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1992 Honda Civic VX - Brothers In Arms

All motor, all day.

Brian McGurk
Sep 9, 2011
Photographer: Josh Mackey

There comes a day in every tuners life when the decision to cut one’s losses presents itself. Jacob Sipes of Tacoma, Washington, had that opportunity when his built Civic was stolen. The result was a decent-sized check courtesy of his insurance company; he recalls, “I was kind of burned out on the Honda thing, but my brother Joel and all of my friends still had Hondas and I wanted to go cruising.” Jacob’s Honda itch was to be soothed by a ’92 VX hatchback packing a B18C1 and five-lug conversion which Jacob and his cohorts fully intended to leave as stock. We’ve all been there, and it never lasts very long. He adds, “I started reading about K swaps (this was in ’05), but no one in Washington had done a K swap so we wanted to be the first. To us, this was a challenge.”

Htup 1109 01+1992 honda civic vx+cover Photo 2/9   |   10.37 @ 132.86

After six months of parts gathering and living on K20A.org, the Sipes brothers prepared to shoehorn a K24A4 from a TSX into the little Civic. When asked about the engine choice, Jacob states, “It had to be an all motor car, so to get the most power naturally aspirated, we really needed the bigger K24. It’s that old rule, you know; no replacement for displacement.” To make the K24 even more potent, Jacob and Joel installed a set of TWM individual throttle bodies and a SixSigma Racing header mated to custom exhaust system. “It was still a daily driver and was driven around our hometown with the ITBs just sticking out of the hood. It became very well known,” Jacob adds. After a few months of holding their own at the local drags, someone suggested giving the BOTI Seattle event a shot. Jacob states, “We took second place at the event with a 13.1, we were the only car in the entire class without actual slicks. We decided the only way to go from here was bigger, better, and faster!” After the Battle Of The Imports, the Sipes brothers upgraded the cams, purchased a set of drag radials, and had some mild port work performed on the head. With Joel behind the wheel, the dynamic duo dominated local events until 2008 when they were beaten by an East Coast car, and the brothers were less then excited. “Actually, we were totally pissed; we vowed to never let ourselves be beat by an out-of-towner on our own turf again. So we went even bigger.”

Htup 1109 02+1992 honda civic vx+interior Photo 3/9   |   A full dash, door panels, carpet, and plastics are still intact.

With the beginning of the 2009 season, the Sipes took a major step forward and hooked up with their cross-town counterparts, the legendary SpeedFactory Racing family. With the support of SpeedFactory, the Sipes set their sights on consistent 10-second runs. This meant the K-series was treated to a more aggressive cam setup, upgrading the old ITBs to new massive Kinsler 62mm throttles, and having the head ported once again. With the interior already gutted and sporting a single Memory Fab S58 seat, a custom-made five-point rollcage was soon installed. By the end of 2009, the Sipes/SpeedFactory team ran a record setting 10.82, and landed in first place at the BOTI finals in Fontana, California.

Htup 1109 03+1992 honda civic vx+full view Photo 4/9   |   1992 Honda Civic VX - Brothers In Arms

Early 2010 came with a bit of bad luck when the original K-series threw a rod, taking the car out of competition completely. Tragedy soon turned into a golden opportunity. Jacob explains, “We felt like we maxed out the 99mm stroke, and we’d pretty much plateaued. We figured this was a good excuse to make the bottom end even bigger, so we pushed it to 103mm.” The team upgraded the now 2.6L block with a full list of Drag Cartel parts, including a new crankshaft, Drag Cartel–specific pistons, and new rods. The entire valvetrain was replaced with Supertech goods and the cams were replaced by Stage 5 Drag Cartel bumpsticks. With the hatchback in one piece, and sporting a new ASP custom exhaust that dumps gases straight out of the hood, the Civic put down a jaw-dropping 377 whp with 255 lb-ft of torque!

Htup 1109 04+1992 honda civic vx+engine Photo 5/9   |   1992 Honda Civic VX - Brothers In Arms

Armed with a new best of 10.58 under their belt, the Sipes/SpeedFactory hatch traveled across the country to challenge the East Coast teams on their own turf, Englishtown, New Jersey. Initially qualifying with an exceptional 10.52, the crew had the winner’s circle in sight, until they were bested by last year’s defending champ. The team has a few things in the works for next season that competitors will definitely want to watch out for. Jacob had a few parting words for us during the interview, “We want to be in the top of the class and we’re not stopping anytime soon. We will be at the top.” You’ll get no arguments here, long live the Sipes brothers!

