09th Feb2016

I Blame Dallin

by Michael Chandler

Dallin Evo X Revisited CAMautoMag-13

I blame him for me desire for an Evo X.  Why’d you have to build such a cool one Dallin?  HUH?!?

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*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
11th Nov2015

A Tale of Two Civics Part 2

by Michael Chandler

 

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

 

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Zack’s EG is another Civic that, in more civilized parts of the world, came with a B16 under the hood.  We never got those stateside, which is a shame.  It’s also a shame we never got the Accord Euro-R, a hotter version of the Acura TSX.  But because enthusiasts are an enterprising group who have access to the internet, and sometimes have more money than sense, we can do some interesting things.  Like shoving the Accord Euro-R’s K20A under the hood of an EG Hatchback.

While KC’s Civic is rather mild, Zack’s is serious business.  The beating heart of the car needs air flow to keep cool and make power, so the OEM bumper has been modified to accommodate that need for air, and the hood has received a KSR hood vent to increase flow.  Sending air through the engine bay helps, but channeling it around the car helps make the car turn laps faster.  A Spoon style front lip sits above a customer splitter, which is attached via PCI brackets.

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The Spoon style spoiler out back looks sharp, and probably does something aerodynamically.  And the APR mirrors are smaller, and therefore are hit with less air than the OEM mirrors.  So let’s move on to something we all have a better handle on.  Well, most of us anyway.

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This Civic is still on a set of 949s, but these are massively wide 15×9 949s.  Those wide wheels are pushed out 18mm in the front by a set of custom 18mm spacers, and 10mm Ichiban spacers in the rear.  Sticky Nitto rubber is on all four of the wheels.  Behind the rollers are a set of Wilwood Dynapro 6 piston calipers, grabbing on to 11.75 inch rotors in the front.  Out back are a set of Fastbrakes 11″ caliper bracket and rotor kit, featuring Integra calipers.

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Zack’s suspension modifications are pretty intense, which makes sense considering he has a lot more power than stock.  He too is running Ground Control coilover sleeves, 700lb/in in the front and 750lb/in in the rear, but those are over custom valved Bilstein Sport shocks, originally intended for an Integre Type-R.  More ITR parts include rear control arms, sway bar and end links.  He’s also running Ground Control top hats, an ASR subframe brace (like so many of the other cool kids), and PCI spherical trailing arm bushings.  And rounding things out are Hardrace front and rear upper adjustable upper arms, and their bushing kit in the front.

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So you may be wondering why I brought up the K20A from the Accord Euro-R.  Well, it’s because Zack has swapped one in.  You may also be wondering about that heat exchanger in the front bumper.  That’s actually a big ass Vibrant intercooler with custom end tanks, and custom piping.  Why the Intercooler?  Tucked down in the engine bay, under the alternator, is a C38-61 Rotrex supercharger, utilizing a Kraftwerks bracket.

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The belt driven snail pulls air in through an AEM filter, and then after going through the Otto Cycle, it exits the head via a SSR 4-2-1 header and leaves the car through a custom 3″ stainless steel exhaust.  That custom piece features a Vibrant resonator and a Burns Stainless muffler.  Excess boost pressure, something any supercharger that isn’t a Roots type blower can build up, is relieved by a TiAL Q blow off valve.

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Slapping on a supercharger that’s power range is 272-720 horsepower necessitates adding some supporting modifications.  Things like fuel system and cooling upgrades.  1000cc Injector Dynamics fuel injectors supply the fuel to the head.  A 255lph Walbro fuel pump sends fuel to a Golden Eagle Pro Series fuel rail, via Earl lines (with accompanying fittings), an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator and Fuel Labs filter.  To prevent any starvation, a condition that has been the downfall of many a car, a 034 Motorsport surge tank with a Jay Racing 044 internal pump have been added.  And in case Zack wants to run magical corn juice, there’s a Continental E85 flex fuel sensor installed.

