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1994 Honda Civic DX and 2000 Honda Civic Si - A New York State Of Grind

The Ventura Bros juggle the daily grind with two inspirational builds.

Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
Dec 12, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

An audible spool, followed by a ghostly release of air pressure that breaks the silence between the snapping of gear shifts is appreciated by no one but the vehicles’ pilots. In fact, the symphony provided by this lethal pair of turbo Civics is nothing more than white noise as the daily hustle and bustle of New York’s commuter nation overpowers most everything within its confines. Brothers Jismark and Rob Ventura pay them no mind as they steer their fully built and boosted creations through sections of heavy traffic, avoiding the state’s infamous pothole collection along the way. Their destination: VRaceWorks, an ever-growing import performance business started by the Ventura brothers three years ago. In a city well-known for chewing up and spitting out the average businessman with anything less than 100 percent to offer, these siblings have not only held their own, but have grown their business from very humble beginnings to a high-profile storefront on New York’s iconic Broadway stretch. Along the way they somehow found the time to build two incredible high-powered Hondas while staying completely focused on their business. Theirs is the story of grinding 24/7 in search of two basic goals: business growth and project progression.

Htup 1201 01+1994 honda civic DX+cover Photo 2/17   |   1994 Honda Civic DX and 2000 Honda Civic Si - A New York State Of Grind

Jismark’s white Civic hatchback, representing the VRaceWorks camp, started off fairly simple. His DX was equipped with very basic upgrades that included a set of Rota wheels and blacked-out headlights—not exactly head turners when you’re building what is arguably the most popular chassis in the Honda community. To shake things up, forced induction was chosen to address the power equation and breathe new life into the project. The initial setup was more than sufficient as power output peaked at over 550 whp; lethal for a streetcar.

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

With so many enthusiasts building ’92–’95 Civics, available aero parts often become commonplace, blend together into a blur, and unfortunately, create clones rather than individualize a build. Not wanting to fall into that trap, Jismark decided to completely revamp the look of the car. He adds, “The car underwent a drastic three-week makeover, starting with bodywork and paint.” With the exterior freshened up and void of any dents or dings, its bright white hue acted as the perfect canvas for a slew of brightly colored Seibon carbon-Kevlar goods that included a hood, front lip, tailgate, and Spoon-style rear wing. The excessive use of Kevlar earned the car the nickname “Bulletproof,” a title that still stands to this day. The interesting aero was complemented with a very unique set of Exospeed Star 8 wheels—something we’ve only seen on one other street-driven drag car (see April 2011 issue). Typically reserved for full-time drag duty, the competition wheels are available in custom sizing to suit virtually any setup.

Htup 1201 02+1994 honda civic DX+dx rear view Photo 3/17   |   1994 Honda Civic DX and 2000 Honda Civic Si - A New York State Of Grind

Inside the cabin, the rear seats along with the carpet were completely removed to make space for a six-point rollcage from Kens Kustoms, a pair of Seibon carbon-Kevlar bucket seats, and Password:JDM foot plates. With the rest of the car finally caught up to the powerplant, Jismark wasn’t quite satisfied with the power output any longer. As with most high-performance, high-horsepower builds, he’d run into his fair share of issues along the way, including two blown motors. Embracing the learning process, his final (and most current) setup features a Garrett GT3582R that helped push power output to over 600 with a whiplash-inducing 490 lb-ft of torque. At first glance, it’s apparent this car is all business, as the oversize snail and AFI exhaust manifold draw your attention almost immediately. Manage to get past that, and you’ll no doubt spot the AEM coil-on-plug conversion and JG Edelbrock intake manifold.

Well-rounded from top to bottom, Jismark’s Civic is a clever mix of performance and unique styling cues that would stand out in just about any enthusiast region in the country. But make no mistake, this Civic is born, bred, and thrives in the streets of New York.

