Honda enthusiasts love engine swaps… we all know that. Heck, swaps are the key to the whole Honda culture. They’re Honda’s fountain of youth so to speak… keeping then competitive & essentially immortal. B-series, H-series, K-series, LS-vtec… and LS-V8??? Wait… as in the GM variant??? As in… 8 cylinders & RWD??? Yep… that’s what Thomas West went & did with his LS V8-swapped EK Civic hatch.
A handful of you might recognize this car…
About 8 years ago, 1320Video shared a video to their YouTube channel showing a 2,200 horsepower Civic. At that time, the car was a rolling ‘proof of concept’. But now, 8 years later, the car is fully-assembled and shaken down. Sometimes, the cars we build take longer than expected. This one took… eight years of patience.
Mama always said, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” So let’s cut straight to the engine:
What we have here, is a completely custom Dart 427, built off a C5 Corvette torque-tube design. Internally, everything has been upgraded to handle all 2,200 horses. Callies rods, Wiseco pistons, LSX GMPP heads, Melling HV oil pump… the list goes on & on.
But hey, if that’s not enough for ya… we have turbos. As in… plural.
The engine is blessed with twin Precision 76/78 ceramic ball bearing turbos, mated to dual Tial 44mm wastegates, and VS Racing blow-off valves. But wait… there’s more.
Because what’s a V8 Honda without nitrous? Am I right?
Nitrous Outlet is all over this build with a direct-port dry nitrous kit, Promax data log controller, carbon nitrous bottles, billet bottle holders, and bottle heaters. Absolutely insane.
Top End Performance designed the chassis.
This Honda Civic is obviously completely one-off. The body of the Civic was cut off its original unibody chassis, stretched in the quarters, and welded onto its new Frankensteined C5 Corvette chassis. In order to fit the engine, a modified TRZ Corvette cradle/subframe with custom arms had to be fabricated.
The driveline is also heavily customized.
As mentioned, this car is based on a C5 Corvette torque-tube design. Meaning: it’s a front-engine vehicle, but the transmission sits in the rear of the vehicle, and it’s connected to the engine via the ‘torque tube’. (It’s a design used in the C5 Vette, and the Porsche 944.) In this case, the tube itself is made from solid carbon fiber by Drive Shaft Shop. Tick Performance had their hands in the T56 transmission, as well as Wilwood and Tilton Clutch. The rear diff is a 3:73 gear base, and puts the power through a set of custom outlaw axles by Hudlow Axle. A good majority of this car was engineered on one street, as Hudlow Axle and Top End Fabrication are actually neighbors… which worked out great for all the measurements.
Moving on to the EK Civic body:
It had to be stretched to match the wheelbase of a Corvette. This is tremendously oversimplifying it, but Top End Performance basically moved the rear wheel wells 3-inches back from where they are on a normal EK hatch. If you look at a stock EK hatch, the rear side windows end directly above the center of the rear wheels. But on this car, that’s not the case. If you were to drop a string from the end of this car’s rear side window, it would fall over the rear brake caliper, not the center of the wheel.
The more you look at it, the more it turns your brain to mush lol. But what’s crazy – is that a casual glance wouldn’t even catch the proportional differences. The front clip is a JDM Backyard Special with CTR headlights and fenders. Both the hood & the trunk are Seibon Carbon, and both the wing & parachute setup were built by Top End Fab.
The interior takes a lot of cues from a CTR…
But everything had to be cut to match the new floor pan design. The dash features a custom center gauge cluster, one-off Nitrous Outlet control board, as well as various other digital monitor gauges. The seats are from Corbeau. And also found inside, is engine management from Holley.
8 years… and totally mind-blowing.
Kudos to Thomas for keeping his dream alive & seeing this project through. There’s no way it could’ve happened without these key players working together…
Red Horse Performance
Drive Shaft Shop
Martins/Baileys & Top End Fabrication
The Renegade Racing crew
Everyone who ever lent a had
And especially Thomas’s loving wife… who puts up with all of it lol.
You can find some pretty wicked videos on this car over on Renegade Racing’s YouTube channel
And remember… “Never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance.”
Text & Photos by Ben Battles