Best Japanese engines to tune

2. Honda B Series
They’ve been around for over 25 years and while Honda fans worship them, most people don’t understand why the little B Series is considered so special. Well let us tell you – they’re a pretty incredible design for a production engine, both as standard, and especially when tuned.

This is the engine that introduced the world to VTEC, and the first B16A, pushing 158bhp from just 1595cc without a turbo or supercharger in sight, and revving to 8,200rpm. It’s pretty amazing numbers for a standard engine even today and this was back in 1989!

As the years went on the little 1.6 got more powerful and the Type R version made a huge 185bhp and revved to 9,000rpm, all while being still just 1,595cc! The B18C is a 1.8-litre version, which while not hugely more powerful as standard, ranging from 170bhp to 200bhp, the extra capacity gives a useful increase in torque, magnified once you get tuning.

So while the VTEC B Series lumps are works of art, that’s not what this feature is about. The fact they can create ridiculous amounts of power is why they’re here!

The amount of tuning parts and knowledge available on the B Series is unbelievable, and while power increases are possible with N/A tuning, the fact they’re so highly tuned from the factory means it’s when you turbocharge them they really come alive.

Upwards of 500bhp has been achieved with just bolt-on turbo kits with B18s. And as countless cars in the USA have proven, fully built engines can push out insane numbers, and the fact there’s B Series front-wheel drive Civics in the USA running 8 and even 7-second quarter-miles at well over 180mph says it all!

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