Scared passengers are soon aware that this 550bhp tuned Honda Civic is less Type-R and more Type aaaaaaarrrghhh!
Honda have only recently realised what a beautiful combination VTEC and a turbocharger make, but the owner of this flip-painted Honda Civic has known for a while. Our chum Michael Szajdak is a complete Honda nut, he’s also a mechanic for Honda and completely unhinged. In the best way possible. He’s taken a humble EJ9 Civic and turned it into something that would blast past a regular Type-R without even trying.
Anyone who has been overtaken by a well-driven EK9 Type-R on a trackday knows what a beast they can be in the right hands. It’s that magic combination of a high-revving engine, lack of weight and a great chassis. So when Michael decided to replace the 90bhp single-cam D14 engine in his EJ9 with something more potent, you would think that the 180bhp Type-R B16B engine was an ideal candidate.
That would have doubled the power of his little Civic overnight. But no. Too obvious. Too easy. Michael wanted to stuff three times the power of the Type-R engine into his little Civic. Three times what would have been double the power. That’s, err, a lot. In fact, you could stuff the 2.0-litre turbo engine from a current FK2 CTR in the boot of an EK9 and it would still be about 50 horsepower down on this flip-painted monster.
The power comes from a B16A2 engine, which starts life with a bit less power than an EK9 Type-R B16B, mainly because it has a lower compression ratio and less aggressive cams. It was built by Michael and MKR Motorsport in Germany. Being a naturally aspirated ‘open-deck’ design, there is a gap around the outside of each external cylinder wall to the rest of the engine block, so it’s not ideal for running big boost. To help, MKR have fitted Darton sleeves for more strength, along with uprated con-rods and pistons.
The turbo is a big ’un for a little 1.6-litre engine. It’s a Garrett GT3582R, mounted on a custom-built ‘ram-horn’ exhaust manifold. So there isn’t much going on low down in the rev range but the pay-off is it goes like hell once it’s on boost. Sounds nasty too. The aim of the ram-horn manifold is to make each runner that feeds hot exhaust gas from the cylinder to the turbo pretty much the same length, so it evens out the exhaust pulses. Good for power, good for turbo spool, too.
At full boost, Michael claims this pocket rocket here makes a massive 550bhp. All that power goes through a five-speed Y21 gearbox fitted with a Quaife ATB Limited Slip Differential. The ’box has relatively short gears and final drive ratio, so acceleration is pretty manic. The Automatic Torque Biasing diff splits the power between the front wheels for maximum traction, while being much easier to live with on the road than a clunky plate-type LSD.
Of course this car isn’t just about the power. In fact, the first thing that catches your eye is probably that paintjob. If you think flip-paint is a bit early 2000s then you’re spot on. Michael originally bought this car brand new in 1997 and had it resprayed this colour by his mate back in 2001. So he was clearly ahead of his time. Or on trend, as the fashionistas say. The Standox Catalunya Splash paint changes from purple to blue to black, depending on the light.
As the scene is filled with matt black and vinyl-wrapped cars, the flip-paint has a lot of impact again. It looks great, especially with the range of styling mods on the car. Everything is very subtle, which works really well considering the power, paint and interior are so in-your-face. The Backyard Specials front bumper looks like a meatier version of the original EK9 Type-R design, while the Stuke rear diffuser is almost invisible, it’s been tucked away so neatly underneath that EK4 rear lip.
The result is a car that looks stunning. Anyone who was around in the late ’90s and early ’00s will remember some of the monstrosities we thought were cool. Part of the problem was that flip-paint was applied to vents, arch extensions and massive spoilers. Everything was bigger and, we thought, better. Looking back, many of the cars we loved at the time were completely over-the-top and lacked the restraint Michael has showed here. We’re loving his contrasting bronze Volks CE28N rims too.
These 10-spoke versions of the CE28N in bronze are now all sold out, according to Michael. They’re certainly rare. He also says Standox no longer sell Catalunya Splash, which makes this car a snapshot in time. You couldn’t replicate it if you wanted to. Back when this car was painted, hot Civics generally still had naturally aspirated engines and skinny 18 or 19-inch wheels to go with it.
The current scene is definitely all about getting your car to perform right, not just look right. We’ve moved on. So Michael’s choice of sticky 17-inch Toyo R888 rubber means he can make full use of his turbo’d terror on the street. Not just pose next to it.
TECH SPEC: HONDA CIVIC EJ9 TURBO
Full respray in Standox Catalunya Splash flip paint; Backyard Specials front bumper with carbon-fibre lip; aftermarket headlights with black housing; OEM EK9 Civic Type-R front grille; carbon-fibre bonnet; Civic Si door mirrors; EK9 Civic Type-R rear wing; rear bumper and rear lights; carbon-fibre bootlid; EK4 rear lip; Stuke rear diffuser.
B16A2 1.6-litre inline 4-cylinder 16v DOHC VTEC engine; Darton sleeves; CP pistons; Eagle rods; Skunk2 Stage 1 cams; Supertech valvetrain; Edelbrock Victor X Intake Manifold; 70mm throttle body; Garrett GT3582R turbo mounted on DIY Ram- Horn exhaust manifold; custom exhaust by MKR; TiAL Sport external wastegate and blow-off valve; Bosch 1,200cc fuel injectors; 5-speed Y21 gearbox; Quaife ATB Limited Slip Differential (550bhp).
7.5x17in ET50 Volk Racing CE28N alloy wheels; 205/40×17 Toyo R888 tyres; KW Variant 3 coilovers; Password JDM 3-point front strut bar; Password JDM 3-point rear strut bar; ASR rear subframe
with an ASR anti-roll bar; Function 7 rear control arms; Energy suspension Master Kit black; Blox rear spherical trail arm kit; front subframe from a Honda Integra include the steering rack; Summit Racing C-B pillar brace; D2 6-pot front callipers with 300mm discs; 280mm big brake conversion on the rear.
Bride Gias Low Max seats; Takata black seat belts; EK9 Type-R steering wheel; JDM Integra GSR gauge cluster; Autometer gauges (Boost, Oil Temperature and Exhaust Gas Temperature); Bride floor mats; EK9 Type-R rear seats and front armrest both retrimmed in Bride fabric; Alpine headunit; 13cm Rockford Fosgate speakers.
Family, friends and MKR Motorsport.
Words Dan Goodyear Photos Kevve.Be