Born and raised in central New Jersey, Thomas J. Petty (no, not the blonde mop-top musician from Florida-this Tom Petty is a Ph.D candidate in Genomics and Computational Biology) discovered his passion for Hondas a little later than most. Not to suggest this 31-year-old is over the hill, but his first car was an '87 Chevy Camaro RS small-block (how very Jersey of him!), buying his EG coupe in 2000 from a friend and original owner. That's when his best friend Yuri, who owned a GSR-swapped EG Civic, talked Tom into skipping the faux carbon-fiber taillights and instead they built a cold-air intake for Tom's new ride. "I remember driving around the streets of Trenton, New Jersey, like I had an F1 car after that. I must have gained 2 to 3 horsepower, but it felt good!"
This marked the beginning of Tom's long-lasting love affair with his mint-condition '94 EG coupe. Before he knew it his garage was equipped with a hoist and air tools, and he was autocrossing his Civic on a regular basis. Then, in 2002, an epic trip to Florida to buy an Integra LS B18B front clip for a motor swap (used Honda engines were ridiculously expensive in Jersey at that time), solidified Tom's relationship with his Honda. "I spent many hours on Honda-tech.com, reading mags like SCC and Modified, autocrossing and going to lapping days, all of which kept me focused on spending my money on real performance parts. I always strived to keep the car a sleeper [including the BWM Storm Gray Metallic paint job it received after being caught in the middle of a four-car pileup], spending money of performance parts people couldn't see."
Then his Ph.D supervisor moved his research lab to Switzerland and Tom moved with it. "I left New Jersey and sold the house, fully equipped garage, everything-and moved to Geneva. The only thing I brought with me besides some clothes and contact lens rinse was my Civic and my '05 Honda CBR 600RR. Since 2006 I've been living in Switzerland, and I've had the car on tracks in France, but getting it on the Nürburgring was the real dream. For my 30th birthday present last summer, my girlfriend Gwenn booked three nights at a small hotel inside the track called the RingHaus. It was a great experience to have this little Japanese car that I built for the track in New Jersey stretching its legs on one of the most famous and prestigious tracks in the world. I was lapping my car on the Ring as I was turning 30 years old! Cool."
Specifications & Details
'94 honda civic dx coupe
Acura Integra LS 1.8-liter B18B1 DOHC inline-4
Custom 3" CAI, AEM high-flow filter, Del Sol radiator, Energy Suspension poly engine mount bushings, Random Tech cat, custom 2.5" after-cat exhaust, MagnaFlow muffler
LS OBD-II ECU
Clutchmasters Stage 1 (FX100) clutch kit, Integra LS shift linkages, B&M short throw shifter, Energy Suspension shift linkage and shift lever poly bushings
Wheels, Tires and Brakes
ADR 16" Interspeed wheels, Falkin Azenis 205/40R16 tires, Integra LS disc brake conversions (f/r), EBC Green Stuff brake pads (f/r)
Eibach Sportline springs, Bilstein Sport dampers, Ground Control adjustable ride-height kit, Integra LS 22mm front sway bar, ITR 22mm rear sway bar, Beaks rear subframe reinforcement, front and rear upper tie bars, Energy Suspension (f/r) sway bar and control arm bushings and end links
BMW Storm Gray Metallic paint, primer black hood, PIAA foglamps, LED corner marker lights (f/r) and brake lights
Auto Meter tach and water temp gauge; Otto Racing pedals, DynaMat sound insulation, GSR shift knob and center console/arm rest; Aiwa CDC-MP3 CD receiver, Pioneer Premier front speakers, Infinity Reference rear component speakers, Bazooka tube subwoofer, Alpine V-Power amp, Black Widow security system