When you don’t have the perfect car, you sort of have to build it yourself. For Athul, it has been a long cherished dream come true. He has been wanting to turbo charge a car since his engineering days and it wasn’t until 2015 that he could finally do it. Athul runs Karwerkz Inc. in Kochi -a company that deals with aftermarket tuning stuff.
It is a 2010 1.8V with manual transmission. The Civic comes with Mugen RR kit with more aggressive front bumper, a vented carbon fibre hood and widened front fenders. The side skirts have been modified, the tail lamps are now aftermarket LED units and there is a subtle spoiler on the rear windscreen and the bootlid. The thin Spoon style side mirrors and bumper quick release buttons are other details you wouldn’t want to miss. There is a Mugen style valance on the rear bumper, but the two exhaust recesses are vacant and the two missing tail pipes are obvious. That is because the exhaust now exits on the left hand side of the front bumper through an Akrapovic tip. It is insanely loud to bystanders on the road, but once the turbo comes on boost, you won’t be there to see them protest.
Before we get in to how it drives, I have to tell you, it needs some more fine-tuning. One has to be careful with the throttle inputs, anticipate how much one needs for any given speed. Give it too much and it jerks and hesitates, confusing the ECU, often bogging you down. It took some getting used to before I could drive it fast. Not surprisingly, Athul had no issues when he was driving it because he knew his way around the problem. And when you get it right, it pulls strongly like the R18A engine has no right to be. Where the standard engine feels lacking in midrange, this one has a strong shove. The top end, as expected, isn’t healthy, so you upshift early and ride the wave of torque in the next gear.
The car runs a T04 turbo with custom stainless steel boost pipes running between a Thar CRDI intercooler. It runs a rather conservative 6.5psi on stock internals. An AEM FIC 6 channel unit takes care of the fuel management while a Walbro 225LPH fuel pump (225 litres per hour) delivers the fuel it needs. There is an HKS boost controller and blow off valve. HKS oil cooler and oil filter help extend the oil life and preserve the life of everything. The custom exhaust now exit the sides, which in combination with the short turbo manifold length makes for better spools around 1800rpm. All the work has been done at Magnum Motors in Kochi, by Mr. Dipu and Binil dealing with fabrication and Mr. Joe of Blackworks, Bangalore giving his inputs. When we tested it, they hadn’t finished doing their work.
The car rides on D1 spec adjustable suspension, with strut braces from D2 racing. The ride is a bit stiff, but then, this isn’t an everyday car. It grips well in corners and gives you enough confidence when dealing with the extra horsepower. It also gets cross drilled rotors front and rear for better stopping power. The car runs 235/40 R18 Nankang NS 20 tyres on 18×9.5J 22 offset Karwerkz inc. rims.
Inside, the Civic has been modified too. The seats have been re-upholstered and reshaped to give better support. The black and white contrast stitching is a theme carried over to the door cards as well. The lower part of the dashboard, door pads, pillars, roofline, centre console etc has been painted black to create an all black theme in place of the beige one earlier. There are extra gauges for various readouts like AFR, boost, oil pressure, water temp etc. and a colourful array of small hotwheel cars on the dashboard – injecting some fun to an otherwise serious business side of things.
For Athul, this car has been a learning curve where he figured out what stuff goes together and what doesn’t. He remembers the long hours he spent patiently waiting for the fabricators to finish their job before piecing everything back together. And how disappointed he got when things went wrong and how excited he was when they got it right. Many of us can relate to the struggle, can’t we?
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