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A Rotrex spec’d oil cooler keeps the ever precious lubrication goo able at an appropriate temperature, while a custom C&R radiator with SPAL fans keeps the coolant (or distilled water, or whatever) cool and the engine in the optimal temperature range.  An Autometer oil pressure sensor helps Zack keep tabs on the internal dealings of his engine, and Hybrid Racing radiator hoses send whatever coolant he’s using into the various coolant passages of his engine.  And if things get a little too wild, he has modified Summit Racing coolant overflow and catch can to work in his swapped hatch.

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Other odds and ends include a K Tuned idler pulley, Karcepts throttle bracket, and Hasport engine mounts.  The whole endeavor is run by Hundata KPro version 4, which gets its information from all the different sensors (including a Hondata 4 bar MAP sensor), via a custom engine and charge harness, and a Hybrid Racing jumper harness.

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WE’RE NOT DONE UNDER THE HOOD!  Front wheel drive is all sorts of fun, because everything is under the hood.  An EP3 Civic Si gearbox, with 6 speed Euro-R gearing and the OEM limited slip diff translate the 420 horsepower and 268 lb/ft of torque into forward (and rearward) movement.  A Stage 4 Competition Clutch and R Crew axles put that power to the ground, and a Hybrid Racing RSX shirt shifter and shifter cables actuate gear changes.

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The interior is what you would expect in a 400+ horsepower trackday Civic.  That is to say, there’s not a whole lot.  A Recaro SPG seat, and its FIA certification, sit on a PCI adjustable seat bracket on the driver’s side, while an Integra seat sits on the passenger side.  A Schroth six point harness keeps the driver secured in the seat, and a 4 point Autopower roll bar provides some security in the event of an ass over tea kettle event.  A Personal steering wheel and Buddy Club shift knob get a lot of touching during a track session, and to keep track of the engine’s vitals a 7″ HP tablet has been enlisted and shoved into the dash.

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The Honda Civic has been a competent choice for track day shenanigans for years, and these two cars show that it’s still a solid choice for those wanting a blank canvas on which to paint their track adventures.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
28th May2015

When the Flame Dies Out

by Michael Chandler

Dallin Evo X Revisited CAMautoMag-15

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Nothing lasts forever.  Memories fade, seasons change, and projects run their course.  Such is the case with La Flama Blanca, Dallion Felton’s Evo X street car/RallySport Direct’s project car.  After two years and 80,000 miles, it was time to say goodbye.  So I made Dallin, and his little doge Hiroshi, drive to an office park so I could say goodbye to the car.  And also to play with his dog, but mostly to say goodbye to the car.

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The car looks mostly the same, sans all the vinyl decals.

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It still has the APR splitter, vortex generators and GTC 300 wing.  It sits on the same red 18×10.5 Volk TE37RTs, and it still has the Ohlins coilovers.  To be honest, this thing is pretty much the exact same as it was back in February.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  Back then it put down a healthy 293 horsepower and 289 lb/ft of torque, which is pretty good considering what power adders were installed.

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Fairly simple straight forward things: Tomei Titanium cat-back, test pipe, Big Mouth downpipe, and upper intercooler pipe.  A Mishimoto intercooler, oil cooler, and radiator are things you would find on a lot of street driven Evo Xs, as are the AEM intake and TurboSmart blow off valve.  The biggest changes are ones you can’t see.

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Those big changes?  A set of 1300cc fuel injectors from Injector Dynamics, a Cosworth high volume fuel rail, a TurboSmart fuel pressure regulator, and an AEM E85 capable 320lph fuel pump cradled in a Cobb Tuning fuel pump holder.  Oh, and a Cavalli Stage 2 Turbo.  The ball bearing, single scroll turbo has a 58mm inducer and 56mm exducer, and fits like the OEM turbo.  Despite fitting like the stock turbo, it makes more power than the stock turbo.  How much more?  With a fresh tune on 91 octane the car put down 330 horsepower and 277 lb/ft of torque.  On a  tune optimized for E70 (ethanol, corn fuel, stuff you can’t get at a pump in Salt Lake County as far as I know) it made 408 horsepower and 345 lb/ft of torque!

