LESS IS MORE
Modified Honda Civic VTi 1.6 EK4
When it comes to performance, sometimes stripping down is just as good as beefing up; marry this up with a track-tuned suspension and this Swedish Civic is making bigger waves than you’d think.
Civic VTi 1.6 EK4
B16A2 DOHC 1.6-litre, four-cylinder VTEC with Nooze 2.25” stainless steel exhaust manifold straight through to 4” rear box, RealCar carbon fibre intake kit with cone air filter, RealCar carbon fibre strut brace, NGK spark plugs, carbon fibre spark plug cover, Magnecor 8.5mm spark plug cables, valve cover painted gold, STR oil stick, RealCar blue silicon hoses, Spoon oil cap, Spoon radiator cap, Spoon heat socks.
Cobra 40-80mm adjustable coilover suspension kit, B-C-pillar roll bars, Summit boot square bar, OBX anti-roll bar, lightweight lower arms
7×16” Rota GT3 lightweight wheels, gold aluminium wheel nuts
262mm Brembo Max front brake discs, 239mm Brakemax drilled rear brake discs
Chargespeed body kit consisting of front bumper, rear bumper and side skirts, RealCar carbon fibre bonnet and boot, RealCar carbon fibre Spoon-style door mirrors and painted roof wing, carbon fibre sheet on roof with four layers of lacquer, side rubbing strips removed and filled holes, RealCar LED rear lights, clear side repeaters, EK9 (Civic Type-R) front grille and red rear emblem, Datum 1 rear towing eye, Diamond white respray.
Sparco Pro2000 VTR seats, Sparco 3” four-point harnesses, Sparco Mocca steering wheel with Sparco extension boss, Sparco floor mats, Sparco carbon fibre pedals, EK9 (Civic Type-R) dials, gear knob gaiter, retrimmed red arm rests and doorcards, Skunk2 gear knob, B-C-pillar roll bars, Summit boot square bar, Diamond white respray.
Sony X-Plod CD player, Rockford Fosgate front speakers, sound deadening removed.
As your granny always used to tell you; there’s always more ways to skin a cat and unless your granny was like mine (i.e she meant it literally and would actually serve you up something that resembled this fluffy claw-handed creature in the form of Saturday stew) she was referring to using your cunning streak. So when all the odds seem against you – those being people with bigger, faster, turbo-charged cars, its worth thinking through all the options available to you. This certainly worked for Fredrik Aker from Sweden who has not only saved on petrol by weight saving but can now make up crucial time on the track. Whereas a turbo will thrills you on the straights, a significant amount of weight saving will give you scintillating performance, full stop.
Surprisingly perhaps, for a car of this caliber, it is also the 33-year old’s daily run around, that’s another reason why it had to retain some practicalities. Having gone down the supercharger route with his last Civic, he had found the up-keep quite a chore. Since everybody else in his home town of Strängnäs seemed to have a turbo fitted to their Evos or Skyline, Fredrik decided that he should be a bit more original. This agenda was heightened further when he considered that his adoring public would probably be expecting something rather spectacular now that he was on to his 12th Civic.
Like the best of us he did con himself in to believing that this one would just remain an ordinary but reliable Civic to serve him over the winter months. As always happens though, the rasp note of finely tuned motors starts to melt your brain and the primal desire to be a part of the pack starts to seep through. Adding salt to the wound, a well known after market specialist, RealCar (www.realcar.se) were looking for a Civic to showcase their products. Fredrik was already within their radar, having seen what he was capable with his former Hondas so it wouldn’t take much arm twisting to convince them that he should be the lucky recipient.
Just imagine it, almost free reign to design your ideal project at the expense of someone else’s company – cynics, take heed! Armed with RealCar’s rather comprehensive catalogue and a few choice websites for inspiration, among which was www.honda-tech.com, he started to conjure up a picture of what his latest Civic might look like. The first job was to get the car stripped down and the Chargespeed bumpers and side skirts attached. Next the side rubbing strips were binned, the Civic was smoothed down and a lighter bonnet and rear hatch replaced the old items.
With a total of 16kg now made redundant, the Honda was repainted in Diamond White; an apt tribute to Fredrik’s Japanese racing icons. Carbon fibre was also used for the door mirrors and painted rear wing which replicate the Spoon-look. Keeping to a minimalist theme is then adhered to with a single sheet of black weave which has been set to the roof and then finished with a few layers of lacquer. The juxt-opposition of the black and the white has a dramatic effect while the red decals are typically race-spec. Fredrik was able to be a bit of a perfectionist with his Civic thanks to having RealCar as his sponsor. You can see the attention to details with the LED rear lights, clear side repeaters, EK9 front grille and rear emblem from the Civic Type R and a Datum 1 rear towing eye.
The wheels on this Civic are Rota GT3 lightweight 16” items that Fredrik chose from www.rarerims.co.uk. Fredrik was determined to echo the JDM style with a deep dish, polished lip and gold painted nut bolts, for him these additions were essential so at whatever cost the Civic was to be built around them. Of course the pinnacle of this car though is its suspension which incorporates Cora adjustable coilovers, a carbon fibre strut brace and an OBX anti-roll bar. This particular suspension can be lowered by up to 80mm but Fredrik has opted for a 60mm drop so as to save the front bumper and side skirts to scuffing. A company called AKR Performance (www.akr-performance.nl) provided all the other structural stiffening from the half roll-cage which resides between the B and C Pillars to the Summit Racing trunk square bar which is essentially a lightweight titanium strut brace attached to the shock absorber mounting points. The end result is handling with pin-point precision and a better latch to the asphalt than OJ Simpson’s lawyer had on the former judge’s backside.
Now the interior continues to repeat the less is more approach and as much has been stripped out as possible including the rear seats, spare tyre and all the sound deadening. Just a few discerning touches serve to keep the Civic looking classy rather than over cluttered, these being the Sparco Pro 2000 VTR bucket seats complete with 3” four-point harnesses as well as Sparco factory floor mats, pedals and a lavish suede steering wheel. Borrowed from the Civic Type R are the arm rests, doorcards, gear knob gaiter and all the dials which compliment its Motorsport aspirations.
All the Type-R baging you see on the exterior isn’t exactly a con either, if you look under the bonnet of Fredrik’s prize hatchback you’ll get a good idea that the power is well within this league. The RealCar carbon fibre air intake kit is a treat in itself but the real fun begins with the Nooze equipment – a 2.25” exhaust manifold and a straight-through exhaust system which takes the standard power up from 160 to 180 horses. For aesthetic reasons (being a sponsored show car and all that) this Civic also gets a gold engine valve cover which looks suspiciously like a Top Secret edition and a Spoon radiator and oil cap as well as heat socks. To finish off the engine bay a random array of blue silicon hoses have been added; a favourite tactic that always seems to keep the photographers happy.
With a total weight reduction of 60kg, its chassis poised for action and some awesome Brembo brake discs at the front and Brakemax additions for the rear, this Civic is a track demon. However with all these show dates in the diary Fredrik hasn’t had too much time to prove its worth. Now Autumn is in the air that is all about to change – no more is Fredrik prepared to be out muscled by the turbo Gestapo…Take a deep breath this one’s ready to blow!