Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Ultimate Street Car Challenge comes to Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC)

 A few Friday nights ago, I was doing my usual Instagram surfing. I came across a post by @utahmotorsportscampus page that the Optima Search for the Ultimate Street Car was coming to Utah. I don't think it clicked when I first saw it. I didn't have any plans on Saturday, but the neurons didn't connect that I should try and go. I got up at my usual 630am on Saturday and tried to go back to sleep. I picked up my phone and saw another post about the USCC event. I think it was seeing the bright orange 1970 Camaro of bdhobaugh, it finally clicked. I started thinking that I could get out there in 45 minutes and be there for a few hours. I figured everyone would be sleeping for a few more hours and so they wouldn't miss me or be annoyed that I ruined their Saturday. This was a chance to see many of my hero cars. Here's some photos of cars I've only seen on YouTube or Instagram.

I should mention that the previous 2 weeks before I would be driving out to Grantsville-Tooele area to the Utah Motorsports Campus, I was dealing with a clutch issue on my 2002 WRX. I got the clutch working properly like 1 or 2 days before I would make the 100 mi roundtrip drive. So, I was a little nervous to be driving so far from home. The Suby drove great and had 0 issues. I rolled the windows down, cranked up the Beach Boys music, which is a Saturday tradition and enjoyed the 50 mile drive west. Here's a picture I grabbed of the UMC sign before exiting Tooele. You can see the Great Salt Lake out the window.

This photo was taken as I was leaving the campus. It really is a campus. They have the big road course, a go-kart track, a couple off-road tracks for stadium trucks and motoX and a couple parking lots where they had AutoX for the Drive Optima event and a local drift event on the other side of the property. 

The suby is a good lookin' car eh? I love the simple silver on silver look! I love the Enkei NT-03M wheels too! Those "Falken" tire letters are holding on tight... hhhhhhhh :( Can't wait when they start to peel or I replace them with new tires.

Let's start off with the most recognizable car for me, Brian Hobaugh's 1973 monster Camaro. Just google this car and you will find feature articles for it going back to 2012. It has continued to evolve. It's a seriously cool machine! It sounds and looks aggressive. 

Hard to pick which one to go with next, but I'm going with this 1970 C3 Corvette nicknamed "Rambo"!
Rambo Pro-Touring C2 Vette article.
Read that article for more details and watch the video. The highlights include a 450hp LS6, T56 6 speed and JRI coilovers (best in the biz)! I love the green paint and fender flares. Serious cool grip machine!

Continuing with the 1970's Chevy theme, check out this 1969 K5 Blazer.
Laid-Back K5 Pro-Touring Blazer article.
Thank you to for putting up this article and for all the great YouTube video content from many autox and track events in the Southwest/California area. I'm a huge fan!
This Blazer is actually from Idaho and had its engine done at JDP Motorsports, which is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. How about a SpeedTech frame, 560hp LS3 and 315/335mm wide tires front and rear! Beautiful hot rod!

OK, time for a Ford. John McKissack's 1966 Ford Fairlane is rad! He's nicknamed it "Riverside Spec" and you can find "RS" decals in a few places. Check out's YouTube video here: In The Paddock Ep.6 Video
Here's the highlights: 427 Dart block, T56 6 speed, JRI shocks with Mike Maier cantilever torque arm suspension, 18x12 wheels and 315/30/18 stickies! Nuff said! I love the flares and aggressive stance!

This S197 Shelby GT500 was very fast and finished in the top 5 for the entire event! I don't have any details, but it stood out and was one of the many modern Mustangs. 
What was odd was there was 0 Mustangs pre-Fox body. And there was only 1 Fox body Mustang. I found that kind of odd. I feel like there are way more 60's Mustangs (especially 64-66 model years) driving around the streets compared to 67-73 Camaros, but on track, there seems to be the opposite scenario. Not sure why that is?

Here are a few more hot rods that I was diggin. I'm not sure what it is, but I love Pro-touring hot rod trucks from the 60-70's. I'm also a big fan of the modern Camaros, especially the 2016 and newer with the newer chassis (aka lighter chassis). 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

1964 Dodge Polara Pro-NASCAR-rod

 Kids and wife are all busy. I know nobody is blogging anymore. But, I don't have a project car and I'm tired of consuming everyone else's YouTube videos and Instagram photos. Honestly, those are the only real car related media I go to anymore. I will still drop in to once a day, but it's not the same as it used to be. Actually it's probably more about me not being the same as I used to be. I'm not sure what it is. The small displacement sport compact car is just not giving me the same dopamine hit it did for the last 20 years. LOL I've been craving the big V8 rumble! I really digressed there didn't I?

I decided to write. I sat down at my "new office" at my computer. I'm actually working from home the last month. This means I've only driven about 200 miles in the last 4 weeks. 100 of it was to drive out to UMC (Utah Motorsports Campus) to see my hero cars dodge cones. I'll do a separate blog about that. 

