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1995 Honda Civic EX - Jersey Lore

Hands-on research with the F2K swap.

Jonathan Thompson
Dec 28, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper

Fast. Jake Gavio’s naturally aspirated ’95 coupe, powered by a fully built F20C motor combined with a K-series PPG Dog Box outfitted tranny, is really fast. Casual YouTube browsers are threatened with visual whiplash, and according to Jake, he’s the only enthusiast in the country rocking an F2K setup in competitive drag racing. With 372 whp and 245 lb-ft squeezed out of this naturally aspirated coupe, as of this writing, his best quarter-mile time is 10.32 at 130.7. Weighing in at 2,160 pounds, this car sports some revolutionary parts and undeniably garners attention from the masses—not only for its impressive time slips, but also for its interesting powerplant.

Htup 1201 01+1995 honda civic ex+cover Photo 2/11   |   10.32 @ 130.70

Residing in Laurel Springs, New Jersey, Jake grew up in a racing family. “Eat, Sleep, Race” wasn’t just a catchy phrase on a T-shirt in the Gavio home, it was a way of life. His dad raced NHRA Super Comp and Comp Eliminator cars. Jake became a Honda aficionado at an unlikely place—a mini-truck show. There happened to be a Honda Civic in attendance, and from the initial sighting, he was hooked. To drive the point home even further, his bro built and then rebuilt a ’92 Civic over a three-year period. Family DNA, the mini-truck show encounter, and his brother’s raced-out hatchback combined to influence Jake more than he could possibly deny.

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

In 2007, Jake purchased this Civic DX with grand plans of drag racing, and since then, his coupe’s engine bay has served more as a foster parent than stay-at-home mom. Numerous H-series engines paired with B-series trannies have made their way under the bonnet. Jake grew tired of running 11.9 seconds down the 1320 and decided to build a big-displacement H engine. The engine quickly fell victim like so many before it, and Jake took a moment to survey the competitive landscape in an attempt to unravel the puzzle that is the winning formula. Other racers were mainly relying on B- and K-series engines with only a few H-series users here and there. Nevertheless, he wanted something different, and by chance, InlinePRO had just released its F2K kit—riddle solved.

Htup 1201 02+1995 honda civic ex+side view Photo 3/11   |   1995 Honda Civic EX - Jersey Lore

There wasn’t a whole lot of prep work involved. The chassis was already outfitted for drag duty, so the OEM mounts were removed to make room for the new F2K mounts. The most difficult part of the swap proved to be the wiring according to Jake. An F2K swap for street use would have gone much smoother, but for drag racing, it was grueling. The amount of customization required for the ambitious build earned Jake a new nickname from friends—“The Adaptor Plate King.” He adds jokingly, “If it doesn’t require grinding the block or an adaptor plate, then it’s not for me!” A few of the custom parts used in the build include camshafts, a billet crank, a one-off radiator setup, and Kinsler individual throttle bodies.

Jake relied on a core group of seasoned Honda veterans to get the job done, including Jeremy Allen at InlinePRO who performed the intricate machine work and assembled the engine. Jake, along with folks from Tim Grey Racing and RSTech Racing, assisted with the final installation, and RSTech Racing was called upon to tune the completed track car. If Jake could pull a Marty McFly and head back a few years, he would’ve bulked up in the transmission department sooner. “I would have stayed with a smaller-displacement engine until I could afford the PPG transmission,” he says. Jake’s pursuit of more power and faster timeslips came at the expense (pun intended) of broken transmissions. After many slain gearboxes strewn across multiple engine platforms, Jake invested six large stacks into a PPG Dog Box four-speed transmission upgrade—problem solved.

Htup 1201 06+1995 honda civic ex+engine Photo 7/11   |   The unique F20 motor/K-series tranny combo is further enhanced with Kinsler ITBs.

Jake plans to attend more races to close out the 2011 race season, followed by another 15 to 18 race events next year, mainly on the East Coast. He does plan on attending the May 2012 L.A. Outlaw FWD Invasion in Fontana, California, and says he loves to beat up on West Coast competitors. Plus, he respects the amount of West Coast Hondas that make the long trek to the right coast throughout the year and throw down at the All Motor Shootout at Englishtown Raceway (New Jersey). In fact, Jake is one of the main organizers for this drag race venue, and that’s actually how he met and befriended Jeff Braich out of Vancouver, Canada. (Braich is the owner of the H-powered Civic hatch drag car featured in this issue.) Discussing the East-versus-West battle that seems to consume other industries and cultures beyond Hondas, Jake thinks the playful rivalry is great for the sport. “There are a lot of people outside the racing industry that hype up the events. They talk trash for us. It’s definitely a motivator to go out there and do better,” he explains. Don’t be fooled though, Jake is all business when the tree’s lit. “Everyone that is faster than me is whom I’m going after,” he asserts. With heavy hitters like Jake slated to attend the 2012 L.A. Outlaw FWD Invasion event next year, it should be an intense battle—exactly the way it should be.

Full-Time Job and Competitive Drag Racing
Working a full-time gig and drag racing at several events throughout the year sounds impossible, but it’s definitely possible, and Jake is a living testament. He averages 60 hours of work per week and still bangs gears at 15 to 18 race events a year. He was more than happy to break down the madness:

Htup 1201 07+1995 honda civic ex+stacks Photo 8/11   |   1995 Honda Civic EX - Jersey Lore

First and foremost is the mental drive to want to do it. Second is finding a great team to support you. Third is all of the “extras” that go into competitive racing. A trailer is often needed, and that requires a tow vehicle. Parts, more parts, and back-up parts are critical to success, as are the proper tools to maintain the car. Then there’s allowable time off from work required for race prep and traveling. The most obvious factor of all is, of course, the green stuff. However, money wasn’t first on Jake’s list of requirements. He adds, “You have to realize that it doesn’t take 50 grand to race and be competitive. The fastest car and most expensive car rarely wins the event. Swallow your pride and come out to race.”

