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2008 Honda Civic SI Sedan - Steeped In Tradition

Slow and steady wins the race…

Jul 29, 2011

Over the past two decades, as the runaway automotive juggernaut known as the Honda enthusiast movement has continued it’s never-ending evolution, one thing has remained a constant staple: the heavy influence of Japanese tuning. While some may scoff at the very notion due to the overused terms and tall tales created via the Internet, those who live in reality are well aware of how much the U.S. Honda aftermarket industry has embraced, borrowed, and sometimes stolen from our overseas counterparts. Curiously, one area that Stateside builders haven’t fully latched onto revolves around the pace and order in which a project car is assembled. While Americans typically shoot for every possible go-fast and suspension upgrade they can possibly acquire right out of the gate, many of those in the Land of the Rising Sun opt to perform only minor upgrades at first, followed by real-world track testing and evaluation before additional changes are made. This “less is more” approach, coupled with hands-on experience and a sort of automotive maturation process oftentimes produces a superior end result. Mike Chang of the famed Evasive Motorsports family is well aware of this, and, in fact, applied the same method of thought to his Si sedan.

Htup 1107 01+2008 honda civic si sedan+cover Photo 2/10   |   2008 Honda Civic SI Sedan - Steeped In Tradition

An avid road race enthusiast, Chang knew right from the start that his Si would spend its weekends tearing up the tarmac, and the other five days of the week scooting him to and from the office. He adds, “Really my main goal with the car was to put together something that could hold its own on the track, and look good doing it. Also, I wanted to make sure the car would remain street-friendly.” Serving as co-owner of Evasive Motorsports, a shop with a well-earned reputation for wringing every ounce of performance from just about any type of vehicle, Chang typically focuses on starting with a properly set-up suspension, and this car was no different.

Htup 1107 02+2008 honda civic si sedan+front view Photo 3/10   |   The Max Racing front lip and bonnet, along with the CTR frontend conversion make for an aggressive combo.
2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

A call to Phillip Chase of Tein USA produced a set of Tein’s tried-and-true Mono-Flex coilovers with Evasive-spec springs, followed by an adjustable camber kit and roll center adjusters to allow enough play to get things started on Evasive’s alignment rack. Shortly after, an open track day provided sufficient test time for Chang to fine-tune the suspension to his liking.

Initially, the performance engine upgrades consisted of nothing more than a header, exhaust, drop-in filter, and Hondata reflash. Armed with street tires and plenty of driver ability, Chang ran through his competition, continually landing at the top of the food chain in his respective class. While no one could possibly complain about consistent dominant performances, he soon made the decision to step up to stiffer competition with more engine mods in mind. There was no question that up to this point, the Civic had performed exceptionally well, but Chang had his sights set on a new goal: eclipsing the 2:00 mark at Buttonwillow (CW 13).

Htup 1107 03+2008 honda civic si sedan+engine Photo 4/10   |   Chang’s K20 looks so innocent with just an aftermarket intake hose and Carbing catch can in plain sight. Below the surface sits a number of Toda and BluePrint Racing upgrades.

In late 2010, Honda Tuning Magazine was in search of a current-generation Si to test a number of upgrades, and Chang’s real-world sedan was the perfect guinea pig. Having been granted full access to the motor, we contacted Ali Jahed of Misano Motorsports, the official U.S. distributor for Toda Racing, and explained we wanted a set of street-friendly cams that would provide plenty of midrange power. He suggested we use Toda’s A3 bump sticks, along with Toda valvesprings, timing chain, and timing chain tensioner. To help bring more air into the mix is a Civic Type R (RRC) intake manifold, Maxbore throttle body, and a T1R snorkel that directs air to the same K&N drop-in air filter that was used previously. BluePrint Racing stepped up to provide their signature valves, keepers, titanium retainers, and black nitrate valves before performing a competition valve job to work in conjunction with the Toda goods. To alleviate the K20 from spent gasses more efficiently, the crew at Skunk2 donated one of their highly acclaimed exhaust manifolds, while Evasive fab’d up their own custom 70mm exhaust with “dolphin tip.” The last and possibly most important piece of the puzzle is Hondata’s FlashPro. Though the Civic’s ECU had previously been modified with a reflash, the newly acquired bolt-ons required a dyno tuning session to dial everything in. Hondata’s very own Doug MacMillan spent his morning fine-tuning the motor, and the results, as expected, were outstanding with final peak numbers registering 256 hp with 181 lb-ft. Chang explains: “The car just felt completely different with the upgrades. Power was almost immediate and the midrange is so much stronger. Doug was also able to use the FlashPro to adjust the throttle feel, and that made a huge difference. The tuning just brought everything together.” The upcoming 2010 Super Lap Battle event provided the perfect test bed to exploit the Si’s newfound power. By day’s end, Chang had charged his way to a remarkable best of 2:02.1, inching him ever closer to the coveted 2:00 goal.

