years by serious competitors looking to monitor critical engine vitals while battling to better their track times. The one common denominator, however, has always been a very high sticker price. HRTuning understands the need for quality, cost-conscience parts and has stepped up to the challenge with its fully programmable Tunerview RD-1 digital system. Able to be installed basically anywhere on your dash, the unit, armed with a 5x3-inch display, carries some incredible features, including a fully customizable layout, drag-and-drop software, multiple layout pages, warning indicators that can be set above or below preset parameters, and a laundry list of others. The price is about a third of what most current systems go for, and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to install and use the Tunerview. With the ability to datalog with NepTune, RTP, eCtune, and Crome (Crome Pro), it's no surprise that this unit is already making waves in an industry desperately in need of affordable, user-friendly race components. www.hrtuning.com