I have huge respect for 90's and 2000's sport compact cars. The Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru WRX are the 2 I have followed and liked the most since 2001 or so, especially when the WRX came to the USA in 2002 and the Evo in 2003. Times change, people change. I'm no longer 23 years old. I'm actually 43 years old. Yes, I'm driving a 2002 WRX right now. LOL I love these cars. 

I'm just letting the thoughts flow down through my finger tips onto this keyboard. The other part of my car enthusiast brain is one that is sucked in by history, by nostalgia, by the past. The origin of hot rodding goes back to the V8. It goes back to the 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's. The origin of hot rodding in the Hechtspeed family really began with my dad and his brother in the late 60's, early 70's. There is this really big part of me that is so drawn into the 60's hot rod era. I've shared a little about my dad and his brother and their cars. I've actually gone to look at 2 different 1964 Mercury Comets I found on sale on the KSL classifieds. I was never going to buy them. Sure, I believed if they were in good enough shape I could talk my wife into letting me buy one. Fact is I'm still not in a place where I can realistically have a project car. 

So, 2 weeks ago or so, I had this thought to go check out KSL, it had been awhile, maybe I'd find something cool for sale. This is what I found. A 1964 Dodge, labeled as a "400". The ad said it was a "real 383, 4 speed car".

Look at that roofline! I don't know if its my bias from being so hooked on my dad's 1964 Comet Cyclone or what, but I think 1964 was the single coolest year for hot rods and muscle cars. 

I'm sure the low starting price point was a factor in it catching my eye. $1900!? You kind of can't go wrong with that price! It looks pretty straight. The car guy rationalizations kick in strong with this one! There are no good interior pics, no pics of the floor boards. There are 2-3 pictures of the empty engine bay. There is no engine or transmission, hence the cheap price. But, the potential is endless!
So, what would I do with this thing? Here's some ideas I found by simply googling "1964 Dodge Polara" and "1964 Dodge NASCAR". 

I can't get over that 1964 Dodge roofline. It gets me everytime! The exterior design is very reminiscent of my dad's 1964 Mercury. Very similar tail light design with the 3 sections on each side. The front end design is also similar. The Plymouth version has the quad, equal size, head lights that look like those of the '64 Mercury. 
I have an Insta-friend, "tef_yensen", who is building a 1965 Ford Galaxie with a Vintage NASCAR build theme. Strip away the racing livery of these 2 Dodge's above and you have an aggressive looking hot rod man! Big wide tires, steelie wheels, lower ride height, side exhausts, stripped down interior and 4 speed transmission you shift with your right hand and left foot!

These next 3 photos were found when I began putting "restomod" and "pro-touring" in the search bar after "1964 Dodge Polara". Love the big hood scoop on this white "hot rod" variant. 
Isn't it crazy how many different ways you can build a 1964 Dodge? Obviously any car can be built in so many ways. I just happened to be looking at a 1964 Dodge Polara right now. ;)
I couldn't find a ton of detail, but this brown/gold and patina'd '64 Polara belongs to Jesse James. It has a full Roadster Shop chassis, 1500hp twin turbo Hemi. Watch this 2-min clip on YouTube of Jesse talking about it. 

He comments in the video that Polara's have only really been built one way, the old man hot rod style with Torq Thrust wheels. He wanted a driver built with a pro-touring driver in mind. I dig it! 

I think the only twist I'd put on my version, would be a little NASCAR thrown into the mix. See the front wheel and tire package on the "Hill Country Hustler"? It's too small! I am all about the "square stance" look and handling. My favorite look is the aggressiveness of wide wheels and tires on all 4 corners. This car is a little too low. This restricts how wide you can go up front. 

Here's the quick and dirty build! Find a used 5.7 modern EFI Hemi with a 6 speed with NASCAR side exit exhaust, do some suspension work to get the car to take corners (Roadster shop chassis since I'm pretending I have the budget), some black Wilwood 6 and 4 piston brakes, an Alcantara wrapped Momo Prototipo steering wheel and black Corbeau seat with harness bar for track days, simple black racecar style interior panels and carpet and some 18x11 modern, clean and simple wheels with at least 30/30/18 tires. Christy can make a magnetic vinyl decals when I'm headed to the track and just want to turn up the NASCAR theme for a weekend.

There you have it! I built my own 1964 Dodge Polara PRO-NASCAR-ROD!

Friday, February 26, 2021

Out with the old, in with the...old

Get out the popcorn, this is gonna take a minute...