Back in 2000, Rob purchased a brand-new Si from his local dealership, and the aftermarket parts started rolling in, one after the other. Scrapping the original B16, he fitted the Si with a B20/VTEC swap and 12 psi of turbo power. Then came the part of the story that everyone hates to hear—or even think about happening to their personal build. One fateful morning, after a fresh wash and wax, Rob had no clue that his pride and joy was about to be history. An underaged, unlicensed teenager recklessly took to the streets in his mother’s van, and Rob’s coupe was unfortunately at the wrong place at the wrong time. Boom.

Htup 1201 08+2000 honda civic si+si cover Photo 10/17   |   1994 Honda Civic DX and 2000 Honda Civic Si - A New York State Of Grind

Some would argue that starting fresh can actually be a good thing, especially when you learn from any mistakes you might have made the first time around. Rob was set on continuing his dream build and quickly found another low-mileage 2000 Si coupe. Picking up right where he left off, the mods began the moment he signed the paperwork. To add just a slight contrast to the deep black exterior, Seibon carbon fiber replaced the OEM hood and trunk and provided a more aggressive look to the front and rear bumper lips. To pump up the factory 1.6L, a few bolt-ons were added, and for the most part, Rob was content…until he found himself struggling to keep up with the turbo cars around him. Many say there’s no replacement for displacement, and others argue that forced induction is in fact a very viable replacement—Rob decided to do both. Sourcing a JDM ITR to replace the original B16, he drew up a long list of high-performance turbo parts and supporting components, and the process of artificial inhalation began.

Both brothers share many of the same performance parts, and because the numbers don’t lie, it’s obvious they’re doing something right. A Garrett GT3582R (identical to Jismark’s) hangs from an AFI “ram horn” exhaust manifold, complete with a Vibrant Performance downpipe and Thermal Research exhaust system. On the cold side is a Skunk2 74mm throttle body and Magnus intake manifold that feed a Skunk2 Tuner I cam-equipped head. With a built block and still retaining A/C, the EM1 spins the rollers to 577 whp and over 460 lb-ft torque.

On paper, a pair of Civics sporting some of the same performance parts and similar body modifications might seem somewhat redundant. But as you can clearly see by the photos, both cars scream individuality, and there’s no denying that the VRaceWorks name is well represented by both family members.

VRaceWorks
Originally located in a small corner of Manhattan, Rob and Jismark Ventura opened to the doors to VRaceWorks in 2008. Specializing in performance engine and suspension components, as well as aesthetic upgrades, the shop quickly earned a reputation as the “go to” source for aftermarket goods from the U.S. and overseas. Within just one year, the shop had already outgrown in its surroundings and the crew picked up and moved to the very heart of New York City, on the world famous Broadway strip. The change in location brought in even more clientele, and not just from the tri-state area: VRaceWorks has customers all over the country, as well as other continents. Beyond the shops storefront business, the Ventura brothers and their crew also step up to regularly sponsor mega-events like Honda Day. Unlike many fly-by-night shops, the owners and staff are more than just salesman, they’re enthusiasts at heart – something you simply don’t see enough of in our industry.

Htup 1201 14+2000 honda civic si+store Photo 17/17   |   1994 Honda Civic DX and 2000 Honda Civic Si - A New York State Of Grind

Staff
Rob and Jismark Ventura: Owners
Nelson Ortega: Chief Financial Officer
Andel Garces: Sales Manager
Peter Duarte: Sales Specialist
Contact: www.vraceworks.com; 347-431-9154

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
B18B1 block
B18C1 head
HaSport motor mounts
Garrett GT3582R
AFI exhaust manifold
TiAL 44mm wastegate
Custom Vibrant downpipe
3-inch exhaust system
JG Edelbrock intake manifold
Hov-built headwork
Westchester Crank machine work
JE 84mm pistons
Eagle rods
Ferrea valves
Skunk2 Tuner I cams
Skunk2 74mm throttle body
Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump
Aeromotive A1000 FPR
Bosch 1250cc injectors
Russell fittings
AEM pencil coil C.O.P. conversion
AEM twin fire ignition
B18B1 transmission
Exedy ceramic twin disc clutch
Quaife LSD
Driveshaft Shop 3.9 axles
Power
608hp and 490 lb-ft at 20 psi
Stance
Skunk2 Pro C coilovers
Energy Suspension bushings
Skunk2 Pro Plus camber kits, front and rear
Function7 subframe brace
X bar
Kens Kustoms 6-pt cage
Resistance
EBC drilled and slotted rotors
Hawk SH pads
Steel braided brake lines
Wheels and Tires
Exospeed Star 8 15x8
Nexen N3000 195/45-15
Exterior
Seibon carbon-Kevlar front lip
Seibon carbon-Kevlar wing
Seibon carbon-Kevlar tailgate
Honda optional window visors
APR side mirrors
Clear sidemarkers
Interior
Seibon carbon-Kevlar seats
5-pt G Force harnesses
Nardi steering wheel
Password:JDM floor plates
Circuit Hero shift extender
Circuit Hero shift knob

