Upon the car’s return an engine overhaul was required, and this is when Nick met De Wet Jordaan, who was tasked with the rebuild. During this time the pair built up a nice little friendship, and when Nick could, he was eager to lend De Wet a hand, learning the ins and outs of engine builds along the way.
As the two spent more time together, the Civic began to evolve further than what was originally a simple engine freshen up. I’m not sure who floated the idea of an AWD conversion, but that’s what Nick and De Wet took on in an open carport after work hours. At this time, Nick also had a newborn daughter, so bless his wife for putting up with the late-night Honda-building shenanigans.
To convert the car from FWD to AWD, a Honda CR-V differential and 5-speed manual transmission was used. Nick collected all of the other required parts, including two rear hubs machined to replace the factory hubs on the rear trailing arms, and he and De Wet went to work. A section of the rear subframe was also cut away to make space for the rear diff, which is suspended by custom hangers.
In this AWD form, and now with 500hp to play with, Nick ran a 11.7-second quarter mile. The thing that was holding him back were the stock gear ratios and final drive, although the latter was swapped for a longer ratio in the hopes of improving performance at strip. Still, with the B20 turbo engine setup, the car was crossing the line at the top of 5th gear.
The easiest option here would have been to revise the gearing outright, but by now Nick had a taste of what the Civic could offer and wanted much more. So he decided to go a different engine route – of course the answer was K-series.
The new build took a few months to complete, but it turned out to be nowhere near as straightforward as Nick or De Wet had hoped it would. Then, when they finally got the Civic up and running, a major setback came their way.
Essentially, the engine broke before Nick could get anything out of it, but he decided to send it anyway.
With two cracked sleeves, a blown head gasket and water in the oil, the Civic still managed a 10.3-second ET at 225km/h through the traps.
Fast forward two months and De Wet had built a fresh K24A3 engine – with some upgrades along the way.
One of the key aspects of the build was strength, and the most critical upgrade made was a CSS executed by MWAS Systems. Unlike a regular block guard/brace, which is hammered in between the sleeves and the block, the Cylinder Support System required the sleeves and block to be machined for perfect brace fitment. Further to this, CP forged pistons and forged Manley Turbo Tuff connecting rods were fitted.
Up top, the factory cylinder head has been treated to Skunk2 Alpha valve springs and retainers, but otherwise is completely stock. Even the head gasket is OEM Honda fare.
A Turbonetics turbo provides the boost, with the exhaust and wastegate dump coming straight through the hood. You may think it was just done for looks, but routing the pipes this way saved the headache of trying to work around the retrofitted CR-V prop shaft.
Twin Bosch Motorsport 044 pumps keep the high octane juice flowing, while all fuel plumbing lines are stainless steel braided with FTF fittings. Billet Bullet Fab was tasked with custom fabricating the intercooler, radiator, intake and exhaust manifolds, the oil catch can and water reservoir.
The engine setup is controlled by a FuelTech FT550 ECU tuned by Marius at Fullboost Performance. Nick is currently putting some mileage on the new motor, but once it’s run in and retuned for full power, he hopes the goal of 800hp and a 9-second quarter mile ET will be realised.
Helping achieve Nick’s quarter mile aspirations are drag wheels with full slicks, but as the Civic will still be street-driven it’s mostly run on Toyo Proxes R888Rs. The Simpson parachute is another necessity, with stopping power also improved by a Wilwood 4-pot front brake setup. Suspension-wise, ISC coilovers are in use.
Inside, the original bolt-in cage has been swapped for a fully welded equivalent. There’s also a dry carbon dash by FSU Developments housing the FT550 digital display, a Kirkey aluminum seat with Schroth Racing harnesses, AEM wideband O2 gauge, Mugen steering wheel and a custom aluminium fuel cell in the rear.
Project cars are special things. Yes, they take time, and you almost always spend more money than you plan to. But the friends that you make along the way and the new skills you learn are priceless. Having your family’s support and getting them involved is also a really great part of it.
But the only thing better than one project car is two, right? Nick recently got his hands on a really clean EG Civic, which he says he’ll keep as stock as possible. We all know how that story goes though…
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