Htup 1107 07+2008 honda civic si sedan+spoiler Photo 8/10   |   2008 Honda Civic SI Sedan - Steeped In Tradition

Once he was content with the suspension and power output during competition, the next order of business was aero efficiency. Though there are a number of lip and full aero kits available for the current Civic generation both in the U.S. and overseas, the Evasive crew had the means to track down a company that many Honda enthusiasts have probably never heard of before: Max Racing of Japan. A front lip, side skirts, and ultra-light bonnet were sourced and bolted on to the CTR conversion-fitted sedan. The slick lines of the Max Racing aero combined with the bold CTR rear wing and 18-inch Volk RE30’s presents a complex mix of subtlety and aggressiveness that few cars, street or race-bred, can pull off as gracefully as this four-door.

Htup 1107 08+2008 honda civic si sedan+catch can Photo 9/10   |   2008 Honda Civic SI Sedan - Steeped In Tradition

Relying on the same patient train of thought that many Japanese tuners live by, Mike Chang has managed to piece together a lethal competitor that makes no qualms while serving its duty as a streetcar during the workweek. The only thing left on his to-do list is to wrap his hands firmly around the neck of the 2:00 mark. Judging by the progress he’s made in such a short amount of time, there’s little doubt he’ll smash his goal in no time at all.

Htup 1107 09+2008 honda civic si sedan+driving Photo 10/10   |   2008 Honda Civic SI Sedan - Steeped In Tradition

Evasive Motorsports
Located in La Puente, California, Evasive Motorsports opened its doors to the public in 2002. Deep rooted in all things motorsports related, the company is an authorized dealer for industry heavy hitters like Volk, Weds Sport, Voltex, and many more—and they’ve even introduced their own line of high-performance products under the EVS Tuning banner. While many rely on Evasive for the latest high-end products, they’ve also managed to develop a reputation for greatness with their suspension tuning expertise and aero efficiency work. Log on to and you’ll quickly see why they’ve developed such a loyal following.

Bolts & Washers

Innovative motor mounts
Toda A3 cams
Toda valvesprings
Toda timing chain
Toda timing chain tensioner
BluePrint Racing titanium retainers
BluePrint Racing keepers
BluePrint Racing black nitrate valves
Viton valve seals
Skunk2 exhaust manifold
Evasive Spec 70mm exhaust with dolphin tip
OEM RRC intake manifold
Maxbore throttle body
T1R intake snorkel
K&N air filter
Kazz 1.5 way limited-slip differential
Exedy Hyper Single clutch
Exedy lightweight flywheel
5.1 CTR final drive
Hondata FlashPro
Koyo radiator
Tein Mono-Flex
Custom-rate Tein springs
Eibach antiroll bars
SPC rear camber arms
Tein front camber plate
Carbing 4-pt under-brace/floor brace
T1R roll center adjuster
Wheels & Tires
Volk RE30 18x9
Front wheels: 18x9 +35 (additional 20mm spacer)
Rear wheels: 18x8.5 +48 (additional 10mm spacer)
Yokohama AD08 255/35-18 front, 225/40-18 rear
StopTech brake discs
Endless 6 pot calipers
Endless MX72 pads
Endless brake lines
Project Mu brake fluid
Civic Type R conversion
Civic Type R rear wing with Juran gurney flap
Max Racing aero kit
Max Racing bonnet
Mugen tow hook
Recaro SPG bucket seats
Takata 6-pt harnesses
MOMO steering wheel
CTR pedals
CTR shift knob
My whole crew at Evasive Motorsports
Phillip Chase from Tein
Eddie Lee from Mackin Industries
Sam Kwa from Yokohama Tires
Most importantly, my wife Julie and daughter Mila

Owner Specs

Favorite website
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
14 years
Your dreamAcura NSX-R
Build inspiration
To go fast and look good doing it
Current stable
Honda Fit, Mitsu Evo X
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Ella Fitzgerald
Greatest movie of all time
Back to the Future series car


Toda Racing
Skunk2 Racing
BluePrint Racing


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Tein USA
Downey, CA 90241
BluePrint Racing
South El Monte, CA 91733
Torrance, CA 90503
Toda Racing
Irvine, CA 92618
By Rodrez
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