Where do I even start? I bought a Platinum Silver Metallic (PSM) 2002 Subaru WRX sedan. I sold my Roma Red 1999 Civic DX Hatchback. There it is!  :) LOL What happened to the Civic you ask? Ya...about's a long story. It started last June when I got a nice bonus from work. I got clearance to spend a good chunk on my car hobby. #partyhatemoji!!!! #allthehappyemojis!!!! Stoked, right?! Well, it started out great! So, the Civic was modified only minimally. With the coilovers, upper control arms with camber adjustment and lightweight 15x7 949Racing wheels, it had a good start. The obvious area needing attention to really become a performance car is more power and torque. Herein lies my problem. This was the beginning of the end of the Civic for me. "Just do an engine swap! Duh!!" Ya, engine swap. Well, there's this thing called Smog, emissions testing, CARB E.O., etc etc. Hhhhhhhhhh :( So, yes, I could do a swap and just skirt the system. Then get pulled over and get my car impounded, big expensive ticket, blah blah, basically big problems for me. Sure, others don't care and make it happen. So, I talked to a local Honda guru who works at a shop and does emissions tests, etc. I couldn't find much online. There's not many doing emissions legal swaps and each state is a little different, so hard to get good details on what engines are legal to swap and what is all needed. This being my daily driver, having the car down for weeks was just not an option. I probably could have afforded a B series swap. I really wanted to do a K series swap. I think if I saved a little longer, a K swap would have been doable. I even found the number of the Davis County Emissions Test Center supervisor who is responsible for emissions in my county. I called him back in December. It was my last push to make it happen with the Civic. We talked on the phone one Friday afternoon for 30 minutes. He mentioned that the rule has been that the engine needs to have been offered in that chassis. The only engines offered in my chassis, which was 96-00, was my engine, the D16 non-vtec which makes 106hp, the D16 VTEC which makes 127hp and the B16A2 from the 99-00 Civic Si which made 160hp/111tq. The B16 is a great engine. But its a 1.6L just like the engine already in my car. Sure, yes, no doubt its an upgrade. There are issues with it for me and my goals. First, its hard to find as it was only available for 2 model years. Second, its only 160hp. The "bang for the buck" is not enough for the time, money and effort. I was trying to figure out if that was really the only swap option. The Davis County emissions guy was a car guy. He knew what I was doing and why. He wanted to help me. He was busy with end of year audits and reports and most importantly, he had received a new regulations book from EPA and when he looked up my car, it was not the same rules any longer. He said he would need time to research it. I left him a message in early February. He called back and left me a message saying he hadn't figured out anything yet and he even talked to the Weber county emissions guy and he didn't know the answer either. I think that was my answer. Through in all the issues noted above and the Civic was not going to get a swap. 

One of the last pics of the Civic taken by Keith

The other factor playing into my decision to sell the Civic was (BaT). In the first 2 weeks of February 2021 2 95 Civic Si hatchbacks sold for $9000 and $18000. The first was a white one with some rust and hail damage and yet still sold for $9k. The red Si that sold for $18k had 84k miles, clean title and an minor accident on the Carfax. My eyes saw dollar signs! These were both OEM factory fresh cars, not modified like mine. This ends up being my doom. I saw BaT my way to a different car with much more potential. I knew I could get $5-6K for my car locally, but thought if I could get $8-12k on BaT I could really get something cool. 

So, if I sold my Civic, my biggest dilemma would be what to replace it with. Back in August and September, I actually test drove 2 Mustangs. Originally, after realizing back in June-July that a swap was not a good use of my resources for the Civic, I went down a V8 rabbit hole. My budget was in the $5-11k range (sell Civic for $5-6k, add $5k of "fun" money). Brent has a 2005 Mustang GT 4.6L 3V and its rad. He's done 5-6 track days (between Willow Springs and Buttonwillow). That was my first focus. I found a light blue 2007 Mustang GT 5 speed in Bountiful on KSL for $10,500 with 82k miles. Decent car. Mostly stock, just a catback. I wanted to get it. I made the mistake and had Christy run a carfax before agreeing on a price. Paid the $40 for clean carfax and then started talking price. I offered $9300 or something and he immediately said he already turned down offers of $9500. Huh? I offered $10k and he said he'd go down to $10300. I was out at that point. I don't think he wanted to sell it, his wife was making him get rid of it. I told him I'd think about it but I didn't want it at that high of a price. I walked away from that liking the power and torque, but not liking the handling and heavy weight. It drives like a truck. 

A few weeks later I'm on KSL hunting again. I find a 2000 Mustang GT (New Edge). The guy had a "clean" 1994 GT too in white, all stock. It looked just like my 94 Mustang. By the time he got back to me, he had sold the New Edge but said the SN95 was available and in better shape he said. I went and checked it out and drove it. Again, nice power/torque but drove even more like a truck. Just not enjoyable, not my driving style at all. I dug my own grave by telling Christy "I'm not a Mustang guy". I do love Mustangs. Mustangs are in the Hechtspeed blood. I love what my dad and brother have done with there's. Even my nephew has a sick S550 Mustang GT. But, my driving style is not very compatible with a Mustang. I'm not comfortable drifting, hanging the tail out, doing burnouts. I'm a sissy that way. I'm a "grip" driver. FWD and AWD are much more my jam. 

