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Kulp on Cars: Misunderestimated

by Sam Kulp

Stealth has been implemented in the tactics of men since long before Elmer J Fudd was hunting wabbits. In the First World War, the Royal Navy was having a troublesome time with U-boats. Enter the Q-ship, merchant ships that appeared as easy targets, but behind sliding panels, they contained heavy weapons. A foolish U-boat might attempt to make a surface attack on a small sailboat, only to be embarrassingly sunken by a hidden 47 mm gun.

In the automotive world, a sleeper is any car that outwardly appears to be anything dull or plain, but hides its performance underneath. The Chevrolet SS and Audi’s RS7 are prime examples of manufacturer. To an outsider, it’s just a sedan. Until the sedan pulls away from you like an F14’s catapult-assisted takeoff.

To the average soccer mom running late for her nail appointment, UPG Pre-med Major Darius Eicher’s Honda Civic is, outwardly, just a Honda civic. It’s even silver. How plain. What the average left-lane-hogging mind wouldn’t know from the outside is that it has Darius’s civic derives its engine from Honda’s newest weapon, the Civic Type-R. That daddy’s-money Range Rover won’t even know what hit it. And before they can even think about it, Darius’s lion-hearted civic will have disappeared from forward vision.

Honda’s Type-R K20C1 engine was released last year at SEMA as an OEM crate engine package. If you have someone willing to put it in correctly, the 2.0 liter turbo motor produces a size-matters-not 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Almost double that of base Civic engine Darius started with. A great alternative to slapping on a fart cannon, a useless wing, and gold rims (looking at you, STI wannabes).

There’s quite a bit of fun behind the idea of just wanting to go fast for your own selfish reasons. The Civic Type R is just the opposite; with so many wings, overhangs and sharp edges, it almost looks like an anime robot. It’s an incredible machine, but outwardly just too busy. A cop magnet for sure. Darius’s approach is much more understated. His civic keeps its cards hidden, until it’s ready to make moves. It may not receive the handling benefits from the type R’s delicious suspension, but on the freeway, does it really need it? So the next time you’re sitting in your lowered, uncorked Subaru Impreza at the lights and you see a plain silver Honda next to you, think twice before you try to show off. That little civic may just sink you.

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