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1996 Honda Civic DX - According To Plan

A Well-Devised Strategy Can Go A Long Way.

Aaron Bonk
Sep 2, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

Assembling and campaigning a purpose-built race car is anything but predictable. Sanctioning bodies and classes come and go. Rules change. The opposition gets better. It isn’t uncommon for records to be made, broken, and rebroken all before lunch. Competitive times, these are.

Htup 1109 01+1996 honda civic dx+cover Photo 2/11   |   8.83 @ 171.9

Reid Lunde will tell you a thing or two about what it takes to remain competitive in the cutthroat cosmos that is import drag racing. You won’t need Lunde to tell you that it all begins with a solid engine and chassis, though, like his ’96 Civic DX that he picked up from a friend more than five years ago. Like many would-be race cars, Lunde’s hatchback suffered from shoddy bodywork and paint that had been applied with a roller. “We started in 2006 by breaking the windows out, literally ripping the dash out, and cutting the front radiator support off with a Sawzall. Back then it was fun to dream about a race car, but we didn’t really have a plan on how it was going to go back together,” Lunde says. Today, the Kennewick, Washington, Honda performance shop owner would advise you of just how important a good plan is.

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

The Civic lay in wait for the remainder of 2006 and then again for another calendar year as Lunde planted seeds for the high-performance, Honda-driven garage and online retail outlet he operates today—Kaizenspeed and KStuned.com, respectively. Those two years weren’t for naught, though. The pause afforded Lunde the opportunity to seize the car’s necessary elements, like wheels, a parachute, and fiberglass body components. Still with no definitive action plan, Lunde began assembling the car’s H22A mill with forged pistons and connecting rods. Turns out that some sort of race car blueprint would’ve come in handy, as Lunde would go on to tear that engine down no less than three more times—all before ever racing it—as power goals and his own engine building sensibilities both expanded. Laugh if you must, but Lunde’s final buildup was the one that helped propel his Civic to its maiden eight-second pass in 2010, all without a single engine hiccup. Within five months of its inaugural pass, Lunde and crew were trapping over 170 mph. “We were happy, but not satisfied,” he says.

Htup 1109 02+1996 honda civic dx+exhaust Photo 4/11   |   The 2.3L monster that rockets Reid into eight- second territory.

Kaizenspeed’s H2B-powered sled arrived on the scene in predictable Hot Rod class garb, dressed in a semi-tube-framed front half and a one-piece nose. “It was only like that because when we built the car it wasn’t about classes,” Lunde says. “It was about going as fast as possible by any means.” People change, though, and it turns out that parting ways with the quickest of the quick for the sake of more notoriety was more Lunde’s style. Like many Hot Rod racers, Lunde noticed the attention FWD Outlaw classes were garnering, what with their streetable-appearing Civics and Integras that could nearly hang with their full-blown race car counterparts. As such, in early 2011 Lunde redirected his efforts toward transforming the car once again. Windows that’d been blown out with hammers just a few years earlier were replaced. Per class regulations, headlights were thrown on and an OEM dash was tossed back in. OEM body components replaced the race-only front end. To be sure, an honest-to-goodness plan had come together and was executed in as little as four months.

The 1,000-plus-horsepower mill that had cost Lunde “lots” and that’s responsible for his hatchback’s 8.83-second E.T. is made up of an H22A4 that’s been punched out to 2.3L, spins past 10,000 rpm, and is straddled by a Precision Turbo CEA 7280 turbocharger that pushes 30 psi. “Horsepower is only one of the factors I pay attention to,” Lunde, who assembled the engine, explains. “I watch and compare exhaust manifold backpressure, engine leakdown results, the shape of the fuel map, and injector duration to determine if I’m moving in the right direction. The truth is, I don’t really know how much horsepower we’re making.” A MoTeC M800 ECU along with an AiM Sports MXL Strada data logger help Lunde do all of this, and successfully. As you’d expect, such horsepower and the car’s subsequent eight-second blasts wouldn’t be possible were it not for a stout drivetrain. Lunde and company called upon PPG for a set of the company’s dog-engagement, straight-cut gears along with a 4.4:1 final drive gear. Once blueprinted and assembled by crew chief, Kaizenspeed employee, and resident transmission expert Andy Divers, potential gearbox failures were of little concern.

Htup 1109 06+1996 honda civic dx+fuel rail Photo 7/11   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - According To Plan

Despite the division’s street car namesake, Lunde’s Civic is nothing short of a purpose-built race car. None of that stops the Pacific Northwest shop boss from the occasional street tune, though. “I had to drive it down the street to calibrate the rear speed sensor, parachute hanging off the back, no front end, and the exhaust pointing straight up,” he says. “So, yeah, I’m glad I didn’t get pulled over. I don’t know how I could’ve talked my way out of that one.”

Once strangers to nine-second Hondas, let alone eight-second ones, Lunde and company dipped into eight-second territory the car’s first year out. “Racing forces you to learn or lose,” he says. It’s true, Lunde’s eight-second hatchback began its journey without a plan. In retrospect, Lunde simply says: “Things run a lot differently around here now.”