So, a few months go by. I keep hunting KSL. I keep thinking maybe I just keep the Civic as is and slowly modify it, do Wilwood big brakes, maybe a Buddy Club or Corbeau race bucket, some sway bars and go autox it. You know, keep it simple, enjoy it as is with some minor upgrades over time. 

I thought I had found my go-to, long termer, the BRZ/FRS/GT86. It is basically a newer version of my Civic, with a K swap (200hp) but with RWD without having to do all the swap work. They are going for about $13-16k. Win win! So, late January, early February I'm hunting KSL for a 86. I find a world rally blue 2013 BRZ with a Jackson Racing supercharger kit for $17500 with 2 sets of wheels or $16500 for just the winter set up (wrx wheels on Blizzak winter tires). I texted the guy and set up to go see it Monday, Presidents Day on a day off. Christy and I drove down to West Jordan to check it out. It was pretty sweet, pretty clean. Only 52k miles. I had equal length header and catback as well. So, it didn't have that suby rumble exhaust note, but it was pretty quick. Not as quick I was thinking it'd be, seeing as it was touted to be making 280whp. Felt more like 280 at the motor. Christy definitely noticed it had a non-existent backseat. When we got in the car and I put my seat in position, the back of my seat was literally touching the back seat. No bueno!  I was thinking "we can make that work". I wanted the car, agreed on a price and a day to do it. I'm stoked, a supercharged BRZ is way cool! So, we head home and stop off at Costco to get gas and pizza. I check my phone and there's a text from the seller saying "Um, talked to my wife that you're serious about the BRZ (ya, I said I want to buy it, I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious!) and we're not sure we want to let it go, we're super attached to it." Ummmmmm..... ok? Let me know what you decide? Question Marks!!!???? Hhhhhhhhh Really?! Who does that?

So, this was the tipping point in me ending up with another WRX. We talked it over and considering I need an actual backseat to carpool kids to baseball #dadtaxi 

So, the last chapter. If I'm not a Mustang guy, and now I'm also not a BRZ guy, what guy am I? Back to KSL I go..... Fiesta ST? Focus ST? GTi, GLi? Nope....WRX? Ya, let's look for a WRX. If you were to ask me back in June when I was starting to look for the next car, the WRX was the last one on the list. My thought was "Been there, done that". LOL Like that ever stopped me before. I owned 3 different 90's Civics. 95 EX Coupe, 98 LX Sedan and finally the 99 Hatchback.

I found a few 2008 and up WRXs in the $13-15k range with lots of miles and no mods. I like the hatchback models from '11-14 with the flares. The 2015 and newer are still too expensive and not very appealing to me with their looks. While KSL surfing for WRXs I spot this silver 2002 WRX. Honestly the 2002-03 Bugeye WRX is the best WRX in my opinion. But, I probably think that because the WRX came out when I was in college, at the beginning of my becoming a japanese car guy. It was so different and unique compared to anything on the road at the time. It responded so well to basic exhaust and boost up mods. I even convinced my Mustang loving dad to go look at one and he ended getting a 2003 WRX in World Rally Blue brand new. He still has it to this day, 360,000+ miles and a couple engine rebuilds later. 

The night the BRZ was maybe no longer for sale, I found this WRX and texted the guy. It had a long list of new parts, including a newer crate engine, newer paint, STi injectors and VF28 turbo, bigger Top Mount Intercool, FortuneAuto Coilovers, and the piece de resistance, Enkei NT03 M+ wheels in 18x9.5 +40mm with wide 255/35/18 Falken summer tires along with Prodrive P7 winter wheel/tire set up. I drove it Tuesday night and agreed to buy it for the asking price. A clean, well modded bugeye WRX doesn't come up for sale often, so I felt like I had to jump on it. We completed the transaction on Saturday at the America First inside the Harmons here in Farmington. Ironic, because that is exactly where I sold my first WRB 2002 WRX back in December 2013. Funny how that works. That's just over 7 years ago, but it feels way longer ago than that.

I'm lovin' the car so far. The first thing I did was remove all the window stickers. I love Speedhunters but I don't need more attention than the loud exhaust note and white tire lettering is giving it already. I also used my E303 plastic/vinyl protectant spray and detailed the interior. Looking great! I'll have to do another blog to give more details on the car and how it drives, what's been done to it and what my plans are. 

In the end, I basically broke even with selling the Civic, adding my "fun' money and buying the WRX. I need to tell some of the story of my experience selling the Civic. That was interesting...

