For over 36 years, K&N Engineering and its staff of hard working employees have propelled a once unknown company that sold products from a garage into one of the most recognizable air filter brands in the automotive world. Logging more than 20 million reusable filters sold across the globe, it's safe to say the boys at K&N have had their hands in just about every motorsports cookie jar. In 2005, the K&N sport compact division acquired a newly redesigned 2006 Honda Civic Si from Honda of North America. Eager to participate in the build was the K&N staff; consisting of sport compact enthusiasts more than willing to show the aftermarket import community that the air filter kings weren't just about oil impregnated surgical cotton fabric and wire mesh filters; they knew a thing or two about building a badass street car.
Powered by a K20Z3 powerplant, the '06 Civics' stout engine rips through the factory equipped close-ratio six-speed transmission to the tune of 197hp. Sporting rev ability up to 8000rpm and displaying a linear torque curve (thanks in part to the engine's three-rocker i-VTEC variable valve timing) are two reasons why the average '06 civic-owning Joe is hesitant to perform any modifications.
The boys at K&N are anything but average, as they quickly began tearing away at the first opportunity, with plans of extracting some serious horsepower out of the already potent powerplant. Slated as a street car, the crew decided to increase horsepower output by spraying the 2.0-liter engine with a generous amount of nitrous oxide, complements of Edelbrock. Sport Compact Business Manager and Lead Project Manager for the '06 Civic, James Yim, was no stranger to the world of import performance, as he dabbled for years with many of his own project cars. A one time avid street racer, Yim was often spotted in his H22-powered Civic hatchback breaking off numerous cars along the Ontario and the San Fernando Valley streets.
Yim used his crafty skills in plumbing the K20's intake manifold with an Edelbrock direct port nitrous system; meticulously bending each of the stainless steel hardlines while outfitting each runner with an Edlebrock E3 titanium nozzle. A carbon composite bottle was mounted and set to spray an additional 100hp with a touch of the button. With horsepower levels now flirting with 300hp, the issue of sufficient fuel delivery became a major concern. The Civic's factory fuel rail was replaced with a larger diameter BDL unit, while a set of larger injectors were plugged into the intake. In order to compensate for added fuel, the factory intake manifold was custom ported and polished, while a K&N Typhoon intake system and carbon canister high-flow air filter was installed for additional horsepower.
Looking to extract every conceivable horsepower out of the Civic, a custom exhaust system was fabricated in-house at the K&N facility using a 60mm Tanabe Racing Tuner Medallion canister and custom stainless steel pipes. Looking to accentuate the engine bay with some show quality appeal, a JDM red valve cover, JDM spark plug covers and dipstick were installed.
"If you're going to build a vehicle, build it right the first time," says Yim. "Don't half-ass the job and pray things work out for the best." The build crew at K&N took this motto to heart as they reworked the factory suspension and brake system with a setup worthy of a full-tilt road race vehicle. Starting off with a set of TEIN Flex coilovers, the factory stance was hunkered down to improve both vehicle handling characteristics and the overall balance. The factory brakes were discarded in favor of Project Mu four-piston and four-pad Hyper Caliper System while all four corners received a set of Project Mu SCR-PRO rotors. RAYS Volk Racing 18x8 CE28N Limited Edition wheels wrapped in 225/40-18 Toyo Tires T1-R compounds ensures this orange machine has the ability to outbrake and outhandle any adversary brazen enough to step up and challenge it.
While speed and horsepower earns the respect of your peers, it's the luxury factor of any vehicle that will guarantee you in luring that hot supermodel into your ride. Honestly... who would you rather have? Fortunately for the build team, snagging that long legged goddess would have been a simple walk in the park, as they reworked the Civic's interior from top to bottom while adding some serious pimp-factor within the cabin doors. Sparco Monza racing seats were installed to provide additional lumbar support for both driver and passenger-whenever a need for some spirited driving is called for on the streets of Riverside.
Kreative Custom Interiors was given the exclusive task of rewrapping both front and rear seats with graphite suede and accenting each unit with orange carbon inserts. Engine vitals are closely monitored using a full array of Auto Meter NEXUS gauges. The NEXUS lineup is the newest in Auto Meter technology as it provides an array of features including seven color LED illumination select ability, a full dial red alert warning to safeguard against engine failure, and remote control operation. Before adding finishing touches to the interior, a custom four-point roll cage was installed to provide additional rigidity to the unibody construction chassis as well as providing safety for both driver and passengers.
The K&N crew made the decision to build a full tilt audio system as they handed over the responsibility to Chris Neprasch. An Eclipse AVN7000 head unit serves as the central nervous system as it provides a 7-inch wide TFT display with built in navigation, smart card ability, and over 20 GB of storage capacity among a plethora of features. With ample watts of power being provided through the AVN7000 (50w x4), Neprasch wired in the Eclipse SC8355 component speakers using a set of Stinger Dreamwires and terminals. Tucked away in the trunk of the Civic lies a custom sub enclosure using a pair of Eclipse 10-inch subwoofers; both powered by Eclipse 2x500watt DA6213 subwoofer amplifiers. Stinger 20F HPM Digital Hybrid Capacitors ensure excessive discharge from the Stinger battery is kept to a minimal, while the unit feeds a steady stream of power to the amplifiers.
Pride and reputation was on the line as the staff worked tirelessly in building a car worthy of the K&N name. With the vehicle near completion, Import Trenz, located in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., shaped and molded a custom four-piece aero kit to accentuate the Civic's exterior. The car was then trailered to M1 Autobody for prep work, receiving a complete body rubdown and sanding process. The exterior was layered in numerous coats of primer and topped off with fresh coats of Sunset Pearl paint from House of Kolor. Looking to add some contrast to the vehicle orange hue, a coat of gloss black was sprayed down the center. Airbrush legend Mike LaValle from KillerPaint was given a quick call to schedule an appointment for some custom graphic schemes. If the name sounds familiar, that's because LaValle has been seen on numerous magazines and TV shows such as Monster Garage and Overhaulin as he continually fascinates the automotive world with his breathtaking airbrush work known as True Fire designs. LaValle was commissioned to perform none other than his magical flamework on the K&N Civic's carbon-fiber hood. Modern Image Signworks added the final touches designing some vinyl graphics to address many of the sponsors and manufacturers who helped make the project possible.
Bits and pieces of information are filtering down as we learn the K&N build crew is currently transforming this one time street car into a full blown road race machine. As the clock ticks and we await completion, we can only guess that version deuce of the K&N Civic will be sicker than ever.
Behind The BuildHead to the message boards at www.importtuner.com to chat about this feature vehicle
Quote. "If you're going to build a vehicle, build it right the first time"
Name. K&N Engineering
Age. 36 years
Hometown. Riverside, Ca
Occupation. making air filters
Hobbies. Building race cars
Build Time. 2 months