Htup 1109 07+1996 honda civic dx+front view Photo 8/11   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - According To Plan

H2B Spotlight
Aside from their gangly gearing, sorry aftermarket support, and sloppy cable-operated shift linkage mechanisms, there’s really nothing wrong with Honda’s H-series gearboxes. For your mother. The rest of those concerned with going faster have since moved on to the H2B conversion, which simply retrofits just about any B-series transmission onto practically any H-series engine block. Your typical H2B kit includes a billet aluminum adapter plate that fastens to the engine block and features mounting provisions for the new gearbox. Think of it as little more than an intermediary between block and bellhousing. Engine and transmission mounts that rotate the engine forward for optimum transmission placement are standard fare as is a specially designed flywheel that allows the B-series clutch and input shaft to do their jobs. Adapters that allow clutch hydraulics to work properly and that make axle selection simple and appropriate are also included. Of course, you’ll have to supply your own B-series transmission, but finding one is never tough—there are more than a dozen varieties to chose from, almost none of which suffer from gangly gearing.

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion
2.3L H22A4
KStuned solid engine mounts
KStuned H2B engine prep
KStuned-spec 9.0:1 Wiseco pistons
Carrillo connecting rods
ERL ductile iron sleeves
KStuned H2B oil pan
KStuned oil pickup
Custom crankcase breather
CNC-ported cylinder head
Web Cam Pro Series camshafts
Ferrea +1mm intake valves
Ferrea exhaust valves
Custom copper-beryllium intake valve seats
Ferrea intake valve guides
Ferrea valvesprings
Ferrea valvespring bases
Ferrea titanium retainers
Ferrea valve keepers
Web Cam rocker arms
Wilson Manifolds 90mm throttle body
KStuned intake manifold
Vibrant Performance velocity stack
Precision Turbo CEA 7280 turbocharger, TiAL 1.30 A/R inlet
Precision Turbo PT-1000 intercooler
KStuned intercooler piping
TiAL Q blow-off valve
KStuned exhaust manifold
TiAL 60mm wastegate
2.5-inch wastegate dump tube
KStuned 4-inch downpipe
Weldon fuel pump
Earl’s pre-pump fuel filter
Aeromotive post-pump fuel filter
Weldon fuel pressure regulator
Rosko Racing custom fuel rails
Injector Dynamics 2,200cc/min primary fuel injectors
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc/min secondary fuel injectors
Russell Twist-Lok hoses and hose ends
Garrett front-mount intercooler, modified for radiator use
M&W Pro 14 ignition
Honda CBR ignition coils
KStuned cam trigger kit
Denso Iridium spark plugs
MoTeC M800 engine management system
PPG dogbox transmission
PPG 4.4:1 final drive gear
Liberty billet aluminum bellhousing
Competition Clutch H2B twin-disc clutch
Competition Clutch aluminum flywheel
Skunk2 short shifter
Driveshaft Shop Pro-Level spool
Driveshaft Shop Pro-Level axles
Power
1,000+ hp
Stance
Blox Drag Pro coilovers
Skunk2 front camber kit
Resistance
EBC Green Stuff pads
Earl’s steel-braided lines
Wheels and Tires
15x10 Spinwerkes front
15x4.5 Spinwerkes rear
26x10 Mickey Thompson ET Drag front
15x4.5 Mickey Thompson ET Drag rear
Exterior
Exospeed 3-piece front end
Stitch-welded chassis
Reinforced shock towers
Reinforced control arm mounting points
Interior
KStuned chromoly rollcage
Kirkey seat
Simpson 5-pt harness
PID boost controller
AiM Sports MXL Strada
Buddy Club shift knob
Props
Jill, Competition Clutch, TopEndUSA, Avid Racing, Injector Dynamics, Driveshaft Shop, Tony at T1 Race Development, Ben Strader at EFI University

Owner Specs
Favorite Website
KStuned.com
Screen Name or Nickname
Reid@KAIZENSPEED
Building Hondas for How Long
11 years
Your Dream Car
Nonexistent, U.S.-licensed, LHD R34 GT-R on MoTeC M800
Build Inspiration
Everyone who’s faster than me (that list is getting shorter)
What’s In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Mike Jones
Greatest Movie of all Time
The Aviator

Connect
Competition Clutch
www.competitionclutch.com
Ferrea Racing Components
www.ferrea.com
Kstuned
www.kstuned.com
Vibrant Performance
www.vibrantperformance.com
EBC Brakes
www.ebcbrakes.com

Sources

EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
702-826-2400
http://www.ebcbrakes.com
Ferrea Racing Components
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
888-733-2505
http://www.ferrea.com
Vibrant Performance
905-564-2808
http://www.vibrantperformance.com
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
800-809-6598
http://www.competitionclutch.com
Kstuned
Kennewick, WA 99336
http://www.kstuned.com
By Aaron Bonk
406 Articles

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