California Dreamin' could well have been what led Steven Thomson to build his racecar. He chose a Civic Hatchback as a platform, which is mainstream California and his company is named Pacific Performance. The catch? He's in the 9-5-4-Florida-3,000 miles from the Pacific, but a stone's throw (or a thrown rod) away from the Atlantic. Dreaming or not, this Sunshine State Civic is for real. The quarter-mile warrior was the first Honda in Florida to run 10s and has since dipped deep into the 9s.
The things that stand out about the car are its 3/4 chassis set-up, eight-injector fuel system, its exhaust port and gauge cluster-and its 9.36-second timeslip.
At the heart of the matter is a B18C GS-R powerplant. The VTEC block was sleeved and stuffed with JE slugs and Crower rods, keeping its 1.8-liter displacement but dropping static compression to a pressure-friendly 8.5:1. Boost is provided by a GReddy T78 turbo that hangs on a custom, Pacific-built tubular exhaust manifold. From the turbine housing, hot gas exits via a 3-inch downpipe that side exits in front of the front tire.
The outlet is framed in aluminum, which looks trick and protects the paint. An HKS wastegate is in charge of funneling the exhaust and controlling boost pressure. A PRofec-B controller dictates the maximum pressure. On the cold side, an XS Engineering air-to-air intercooler is nestled in the Civic's nose and a GReddy Type-S blow-off valve relieves the pressure between power shifts.
Fueling is handled by a staged injection set-up. A Weldon pump supplies the juice to twin STR rails by way of a Vortech regulator. The RC Engineering eight-pack consists of four 310cc units and four 850cc units. All aspects of fuel and ignition are controlled by a Haltech E6S-8 stand-alone engine management system. Thomson tuned the Haltech and has programmed the 850cc secondaries to come online at the first sign of boost.
MSD handles the spark side of the combustion equation. The Civic runs two 6AL ignition boxes, twin MSD coil packs, Magnecor wires and NGK plugs to light off the charge.
The valvetrain consists of a Pacific-ported head built with Ferrea stainless-steel valves, high-rpm Ferrea springs and retainers. The head keeps its stock GS-R camshafts, but they're outfitted with Skunk2 adjustable cam gears to dial-in every last ounce of thrust. The head is fed by an STR big-plenum intake and JG bored throttle body.
Putting the twist on the flywheel is only half the battle. Effectively getting the power to the pavement is how you stop the clock. The Pacific racer uses a stock flywheel and a Clutch Masters Stage Five clutch in an Integra LS gearbox to initiate thrust. According to Clutch Masters, the Stage 5 set-up features 200 to 400 percent more holding power than a stock clutch and its three-puck configuration employs a high-impact solid hub. The Stage V is built to individual specifications for each car, engine, and tire combination.
The diff runs a Phantom Grip, which is a "locker device" that gives a factory diff the advantages of a limited-slip. The Phantom Grip applies equal pressure to the side gears in the diff, which minimizes the amount of rotation on the pinion gears, giving the wheels nearly equal distribution of torque.
There is still some slippage, which means the wheels can still spin at different speeds (when making a turn), so this unit is good for street and strip. The final links in traction are M&H gumballs mounted on Bogart Racing Dragonfly Stars aluminum. Skunk2 coil-overs suspend it all.
We asked Thomson about the car's unique 3/4 chassis set-up. : "The 3/4 tube chassis, a common RWD set-up, was designed around a certain sanctioning body's PRO 4 cylinder class mid 1999. After completing the car, we showed up at the first event to be told that it was not legal for PRO4. We would have to put 100 lbs back into the car to compete. We competed during that season weighing in at a hefty 2,093 lbs and were still in Turbo's Top 10 Fastest Hondas. Our best e.t. in 2000 was 9.75 at 143mph. We came in second place at the Las Vegas finals against Gary Marsh due to an axle failure. After being told that we were unable to compete next season, we began to prep for the upcoming 2001 NIRA series. We attended every NIRA event for the 2001 season and came in fourth overall. Pacific Performance made its mark. We will have to build a new car for the upcoming season.