Isn't it funny how things don't always end up as planned? From college graduates landing a lucrative career, completely opposite from their degree to the once happy couple who marry, and in less than a year separate and end it in a bitter divorce. Kenny Vinces of Patterson, N.J., played a role in a similar type of situation, but with a more positive outcome. This self-professed car freak took his '92 Honda Civic and transformed an otherwise subtle daily driver into a mind-boggling $60,000 street warrior.
With gas prices on the rise, owning a fuel-efficient vehicle is smart in today's overpriced economy. For Vinces, owning a vehicle that posts 30 mpg and a 116-hp powerplant became a story of frustration as occasional stoplight confrontations ended in a foreseeable loss.
Priding himself, Vinces decided to upgrade the Civic's powerplant with a Frankenstein combination of a JDM B20 block and '95 USDM GS-R head, all in preparation for forced induction. The B20's internals were discarded in favor of a more boost-friendly combination of Eagle H-beam rods and Wiseco 8.5:1 slugs. While the crank remains in factory spec, an AEM underdrive pulley set, including a lightened crank pulley, aids in reducing rotational mass. The GS-R head was sent to Hassan of Sardis Speed Shop, located in Guttenburg, N.J., where the head received their special porting, three-angle valve job and upgraded valve springs modification.
The factory intake manifold was replaced with a JG Edelbrock unit, while Precision Engineering 850cc injectors, an AEM fuel pressure regulator and Holley 255-lph fuel pump ensure sufficient fuel is delivered at all times. The factory camshafts are fine-tuned using a set of Hayame adjustable sprockets. In charge of pressurizing the motor is a Masterpower T-70 turbo, mated to a custom designed Spearco intercooler, fabricated and installed by Sardis Speed Shop. Custom inlet and outlet pipes were also specially fabricated by Sardis. Adding flair to the custom turbo kit, the TiAL 35 mm wastegate's external dump tube was cleverly designed to exit out the side of the front bumper. With the downpipe heat-wrapped for thermal efficiency, spent exhaust is exited out the tailpipe though an A'PEXi N1 exhaust.
Burning fuel with improved efficiency and higher spark has been addressed with a MSD 6A ignition box and an SS external coil kit. Sun Automobile Hyper Ground and Hyper Voltage ground systems have been installed within the engine compartment. In charge of the engine management system is a Haltec E6K stand-alone unit.
With the engine complete, the Civic was taken to the local dyno facility to receive a full tune session, where the once "underpowered Honda" spun the rollers to 436.3 hp and 368.9 lb-ft of torque at 6200 rpm. An amazing feat, considering the horsepower figure was delivered while the car was still equipped with a set of 19-inch rims.
With the significant horsepower upgrade on what was once an econo-box, Vinces mapped out a full list of aftermarket modifications for the Civic's exterior. Understanding the high dollar amount associated with custom mods, Vinces and his friend Marco decided to shape and mold the Civic's contours while smoothing out the bodylines, both door handles, emblems, rain gutters and rear license plate tray. Custom vents were designed into the custom fender flares while NSX side vents now call Vinces' Civic home. A C-West front fascia, custom made side skirts, Black Widow II rear bumper and a Konig touring wing complete the overall appearance of the vehicle. Donnelle Wylie of Patterson, N.J., took the Civic and sprayed the skin futura yellow with hues of red and chrome. Finishing touches include a custom sticker scheme devised by John Viggs of Vigg Designs in Freehold, N.J.
Applying the newfound horsepower to the tarmac is a set of 19x8 Arospeed Express rims wrapped in 215/35-19 inch Toyo Proxes. Tokico five-way adjustable struts and Eibach springs hold the stance as the Honda sits inches off the ground. Combining a set of AEM big brakes and Axxis semi-metallic pads enables the Civic to come quickly to a screeching halt.
Open the door and it's obvious a generous amount of time and money was put forth into the interior. Sparco Corsa buckets lined in a shade of red and black are positioned on both driver and passenger side. Custom red carpet and a fiberglass dash, fabricated by Vinces and friend Peter, accommodate a full complement of Auto Meter gauges ranging from boost, water temp, oil temp and clock. Also molded into the dash is a 7-inch TV screen for those long trips down the interstate. A four-point roll bar resides within the confines of the interior and a 10-pound nitrous bottle, disguised as a Corona beer bottle, adds bonus points when competing at shows.
Audio Innovators of Congers, N.Y., installed the Sony head unit, Sony CD player, Hi Fonics amplifiers and dual 10-inch Solo-Baric Kicker subs.
After years of blood, sweat and tears, Vinces says he has no regrets on what he accomplished and would gladly do it all over again. "If you're going to build a car, do it for yourself and not for others. I took my time in building my car and that's the key point when taking on a project of this proportion. Take your time and do it right." Vinces would like to thank all his sponsors and friends in making his dream come true, and most importantly, his family, wife and kids for their loving support.