This Honda Civic Is Anything But Sedate."I was 5 when my dad drove the car into the driveway. All I can really remember about it was saying, 'Cool'," remi-nisces Ryan Smith about this '92 Civic CX, back when his dad first drove it home from the dealership. Keep in mind, this was back when the phrase "no replacement for displacement" was still very relevant. Now we know that a Garrett turbocharger can change that rule with just the turn of a few veritable bolts on any modern sport compact platform. Ryan realized the car's true potential when a skiing accident left his leg in a cast and his eyes buried in tuner magazines.
Ryan began to plot the resurrection of the family hatch well before he could legally drive it. When the time came for him to take over the EG's well-worn reins, his plan of attack was inclusive and concise. He began his quest with some much-needed body restoration, and didn't stop until he found himself with a 568whp fire-breathing dragon, puffing 34 psi through an appropriately sized GT35R turbo.
With an off-the-shelf A'PEXi turbo kit, 3-inch exhaust and homemade boost controller, the internally stock D15 in Ryan's EG churned out 260 whp for the daily commute-enough to earn low 13-second timeslips and due respect on the street. Add in some weight reduction, a pair of K-Sport lower control arms, and custom-valved Progress drag coilovers, and the Honda was able to see 11.9 seconds at 112 mph, prompting Ryan to make the leap from ass-kicking street car to say uncle, who's-your-daddy quick 16 dragger.
The Civic's OG block was stretched to its limit by this point; all were amazed it lasted along as it had, and agreed not to push it any further. Not feeling the four-figure replacement costs of Honda's B-series powerplants, Ryan elected to retain the single-slammer configuration. A call was put in to RLZ Engineering and after a few short weeks, a D16Z6 was sourced and built as per Ryan's specifications. Darton MID sleeves, Pauter rods, custom 76mm Wiseco pistons, and knife-edged crank were added to hold the power a ported and polished head, supporting a Zex cam, springs, retainers, Ferrea 1mm oversized valves, and Crower adjustable cam gear allows the combination to make.
Supplying the bulletproof D-series with a cool, consistent flow of pressurized air is a custom Garrett GT3567R turbo fed by a custom top-mount manifold, blowing through a Garrett intercooler with custom aluminum piping, FAST 85mm throttle body, and Golden Eagle intake manifold. Excess airflow is managed by a TiAL Sport 44mm wastegate and blow-off valve, and custom 4-inch stainless down pipe. Fire-dowsing quantities of 116-octane gas (that's a lot) are introduced via Precision 1,000mm injectors, fed by an Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, and fuel filter (necessitating the use of -10 AN feed and -8 AN return lines), flowing through a BDL Industries rail.
But power production is only part of the recipe of a winning drag car. Power must be consistently delegated to the wheels to put it in fastest possible motion and, to this extent, Ryan was sure to reinforce his EG's most well-documented weak point, the driveline. "D-series trannies just don't cut it," he explains. "They can't hold the power, and the shift for sh*t." A D- to B-series swap kit allows for the use of a GSR transmission, fortified with a Quaife limited-slip differential, QuarterMaster twin-disc clutch, and lightweight flywheel. Stage 5 axles from the Drive Shaft Shop effectively funnel all 586 whp to the 13-inch Weld Import Magnums and Mickey Thompson 24.5x8.5x13 slicks, which are held in place by lead-filled Full Race traction bars and a full Energy Suspension bushing kit.
With all the necessary power-producing components installed and cooperating nicely, it may have seemed Ryan was ready to get in his familiar EG and begin blasting 9-second passes. But as anyone with seat time in a track car (not counting posing in one at a car show for your MySpace profile) can attest, even the most well-designed race machine stands no chance at clenching titles without one crucial ingredient: approval from sanctioning bodies.
To gain clearance from trackside tech inspectors, Ryan replaced his OE steering wheel with a quick-release Sparco Mugello unit, yanked his stock recliners for Kirkey Racing aluminum drag seats with Simpson harnesses, and fabricated a custom window net and bracket for his Simpson Skyjacker chute. Gaining clearance from mom, however, meant visiting Pennsylvania's Kalani Gohara for a custom 12-point rollcage; effective, albeit what some (not Ryan's mom) might call "a little over-the-top."