Friday, March 27, 2020

INSPIRE: YK*RKEW EG6 Civic is now the fastest NA FF at Tsukuba Circuit-56.070 seconds

Since yesterday's post on the GNR EK9, I've been researching more Instagram accounts and YouTube channels along with reading the 4 Parts to "The Chronicles" Attack Tsukuba event posts. I found out that the Yellow Factory R KEW (Kanagawa Engine Works) sponsored EG6 Civic hatchback is now the fastest NA FF (front engine-front wheel drive) machine with a best lap time of 56.070 seconds. He is knocking on the door to that 55 second barrier. Wow!

I want to make sure I give credit to those taking these photos.

So, enjoy these photos from The Chronicles 4 posts. Find more here:
Please also jump over to Joey Lee's YouTube channel here:

Please also check out @shuboxinc Instagram page. This dude lives in Japan and Vancouver and covers the racing scene in both places. He also has a YouTube channel found here:

Without these dudes taking their time and money to travel to Japan and photograph and video these events and cars, I wouldn't have them, so big thank you!

Ok, back to the Yellow Factory * Racing Kanagawa Engine Works EG6 Civic hatch time attack car.
My notes on the car are:
Yellow Factory*RKEW EG6
K24, ITBs, ???hp/770kg (1694lbs)
Big aero, wide fenders f & r
Photo by Joey Lee of "The Chronicles" 
My point in writing this blog entry is to appreciate this car and its lap times, see the similarities to those of the other Top 5 Hondas and the differences. Because there are really no rules except to run street legal sticky tires, the creativity of Time Attack leaves it open to each team copying what works and coming up with their own tricks along the way using trial and error.

An interesting thing too is the "Time Attack season" in Japan is pretty short. It's during the winter months. Why? Cold dense air makes more horsepower and less stress on the powertrain. If the sun is out, the cool air and sun keep the track surface warm enough for grip but not so hot that the tires get greasy and slippery. Makes sense. Also only makes it possible for 3 big events. At least, that's all I'm really seeing during these months. That could be partially due to the small amount of coverage I see online. IDK.

Big front aero, wide wheels/tires, carbon body panels
Wide fenders, wide wheels/tires up front, carbon hood, doors, hatch and wings. I noticed the yellow tape sealing off the front splitter to the bumper. Cheap and functional. Heat and air vents in the hood.

Here was my first clue that the YF RKEW EG6 had set the fastest lap time. Thanks @shuboxinc! 56.0 is insane! It's super fast!

Notice the long shifter. I'm pretty sure that is a

Here's a video of the car a year ago (Feb 2019) run a 56.697 sec. In an entire year he's gained .627 seconds. A years worth of development and driving! Hours of hard work! Lots of money! All for .627 sec. LOL Much respect!

So, I know this is a K24 powerplant. You can see ITBs, which Joey Lee's article says are Toda Racing Sports kit. A titanium strut brace, tube front radiator support. I don't know the power level.
The weight of the car is even lighter than the GNR EK9, by 176lbs. That's not chump change. 1694lbs is feather light. Part of the difference could be the EG chassis is slightly lighter than the EK chassis.
Super cool picture looking down on the paddock at Tsukuba. Man and his machine! Pretty cool that the rear hatch is still functional. You can see the rear side windows are lexan or carbon as well just like the GNR EK9.
The YF*RKEW EG6 and GNR EK9 are very very similar in build design. Let's see if we can spot any differences.
One difference I spotted was the YF EG6 has a rear carbon diffuser for cleaning the air flow out the back of the car and likely helping with downforce. Both cars are running 295 (or larger) fronts and smaller rears. Both have K24 engines. What I don't know is if either have standard 6 speeds or sequential gearboxes. That could cut down on gear change times and allow for customized gear ratios. The details of the drivetrain specs are just not known in the public so there could be some key differences there. Also, the "driver mod" is another big factor in lap times.

56.070! There you have it! The gold...errrrr....yellow standard for all other Honda time attackers to beat!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

INSPIRE: GNR EK9 Tsukuba time attack machine

Time for some more INSPIRE. The other night, I started getting hyped up about time attack focused Civic hatchbacks, specifically the 1996-2000 model years, or the "EK" hatchback. Now, the EK9 chassis code is technically the Civic Type R for JDM market from 1997 to 2000. Not all 1996-00 Civics are "EK" actually. My 1999 Civic DX hatchback is actually an EJ6. Doesn't sound as cool, right? :( The USDM 1999-2000 Civic Si coupe is "EM1". But, for simplicity sake, all 1996-00 Civics are just called "EK", the 1992-95 are called "EG" and the 1988-91 are called "EF".

