Words: Warren Sare Photos: Glen McNamara
I knew my mate had a shell that he’d swapped for a 50g of tobacco” isn’t something we hear too often, and it doesn’t really seem to make sense when you are talking about a magazine feature car. Somehow though, these words — said by owner Nathan Claridge — seem very Kiwi to us here at NZPC. One thing they definitely are, is in keeping with the spirit of much of the Honda modifying that seems to go on in New Zealand, which is all about making use of what is available, borrowing bits off other models, and generally creating your own version of a real-life Mario kart.
This approach to car creation is hardly surprising when you learn that Nathan and his brothers grew up around hot rodding and spent weekends doing shed raids, swapping parts, and checking out countless shows. Indeed, the boys are pretty handy and, along with their fellow club members, like to do as much as they can themselves. The keen-eyed, or perhaps the dedicated Honda nerds, might find some of this looks a little familiar. That’s because Nathan appeared in Issue No. 247 with another of his creations — which met an untimely end. Fortunately for him, he was able to salvage parts from that and create what you see gracing these pages today.
If you’ve read any prior article of mine on the H-badge, you’ll know that I often enjoy the EG/EK banter that goes on along with the B-/K-/H-series engine argument, and Nathan’s ‘FORM51’ plate–wearing creation is firmly in the ‘early’ camp, with the combination of EG and B18C engine being the stuff of many a Fast and the Furious–watching teen’s dream (yeah, okay, they were coupes, but you get the idea). Anyone who has ever driven this combo knows just how much fun it can be. Nathan has turned the dial up way past 10, however, and thrown a turbo in the mix to generate 384kW of ego-eating street menace.
Taking a B18C block and filling it with Molnar rods and CP pistons, then ticking every ARP box is always a good start when you know you’ll be throwing some boost at a motor and it’ll be living near or on the rev limiter. You don’t ignore the head, either, so to the party have come Supertech valve springs and titanium retainers, matched to a set of GSC turbo T1 cams, and these got dialled in to perfection by Lin at Concept Dynamic Motorsports (CDM) via a set of Garage Racing adjustable cam gears.
Hondas breathe like an 0900 number, and that’s part of the distinct noise you either love or hate. The US-made Edelbrock intake and 70mm throttle body with custom piping work together with 1000cc injectors and a 320lph fuel pump to get the right mix of BP98 and air rammed into the system before it gets fed to the forced-induction gods.
Next, K-Fab got called in to knock up a custom manifold to play host to the Racing First GTX3582R, which is simply in your face as soon as you pop the bonnet of the super clean and decluttered engine bay, with boost being managed by a combo of Nathan’s right foot and a 44mm Go Fast Bits (GFB) external wastegate. It’s no real surprise that a smaller but more efficient three-core radiator has been used — when you look at the four-inch drain pipe coming off the side of the big turbo, you can see a full-size unit just wouldn’t fit. This really is one of those ‘everywhere you look, it’s been modified’ engine bays.
This chassis and engine combo is going to spend some time spinning tyres, and here is a little nod to that Honda mentality again with a Type R Civic gearbox mated to a single-plate six-puck clutch up for the task. The 16-inch Goodride semi-slicks often spend time at high wheel speed fighting for traction, but they look so true to style sitting on Buddy Club P1 rims in a dark metallic grey with the Wilwood calipers just hinting at the fact that not only is Nathan probably going to get to where he is going faster than you are, but he’s also going to brake later. Take an already light car, put it on a diet where anything unnecessary is removed, and you just know that this little monster can pull up super quick thanks to bigger drilled and slotted discs and race compound pads — because it’s science, right?
Externally, the clean colour look is called ‘Frost White’, and this has been applied over the Spoon-style kit that just screams compact racer. Take a look inside the car, and a pair of matching race seats further hints at this being a ride with bad intentions. Nathan and whoever is trying their best to hold on in the passenger seat get to enjoy the greatest audio hits of Honda engineering, as there is nothing else in here apart from gauges and a Tunerview screen.
Did I mention earlier this particular car makes 384kW? Maybe I did, but let me reinforce the real-life Mario kart thing again. Google tells me these cars weigh around the 1000kg mark standard, and that makes for a pretty potent power/weight combo, and one that is particularly rapid in a scenario like, say, the back roads of Morrinsville or a rolling race down a Hampton Downs straight.
As we finish up and thank the boys for their hospitality, you can’t help but wonder what could make this little weapon even more potent … and then there it is: “I think it’s about done for now … but then again, I always wanted one that was all-wheel drive,” Nathan tells us.
Guess we might be back to see this passionate Honda-head again in the future then.
This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 300