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1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

What you do when 179 mph is too slow…

Aaron Bonk
Nov 1, 2012
Photographer: Josh Mackey
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Htup 1301 01 o+1992 honda civic CX+JCR three piece front end Photo 1/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

By most accounts, 179 mph is fast. And by most accounts, to do so in about 8.8 seconds is nothing short of remarkable. Those were the digits that the Pacific Northwest’s SpeedFactory Racing Civic chalked up for itself less than three years ago, and those were the numbers that compelled SpeedFactory co-owner James Kempf and crew—who’ve never been ones to rest on their laurels—to target uncharted territory—low eights.

Htup 1301 06 o+1992 honda civic CX+K and N filters Photo 2/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

Despite the timeslips, Kempf says that “[2012] was the year we decided it was finally time to move away from [our] street car roots and make this thing a real race car.” Although a street car only by one’s wildest stretch of the imagination, a “real race car” it is now indeed. And it takes a real race car to compete within the likes of import drag racing’s modern-day Outlaw class. Since its 15-week transformation, SpeedFactory’s Civic has gone on to post a record-setting 8.29-second quarter-mile pass at 185.21 mph, with successive trips down the strip in excess of 190 mph—that’s quicker than any Outlaw car’s gone to date and faster than anything in front-wheel-drive Honda history.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that SpeedFactory’s hatchback was any sort of slouch prior to all of this, though. Since its debut in 2009, Kempf and company’s dominated turbo street car classes, winning almost every event they’ve shown face at. Later it became the first Street Comp car in the Northwest to run nines and eventually the first Outlaw car on the West Coast to break into the eights. In the words of Kempf: “This is the Outlaw car that put the Northwest on the map.”

Htup 1301 04 o+1992 honda civic CX+B18C1 engine block Photo 3/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

Right about now you’re expecting to read a story of how difficult it was for the SpeedFactory guys to gain ground so quickly within the Outlaw ranks. You won’t read that story here. Cars like the SpeedFactory Civic make it easy for writers like us to not have to reach into the predictable grab bag of automotive journalistic clichés. You know the ones: “Timmy always wanted a Honda but couldn’t afford one. When Timmy finally got his, though, the engine blew/car got stolen/transmission failed.” Foretelling hard times and sob stories ensue. Poor Timmy.

Unlike Timmy, the SpeedFactory guys know what they’re doing, and with the help of title sponsor Competition Clutch, they now had the means to do it. Horsepower—lots more of it—was chief among items to be addressed. Transcending from high eights to low eights is exponentially more difficult than getting your mother’s 17-second Accord sedan into the 16s. As such, the limit of SpeedFactory’s original 900-plus-horsepower B series was raised to 1,300hp and 750 lb-ft of torque—roughly eight times the engine’s original output. Despite the horsepower figures, the engine block, cylinder head, and crankshaft all remain factory-issue. Whoever from Honda designed its B series some 25 years ago should be proud.

Htup 1301 10 o+1992 honda civic CX+toilet paper Photo 4/19   |   What you’ll need if you ever take a trip down the 1320 in this car.
1992 honda civic cx bogart 16 Photo 5/19   |   1992 Honda Civic Cx Bogart 16

Anyone who’s ever participated in organized drag racing knows that in order for any sanctioning body to acknowledge a record, the car’s got to be legal. And anybody who’s ever participated in organized drag racing knows that in order for the court of public opinion (i.e., the interwebz) to acknowledge a record, the pass has got to be backed up. Kempf and company took care of both of these concerns. To start, an SFI-approved 25.5-spec rollcage was fabricated into place. That along with a Stroud parachute and window net as well as a Safecraft fire-suppression system (among other things) help appease track officials. To ensure repeatability and superior data acquisition, SpeedFactory swapped its Hondata engine management system for a MoTeC M800 ECU and individual, external ignition coils. Kempf will be the first to tell you that Hondata’s system is no joke and that the team fared consistently with it, but none of that was without challenges. “I had to constantly chase the tune,” Kempf quips about the demands of racing at numerous tracks with varying circumstances and weather conditions. “Much of the tuning [was] raw and based on gut feelings combined with what we could see via in-car and out-of-car video footage.” Under the JCR three-piece front end, the crew also elected to swap out its air-to-air intercooler for a custom liquid-to-air core that’s good for up to 2,000hp. Kempf comments on what originally drew fans to the car and why the upgrades weren’t as straightforward as you’d imagine: “The S300 and air-to-air setup was one of the car’s biggest draws, though, and a lot of people really liked it for its pure simplicity. It showed what can be accomplished without having the best of everything out there, so making the change was kind of a difficult decision for us.”

It turns out that the SpeedFactory boys are getting comfortable with change. Kempf says the alterations aren’t over with and that significant engine and chassis modifications are drawing near. “Some of it might be a step backward, but at this point it’s all about testing different things,” he says. “As she sits right now, it should be able to run 8.20s on a great track, possibly 8.10s if we get some amazing conditions. Only time will tell. Running sevens is a bit of a stretch and seems damn near impossible, but you never know. We never thought we could do what we are doing now either.”