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Those are respectable numbers for a street car!  And there’s more room for the next owner to turn up the heat.  The turbo can move enough air for 600 horsepower.  And yes, I said next owner.  By now the car, and many of its parts have found new homes with other Evo Xs.  Fear not, Dallin is on to bigger and better things.

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And he still has his dog.

BONUS GALLERY!!!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
07th Jan2015

A Better Alternative

by Michael Chandler

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I feel safe in assuming that you do most of your maintenance yourself if you read this site with any regularity.  There’s a garage full of tools, a family or significant other who understands why you do these things, and a host of manuals in the garage and websites bookmarked to help you keep your vehicle road worthy.  But what if you encounter a problem with your vehicle that you can’t handle yourself?  It’s not a catastrophic failure, but it’s not as simple as fetching the correct size socket out of the drawer and adjusting.  What do you do?  Go to the dealer and  get it coming and going?  Trust your pride and joy to a “specialist” shop that specializes in 47 different makes?  Oh if only there was a dealer alternative!

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We’ve featured some good shops in the past, and we still highly recommend them.  But say you’re cruising around in your GTi and it does a VW thing and stops working properly.  It still works, albeit in limp mode, and you can’t figure out what happened.  The internet has no useful answers and your friends are stumped.  What do you do?  Dealer?  Viking funeral?  Hope it goes away on its own?  No.  You limp that thing up to Layton and get it to Makes & Models.  Why? Because you’re getting factory trained techs and service without having to go to the dealership and pay those ridiculous prices.

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Their bread and butter is the VAG makes: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, but they also service Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles.  And if you’re thinking about joining the uber-affluent set by getting a Lamborghini or Ferrari, then you’re in luck!  They already service some bulls and horseys, and they’re working on becoming a full blown Lamborghini service center.  Doing that requires acquiring all sorts of specialized tools and sending the techs off to get the necessary deutschetalian training.  However, if you prefer your mid-engine supercar to sport rings on the nose instead of livestock, you’re set.

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Not only do many a R8 come in for service, but members of the staff own them and even race an R8 LMS in NASA Utah region competition!  Technically TW Racing campaigns the R8, but if you wander in to the shop you might be able to see it tucked away in a corner of the show room.  You might even get to meet on of the drivers!  But back to your non-functional Golf for a moment.  You get it there, and the techs work their magic and voila! IT LIVES!  And for cheaper than what you budgeted for.  The more sensible amongst us would pocket the money and go about their day, but not us.  No no no, we see the massive list of companies they’re authorized dealers and installers for and suddenly that extra money is gone.  Who is on the list?

  • Akrapovic
  • 034 Motorsports
  • Global Motorsports Group
  • Integrated Engineering
  • APR
  • AWE Tuning
  • VF Engineering
  • and more

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But what if they told you that the car was toast?  OH GOD WHY???  Well you’re in luck!  They are also a dealership!  Yes, you can buy a car from them, have them service it, AND have them modify it!  It’s a one stop shop for all of your Euro needs!

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Thankfully there is an alternative to dropping your baby off at the dealership, and waiting to see how many 80 hour weeks you will need to work to pay off the bill.  It’s up in Layton, and they have a racecar hanging out in the showroom.

Makes & Models

1620 W Hill Field Road

Layton, Utah

(801) 546-2277

Makes & Models.com

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What you see here is something we can all get behind.  Literally and figuratively.  This is an Integra GSR that has, to say the least, a lot of work done.  To say the most it’s had the custom touch applied to almost everything.