As I was saying, I was getting a dopamine hit while researching details of the fastest naturally aspirated (NA) powered Hondas at Tsukuba time attack events.  The difficulty of finding details about these cars that are the most interesting to me are due to a few things. First, they're in Japan. I don't live anywhere near Japan and second I don't speak Japanese. (Maybe that's my first solution, learn Japanese). Third, google searching for these cars doesn't result in much. These owners/drivers are doing this for the love of the sport and the love of tuning and not for internet fame or money. They probably don't think they're doing anything special enough to be worth anything to others across the world. (you are! please share info!) They're in their own little time attack world. :) So far, the only places I can find anything on these cars are YouTube, Instagram and a couple websites of Americans who make trips over to Japan once in awhile. Here's some links if you're interested:

YouTube Channel: "Attack Official @Days"

Instagram page with awesome photos and names of the cars/drivers that are helpful:
@mistbahn and
The description for this IG page says "Honda PP1 BEAT (JDM Midship Kcar) for track. Mainly posting Honda track cars scene in JP. All photo shot by me except with comments.
Actually just clicked on the website and looks like its half English, half Japanese. Looks like the owner races a Honda Beat (mid engine tiny sports car) and runs a Racing Enthusiast website, mostly photography of race cars. Cool!

American websites of Japanese time attack/Honda enthusiasts:
The Chronicles is found at the website:
Not the most appropriate of names, but from my Honda padawan view, this is THE website for Honda tuning in the world. The close inner circle of Joey and the The Chronicles friends are the trend setters for Honda street cars from the late 80's to 2000 (EF, EG, EK and the Acura Integra counterparts (DA, DC2)). Joey and friends make trips to Japan and have become friends with some of the big well known Japanese Honda Civic tuning shops. Joey doesn't cover only Hondas, he covers all JDM tuning scene stuff. But, his roots are in Hondas and he covers all the biggest, highest quality Honda gatherings in Southern California.

Narita Dogfight website:
Narita Dogfight YouTube channel:
Again, this is another Southern Californian Honda guy. He's building a sick EM1 Civic coupe time attack car. That car is worth a separate INSPIRE look. He rarely posts about it though and like many, gets busy with life and goes many months without sharing updates. Again, this site and his YouTube channel are not 100% 90's Hondas but its the only site where he's done some in-depth feature blogs on a few of the top Civic time attack machines from Japan.

Ok, that was a long intro, but I feel strongly to recognize and link you (and myself in the future) to their websites and YouTube channels. They are the ones supplying all the goods for now. I'll take you through my research process. I started by scrolling down the video list of the Attack Official @Days channel looking for any EF/EG/EK Civic hatchbacks. Then I would watch them and take notes on any info the video gives out. Like take a look at this picture below. It gives the cars power level, weight in kg (to convert to pounds, just multiply kg by 2.202462. I always shorten it to 2.2), tire model and size, sometimes the goal lap time or Personal Best lap and maybe some basic engine info. Then I take any additional notes I can by what I see on the car itself. Some info may be generic like the color and whether the car has simple or "big" aero mods, wide front fenders, etc. I'm just writing down what I observe. The other important piece of info is the cars are usually known by a title, which is based partly on the tuning shop that the car is built or sponsored by and the chassis code. In this blogs case, its the "GNR EK9".

The car I want to share and talk about today is the GNR EK9 Civic, owned by Asai Yasuji. It is one of the "Top 5" fastest NA powered Civics, with a fastest lap time of 57.823 (Update! found in The Chronicles posts from the February event that the new personal best time is 57.100sec) seconds at Tsukuba Circuit. Technically he's the 4th  (not sure where this puts him on the top Honda NA FF list) fastest according to the cars and lap times I've found so far. These pictures are all from the article posted by Narita Dogfight in March 2019 at this link here:
Go take a look at the original pictures and NDs story.
Screenshot from Attack Official @Days YouTube channel of the GNR EK9.
The notes I put in my iPhone "Notes" was:
GNR EK9 Asao Yasuji 57.823sec 57.100sec
link to the Narita Dogfight story
280hp/880kg (1936lbs) "Perfect" power to weight
295/30/18, custom ohlins, Endless brakes, custom radiator support
Big aero, wide fenders front and rear
GNR EK9 at Tsukuba Circuit pitlane ready for an attack session
Let's start with a stock EK9 Civic Type R. Stock power was 182hp (185PS) @ 8200rpm (8400 redline), 118lb-ft @ 7500rpm (LOLOL!!!) from a high revving 1.6L B16B and 5 speed. Google says it weighed 1090kg or 2403lbs. That means this car has dropped 210kg or 462lbs. That's 19% of its original weight is gone. Wow! That's significant. Just dropping the weight and doing no additional mods would transform the car. The EK9 Type R came in Championship white (NH-0), Sunlight Yellow (Y-56) for "facelift" or Kouki years, which were 1999-00, Vogue Silver Metallic (NH-583M) and Starlight Black Pearl or Flamenco Black Metallic was it was also called (NH-592P). So, this sharp looking blue is a custom non-factory color.

