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The Trickster

The problem with having a high performance variant of any given car is that copycats and posers soon start squirming out of the woodwork. No car is safe from this scourge. Not even the adored and worshipped Prancing Horses of Maranello.

I once spotted a Ferrari F430 at a popular nightspot in KL. It was red and its wheels were painted black. It also had the racing stripes which come with the more hardcore Ferrari F430 Scuderia. But hang on, this isn’t a Scud, it’s a bog standard F430. It didn’t have the sharper looking front bumper and its exhaust pipes were in a different position. Oh right, the tasteless owner’s gone and tried to make his F430 into something it isn’t by painting the wheels black and getting some vinyls slapped on it. The owner should be shot. In the kneecaps. With a 12-gauge shotgun. Three times.

Further down the automotive food chain, we see the same sort of automotive debauchery happening. We’ve seen countless 1.3-litre Satrias fitted with a GTi bodykit. Some have even gone as far as buying all the interior pieces and wheels. But under the hood, it’s still the standard, gutless 1.3-litre engine.

When Honda launched the very desirable FD2-R Honda Civic Type-R, I just knew what was coming. Replica Honda Civic Type-R bumpers and spoilers would soon be flying off the racks and on to the hordes of FD1 and FD2 Honda Civics across the country, if not the world. And true enough, it’s happened. Countless Type-R and Mugen RR clones and wannabes are now roaming the streets.

Because Honda Malaysia offers the FD2-R only in white, it’s easy to spot a fake Type-R on the streets. It’s quite safe to assume that nearly any Civic with a Type-R bodykit which isn’t white is a fake. Thankfully, this matt black Civic is the exception. This is a genuine Type-R with an owner who just didn’t want to get lost in a sea of NH-0 Championship White Honda Civic Type-R’s.

What Gary, the owner, has done with his Type-R is what some would call a light tune. Gary’s put more focus on improving the FD2-R’s already impressive handling while improving the engine’s power output a few select bolt-ons. Overall, Gary’s Type-R is a nice all rounder with lots of tasty JDM parts.

The lovely K20A powering the Civic remains unmolested internally, but it now breathes a lot better thanks to a host of J’s Racing bolt on parts. The engine now inhales through a J’s Racing throttle body and a GruppeM carbon fibre intake and exhales through a Toda Racing exhaust manifold and a J’s Racing 70RS titanium exhaust system. Everyone knows that an engine benefits from a retune after the intake and exhaust have been sorted out, so Gary got Chris from Pentagon to reflash his Type-R’s ECU with a Hondata FlashPRO.

Honda’s chassis engineers did a fantastic job with the FD2-R’s handling characteristics. They’ve managed to set the FD2-R and lesser FD Civic worlds apart in terms of cornering performance, chassis response and outright grip. It’s not easy improving on an already capable chassis but nothing ever comes perfect from the factory.

The Civic has a gaping hole between the trunk and the rear seats, which is great for carrying a surfboard or some planks of wood, but not so great for chassis rigidity. This is where J’s Racing’s V-bar comes in. The V-bar is complemented by a J’s Racing rear strut bar, and a J’s racing lower arm bar for added chassis stiffness. Understandably, the factory fitted springs and dampers are left alone, as the FD2-R’s suspension is quite stiff as it is and offers exceptional handling.

I don’t understand why Honda chose such an ugly wheel for the Type-R. They’re not particularly light either. Those wheels are just wrong. But that’s what the aftermarket is for after all, to right a car manufacturer’s wrongs. Gary’s blown a nice chunk of his cash for these limited edition Volk Racing CE28N wheels in a limited colour option, “Formula Silver Diamond Cut.” With each wheel wrapped in Bridgestone’s RE070 tyre, the Civic is hardly ever short on grip.

Behind the thin and shiny wheel spokes, you’ll find even shinier Grippen 6-piston calipers which bite down on 355mm rotors in the front and Modulo slotted discs in the rear.

Gary’s chosen to set his Type-R even further apart from the rest with a choice selection of J’s Racing aero bits, such as the front lip, carbon fibre rear diffuser, carbon fibre trunk, carbon fibre bonnet and a J’s Racing carbon fibre GT wing. A Topmix carbon fibre grille from Hong Kong is also thrown in to the mix and the final and most significant touch is a carbon fibre roof from Racecraft. Not only does the carbon fibre roof add even more individuality to Gary’s Civic, it also helps to lower the car’s centre of gravity for better handling and shed a few kilos too.

Gary’s Civic reminds of a Q car. What’s a Q car? A Q car is another way calling a car a sleeper. But Gary’s car isn’t a sleeper in the traditional sense of the word. It looks fierce and fast, which hardly makes it a sleeper, but his car can now disguise itself as another FD2-R clone and thus prey upon unsuspecting boy racers hoping to take a bite out of his Civic’s chunky butt.

Car: FD2-R Honda Civic Type-R
Engine: K20A, 2-litre, 4-cylinder, DOHC i-VTEC
Engine modifications: J’s Racing throttle body, J’s Racing thermostat, Toda Racing exhaust manifold, J’s Racing 70RS titanium exhaust system, GruppeM carbon fibre intake
Transmission: Stock
Suspension/Chassis: J’s Racing rear strut bar, J’s Racing V-bar, J’s Racing lower arm bar
Brakes: Grippen 6-pot calipers with 355mm rotors (front), Modulo slotted discs (rear)
Wheels & Tyres: 18 inch Volk Racing CE28N – Formula Silver Diamond Cut (Limited Edition), 225/40R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres
Electronics: Hondata FlashPRO, Defi gauges, HKS turbo timer, A’PEXi RSM
Interior: Stock interior, Momo gearknob
Exterior: J’s Racing front lip, J’s Racing carbon fibre rear diffuser, J’s Racing carbon fibre trunk, J’s Racing carbon fibre GT wing, Topmix (HK) carbon fibre grille, carbon fibre bonnet, Racecraft carbon roof
Tuner: Pentagon Enterprise – 03-9223 3119

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