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We met Rhett at Miller Motorsports Park at a NASA event about a year ago.  He was there campaigning his GSR in  Time Trial.  We really dug the car, and Rhett.  He’s a humble, down to Earth guy.  We chatted with him for a little bit, then he loaded up the car and disappeared back to Idaho.  For a while.  We honestly thought he had disappeared  and was gone forever.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and he and the car reappeared .

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In his absence from the track he did some work.  Some very custom work to the front end especially.   He didn’t really like any of the aftermarket bumpers on the market, but he liked some aspects of them.  So, he bought one and cut it apart.  He liked the Voltex bumper for the Lancer Evolution, so he grabbed some cans of spray foam and got to spraying.  He cut and trimmed, and shaped and formed, and he had a mold for a bumper.  But then he decided he didn’t like it, and started looking at cars closer to his Integra.  Specifically the Honda S2000, because both are long hood vehicles, as opposed to the stubby hooded Evo.  Out came the knife and the spray foam and, after filling the garage with foam shavings, he had the foam cored Carbon Fiber bumper you see before you.  It’s so strong you can stand on the inlet and only have to worry about scratching the finish. The canards are are also one off pieces, made by vacuum infusing utilizing carbon fiber with foam cores.

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Continuing the one off theme, the hood is also something Rhett and company fabricated.  No, he didn’t just cut a hole in the hood and slap on a set of DMax vents.  It’s vacuum infused carbon fiber with a foam core.  The fenders have been heavily modified with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass around foam cores.  The roof is also vacuum infused carbon fiber around a foam core.  Even the APR GTC 200 wing sits atop custom chassis mounted stands.  The only exterior parts that aren’t custom are the Pro Car Innovations side skirts, rear bumper and doors.

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The interior hasn’t received nearly as many custom touches as the exterior, but it does have some nice touches like the carbon fiber panel with Carlyle rocker switches.  Cobra Sebring Pro seats replace the factory chairs, with Crow five point harnesses holding the occupants in place.  A Tuner View II display has been custom mounted, and JDM arm rest and airbag deletes installed.  Gear changes are initiated with a Hybrid Racing adjustable shifter, and directional changes are made with a 330mm MOMO steering wheel on an NRG quick release.  And since he runs in NASA sanctioned events, and not some fly by night series, he has a 6 point certified roll cage.

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Rhett campaigns the Unlimited class, where his competition includes an R35 GTR and an Audi R8 LMS.  He couldn’t just roll out there with crazy aero and nothing more than an exhaust, so he got to work on making the B18C1 mill ready to handle the stout competition.  The block itself is stock and retains the OEM 81mm bore, but the pistons and rods have been tossed in favor of Wiseco Race shaped and prepped pistons atop Eagle rods.  ACL race bearings keep things spinning in an orderly manner.  The cylinder head has received plenty of love as well.  It’s been ported, polished and bowl matched and lovingly stuffed with GSC T1 camshafts and Supertech HD valve springs and retainers.

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Up top there’s a Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold with a 70mm Pro Series throttle body bringing in the air.  A Skunk2 composite fuel rail sends fuel to a quartet (…four) Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors.  A 6 port B&R breather box keeps the air out of the oil, before sending it through the custom thermostatic oil cooler setup.  The cooler itself is almost the size of a stock Civic radiator! The 1.8 liter VTEC mill is held in place with Hasport billet mounts with 94a durometer inserts, and Avid billet torque mounts

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All of that oil cooling is necessary because there is a Turbo By Garrett GT3071 turbocharger hanging off of a LoveFab Mini EQ manifold. The manifold has been wrapped and the turbo itself sits under a blanket, both are from DEI. That hairdryer gets it’s fresh air from a custom, carbon fiber ram air air box and massive four inch piping.   Since this isn’t some old turbo Colt, there’s an intercooler.  A big one.  A big, custom dual back door piece.  The excess pressurized air is releived via a Synapse blow off valve.  Because of the increased thermal load, there has to be a big, custom radiator.  The spent air, after exiting the turbo, leaves the car through a custom three inch V-Band exhaust with a five inch, round, Magnaflow muffler.  Other custom parts include a custom electric power steering, and water pump system.  There’s also a custom transmission cooler and pump set up.