Let's talk weight. 462 lbs less than stock. So, my guess is carbon fiber #allthethings. Roof skin, doors, rear hatch, hood, front fenders and even side rear windows (maybe the rear hatch glass is carbon or just dark tint? Can't get a clear photo to tell). Then fully gutted interior (sorry, couldn't find a good interior photo). The front radiator support is chopped out and replaced with tube chassis pieces. No headlights remain. Typical dedicated racecar, there's nothing left that is not serving a go-fast purpose.
Close up shot of the front suspension. You can see the tube front support holding the body work and front aero. The Endless brakes (Japanese brand popular in racing circles), the Ohlins coilovers and the carbon headlight cover.

Then there's the tires. 295/30/18 tires on a 90's Honda???!!! That is INSANE!!! Stock was 195/55/15. 195mm divided by 25.4 converts mm to inches. 195/25.4 = 7.68" inch width. A 295 is 11.61" inch width.  How about 4x2 = 8" of more rubber on a car that weighs less than 2000lbs. The EK9 was a 5 lug (assuming 5x114.3 bolt pattern), so I don't think anything special was done to fit these super wide wheels. They bolt up. Oh, except for the fact that the fenders have to be tossed and you need custom wide units to replace them. See my last post for my idea of a clean, wide fender option (TF-Works).
GNR EK9 with K24 power
The Attack video of the 57.823sec run says this car is making 280hp. Or is that 280PS? I don't know the difference. haha Something with the different ways to measure power...That's 100hp more than the stock B16B. Of course, this isn't a B series engine under the hood any longer. This is a K24 with ITBs (Individual throttle bodies). The K24 stock was about 200hp around the world. This is probably a K24 with a K20 head for better flow and its going to be fairly well built, meaning aftermarket cams, header, throttle body, pullies (ditch the accessories like a/c), custom light weight (most likely titanium) catless exhaust and an ECU tune of some kind. Besides what you see, I have no idea what parts this K series is using or what's inside of it. This view also shows the cut out front half of the body and radiator support and front half of the internal fender.
GNR Racing EK9 in action at Tsukuba Circuit
Here it is in action. We haven't talked about the downforce aerodynamics at all. They're big! Look at that rear wing. Check out those front, double decker wings. The front bumper is actually fairly stock looking. You can see the transition from the front wide fenders to the bumper. The front grille looks blocked off with a carbon piece. The lower grille has an oil cooler (I think). The hood has big air vents extracting heat and letting air pressure out.

Final comment is the lap time of 57 seconds is really fast. I've seen video's on the same YouTube channel of high end cars, much more expensive cars, that are modified that are slower than this thing. The big lap time target for a fast car is the 1 minute barrier at Tsukuba. For comparison for how far time attack has come and for how far Honda Civic time attack builds have come, when I first started following closely the Tsukuba time attack lap record for a street car on "street" tires, the fastest lap time was 57 seconds. That was the record in 2002 by RE Amemiya FD3S RX-7. Who remembers the bright yellow JUN Super Lemon WRX STi time attack machine? Go take a detour and read this article:
There is some good Tsukuba time attack history in there.

The JUN Super Lemon STI was the Top Time Attack machine in 2003. It had 582hp, 495tq from a stroked 2.5L turbo suby flat 4. It's fastest lap was 55.9 seconds. It had 18x9.5 Advan RGs, 265/35/18 tires, big rear wing, mild front airdam, and all metal body parts. The record was short lived and in December 2003 the Cyber Evo took the crown with a 55.8 sec laptime.

Just compare the basics though. That JUN Sti had twice the power, probably weighed almost 1000lbs more, had skinnier tires and awd and is only about 2 seconds faster than the lowly Civic. This is where the Civic catches my interest. The Civic is pedestrian. Look at the name. Civic. It's civil. It's a commuter car. It's a car to learn how to drive in when you're 16. But, with the right combination it can be made to go faster around a track or mountain road faster than much more expensive and purpose built sports cars. The Civic is a car I can afford. It's a car I can commute in and modify. Now, of course, I can have a gutted track car to daily drive. But, eventually the Civic will be retired from daily duties and can be built into a Tsukuba time attack inspired track toy! I'll keep researching and being INSPIRED. There's more cars like the GNR EK9 that inspire me and I'll try and put up a blog about those soon.

Hecht Speed's 2005 Mustang GT track car (and its daily driving replacement Civic EX coupe)

An update is in order for Brent Rod's 2005 Mustang GT. We bought our red "hot rods" within a couple days of each other last year in April 2019. The Mustang has been given the Hechtspeed touch over the last few months. Or should I say Hecht Speed touch. Brent created a YouTube channel and he's been posting some track day videos.

Check out the YouTube channel here:

The first update is probably the fact that the Mustang's daily duties were replaced by this EK coupe.
White Honda Civic EX coupe is now the daily driver
The Civic coupe came with some bolt ons, Tein coilovers. Brent has changed up the wheels/tires and obviously fixed a bunch of things.

