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1996 Honda Accord EX - 419hp On Purpose

Reinventing the family car.

Aaron Bonk
Mar 29, 2012
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Htup 1204 01+1996 honda accord ex+cover Photo 1/6   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - 419hp On Purpose

Bill Schultz drives an Accord on purpose. An equal-opportunity enthusiast, he looked to Mitsubishi’s Evo, Subaru’s STi, even Nissan’s 350Z as his Honda coupe began to reveal its age. None of them measured up, though, and the Accord’s hefty mileage and waning reliability soon led to an all-around rehabilitation.

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If the Evo, STi, and 350Z taught Schultz anything, it was that Accords are slow. The truth is, the fifth-iteration Accord’s characterless powertrain and post-’80s quasi-modernistic lines are the makings of the ultimate family car. For your mother. Eighteen years ago. As such, more power was mandatory, as was updated styling, improved handling, and better stopping capabilities. An experienced engine builder and body technician Schultz is not, though, which is why he called upon nearby Alamo Autosports and Advantage Autoworks before his Accord rebirth even broke ground.

Schultz’s car life began under the guise of the audiophile movement. Weeks spent sound-proofing and hard-earned dollars divvied toward high-end sound equipment meant that any semblance of an Accord replacement simply wouldn’t do. Instead, plans of fooling the high-mileage Honda into making Evo-like horsepower with 350Z-like styling were conjured up. His first import build (Schultz previously owned a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and later a Chevrolet Camaro Z28), Schultz readily admits where he ranks on the yardstick that is Honda brainpower. Still, he knew enough to assume that more power underneath the Accord’s hood almost always begins with the H22A. He also knew that select overseas Accords were sold with them right from the factory, which he surmised would make for a rather effortless transplant. He was right. With the help of Alamo, the DOHC VTEC engine was sourced from a North American–spec Prelude, stripped, built, and installed in short order.

Alamo isn’t far from Schultz’s Arlington, Texas, home, but that didn’t mean that, by those merits alone, they’d be responsible for his Accord makeover. Schultz was apprehensive of his first contact with the people of Alamo; the shop admittedly operates as much like a private club as it does a business. Modified cars are strewn about its premises at all hours, their owners huddled in the business’s parking lot, hatching plans of more power and faster times. Schultz visited often before pledging his loyalty to the company. It was shop foreman Brice Yingling’s attentiveness that ensured as much. Yingling and company could have just as easily written off Schultz as another half-sane Accord disciple with dreams of twofold power figures nestled nicely into a family car package. He didn’t. Instead, Yingling listened, asked questions, and didn’t try to sell Schultz so much as an air freshener. Even after Schultz pled his case for 300hp (but not at the expense of reasonable fuel consumption) did Yingling continue to listen and, ultimately, accept the challenge.

Schultz’s parameters were simple—to produce more than 300hp yet retain the worry-free drivability Accords are known for. Schultz says, “I had put up with 145hp for too long and wanted at least twice that much. It needed to have relatively good gas mileage and to be reliable on long runs.” A year before the project was completed, Schultz left a deposit and the twin-cam long-block was ordered. Before the engine arrived, Schultz added TEIN Super Street coilovers and custom pillow ball mounts for a manageable yet aesthetically pleasing 1.5-inch drop. Four-piston Wilwood calipers and larger cross-drilled and slotted rotors were also added all around.

Soon the engine and transmission arrived, and Yingling and Schultz—who by now had taken on an apprentice role of sorts—proceeded to tear it down and send its guts out to their respective machining facilities. Regarding Yingling and his willingness to make sure his customers thoroughly understand their vehicles, Schultz says, “If you’re interested in your build and want to know how your car works, Brice will teach you anything you want to know. He’ll also explain things like why some builds don’t work, why it’s not always about a number but about the area under the curve, and why bigger isn’t always better. I realized that Brice wasn’t a common mechanic who slapped aftermarket parts onto cars but a true artist who actually understood the physics involved with making a car a fast and efficient beast.”

Soon enough Schultz’s engine and components returned from their requisite sleeving, micro-polishing, and balancing services and reassembly began. Meanwhile, the coupe was delivered to nearby Advantage Autoworks where it was repainted and fitted with a Wings West Touring kit and Seibon carbon-fiber hood. Once redelivered, Yingling performed the H-series transplant and installed what would essentially be responsible for the Accord’s now-respectable power figure—its turbo system. Based off of a conservative yet able Garrett GT30 turbocharger, Schultz’s H22A lays down 419 whp at only 14 psi. Best of all, the compressor begins pushing considerable boost by 2,300 rpm. Schultz had heard the “turbo lag” phrase thrown about at one of his many Alamo parking lot get-togethers; fortunately for him, he wouldn’t be experiencing it.