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
F20C (2.7L)
Bore: 90mm
Stroke: 106mm
Compression ratio: 14:1
InlinePRO F2K Kit
InlinePRO F2K adaptor plate
Avid Racing solid engine mounts
InlinePRO billet crankshaft
AEBS sleeves
CP pistons and rings
Drag Cartel rods
ACL rod and main bearings
Supertech Performance valve guides
Supertech Performance valves
InlinePRO dual valvesprings
InlinePRO titanium retainers
InlinePRO keepers
Drag Cartel billet rocker spacers
InlinePRO and Drag Cartel custom 2-lobe camshaft
InlinePRO ported cylinder head
InlinePRO F20 timing chain tensioner
Kinsler individual throttle bodies
SSR 4-1 exhaust manifold
Vibrant muffler
Custom exhaust
NRG Tech Racing fuel cell
Bosch 044 fuel pump
Kinsler fuel pump and filter
Weldon FPR
Kinsler fuel rail
Injector Dynamics 725cc fuel injectors
Russell Performance -8AN steel braided fuel lines with AN fittings
RSX-S ignition coil packs
All In Fabrication custom tucked radiator
RSTech Racing custom breather tank
Meziere electric water pump
Russell Performance -12AN steel braided radiator hose with AN fittings
RSTech Racing custom water pump block off kit
K-series transmission with PPG 4-speed Dog Box
Karcepts shifter mounting kit
Competition Clutch twin disc
InlinePRO custom flywheel
Quaife drag-version LSD
RSTech Racing scatter shield
Driveshaft Shop 3.9 axles
AEM Gen I S2000 EMS
RSTech Racing custom engine wiring harness
Engine tuned by RSTech Racing
Machine work by InlinePRO
Engine assembly by InlinePRO
Engine installation by owner, TGR and RSTech Racing
VP Racing Q16 fuel
Power
360+ hp
Stance
Skunk2 Pro C coilovers
Skunk2 front and rear camber kits
Skunk2 lower control arms
Avid Racing traction bar
RSTech Racing weight bars
Resistance
Fastbrakes custom drag race brake kit
Fastbrakes brake discs
Wilwood brake pads
Wilwood brake calipers
Wheels And Tires
Front: 13x8 Exospeed Star 8 with 4-inch backspace, +13 offset; 24.5/9-13 Mickey Thompson racing slicks
Rear: 15x3.5 Exospeed Star 8 skinnies, +0 offset; 22/3.5-15 Mickey Thompson skinnies
Exterior
OEM Honda Kiwi Green metallic paint
Exospeed Racing 3-piece frontend
VIS carbon-fiber hood
Lighter Is Faster carbon-fiber rear diffuser
GrafX tinted taillights
GrafX vinyl wrap
Interior
TGR lightening process “Jersey Diet”
Sparco seats
Alcantara seat inserts
RCI 5-pt safety harness
GT steering wheel
Ken’s Kustom Chassis 5-pt rollcage
Autometer tachometer
AEM serial data stream gauge
Autometer oil pressure gauge
RSTech Racing switch panel
AEM clutch pressure sensor
AEM fuel pressure sensor
AEM IAT sensor
AEM oil pressure sensor
Autometer coolant pressure sensor
PLX wideband sensor
Props
Randy at RSTech-Racing.com, Tim at TimGreyRacing.com, Jeremy Allen at InlinePRO, John and the staff at InlinePRO, Phil, Wayne, Peter at RSTech Racing, Rick and Javy at Import DPS, Nick and Jeff at GrafX, Franklin at Avid Racing, Jeremy at Drag Cartel Industries, Darius at CP Pistons, Allenbuilt Race Engines, Wil and Randy at Exospeed, Tony at Skunk2, the entire staff at Competition Clutch, everyone at EatSleepRace.com, Derek at All In Fabrications, Jose, Jeff and Marc P at Fast Five, JBR Transmissions, TheSpeedLounge.com, Javier, Roger and the staff at OGS, Danny at SSR, GP1 Racing, CIN Allstars, K-Tuned, Scott at Motovicity, Sean “Autobody” McDermott, Joe Valente, Gary Herring aka the Fabricator, my girlfriend Renee, brother Jared, the entire Gavio, Schoener, Mancini, Grey and Kline families, A. Hobbs, Randy O, Jeff B, Bart, Will, Eggie, Curt, Chris B, friends who helped along the way

Owner Specs

Favorite Website
www.honda-tech.com
Screen Name Or Nickname
2fastgsr
Building Hondas For How Long
12 years
Your Dream Car
Ferrari F430
Build Inspiration
Fastest guys in the AM class
Current Stable
’10 Chevy Silverado, ’95 Integra
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
Breaking Benjamin
Greatest Movie Of All Time
Boiler Room

Connect

InlinePro
www.inlinepro.com
AEM
www.aempower.com
Driveshaft Shop
www.driveshaftshop.com
Skunk2 Racing
www.skunk2.com

Sources

Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
951-808-9888
http://www.skunk2.com
InlinePRO
Springfield, VA 22153
703-455-5805
http://www.inlinepro.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 Jonathan Thompson
48 Articles

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