Brent's #5 Mustang GT 3V 4.6L on track at Buttonwillow's CW13 layout
I'll try and summarize the changes Brent has made. First, the exterior was changed up. The Saleen rear trunk wing/spoiler was removed. Brent fabricated his own fiberglass spoiler. He added a front lip spoiler. The wheels were also changed out for 19" GT350 with 325/30/19 and 285/30/19 Nitto Invo tires.
Cooling upgrades were also done to keep the under hood temps under control. Functional hood vents were installed and the stock fog lights removed.
Paddock at Buttonwill. Showing off the changed up rear mods.
The rear panel was blacked out with some vinyl and a new GT fender badge to replace the big bulky OEM badge.
Brent has done 3 track days so far. 1 event at Willow Springs "Streets of Willow" clockwise, 1 event at Willow in counter clockwise and 1 at Buttonwillow CW13.
Corbeau race seat for the track!
A Corbeau race seat was installed with S197 brackets from
Bullitt wheels replace the GT350s
The GT350 wheels were recently sold and some 17x9 Bullitts painted in Gold and some NT05 200 tread wear tires. These haven't been used on track yet. Waiting for coronavirus to finish cancelling events.
S550 V6 vs S197 GT
Brent got the chance to make a little cash by installing an X-pipe on his old 2016 V6 Mustang. It gave the chance to take some side by side photos and driving comparison.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

INSPIRE: Touge Factory (TF-Works) wide +50mm EK front fender

I mentioned in my previous post that there are a few blogs I want to do to log what other Honda guys are doing that inspire me right now. I have lots of ideas on this and need to start somewhere. So, I'll start with some of the street cars that I'm digging lately. 

LATOMMYLA and his zenki EK hatch "test fitting" Volk TE37 in 17x9 :O
"LATOMMYLA" has a very popular (in the Honda circles) YouTube channel and Instagram page. He lives in the San Diego area. He's had his YouTube channel rocking for like 2-3 years. He's had a couple EK chassis Civics. He works for a Honda dealership. He appears to be a young single dude living with his brother and parents and living the 90's era-Honda dream. :) He has a customer colored green (honestly I don't know what the name or code of the color is, but every time he has to paint fenders or bumper, it needs to be done at least twice to get the color to match the rest of the car). The EK hatch that makes up most of his posts and videos is not his daily driver. I've been following him since soon after buying my own EK hatch. I've learned a lot. Go check him out! Here's a link to his YouTube:
Tommy changes his wheels all the time. Usually its 16x8 very class and expensive legit Japanese wheels like Volk TE37 or Regamaster EVO. He runs sticky high quality tires, usually Falken Azenis. His suspension is pretty low but not "stance" low. What he's done recently has really inspired me! He bought some fiberglass Touge Factory wide front fenders. Then he took pictures test fitting 17x9 +15mm bronze Volk TE37, which is a Nissan GTR (R32, R33, R34) fitment/size. Wow! On a little Honda Civic! So aggressive! He is running 235/40/17 tires. He then finally found some black 17x9 +18mm Regamasters to match his 16x8 rears. 
LATOMMYLA with the "final" look, 17x9 Regamaster EVOs and 235/40/17 Falken Azenis under the Touge Factory TF-Works wide +50mm front fenders

Once I found out where these wide fenders are from, I quickly googled more images. I think separately (can't remember, I was in a search frenzy, going down the rabbit hole), I found Instagram account "shuhei1212" who lives in Japan. He has a white EK9 (Civic Typer R) with these front fenders and runs bronze Volk TE37v (v for vintage fitment/size) with what look like 225/50/15 Advan tires. These wide TF fenders are just so killer! 
Instagram member "shuhei1212" from Japan rocking the TF-Works on his Kouki EK Hatch. Those Volk TE37v and Advan meaty rubber look killer!

So, if you want to get a set of these fenders for your EK hatch, drop by Touge Factory's TF-Works website and drop down $400 + $120 shipping! It's definitely on my wish list.
The fenders are +50mm, which for those non-metric folks (like me) that's 50/25.4 = 1.97" inches. You can get them in zenki (1996-98) or kouki (1999-00) models. 
Shuhei1212 with Touge Factory wide EK fenders and TE37v's!
Shuhei1212 front quarter view! Along with the TF-Works fenders, he's also got the TF-Works carbon fiber brake duct and Tactical Art front lip! Except for the sunroof, this is a perfect set up in my opinion! Inspiring!

So, while my car is a street driven, daily driver, my biggest inspiration and end goal is to have a track/time attack build. So, I see these fenders as a way to get wide front wheels and tires for more grip at the track. I'd try and fit 17x9 wheels with 255/40/17 or even 275/40/17 tires. :) he he The first step would most likely be some 15x9s with 245/45/15 or 225/45/15 sticky rubbers. A boy can wish!