08

 Project Honda Civic:
Initial Driving Impression

By Annie Sam

Streets of Willow Springs
Streets of Willow, December 2002.
 
I can still recall the first time that I had taken my little Honda Civic to the racetrack, that winter of 2002. It was one of those rare moments in your life that you get butterflies in your stomach, to the point of nausea; your first day of kindergarten, your first date, your first time on the racetrack. We were at the Streets of Willow, in Lancaster, California. I had my newly installed Ground Control coil over kit. That day at Streets, was the first track experience with my Civic. It was also the first time that I had ever crashed a car.
 
Now, nine years later, even though I'd pocketed hours of seat time in high performance driving events, time trials, and wheel to wheel competition racing; the idea of facing my demons once again in my little Civic brought back the feeling of nausea as memories of that fateful day at Willow Springs resurfaced.
Nine years and 200,000 miles later, my fear of crashing my little Honda Civic again wasn't my only concern. My baby was battle scarred and war torn with years of daily abuse, adding to the list of things that plagued the back of my mind. Slipping clutch? Yes. Faded front brakes? Yes. Nonexistent rear drums? Yes. Blown shocks? Probably.
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Comments
pk386
pk386link
Monday, May 09, 2011 1:58 AM
As my friends would say "Wamp Wamp"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eieOoUUl9RY
Jasonrg77
Jasonrg77link
Monday, May 09, 2011 3:01 AM
That looks like what I want to experience at the track... without the head gasket stuff though.
Blue-Civic-Hybrid
Blue-Civic-Hybridlink
Monday, May 09, 2011 3:26 AM
Very nice, I can't wait to see what you do next to your car.
Discotea
Discotealink
Monday, May 09, 2011 3:46 AM
Dang it must be that driving nothing but nissan and infiniti has made me forget about the sound of the VTEC cam kicking in. Wow it brings back good memories, since i haven't hear that sound for about 6 years since i moved out of LA. What a sweet sound that is.
jeffball610
jeffball610link
Monday, May 09, 2011 3:52 AM
I'd like to see what a real Honduh looks like in the hands of a good driver. Most of the crap I've seen are ricers and drag racing in Civics. Can you give us any details on what upgrades you plan to do?
Maybe just start with a used motor or head gasket and some suspension and brakes? Are you planning a motor swap? Caged? Gutted? RWD? :)
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Monday, May 09, 2011 4:44 AM
I, too, am looking forward to seeing a properly-sorted, road-course-prepped Honda. All I've seen are ricers and drag-only cars.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Monday, May 09, 2011 5:50 AM
Annie - very entertaining read! Please, keep us updated. I'm interested as to which direction you guys head with this little bad boy/girl!
Maddog
Maddoglink
Monday, May 09, 2011 6:08 AM
Annie what a cool way to revisit all the feelings that someone has when they start to act on the path of "I wonder if I can really run my car on a racetrack" for REAL.

Hmmm, so if I dial up the shocks this is what happens, if I just stay in this gear until I get to Magic Mountain what happens . . . pfsssssssh!

Hope to see you at an event near us soon . . .

Say Hi to Kojima-san . . .
Annie Sam
Annie Samlink
Monday, May 09, 2011 5:01 PM
MD! Good to hear from you! I have been meaning to get out to one of your track events -- will put it on my calendar before the end of the year, got Bonneville and El Mirage ahead of you on the list! ;)

@jeffball610: no cage, no RWD. We wanted to keep this project as something that the weekend road warrior can relate to. This is also the same car that I commute to work in. In the pipeline we have a full suspension upgrade, and other goodies while we're in there rebuilding the motor. But, I can't give it all away so stay tuned!
jeffball610
jeffball610link
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 3:49 AM
I knew you wouldn't go all out with this or something silly like RWD. I just wanted to get ideas from you on where it was going. Don't forget something as simple as some decent gauges. The overheating may have been avoided if you didn't have to rely on that awesome factory gauge that reads C_H. My Colt reads normal on the factory gauge even when my car gets above 210*.
econobox
econoboxlink
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:57 PM
I love the direction you are going with the Civic.
Not sure if I missed it somewhere, do you have off the shelf Ground control coil overs? If not, what are the spring rates?
Looking forward to more updates!
Misnblu
Misnblulink
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 5:18 PM
Awesome article and some good driving. Good luck with the project and let's see those times drop. :)
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