Project Civic EF Racecar: Part 1 – Introduction

Project Civic EF Racecar: Part 1 – Introduction

by Clint Boisdeau

I’m sure some of you are curious as to how a 1990 Civic hatch has now become a part of the MotoIQ project car fleet.  Others who are fans of the 88-91 model range of Honda front wheel drive cars might be excited to see the old and gold econo car on the pages of this very site.  Regardless of your preference, this former grocery getter is going to make a run in the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship (read more about the MPTCC race series here) for 2015, but that wasn't always the plan.

My MPTCC “Tuner Under” class race car was supposed to be a 1999 Civic hatchback which my friend sold me.  I was extremely excited about it since the “EK” chassis was my personal favorite out of the 90’s wishbone suspension front wheel drive Hondas.  Despite the fact that 92-95 “EG” Civic’s and 94-01“DC2” Integra’s are considered to be the highest potential chassis’ because of their wide array of aftermarket support, the EK hatch was the route I wanted to go because it still had enough race oriented parts to be a competitive car.  As I was gearing up to hunt down a suitable motor and transmission swap, an unexpected car went up for sale.

The original chassis I was going to use was this 98 “EK” Civic hatch which I purchased from a good friend looking to buy a truck.  The car was mostly stock and mechanically well taken care of.  Some mild aesthetic imperfections, but no big deal for a future wheel to wheel race car.

Enter this 1990 Civic hatchback which I found for sale from a fellow track day goer Jon Via, a regular NASA Arizona region time trialer.  The champagne “EF” hatch (even though technically it’s an ED6 chassis for you Honda sticklers) came equipped with a 1999 JDM Integra Type R B18C and matching S80/N3E 5-speed transmission that I had planned to purchase to swap into the EK.  This drive line combination from an OE standpoint has the best power output within the B series engine family, optimum final drive ratio gearing at 4.7, and a helical LSD.  Tuned with a Hondata S300 programmable ECU by UMS Tuning in Arizona, the stock engine made a solid 192 wheel horsepower with just an AEM cold air intake and custom side exhaust.  Other positive attributes of the build included a roll cage from Fathead Fabrication, well thought out suspension upgrades, proper water and oil cooling heat exchangers, and an array of aftermarket gauges monitoring all the correct vitals. 

The front and rear brakes and knuckles were also upgraded to a factory “DA” generation Integra setup, which sports larger front calipers/rotors and replaces the stock rear drum brakes for a more ideal disc setup.  With all of the factory suspension rubber bushings replaced with either polyurethane or spherical aftermarket replacement parts, a custom built set of Fortune Auto 510 coilovers, and a stout ASR tubular race rear sway bar, the car already has a track oriented chassis tune.  Testing on local Socal tracks will give me further insight as to the integrity of the suspension setup and what needs added attention.


It took 14 hours round trip to Phoenix and back in a single day to pick this thing up.  It was a tough drive and I couldn't have done it without my lovely girlfriend Ashley DeLuca by my side.  Only stops that were made were for fuel/bathroom, and quick food.  Having been on track the day before at Willow Springs in Project 370Z might not have helped my energy level but oh well. 
Sporting JDM Integra Type R power, a good roll cage base to work with, and track oriented suspension upgrades.  This EF Civic hatch has high potential and saves a lot of labor and development time leading up to the first MotoIQ MPTCC race end of February 2015.

The gold wheels are temporary for now since they are too narrow at 15×6.5 for the tire I plan to run.  I have them on the car currently just to be able to move it around in the garage and driveway.  While the EK hatch body is my favorite style FWD Honda, the EF hatch is my second favorite.  Even though most people gravitate toward the CRX body when it comes to the 88-91 civics, the EF hatch has its own appeal.  Also the CRX wheelbase is very short which makes it less stable in sweepers and more difficult to drive fast for repeated laps during a sprint race.  The EF hatch being 8 inches longer in wheelbase (but still short over all at a total of 98 inches) should make for an easier to manage package with superior high speed cornering stability than the CRX chassis.  

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