Htup 1301 05 o+1992 honda civic CX+JCR three piece front end Photo 6/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’
1992 honda civic cx bogart pro tires 11 Photo 7/19   |   1992 Honda Civic Cx Bogart Pro Tires 11

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
2.0L B18C1 engine block
Avid Racing solid engine mounts
Precision Turbo 7285 T4 turbocharger
SpeedFactory custom liquid-to-air intercooler
Custom 3.5-inch intercooler piping
Wilson 90mm throttle body
SpeedFactory-modified Golden Eagle intake manifold
SpeedFactory exhaust manifold
TiAL V60 wastegate
Custom 4-inch up-pipe
Golden Eagle sleeves
Arias 10.5:1 pistons
BME aluminum rods
ACL bearings
ATI Super Damper
Ported B16A cylinder head
Skunk2 Pro 1+ camshafts
Ferrea Competition Plus valves
Ferrea valvesprings
Ferrea titanium retainers
Ferrea keepers
SpeedFactory custom fuel cell
Weldon 2345-A fuel pump
Weldon fuel filter
Weldon fuel pressure regulator
Golden Eagle fuel rail
Injector Dynamics 2,000cc/min fuel injectors x 8
XRP AN fittings and lines
SpeedFactory oil catch tank
Koyo radiator
Spal cooling fan
SamcoSport radiator hoses
Denso IK31 spark plugs
M&W Ignitions PRO-Drag4
Honda CBR ignition coils
Albins dog box transmission
SpeedFactory shift change holder assembly
T1 Race Development G Force shifter
Competition Clutch triple-disc clutch
Driveshaft Shop Pro-Level spool
Driveshaft Shop Pro-Level axles
MoTeC M800 engine management

Htup 1301 03 o+1992 honda civic CX+cam gears Photo 14/19   |   The 1,300 whp now lurking under the hood is roughly eight times that of the B18C1’s original output.

Suspension
Strange double-adjustable coilovers
PCI bronze bushings

Htup 1301 08 o+1992 honda civic CX+kirkey econonomy drag seat Photo 15/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

Resistance
Brembo rotors
Integra brake conversion
Earl’s steel-braided lines

Wheels & Tires
Front: 15x10 Bogart Pro-4, 26x10 M&H
Rear: 15x3.5 Bogart Pro-4, 24.5x3.5 M&H

Exterior
JCR three-piece front end
JM’s Auto vinyl wrap
Stroud parachute

Interior
SFI 25.5-spec rollcage
Kirkey Econonomy Drag seat
G-Force 5-pt harness
Stroud window net
Safecraft fire-suppression system
Sparco Tuner steering wheel
AiM Sports MXL Strada dash

Props
Entire SpeedFactory family, Competition Clutch, Golden Eagle Manufacturing, Arias Pistons, BME, Avid Racing, Ferrea, Albins, ESA Designs, M&H Tires, Bogart Wheels, Honda-Tech.com, South Tacoma Honda

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
SpeedFactory Racing

Htup 1301 09 o+1992 honda civic CX+SFI rollcage Photo 16/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

Favorite Site
speedfactoryracing.net

Screen Name
JFK78

Building Hondas
14 years

Dream Car
Nitro Funny Car

Inspiration For This Build
Everyone with a fast Honda

Future Builds Low, low, low 8s or high 7s!

Where The Power Comes From

On paper (and the Internet), snake-charming in excess of 1,000hp out of a 2.0L four-cylinder engine doesn’t seem all that impossible. A big turbo, eight of the biggest firehose-like injectors you can find, and a fat intercooler ought to do it. Turns out that it’s slightly more complicated than that, few original parts remain, and all sorts of unglamorous bits that you’ll never see play important roles. Inside, the factory cylinders are removed for stronger ductile iron pieces, which sit around forged-aluminum pistons and rods that wrap around a factory forged crankshaft. Together they can withstand the enormous cylinder pressure that would otherwise obliterate an OEM rotating assembly. Up top, valves are replaced with forged, stainless steel versions that better resist burning, bending, or snapping and clip onto titanium retainers that aren’t just lighter than the original steel ones but are also more durable. Stiffer valvesprings also rest in place to help counteract whatever amount of boost blows into the combustion chamber. Higher-lift, longer-duration cams are also mandatory, as is upgraded hardware for mounting the head to the block. Back underneath a girdle can be bolted to the block’s underside to help reduce flex. Building a bulletproof engine capable of big power isn’t cheap but can’t be avoided when in search of serious power.

Htup 1301 02 o+1992 honda civic CX+cam gears Photo 17/19   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - Change Is A-comin’

Respect Among Stiff Competition

Securing the title: In his own words

“Being the fastest is always something you set as a goal and strive for. We’ve worked very hard over the last few years to not only build a professional race team but also to perform like one. We are very excited and proud of our accomplishments this year, and it’s a great feeling to finally be on top. But as the old saying goes, ‘There’s always someone else out there that’s faster.’ We haven’t lost any drive or motivation to keep improving and trying to go faster, and have several changes we are making in the near future to hopefully set the bar even higher. The car definitely has more in it as is, and I’ll go out on a limb here and say that right now, as it sits, the car is capable of running low 8.20s and possibly even in the teens, given optimal track and weather conditions. [Chris] Miller and Tony [Palo] are both guys who we look up to, and they’ve both been very friendly and helpful to us and our efforts. We all share a lot of information and data to help each other go faster, and that is a great thing. I know they both have some extremely fast passes up their sleeves. They just haven’t laid it down yet. But they will. And in the meantime, we will do our best to make sure we stay on top!”

1992 honda civic cx B18 Engine 18 Photo 18/19   |   1992 Honda Civic Cx B18 Engine 18
Htup 1301 07 o+1992 honda civic CX+JM auto vinyl wrap Photo 19/19   |   HTUP-130100-SPEED-018-022
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Sources

SpeedFactory Tuning & Race Fabrication
Tacoma, WA 98466
253-566-4331
http://www.speedfactoryracing.net
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
800-809-6598
http://www.competitionclutch.com
Precision Turbo & Engine
Hebron, IN 46341
219-996-7832
www.precisionturbo.net
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
909-592-4311
http://www.goldeneaglemfg.com
By Aaron Bonk
254 Articles

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