Htup 1109 05+1992 honda civic vx+stacks Photo 6/9   |   1992 Honda Civic VX - Brothers In Arms

“We took second place at the event with a 13.1, we were the only car in the entire class without actual slicks. We decided the only way to go from here was bigger, better, and faster!”

From Foe to Family
The Honda movement in some parts of the country is utterly massive. In others, it’s not so big, and word travels faster than you can blink. Jacob and Joel Sipes started building Hondas for the local street races back in the early 2000s, and their names were quickly solidified as the “go-to guys” for naturally aspirated Honda builds. Guess who their main rivals were during those days? The guys who would eventually become SpeedFactory. Jacob recalls, “They used to build all of the turbo setups, and we had a friendly rivalry going on since all we did was NA stuff. We used to race all the time.” By the time Jacob and Joel got serious about racing, the SpeedFactory guys had already established themselves for their incredible turbo cars, and wanted to break into the NA scene. “We started hanging out and they invited us to join SpeedFactory. To us, becoming part of SpeedFactory was the best thing that ever happened to the Civic. Now we’re all a big family.” From a street-born rivalry to a racing power-house—funny how things sometimes work out.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
OEM Honda K24A4
OEM Honda RSX 6-speed transmission
Hondata K-Pro ECU
PPG first and second gears
Solid Shifter bushings
Competition Clutch Twin Disk clutch
Competition Clutch lightened flywheel
Quaife LSD differential
Driveshaft Shop level 3.9 axles
NGK Iridium spark plugs
ASP Custom Outlaw hood-exit header
Kinsler 62mm throttle bodies
Walbro 255hp fuel pump
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc injectors
Kinsler fuel rail
Kinsler fuel filter
XRP fuel lines
Earl’s fuel line fittings
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Drag Cartel Stage 5 single lobe camshafts
OEM Honda cylinder head, custom ported
Supertech valves
Supertech valvesprings
Supertech retainers
Supertech keepers
Ferrea roller rockers
Buddy Club cam gears
Skunk2 timing chain tensioner
HaSport engine mounts
Golden Eagle sleeved block
Drag Cartel billet 103mm crankshaft
Drag Cartel–spec JE pistons
Drag Cartel Saenz 300m connecting rods
ERL-modified S2000 oil pump
SpeedFactory custom Fluidyne radiator
SpeedFactory custom radiator hoses
Power
377hp and 255 lb-ft
Stance
Blox Drag coilovers
LCON traction bar
Resistance
Earl’s stainless steel brake lines
Wheels and Tires
Weld Magnum 13x9 front
Mickey Thompson 24.5x9 front
Weld Magnum 15x3.5 rear
Mickey Thompson 22x4.5 rear
Interior
Memory Fab S58 racing seat
GoPro HD video camera
RCI racing harnesses
MOMO Race steering wheel
Skunk2 shift knob
Auto Meter gauges
SpeedFactory custom 5-pt rollcage
Props
Heather, Megan, Sally, Joe and family, the SpeedFactory crew, SF family, NOS energy drinks, Jeremy at Drag Cartel, Competition Clutch, Stefan at ASP

Owners Specs

Favorite Websites
Honda-Tech.com, K20A.org
Screen Names Or Nicknames
SipesBros, HondaFreak, JDMintegraxsi
Building Hondas for How Long
11 years
Your Dream Car
An eight-second NA Honda
Build Inspiration
Jeremy Lookofsky
Current Stable
’01 BMW M3
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Dance Gavin Dance
Greatest Movies of All Time
Step Brothers, The Dark Knight

Connect

SpeedFactory Racing
www.speedfactoryracing.net
Drag Cartel Industries
www.dragcartel.com
Competition Clutch
www.competitionclutch.com
Supertech Performance
www.supertechperformance.com

Sources

SpeedFactory Tuning & Race Fabrication
Tacoma, WA 98466
253-566-4331
http://www.speedfactoryracing.net
Supertech Performance
San Jose, CA 95136
408-448-2001
http://www.supertechperformance.com
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
800-809-6598
http://www.competitionclutch.com
Drag Cartel Industries
Simi Valley, CA 93065
8059559993
http://www.dragcartel.com
By Brian McGurk
47 Articles

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