Owner Specs

Favorite website
www.facebook.com
Screen name or nickname
Vraceworks
Building Hondas for how long
Since 2000, 11 years
Your dream car
V-12 Audi R8
Build inspiration
The Hood
Current stable
’09 Honda Ridgeline
What’s playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
YMCMB
Greatest movie of all time
Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
B18C
HaSport motor mounts
JE 81.5mm pistons
Eagle rods
Garrett GT3582R
AFI ram-horn manifold
TiAL 44mm wastegate
TiAL Q blow-off valve
Magnus intake manifold
Skunk2 74mm throttle body
Skunk2 Tuner I cams
Hov-built headwork
Westchester Crank machine work
Ferrea valves
Skunk2 dual valvesprings
Skunk2 retainers
Precision intercooler
3-inch intercooler piping
Custom Vibrant 3-inch downpipe
Thermal Research 3-inch exhaust
Bosch Full Blown fuel pump
Golden Eagle fuel rail
Russell fittings
Aeromotive FPR
Koyo radiator
Samco radiator hoses
Tilton carbon twin disc clutch
Quaife LSD
Driveshaft Shop 3.9 axles
AEM Series II ECU
Spoon Sports spark plug wires
MSD ignition
MSD MVD
AFI catch can
Tein hood dampers
Password:JDM hardware kit
Password:JDM VTEC solenoid cover
Password:JDM radiator stay
Spoon Sports oil and radiator cap
Power
577 whp and 463 lb-ft at 18 psi
Stance
KSport coilovers
Energy Suspension bushings
Skunk2 Pro Series camber kits, front and rear
Function7 subframe brace and arms
Password:JDM rear shock tower bar
Resistance
Spoon Sports calipers
EBC drilled and slotted rotors
Hawk SH pads
Russell steel braided brake lines
Wheels and Tires
BBS LM 16x8 front, 16x9 rear
Falken Azenis 205/40-16
Exterior
Password:JDM splitters
Seibon carbon-fiber front lip
Seibon carbon-fiber rear lip
Seibon carbon-fiber trunk
Seibon carbon-fiber hood
Spoon-style side mirrors
OEM optional window visors
Interior
Password:JDM Recaro seats
5-pt Takata harnesses
Sparco harness bar
Spoon Sports steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
Password:JDM airbag delete tray
AEM boost, oil, fuel gauges
Props
Jose Devares, Andel Garces, GRT, CHR, JDM SQUAD, and Unique Auto

Owner Specs

Favorite website
www.Vraceworks.com
Screen name or nickname
Vraceworks
Building Hondas for how long
Since 2000, 11 years
Your dream car
Bugatti
Build inspiration
My brother Jismark
Current stable
’09 Honda Ridgeline
What’s playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
YMCMB
Greatest movie of all time
Scarface

Connect

Skunk2
www.skunk2.com
Vibrant Performance
www.vibrantperformance.com
AEM
www.aempower.com
Driveshaft Shop
www.driveshaftshop.com

Sources

Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
951-808-9888
http://www.skunk2.com
Vibrant Performance
905-564-2808
http://www.vibrantperformance.com
AEM Power
Hawthorne, CA 90250
310-484-2322
http://www.aempower.com
Driveshaft Shop
Salisbury, NC 28147
704-633-2380
http://www.driveshaftshop.com
By Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
69 Articles

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