Words and photos by Michael Chandler
It takes a lot to grab my attention at the track. There are some ridiculous cars out there, as you’ve seen here many times, but then I laid eyes on KC Russell’s EF Civic. He was pulling off track after an HPDE session, and I saw the full glory of the livery on his hatchback.
Naturally, I followed him back to the day garage he was sharing with Zack Serna. Zack drives a Civic hatchback himself, one similar to KC’s but rather different at the same time. I chatted them up, and they agreed to let me shoot both of their cars. Since I saw his first, let’s talk about KC’s.
Firstly, let’s talk about the livery. The graphics package from stickymy.com are 103% JDM. Go look at some of the Kanjo Civics and tell me that this thing wouldn’t fit right in. The VIS carbon fiber hood has seen better days, but it being beat up adds to the feel of the car. So does the replica J’s Racing front lip. Rounding out the styling mods are a set of side skirts for an EK.
For a while, every track day Civic was on a set of 949 Racing wheels. Thankfully those days have passed (I dig the 949s, don’t get me wrong. Just got sick of seeing them on every Miata and Civic), and KC threw on some 15×7 Kosei K1 TS’s. Because it’s a track day hatch, he threw on a set of 205/50 Falken Azenis.
Front brake calipers and rotors donated from an Integra ,along with a master cylinder from a Civic EX and a set of Hawk DTC60 pads help reel in the rather light Civic. Helping with the lateral transitions and keeping the rubber on the tarmac are a set of KYB AGX struts and Ground Control coilover sleeves, a truly OG combination, and an Innovative traction bar.
Keeping the dreadlocked driver, or whoever is behind the wheel, and a passenger secured are a pair of Crobeau seats. Steering inputs are entered via the sweet, old school MOMO steering wheel. Just look at that thing!
KC picked up the car in May for $1500, with one big mod already done: the single cam motor was ditched in favor of the venerable B16A. 1.6 liters, twin cam and electronically controlled variable valve timing (hella mad vtaks yo), the B16A powered some of Honda’s best FWD, including the JDM EF chassis Si. Basically KC bought himself one of those. While a bone stock B16 swap is good, one with some mods is even better. He cracked open the ECU and installed a Mugen chip, and threw a Toda replica header on the cylinder head. That exits into a Greddy exhaust. Hiding under the gold foil wrap is a K&N Intake.
A lot of aftermarket radiators for Civics are half size. Think of a big cereal box, that’s about the size of one of those radiators. They do a fine job, but a full size radiator is… well it’s bigger. And this one says Racing Series on it, so that’s something. The radiator is big, but the battery is diminutive. The Odyssey battery provides plenty of juice for a day at the track, and weighs a lot less than your average battery. All of this adds up to a very potent track day car. It has plenty of power, but there are far more powerful swaps one can shove under the hood of a Civic.
We’ll talk about that tomorrow.