Using basic hand tools and his driveway as a garage, he installed a Garrett GT35R turbo as the base power from which he would build upon the rest of his transformation. Unfortunately, a flatulent monkey hopped on his back when the installation was complete and the Civic became bogged down with a waning powerband that ceased to produce the numbers that Ryan had hoped. He can still remember staying up days in a row trying to get prepped for a dyno, only to be setback to square one if the Honda refused to rev over 3,000 rpm.
Thanks to a set of extensively machined RLZ heads and a few tweaks of the Honda's AFC tuning, the car's disappointing 100rpm powerband instantly leaped to 3,000 rpm and the car scorched the rollers at a very long-awaited 586 whp. Mind you, this is all with the single cam and over two years of trial, error, sweat, and blood to pull out such huge numbers from a relatively stock engine block. Life on the blacktop isn't always a Kirkey racing seat of roses, as Ryan can attest.
Even with the impressive gains that Ryan has achieved thus far in his build, he says the Honda is far from done. In fact, he didn't even have the car back in its driveway before beginning plans to break into the 600whp barrier. How could he possibly achieve more horsepower out of a single cam EG, you ask? By putting the mighty Civic on a diet of less fatty plastics and metal, and more nutrient dense nitrous oxide, of course.
Ultimately, Ryan would like to take the Civic to professional hot-rod status, matching up with the big dogs running in excess of 800 whp. He would also like to own a race team with a field of cars to choose from. But for now, Ryan is just glad that he grew up in a family who is supporting his dreams and preferred Japanese imports over the inferior '80s domestics. "That's why I don't have a sister named Bobby Sue and a Mustang," Ryan says.
Darton MID sleeves
Golden Eagle head gasket
Wiseco custom 76mm pistons (Tom Cote coating)
Moroso oil pan
Knife edged crank
OEM main cap deburred
ARP head studs
Zex 59500 camshaft
Zex/Comp cams valvesprings and retainers
Ferrea 1mm oversized valves
Crower adjustable cam gear
Headwork by RLZ Engineering
Garrett GT3567R turbocharger 0.82 A/R
Custom top-mount manifold
4-inch stainless down pipe
2-inch stainless wastegate dump tube
Custom intercooler using a Garrett core
FAST 85mm throttle body
Golden Eagle intake manifold
3-inch aluminum piping
TiAL Sport 44mm wastegate
TiAL Sport 50mm blow-off valve
Vibrant silicon couplers with T-bolt clamps
Cold Fusion direct-port nitrous setup
AEM fuel management
Precision 1,000cc injectors
BDL Industries fuel rail
Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Aeromotive fuel filters
Earls fuel lines and fittings
-10 feed/-8 return
NGK spark plugs
GSR transmission (from an Integra)
Quaife limited-slip differential
D-series to B-series transmission swap kit
Quarter Master twin disc clutch
Mazworx Scatter Shield
Drive Shaft Shop 5.9 axles
Full-Race traction bar
Skunk2 short shifter
Energy Suspension shifter bushings
Suspension/Wheels and Tires:
Progress custom valved drag coilovers
K-Sport rear lower control arms
Brembo cross-drilled rotors
Axxis Ultimate ceramic pads
Weld Import Magnum 13x8 wheels
Weld one-piece polished 15x3 skinnies
Mickey Thompson 24.5x9x13 slicks
M&H 24x3.5x15 skinnies
Stewart Warner 5-inch tachometer
Autometer Phantom series gauges (boost, water temperature, oil pressure, nitrous and fuel pressure)
AEM UEGO wideband controller
Turbo XS manual boost controller
World Electronics TBC-1 or Innovative MSBC-1 boost controller (during season)
Simpson Platinum Series five-point harness
Mark Williams quick-release Sparco Mugello steering wheel
Kirkey Racing aluminum drag seat
Carbon-fiber sunroof plug
Black suede headliner
Kalani Gohara 10-point rollcage
Custom window net by Stroud
Simpson Skyjacker parachute