The results are “nice and calm driving through the school zones,” which is exactly what Schultz requested since his wife and kids would likely inhabit his now-boosted Accord. It’ll even “act like a monster when you kick the pig,” which is, after all, exactly why Schultz drives an Accord…on purpose.

The H22A Story
Honda revealed its big-block, 2.2L four-cylinder engine to North America in the autumn of 1992. Under the guise of the ’93 Prelude VTEC, the 190hp DOHC H-series earned its stripes as one of the most powerful naturally aspirated production engines on the planet and served as the basis of Honda’s Touring car program for several years. Many of its characteristics it shared with the more popular B-series VTEC engines. They both featured then-revolutionary technology like variable valve timing, under-piston oil feeds, block-stiffening girdles, and ultra-efficient 16-valve cylinder heads. Indeed, the H22A filled Honda’s large-displacement void nearly a decade prior to the K-series being born. Interestingly enough, the H-series movement never attained the same notoriety that B-series and later K-series movements had. Its configuration was just different enough to make engine swaps that much more challenging (unless you had an Accord, in which case it would bolt directly in), its weight was increased just enough to slightly skew handling, and aftermarket support was small enough to discourage mass modification. Still, the H22A is not one to disregard. In the 1990s, it powered the first FWD Honda into nine-second territory; even naturally aspirated record-breakers relied on H-series power for years. Today, H22A mills are as few and far between as they ever were. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re any less relevant.

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Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
H22A engine
HaSport engine mounts
AEM Dryflow air filter
ASC velocity stack
ASC 70mm throttle body
Hondata intake manifold gasket
Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold
ASC IAC valve relocation kit
Ported, polished cylinder head
JUN Stage 1 camshafts
Supertech stainless steel valves
Supertech dual valvesprings
Supertech titanium retainers
Supertech valve guides
Darton MID sleeves
Eagle rods
Wiseco 8.8:1 pistons
ACL engine bearings
ARP head studs
ARP rod bolts
Cometic head gasket
Custom baffled OEM oil pan
Garrett GT30 turbocharger
ASC exhaust manifold
ASC front-mount intercooler
ASC intercooler piping
HKS SSQV blow-off valve
TiAL MV-S wastegate
TiAL V60 wastegate, for exhaust dump
ASC dump tube
ASC 3-inch downpipe
GReddy SP exhaust system
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Fragola steel-braided hose and AN fittings
AEM fuel filter
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
AEM fuel rail
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc/min fuel injectors
NGK spark plug wires
Denso iridium spark plugs
Load Boss high-output alternator
Braille B3121 battery
Hondata S300 engine management
AEM wideband controller
Koyo aluminum radiator
PWR power steering cooler
ASC A/C lines
JUN spark plug cover
Competition Clutch Stage 2 clutch
Quaife limited-slip differential
Suspension
TEIN Super Street coilovers
Tanabe subframe brace
Cusco front shock tower brace
Explicit Speed Performance traction bar
ASC pillow ball mounts
Resistance
Wilwood Dynalite four-piston calipers, front
12.5-inch slotted/cross-drilled rotors
Hawk HPS pads
Wheels and Tires
17x7 Motegi Tracklites, +40 offset
215/40-17 Dunlop Star Spec
Exterior
Wings West Touring kit
Seibon carbon-fiber hood
JDM Accord headlights
JDM Accord side marker lights
JDM Accord taillights
Interior
Recaro seats
Forbidden Motorsports short shifter
Props
Chris Recker of Advantage Autoworks; Ryan Davis of Auto Science; Forest, Kyle of Pro Tuning Performance; Mike Patterson of Moton Suspension Technology; Alamo Autosports

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Financial services company managing partner
Favorite Site
www.nasaproracing.com
Screen Name
Wild Willie D
Building Hondas
2 years
Dream Car
Any Aston Martin
Inspiration For This Build
To scare the crap out of Mustangs
Future Build
K24-powered ’08 Civic Si

Sources

HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
Tein USA
Downey, CA 90241
562-861-9161
http://www.tein.com
Supertech Performance
San Jose, CA 95136
408-448-2001
http://www.supertechperformance.com
Alamo Autosports
Arlington, TX 76015
817-860-4300
http://www.alamoautosports.com
By Aaron Bonk
389 Articles

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