AES Auto: A Civic for Street and Strip!

by Frank Ewald


Two years ago we first met the AES Auto team at Mission Raceway Park. That chance meeting has resulted in many hours of joint work on projects and the enjoyment of a great group of car enthusiasts. At the centre of it all is the shop - AES Auto. This performance facility works on all vehicles, but the dominant brands coming through the doors are absolutely Japanese. While that can be narrowed down even more to Honda - that would be too limiting. In the time that we have been involved with the shop, major projects have included BMW, Datsun, Nissan, Toyota, Plymouth, and, of course, Honda. Behind AES Auto are partners Paulo and Ellaine. Ellaine handles the front desk and paperwork. Paulo handles the fabrication, mechanics, tuning, and just about everything else required in the shop.


The AES Auto Civic is an ongoing work in progress. It's currently a ten second car that runs consistent 140 mph passes in the quarter mile. It's a street car. And, it has served as a tow truck to move disabled vehicles about the shop yard.

AES Auto takes a lot of pride in their work and enjoys celebrating with their customers. It is more than an owner/client rapport. Friendships are developed as Paulo and Ellaine take the time to get to know the owners of the cars that they are working on. They then celebrate the car and driver's results at the track. It is quite common for the team to gather at or near the shop then head out together to compete at the local dragstrip, Mission Raceway Park. Paulo gave us as much access to the Civic's build as we could take advantage of - well, Paulo stopped short of giving us the keys and sending us down the track!


There is just something awesome about seeing a FWD car out on the quarter mile. The rear skinnies, clearly labeled as fronts, mounted behind the huge, soft, and very sticky front tires. The car's stock LSD cannot handle the power so one wheel spins are normal.

Paulo started drag racing in 1999 with his 1990 Mazda RX-7 Turbo 2. On this car, he had done a JDM motor swap and was a very fun car. He has been working in the performance automotive industry since the year 2000. He and Ellaine have owned AES Auto since 2012. In 2014 when we first saw the Civic at the track, it was doing 125 mph runs at 11.4 seconds. Over the past two years improvements to the car have moved it to 145 mph runs at 10.4 seconds. AES Auto is not finished, as they are looking for a car that can run nines while still being able to drive it to and from the track.


Racers have informal communities that they are an integral part of. Drag Racers are a subset of that larger community and within that are smaller groups - like the AES Auto team. This is a group of racers who like working on their cars and benefit from having Paulo's expertise at hand. What you will appreciate is the laughter and love a burning rubber that they all share.

The car community is a close group. While individuals may have a preference for a specific drivetrain, make, or sport, everyone appreciates the work that goes into making a car - any car - perform well. In 2014, we met up with a long time internet contact Carlos Jos and wrote about his incredible Nissan NX2000 drag car. We will have an update on this NX in the not too distant future, but mention it now because AES Auto does all of the work on this beauty. That connection led to Paulo and AES Auto working on the NX GTiR that is this author's personal vehicle and favourite automotive subject.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:40 PM
Man, get some heatshielding on the manifold and turbo, it's probably loosing a ton of power right there.

Is that an LCON traction bar? I had one of those. They are so awesome. If you want, you can remove the rear half of the front lower wishbone too, it's essentially unused when you install the LCON bar. That way you can drop 8-10 lbs of unsprung weight. Although, you have to find an alternate way of mounting the sway bar, if you choose to keep it.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:47 PM
I never understand drag race builds. It's like half a build. They weld in a cage, but it does nothing to stiffen the car.

And, why keep all that weight in the car? It makes no sense. Pare it down. Every pound is being used against you.

People spend so much money on power modifications, and trannys and shifters, and yet they won't do the mods that are completely free?

Removing weight improves acceleration, deceleration and lateral grip. All for free.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 5:58 PM
Oh, one last thing. You should get a front splitter, and a vented hood. Both will improve your top speed. You may even want to vent your fenders, those 15x10 wheels at high speed will create seriously high pressure in the wheel wells. All that high pressure is what is preventing you from getting higher speeds. The dynamic pressure at 150mph is really incredible. Also, speed tape would help here.

Remember that Power is proportional to the CUBE of velocity.

P = ½ρCAv3

"Thus, if drag is proportional to the square of speed, then the power needed to overcome that drag is proportional to the cube of speed (P ∝ v3). You want to ride your bicycle twice as fast, you'll have to be eight times more powerful. This is why motorcycles are so much faster than bicycles.

Power expended against drag is the biggest impediment to moving freely for both bicycles and motorcycles. Humans can do sustained physical work like cycling at the rate of about a tenth of a horsepower. Motorcycles have engines that are on the order of 100 horsepower. (Sorry for the American units.) That makes a motorcycle about one thousand times more powerful than a human on a bicycle. As a result they can go about ten times faster, since 1,000 = 103."
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 7:22 PM
Great points, Ginsu. Almost everything mentioned Paulo has considered and we've discussed. I'm sure with time more of what you're mentioning will be happening! Keep the thoughts coming! Frank
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 9:22 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Speed is not rocket science, but it does seem like people like to keep secrets. If you invest a bunch of money developing a product that's one thing, but most of my suggestions are basically DIY mods.
Thursday, August 31, 2017 8:32 AM
Haha slow down ginsu! Street and strip means there are going to be compromises for practicality and aesthetics, not to mention cost and time.

I am with you on the cage aspect though. I have never seen a drag racing cage in a production chassis that I liked or even thought looked particularly safe.

I'll be buzzing down that strip on the roadrace course this weekend in my AE86.
Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:40 PM
SM - what colour is your car? What number?
I will be there for a bit but not on track.
Friday, September 01, 2017 6:15 AM
White #6. I'll be in the novice closed wheel class because I let my full license lapse int eh last couple years and have to prove I am not a dummy again.
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