We were recently shared a picture of this ’74 Civic on our FB page from long-time and previous GT-3 driver, Serge Legare, and was blown away! We got in touch with Serge, who resides in beautiful Quebec, and he was more than willing to share his epic adventure with the 1st gen that only track goers back in the day may have witnessed!
“I was already driving a ’78 Civic so when I decided to buy a race car it was obvious to me that it would be a Honda.”
Serge told us that this ’74 Civic was no ordinary Civic back in ’83 when he bought it used in Montreal. Bringing it back to his home with a blown motor, he quickly got it back up & running and started racing in ’84 with mixed results from a used scrapyard motor. Finding out that the Civic was already used as a race horse for track times since new in 1974, he found more mechanical problems than he’d like to admit.
“In ’85 I had the engine built by Raymond Tagliani, renown engine builder and father of Alex Tagliani. I finished fifth in my class. In ’86 I had a bigger budget and could even afford new tires instead of buying used ones, I won 1 race, finishing second in the regional class ans fifth at the Canadian run-off in GT3.”
You read correctly, the 1200 engine had bolts torqued down by Raymond Tagliani, F-1 Champ Car racer Alex Tagliani’s father who is known famously for his European and small engine builds. Fiat engines was always his favorite builds as internet sources point too, but the uniqueness with Honda surely intrigued him it seems. This is why we had to nickname it “Canadian Heat”.
Serge knew had to handle the car around any track due to his love for his daily ’78 Civic. It was a no brainer for Serge to add onto the quality engine build from Raymond and boy did he. Period-set pieces that would make any Honda collector search Ebay after reading this. The 1200 sported angled headers wrapping around the front valence from Jackson Racing, AT Engineering (Connecticut) Cam / Springs / Intake Manifold, goldwing piston swap and beautiful-sounding Dellorto side-draft carbs. The finishing touch was a Tagliani designed, custom double decker oil pan with special oil pick-up delivery & the ever rare Mugen LSD for the 4-speed trans.
“Stock 1200 from that time were making 60HP and I was probably up to 100HP at 7500 Rpm but very reliable.”
The Civic raced in the 1986 GT3 Canadian run-off and placed fifth while finishing second in the regional class. Only winning 1 race, Serge raced the Civic a while more until selling it to another gentlemen from New Mexico. He currently tells us the Civic is still racing in Albuquerque. If any leads to it’s exact whereabouts or any pictures, please post below! Check out the gallery for more pics on the GT3 racer and fall in love with your Roots!