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Which is good, because there’s an Elite/Gear X Transmission straight-cut 1-5 dog box that needs to be kept cool.  Shoved in that transmission is an OS Giken 1 way plate differential, which sends power to Drive Shaft Shop 3.9 axles and hubs.  Massive StopTech four piston calipers clamp down on 12.9 inch rotors.  There are bronze and spherical bearings all over the car from Password:JDM, Pro Car Innovations and Special Motorsports Projects.

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Password:JDM also provided the rear camber and lower control arms, and Hard Race provides front camber A arms.  There are Eibach Multi Pro R2 coilovers at all four corners, because adjust-ability is crucial when you’re chasing fractions of a second.  An ASR subframe brace  and Integra Type-R rear sway bar are, well, in the rear. Rhett has two sets of wheels for the car, and three sets of tires.  Variety is the spice of life, and being well prepared for most situations is pretty awesome.  Depending on the day the car is either on a set of 17×9 Rota Grids, or 17×9.75 XXR 527s.  His choices for rubber are 235/40 Toyo R888s, 225/40 Hoosier R6s, and finally 255/40 Hankook RS3s.

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As we were shooting the photos, Rhett told me his car was invited to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and also have a spot in the SEMA show.  This was an awesome thing to hear, and really cool to see his car at the show and roll out.  How did Rhett do? Well, much like the day we shot the car he was having issues.  The fuel pump went out, so a stock one had to be used.  This meant 30% throttle, no more than 6500rpm, and no VTEC.  Suddenly becoming the lowest horsepower vehicle sounds like it would have been a disaster, but Rhett managed to finish twenty-eighth out of  ninety-two competitors.  Not too bad for something built in a garage in Idaho.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

12th Jul2013

Simple S2000

by Michael Chandler

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 Keep it simple stupid

Simplify then add lightness

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

There are hundreds of quotes talking about the greatness of simplicity, and at one point we have all said we wanted something simple.  But some of us end up with something overly complicated and regret taking the path of over complication.  Nathan Luong has taken his Honda S2000 down the path of simplicity.

 

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The most noticeable modifications the the exterior are the Voltex Type 1V Wing, the OEM hard top and front lip and the APR GT3 carbon fiber mirrors.  Most people keep Honda’s roadster as a soft top, so seeing one with a hard top is a bit of a rarity.  Seeing one with the Voltex wing is a bit more of a rarity.  And you don’t really see Modulo badges everyday either.

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Nate also popped on some clear side markers from a S2000 CR and an AP1 S2000 rear bumper.  Underneath the Voltex wing is a smaller GT Motoring duckbill spoiler.

 

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The car is a bit more stiffly sprung thanks to a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers and a Cusco strut tower bar.  It sticks and stops better thanks to the 255/40 Advan Neovas wrapped around the 17×9 Enkei PF01s.  It’s not pushing a penny across a parking lot low, nor is it a super meaty track car stance.  It’s a nice look for a street car, and capable enough to turn some laps on a track if the situation arises.

 

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The simplicity continues under the hood.  An AutoTecknic carbon fiber cooling plate helps direct airflow to the K&N intake.  From there it makes it way through the engine and out of the car by way of an HKS 75mm exhaust.

 

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Cabin wise it’s painfully simple: Bride Vios 3 seat on Buddy Club Super Low Down seat rails, J’s Racing shift plate and a Team VooDoo shift knob.  He’s had that shift knob in all of his cars, and probably will continue to keep it in all of them.

Is this the most intensely built S2000 ever?  Not even close.  Is it a fun driving, handsome roadster?  And then some.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”  This car embodies those words.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.