If you want to build a fast car, why not start with a Civic? It’s exciting to see a Civic suddenly come out and blow other cars out on the drag strip. Some of them are almost unbelievably fast, like sub six-second quarter mile fast. However, considering how much power can be squeezed out of Honda engines it’s not surprising when someone extracts enough to make jaws drop. What does it take for Civics to be fast? There are many schools of thought, but for a lot of people it seems to start with the Honda B engine family, commonly the B16.
This engine can be found in Civics and Integras from the very first VTEC motor in 1989 until 2000. These engines aren’t the strongest things around. But as you can see with what one guy did to his B16, a tune, some pistons and a “little” forced induction clearly can unleash the true potential of Honda’s tiny 1.6-liter engine. Here's one going 200 mph.
Of course, at this level the engines are nowhere near what they were when they began, but it’s still fun to enjoy. So all of this sounds great, but why choose a Civic in the first place? A lot of motors can make much more power, the 2JZ being a case in point. The reason is because it’s cheap.
On forums, the highest number we found to build a B18C engine (a slightly larger displacement than a B16) was just under $10,000. We found a turbo for the B16 costing about $2,700. This is already orders of magnitude cheaper than a Supra.
There are many Civics on Craigslist right now for about $3,000 or less. A Mk4 Supra, if you can find one, goes for around $20-30,000 for the car, and a turbo Supra will bump that price up quite a bit.
Sure, the Supra can make more power so it seems like comparing apples to oranges, but what really matters here are quarter-mile times. If you can make your Civic run a sub-eight second quarter-mile for less than $20,000, what’s the problem? These are four Civics performing to just that caliber, where the times are too outstanding to believe. Especially for a cheap economy car designed for reliability and gas mileage.