Face The Strip

Face The Strip

Ali Yaqoob talks us through the insane modifications he has done to his 1993 Honda civic in order to get it drag worthy.

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When the Honda Civic fist made it debut in 1991 it was larger than its predecessor, had a more aerodynamic body and an increased wheelbase. This new generation of Civic used lightweight materials to create a fuel efficient economy car. Compared to the previous generation, the cowl was raised, which allowed for more suspension travel. Along with that change the ride became softer than that of the previous generation, which provided a more compliant ride at expense of crisper handling. All of these features are exactly the reason why Ali Yaqoob decided it would be the perfect car to take and modify and prepare ready to face the strip at the Bahrain Drag Racing Championships.

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Car Make and Model:

Honda Civic Hatchback

Year of the Car:

1993

What cars have you previously owned?

Honda Civic SiR (1999)

Nissan Maxima (1999)

Datsun 200L (1984)

Have you modified any previous cars, or is this your first?

Yes. I modified all the aforementioned previously owned cars by racing tuning and engine stroke. The purpose of those modifications was street racing.

Why this car?

I chose my current car (1993 Honda Civic Hatchback) solely to enter the Bahrain Drag Racing Club's annual championship, for the Outlaw 4-Cylinder Front-Wheel-Drive category. This car is predominant in this category, as you will notice most of the contestants in the Outlaw FWD category have also chosen to race with this car. This is due to its light weight, high performance compared to its engine volume, and ease of modification.

Did you buy this car with the intention of modifying it?

Yes.

How long have you had the car, and how long before you decided and started the modification process?

I have been contemplating buying this car and entering the race since 2005. I gathered the resources to purchase the car in 2007 and started modifying it immediately.

Where have you got the majority of the parts from?

Air freight shipping through vendors in the USA mainly. Example vendors: CB Performance Products, Competition Clutch, ARP Bolts, Manley Performance Products, ACL Bearing Company, Turbo By Garrett, and others.

What modification did you do at a garage? Did you do any yourself?

We work as a team. My friend Ali Mahfoodh has a garage in Hamala Area (the name is Performance Straight Street Garage). He is also a competitor in the same drag category, but we work as a family and team. We mod our cars and other friends' cars together, then face each other at the drag! The work environment is super fun because we're "in it" together blood and sweat. Even during races we encourage each other to achieve better times.

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Have you encountered any problems whist modifying the car? If so what? And how did you overcome them?

1) The stock engine block sleeve faced recurrent failures due to the high horsepower and high boost settings, but I upgraded to a racing sleeve (1000hp rating)

2) The stock drive shafts broke frequently so I upgraded to stronger shafts (bigger diameter up to 1000hp rating.)

3) Some gears in the transmission are partially damaged due to excessive rubbing and torque, but right now I lack the funds to upgrade the transmission.

What is the before and after affects?

We have tuned the car to achieve more horsepower and higher torque of course. My quarter-mile time improved from 10.300 seconds in 2010 to 9.700 seconds this last December (B1.6A engine at 595 HP).

After the last round in December, I have replaced the engine block with a 1.8L block, but there are no records yet for its time. We will check the time this round! (Hopefully we get a successful run this month on the new block, so we can tune it well before the race this weekend.)

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What’s the max speed the car is capable of?

245 km/hr at the quarter-mile finish line.

If you don’t mind saying roughly how much have you spent doing this car up?

Roughly BD30,000. Drag racing takes expensive recurrent expenditures, even for the smallest category!

How much time have you spent on this car? And has it been an enjoyable project?

I spend most of my time, outside of work on this car. Racing to me is a hobby, passion, and lifestyle.

How does the car to drive now compared to how it was before?

Faster. Gives a higher adrenaline rush, which was always the goal.

Do you ever race this car? Or is it more of a show piece?

It is solely for racing.

Would you do this again? With another car and modify it? If so, what car? and what mods?

Definitely. I would use the same car to compete for world records, but first I need funds for spare parts and further modifications such as: transmission and turbocharger upgrades, a new fuel system.

If money was no object what would be your dream modification project?

Get licensed for ProMod category. Build my own ProMod car with the help of my dear team of course.

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List of Upgrades

Engine

- Turbocharger for air intake

- Upgraded air intake system (racing bore)

- Exhaust manifold shortened and back pressure eliminated

- Higher compression ratio

- Upgraded pistons (bigger bore)

- Upgraded connecting rods

- Upgraded camshaft

- Complete modification to fuel system (injection valves, removed old fuel tank and installed a smaller and lighter one, and upgraded to VP C16 racing fuel)

Suspension

Replaced with performance (drag racing grade) suspension

Exterior

- Cut unnecessary parts of chassis, door and window parts, replaced glass windows with lighter plastic

- Removed old bonnet, fenders and rear bumper, and installed light cast fiberglass replacements

- Total 250 kg was removed from the car's weight

Interior

- Removed seats and dashboard

- Installed safety roll cage

- Re-wiring of electrical components with high-grade wires

- Re-programmed engine controller and PLC for racing and tuning mods/analysis

© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS MARCH 2017

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