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 |   |  1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red
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1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red

Little car, big power.

Henry Z. DeKuyper
Jun 4, 2012
Htup 1206 01+1996 honda civic DX+back yard special bumper Photo 1/9   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red

ad·dic·tion [ә-'dik-shәn]
The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics or automobiles, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

An addiction to cars, you say? It’s not all that farfetched. How about building an engine at home for which you have no car to place it in? That’s exactly what happened to Andel Garces, owner of this tight red hatchback. When he told us about the incident, we couldn’t help but laugh a little. The story, in his own words, goes like this, “Big Red’s legacy began with a phone call from my friend who worked at the Honda dealership. ‘Bro, if you don’t come over here to pick up this mint hatch, we’re not boys anymore.’ That was his exact wording, lol. I had been building my K20/K24 for a while and was still deciding on which chassis I wanted to drive around in. Then it hit me, fate wanted me to get that car. Why else would such a deal come as I was completing my engine? I took the trip to the dealership the same day, and to my surprise, there she was, just 4 inches off the ground with 14-inch steelies. The interior of the car was fresh, and it was a ’96 DX automatic. She only cost me $1,200, which wasn’t at all a bad price for the condition.”

Htup 1206 02+1996 honda civic DX+k24 engine Photo 2/9   |   Built and boosted, this K24/K20 combo belts out over 500 whp.
2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

So what started as a $1,200 car with a partially built engine has taken two years and morphed into a $40,000 money pit. Luckily, the owner has his daily Infinity G35x to drive. Along with friends Jose Devares and Caitlin Aaron, Andel has built a monster that still sees street duty and track abuse. Being from New York City and having friends like the guys at VRaceworks as your “dealer” doesn’t hurt.

So what’s the recipe for big power? Well, take a balanced K24 block with a set of Carillo rods and CP pistons, then mate it to a Portflow K20 head, complete with Skunk2 cams and valvetrain. Then call Z10 Motorsports to do all of the necessary machine work and enlist the help of Adrian Built to piece it all together. Sounds like a plan for a monster, right? It is. But we’re not finished there.

Andel decided to give the folks at Bullseye Power in Muskegon, Michigan, a call and get one of their twin scroll Comp 68R custom purple housing turbos. He added an Edelbrock 75mm throttle body and a 4-inch Garrett core AFI intercooler, and while AFI was producing the intercooler, Andel had the folks there make up a sidewinder turbo manifold as well. Two 44mm TiAL wastegates help keep boost pressure in check, and a 3.5-inch stainless downpipe and exhaust help move the spent gases. To finish things up under the hood and ensure there is enough fuel to light this bad boy up, Andel added a set of Bosch 044 fuel pumps, 1,200cc RC injectors and a Golden Eagle fuel rail. What does it all add up to? Well, at 15 pounds of boost, DRT was able to extract 544 whp/520 wtq! Not bad for a car that once made less than 100 whp. You have to wonder how all of that gets put to the ground, right? Andel relies on a K20A3 five-speed transaxle, Quaife LSD, and an Exedy ceramic twin disc clutch that puts the pressure on a set of DSS 5.9 axles. In the suspension department, Skunk2 Pro C custom rebound coilovers and adjustable camber kits help keep things stable at high speeds. K Sport toe kits are on duty as well, and finally, an Energy Suspension polyurethane bushing kit helps to keep this monster firmly planted on the road.

To perform and look good doing it, a set of Volk CE28s wrapped in Bridgestone RE11s sit at each corner. We all know that trying to throw that much power at a set of street tires on track day is only going to result in a cloud of smoke. However, Andel managed to push his street tires to a 12.0 during the huge Hondaday event at Atco Raceway in New Jersey.

Htup 1206 07+1996 honda civic dx+CTR rear wing Photo 6/9   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red

Having a car that handles and makes jam is only half of the equation, though. Whether they’ll admit it or not, everyone wants a car that looks good while it’s tearing it up. Andel opted for a number of CTR goodies to the exterior, then had GRT Paint Shop spray the entire car for a perfect match. On the inside, intelligent performance is the name of the game, and this enthusiast wasn’t about to use cheap alternatives. He went with the best in the form of AEM electronics, relying on its boost controller, engine management, and vital gauges.

While Andel loves his Honda, his addiction is pushing him toward a monster build that he says will be a 2JZ Supra. Sounds like a fiend jonesing for their next fix, but we’re pretty sure he’ll be back to the Honda camp in no time. Best of luck Andel!

Bolts & Washers

K24 block/K20 head
AEM management
HaSport 88a mounts
CP pistons
Carillo H-beam rods
Portflow headwork
Skunk2 Tuner 1 cams
Skunk2 valvesprings
Skunk2 titanium retainers
Bullseye Power 68R twin scroll
AFI twin scroll exhaust manifold
IPS intake manifold
75mm Edelbrock throttle body
AFI intercooler
TiAL Q blow-off valve
Custom 3.5-inch exhaust
TiAL MVR 44mm wastegates (2)
Aeromotive fuel filter
Aeromotive A1000-10
Russell steel braided lines
RC 1,200cc injectors
Golden Eagle Pro Series fuel rail
ERL modified S2K oil pump
Koyo radiator
K20A3 5-spd transmission
Quaife LSD
Exedy twin disc
DSS 5.9 axles

Htup 1206 06+1996 honda civic DX+volk CE28 Photo 7/9   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red

544 whp and 520 lb-ft

Skunk2 Pro C coilovers
Skunk2 front/rear camber kit
K Sport toe kit
Kens Kustoms 4-pt rollbar
Energy Suspension bushings
Function7 subframe brace
Function7 LCAs

Htup 1206 04+1996 honda civic DX+comp 68R custom purple housing turbo Photo 8/9   |   A closer look at the Bullseye 68R twin scroll turbo.

EBC slotted rotors
Hawk race pads
Russell stainless brake lines

Wheels and Tires
Volk CE28 16x7.5 +33
Bridgestone RE11 205/45-16

GRT Paint Shop, respray
Back Yard Special bumper
CTR rear lip
CTR mirrors
CTR rear wing
Custom wing risers

Recaro Pole Position seats
Mugen Racing steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
AEM gauges
Takata harnesses
CTR gauge cluster

Friends, family, shops, etc. Jose Devares, Kelvin Morel, Richard Reyes, Jason Perez, Nelson Ortega, Caitlin Aaron, CHR Racing, Amable Car Wash

Owner Specs

Daily grind
Courthouse rep

Htup 1206 09+1996 honda civic dx+back yard special bumper Photo 9/9   |   1996 Honda Civic DX - Big Red

Favorite Site

Screen name

Building Hondas
7 years

Dream car
Twin-turbo Lambo, Super Leggera

Inspiration for this build
Guys who get picked on

Future build
2JZ Supra coming soon!


TiAL Sport is a Michigan-based motorsport company. It manufactures most components of a turbocharged system, although it is most famous for its wastegates. One of TiAL’s most unique products is the MV-R. Although it can look like any other wastegate on the market, this is one of the only wastegates that can be liquid-cooled. This is especially helpful for road racers or people with cramped engine bays with little to no airflow. Sometimes space constraints lead to close proximity from the turbocharger to the wastegate. TiAL uses a high-temp NiCrFe-based alloy for the valve, and 347SS for the valve housing. These offer a much longer product life.

Stainless steel hardware will also ensure longevity and ease of installation.


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
TiAL Sport
Owasso, MI 48867
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
Z10 Motorsports
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
By Henry Z. DeKuyper
312 Articles



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