The Honda J35 engine is a marvel of engineering. Named as one of the 10 Best Engines by Ward’s Auto four times (2005, 2008, 2009, and 2013), its single-overhead-cam arrangement makes use of Honda’s venerable VTEC technology to produce high horsepower-per-liter figures, even more so when assisted by a turbo or two in a racing application. However, it’s just starting to be used in drag racing applications, with only a few trendsetters swapping the engine into their racecars so far. One such swapper is Ismael Rivera at Griseillie Civic Racing in Massachusetts.
Griseillie Racing’s Honda, which originally made use of a 13B rotary engine and acquitted itself quite well on the dragstrip, now features one of Honda’s J35 bullets .. or, it did, until last week during a dyno session.
Sport compact racers are unafraid to apply massive boost levels to their engines in the quest to achieve huge horsepower numbers. Unlike domestic V8 racers who have the benefit of displacement to assist in power production, the diminutive four- and six-cylinder powerplants in these vehicles need the extra aspiration provided by a pair of massive turbochargers at full song.
In the case of this dyno session, it all went wrong. With over 50 psi of boost pressure on tap, Griseillie’s J35 decided enough was enough; the bottom end of the engine called it a day and expired in dramatic fashion at the top of the rpm range. In fact, the explosion was so massive that the onlookers nearly caught pieces of the carnage in their teeth. Let this be a cautionary tale–don’t stand so close to cars on the dyno. Steel and aluminum parts spinning at thousands of revolutions per minute can kill you.. dead. And quickly.