The Nemos Garage "Missile EG" has enjoyed a strange existence for the past year and a half in our possession. But before we begin, allow us to explain the name as we do understand that the term "missile" isn't nearly as widespread or recognized in the road racing or drag racing community as it is in the drifting world. A missile is usually a car that is mainly used for practice, it's rarely pretty, and is often thrown together with spare parts. More often than not, a car used for competition will become expensive to operate - higher power output, larger tires, more expensive parts, nicer bodywork and paint combine to form a car that is financially unreasonable to drive as often as one would like, to the point where an additional practice car - a missile car becomes a reasonable solution. Now that we have that out of the way, back to this specific missile. It was originally purchased as a fix - when the EM1 and "EK Sedan" went under the knife, we needed something to drive on track, it didn't need a lot of power or even great suspension - it just needed to take a beating and bounce back asking for more. Well, in a strange twist of fate - it became the exact opposite of what we had in mind.
The car was purchased stock in September of 2014, it had a D16Z6 and Si transmission swapped in and missing the carpet.
We threw some old coilovers on the car and drove it around.
A Battlecraft hood, a pair of Watanabes, and a pair of Koseis were added. Then we headed to the track.
On the second track day, the old single cam decided to spin a rod bearing. We figured it was a matter of time, but we definitely did not expect it so soon. Oh well, it happens - time to replace the engine.
We had a spare B18C1 lying around, this engine had seen better days - having served time in a daily driver and a couple track car for years, it had even been supercharged at one point, "what's the worst that could possibly happen?" and in it went. We even found five lug trailing arms and completed the conversion.
A couple more track days later, we spun yet another rod bearing!
At this point we were wondering what kind of history this car had, was it built utop an ancient Indian burial ground? Had the previous owner cheated on his girlfriend, who happened to be a witch?
Well, we already had the transmission and mounts, so we picked up a B18C out of a "96 spec" Integra Type R, a 4.9 final drive and M Factory clutch type LSD. And while the engine was out, decided we might as well clean things up a bit.
The Civic that was meant to be cheap and carefree started to cost more money than we would have liked, and required some upkeep. At this point we essentially had a Integra Type R with a Civic body, LSD, coilovers, wheels and tires. And we were happy with it.
We then took it out to the track again, and by some miracle - drove it home, had the curse been lifted?
We even took the car sight-seeing.
Drove the car on track, this time at Chuckwalla, the car held up just fine and performed well - perhaps the trick is to not put tired old engines in cars, who would have thought?
Now that we weren't swapping engines out very other week, we decided to clean the car up a bit, reminding ourselves that this was still very much a missile - we kept the budget as small as possible, limiting our expenditure to some body filler and Rustoleum.
Not too bad for keeping material costs under $200, or so we keep telling ourselves.
At this point, the missile had survived another ten track outings and some light daily driver duties. We figure we might as well add a little excitement to the otherwise fairly boring car, our friend Steve Nakamura of 5586 graciously offered to design a livery for us - which looked amazing, we picked up some vinyl and got to applying. Thirty-odd hours later we ended up with the finished product.
First stop, Streets of Willow.
Second stop, Streets of Willow again. A night event in the rain? Sounds like a great time.
The engine held up great, unfortunately the tired old transmission (originally from the same Integra GS-R which donated the second engine we put into this car) mangled a synchro spring and locked us out of third gear. We pulled the trans, dropped it off to our friend Kristian at Battlecraft and parked the car.
We were able to get the transmission back together - with the addition of a B16 3rd gear just in time for Super Street Magazine's FF Battle. We managed fourth place with the missile, however we are happy to report that we also placed first with Angel's copper EG.
Following it's performance at FF Battle, we even allowed the missile to stay inside the shop for a few nights.
We decided the car would be good for one last event for the year, and entered in VTEC Club's final round at Buttonwillow.
And, it seems as though we pushed our luck - the curse was far from lifted. After twenty years of service sealing the head to the block, the head gasket sprung a leak - ending our day early.
Which brings us up to speed, after a couple months of procrastination in the form of visiting Japan and getting our web store up and running - we will finally be replacing the head gasket in the next week or two - so keep an eye out for updates!