Project Civic Si Coupe: Part 1 – Spec Stage 2+ Clutch Upgrade

Project Civic Si Coupe: Part 1 – Spec Stage 2+ Clutch Upgrade

by John Naderi

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Nads (I know, worst nickname ever). I’m new here. Truth be told, I’ve been working off a gambling debt, er, contributing to the Q for about a year, but this is my first contribution to the content collection. I guess you could say I’m a long-time listener, first-time caller. Aside from some light janitorial services and shuttling Mr. Kojima to his optometrist appointments, I serve as the chief Nerd Herder around these parts. You can read all about me here. Or not. It appears I have yet to earn the right to a place on the MIQ About Us page (or as we like to call it, Justin Banner’s “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” page). Updating this page is on my list of things to do, along with Jeff’s laundry.


Of course I took a picture of my car in front of a salsa warehouse. That’s because I think it’s muy caliente. Even for a stockish Si with 86,000 miles on the clock, various dings, scratches, rock chips, curb rash and all manner of food residue lining the rear of the passenger compartment.

This is my car. It’s a 2008 Honda Civic Si Coupe. I bought it as a daily driver when my former project, an RSX with a complete Toda motor, became too gnarly for Gymboree and the Whole Foods parking lot (Namaste). Any new car purchase wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory buyer’s remorse, and I had it in spades. First of all, why did I buy a daily that is essentially the same K20-powered, FWD, coupe as my project? Secondly, as a father of two adorable, yet sticky, sloppy, crazy kids (they’re pretty much like tiny, drunk adults), why didn’t I opt for the Si Sedan? In addition to the increased room the two extra doors provide (as much as I try to stunt them, my kids just keep growing), the styling of the Sedan is much more appealing. I’ve yet to see any FG builds (Honda-geek chassis-speak for the Coupe) that give me side pipe, aside from the odd stance build or those Compass360 World Challenge Touring Cars. If I had opted for the FA Sedan (more geek-speak) I could throw on one of those sexy JDM CTR front-end conversions. Not that I would, but it’s nice to know that I could. During my tenure here I’ve also become insanely jealous of our own Project Civic Si Sedan.


The Rahal Letterman ALMS GT BMW M3 knows what’s up.

There is, however, one thing I absolutely adore about my Si – the six-speed manual gearbox. It seems a bit anachronistic in this day and age, but I prefer to row my own gears. I’m not ignorant (much). I understand that Porsche fitted a PDK twin-clutch gearbox to its latest and greatest 991 GT3 and the R35 GT-R couldn’t defy as many of the laws of physics without its six-speed sequential dual-clutch box. Even Schumi (should I say, Kimi now?) can’t perform a manual gear change in a Ferrari as quickly as the seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox. But none of that matters. Finger-banging through the gears just doesn’t do it for me as nothing compares to the engaging experience of a true, manual transmission. 


Spec’s Stage 2+ Clutch.

I wasn’t planning on modding my little Civic, but working at the Q tends to have strange effects on you (much like a date rape drug). After nearly 87,000 miles my stock clutch began to lose its bite. Rather than go the route of a factory or OE replacement unit I looked toward the aftermarket and found this sexy little number from Spec Clutch.


Spec Clutch’s own Dave Norton and his time attack record-setting S14 complete with a 700hp SR20 and of course, a Spec Clutch. Image courtesy of Global Time Attack  via Chris Harrington.

I like the people at Spec Clutch and while I’ve never used one of their products, I do appreciate how they aren’t afraid to put their gear to the test on the track. This is one of Spec’s chief officers, Dave Norton, an accomplished road racer and time attacker performing his own brand of product testing at a Global Time Attack.


Normally the Porsche purist in me would be offended. But is a 944 really that “pure” of a Porsche. No matter because my argument is invalid. Why? Because LS swap as the drift kids would say.

This picture has nothing to do with anything in this story except as an extension of the point I just made about the street cred of the Spec crew. This is Dave Norton’s latest track toy – a Porsche 944 with a 630hp LS swap. I found it in the Spec Clutch booth at the SEMA Show. A more ringing product endorsement I cannot imagine.


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