Time and money; two critical necessities required when setting out to build the ultimate Honda project. While most have plenty of time and at least an ounce of patience, it’s that other pesky variable that seems to be in high demand and, in most cases, short supply. Ryan Novak of Torrance, California, is bit different in respect to the aforementioned formula. The brash 30-something lacks patience, and his serious automotive collection reflects that of a man with no shortage of income. His current stable consists of a maniacal Subaru time attack car, along with the “built to the hilt” S2000 and the raw ITB K-powered Civic hatchback you see pictured. Oh, and then there’s the coveted R33 and R35 GTR duo that would force even the snobbiest of collectors to crack a smile, nod, and extend their hand for a fist bump. Ask this owner how it feels to own some of the sickest cars in existence, and he’ll no doubt fire back with a lowly, “I don’t know, it’s cool.” You see, beyond the veritable dream garage and high-dollar upgrades, Novak is an enthusiast at heart. Blessed with the ability to afford the toys that others can only drool over, his focus has always remained the same: drive, enjoy, improve, repeat.
Kiwi of Special Projects provided his front lip and splitter—a track proven combo that man
The AP1 project has dished out as much heartbreak and disappointment as it has driving enjoyment. Having gone through five different engines in naturally aspirated trim, and noting the extreme speeds being reached by the opposition, Novak decided that boost was going to be a necessary upgrade for his S2K. Originally nothing more than a basic GReddy bolt-on affair, the go-fast demons eventually transformed the engine bay into the beast you see pictured. A stroked, low-compression F22 (2.4L) is the foundation of the build, while a Garrett GT 3076 handles inhalation, and a custom V-mount intercooler/radiator combo brings cooling up to acceptable track standards. If the name and car seem somewhat familiar, it was once armed with individual throttle bodies, a full J’s Racing aero kit, and landed on the cover of Honda Tuning in 2009. Along with the obvious power and fabrication upgrades since then, an Amuse GT1 wide-body aero kit and massive Enkei NT01 rollers replaced the previous look. The ongoing build’s current status didn’t come without its share of issues.
Novak adds, “After boosting, it was a disaster. Turbo was too small, then too big, suspension was too stiff, then not stiff enough, and back and forth it went. I took a car that handled great from the factory and basically raped its character. Honestly, this car almost gave me a nervous breakdown more than once. There were times when I just wanted to take a sledgehammer to it, or set it on fire. It was that frustrating. It took two full years to make the car happy again. We did well in the series we built the car for, but they ended up taking our class in a different direction, and I’ve since retired the car from competition. Not real sure what I’m going to do with it, but I’ll probably hit some track days just to raise some hell.”
Novak’s latest project is a direct result of his previous Civic Type R (August ’10 issue of HT) becoming more of a hassle than a blessing. “It was a fun car, but I got too lazy to put it on a trailer to take it to and from the track. I started looking for a regular left-hand drive car that I could build for the track, but still drive on the street ‘legally.’” A few weeks later, he headed to the track with his new R35 GTR to stretch its legs for a few sessions. “I was out there with the FF Squad guys, and they were kicking my GTR’s ass! It was kind of embarrassing, to be honest. FF Dylan mentioned that his friend was buying a ’96 Civic for $500 and was planning to flip it. The next day I called him up and just bought it.”