A letter in the English alphabet which on its own doesn’t
really mean much. Add that simple letter to the back of a car
and viola, you immediately have something special. We’ve
seen it on so many cars already from Nissan’s GTR, Audi
and Porsche’s RS, Toyota’s RSi and notably Honda’s
Type R. But up until about 10 years ago there weren’t
any real Honda Type R’s for sale, besides the imports.
South Africans were yet again deprived, like with so many other
things the original Type R being one of them.
Good news then when Honda SA announced Type R’s would
go on sale locally which meant you didn’t need to buy
a fake Type R badge to make your Honda go faster. This was it;
this is what so many Honda fans out there were waiting for.
To finally have a piece of that high revving Japanese video
watching 8000RPM+ rev limiter bouncing action! The Type R Civic
was here to answer their prayers.
But did it actually do that? To most, yes, but to many others,
sadly no. It was a Vtec, it was an authentic Type R and it looked
great for some. Personally I loved the futuristic space age
look albeit in Type R form only. But it was lacking a bit in
the performance department. I drove a Championship Edition some
time ago and was left wanting more. It seemed slow, it wasn’t
“shouty” and fast enough for me. It lacked in the
torque department. Overall it was a great car, but it just needed
a bit of a “kick” yo!
Andrew Tobias was one of those people who felt the very same
way. He loved the car enough to buy one, and a minter of note
too. It was a Championship Edition which meant it had the limited
slip diff as well. But he wasn’t going to leave it there.
Andrew had plans, big plans. And being the type of guy that
he is, he was only going to modify his Type R one way, the right
way! Over the next few years that’s exactly what he did!
Still being under warrantee there was only so much that could
be done immediately. Cosmetically the wheels were sprayed Maserati
black which did transform the look of the car. But the shopping
list couldn’t be put on hold much longer and before he
knew it goodies like Injen intake systems and Hondata tuning
equipment was purchased. But sadly they had to wait in their
boxes until the warrantee could expire.
It’s one thing to wait for a warrantee to lapse while
dreaming about what you can do, and another thing to wait while
you actually have the parts in hand. But like an adolescent
male being with a woman for the first time, Andrew just couldn’t
hold it anymore. The Type-R aka Nikita was handcuffed to the
dyno and a baseline run was made resulting in the expected figures
of 149kW’s and 194Nm’s.
Soon after bolts were unbolted and shiny new parts fitted, i.e.
exhaust, intake and flashpro which bumped the power up to 166kW’s
and 228Nm’s. Not bad for the basics, but those figures
were little league and Andrew wanted to play with the big boys.
A lot of time, money and effort was put into this project and
thanks to master mechanic Andrew from AJ Racing, this beast
transformed by means of the following…
It needed to look unique. A front and rear Honda OEM GP kit
was fitted to the bumpers and slightly wider vented Mugen front
fenders slapped on too. Tegiwa carbon fibre bonnet, rear wing,
fog scoops and lastly OZ Ultraleggera 18” matte black
wheels wrapped in Hankook tyres with Tegiwa extended lug nuts
were also fitted to finish off the exterior.
Cosmetics: check! Now onto handling and stopping power. TEIN
springs were added to give it a lower stance and improve handling
and a set of massive 8-Pot D2 discs and calipers were bolted
onto the front. Check, check, check!
Now onto the main event! PowerRRR-R! This is quite a mouthful
so I’m just going to blurt it all out so bare with me…
Here goes… and try and say it like Jesse would from Fast
and Furious 1 – Dominic, It has ARP headstuds and rod
bolts, Manley turbo tuff rods, CP pistons, RRC balance shaft
delete kit, Tegiwa header, Miltek exhaust system and a Hondata
Flashpro and traction control system. (Not a bad way to spend
If you’re wondering why this car is so quick it’s
due to a Rotrex supercharger (C38-91) which is coupled to an
oil kit and oil cooler. It also has an interchangeable drive
pulley which is attached to a toothed serpentine drive belt.
Cold air is sucked in by a K&N filter and cooled even more
via the race spec front mounted intercooler while excess air
is expelled via the 25mm blow off valve. All this is joined
together by a full aluminium pipe set with silicon hoses. Fuel
is sent via the uprated fuel pump to the 1000cc injectors.
In order for more space to be made under the bonnet the battery
was neatly relocated to the boot which is also home to a massive
water meth kit tank. Finishing off the interior Andrew has also
fitted additional gauges like a Defi boost gauge and a AEM air/fuel
When the supercharger isn’t whining away he can relax
to the sounds from a double din Pioneer AVH-8450BT unit coupled
to Infinity Kappa speakers.
So after reading all of the above you have to conclude that
this is an awesome all round vehicle. But what kind of power
does it make after all those mods? Well, there’s no subtle
way of saying it, but this brilliant all rounder makes an incredible
That’s an insane amount of power to be sent to the front
wheels. So naturally torque steer is a handful under full power.
Which is interesting because of the way this car delivers that
power. Unlike a (turbo) boosted car, which has a more violent
power delivery system (think big single turbo setups), this
supercharger system delivers its power in a much more civilized
manner. It still feels very much like a normally aspirated car.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of power when you
want it, on tap and ready to propel you forward with immediate
effect. But personally I rather enjoy the feeling of boost;
however that’s just my preference.
After fitting a set of slick tyres Andrew had some track time
on Killarney’s quarter mile strip. With a bit of learning
and adjusting he managed a very impressive 12.6 second pass.
Plans are being made to drop that time even lower. But after
experiencing this car first hand I know for a fact, that even
with traction control, traction is its worst enemy.
None the less 12.6 seconds is still quick enough to make it
the fastest Honda in Cape Town, according to our very own Drag
List. Best of luck to Andrew and thanks for
building such an amazing all round machine! We hope to see you
on track soon!
Watch the footage below for an idea of what's it like to drive
this front wheel drive monster.