1995 Honda Odyssey LX – Altered Course


Tommy Fitzgibbon’s minivan weighs almost two tons, has seven seats of which five have been defiled from your likes of his brood, was originally intended for soccer-player-bearing middle-aged mothers, and is every bit as awesome as your Civic.

That’s mostly due to Super Touring-inspired H22A that sits underneath its hood, an engine descended from the series that’s influenced Fitzgibbon since he first took an interest in the Honda species nearly two decades ago. Super Touring Accords, which were powered by 2.0L, twin-cam F-series VTEC engines, traveled to great lengths to ensure superior intake and exhaust capabilities. As such, reversing the engine’s cylinder head orientation became standard procedure, resulting in forward-facing intakes and shorter exhaust paths, similar to Honda’s current four-cylinder lineup. The process is an elaborate one, and is precisely why only a handful of H-series fans have attempted the conversion beyond the professional racing circuit. After all, swapping a K-series in to the Odyssey, which isn’t greatly unlike the Accord, results in similar power and makes a whole lot of sense.

, although fitzgibbon has no delusions of earning any sense He’ll be the first to tell you that his reverse-head conversion was an exploratory one-a journey that led him to appreciate the Honda brand more than any drop-in engine swap ever could. An online classifieds offer that he couldn’t refuse soon altered his course, even though the longtime Honda owner wasn’t necessarily in the market for an Odyssey 3 years ago, either. A spare H series was included with the already H-swapped van as was a turbo system and most of the components needed for a soon-to-be-completed manual transmission conversion. Fitzgibbon elaborates on the van’s condition upon his initial inspection, detailing its barrage of battle scars, oil-stained carpet, and rat’s nest of an under-dash wiring harness: “It was perfect.”

1995 honda odyssey LX mugen rear spoiler

1995 honda odyssey LX wifes van

1995 honda odyssey LX mugen aero kit

Perfect for the fast flip which he had planned, one in which he’d make the most of his resources as part owner of Torrance, California-based Fast Eddie’s Racing to solve its faults, clean it up, and make a quick grand. Three months into the project and plans changed. The desire for any naturally aspirated H-series rebuild got the very best of Fitzgibbon, and very quickly what appeared to be an innocent engine build began. Until he got the idea to generate his own version of a Super Touring H series-a conversion that required extensive engineering, elaborate machine work, and is the last thing anybody would anticipate to find underneath the hood of car that was once lauded for its capability to stow away strollers without so much as folding them up. “I’ve always been a fan of the old Super Touring cars-British and Japanese-and my fascination with all the reverse-head F20B engines that powered them finally trapped with me,” he says. “It was time for you to stop dreaming about them and build one.”

As earnest as he was approximately assembling his very own van-destined touring car mill, its development was every bit as challenging as being the minivan-race-engine fusion is silly sounding. Consider the architecture of almost any internal-combustion engine, and the quantity of obstacles encountered once the head’s orientation is reversed is apparent. For one, the Odyssey’s H series remains counterclockwise-driven, meaning the head’s rotation occurred independent from the camshafts. This, along with reoriented oil and coolant passages and flip-flopped pistons to account for proper valve-to-valve relief clearances are simply a sampling of complications Fitzgibbon addressed. And he’ll guarantee you that it was all worth the cost, although ask him: “This one decision changed everything about how I tune cars,” he says. “It forged alliances with new friends, earned the attention of prominent folks within the industry, and attracted praise from all over the country.”

Spend some time on your favorite online automotive abyss, and you’ll quickly realize that instructions concerning how to complete a reverse-head conversion of your own are sparse. Fitzgibbon stumbled on terms with this early on and sourced the required information from English race car firm Neil Brown Engineering, the business behind those fabled F20Bs of lore. U.K.-based engine supplier Touring Car Spares also came to his aid, providing Fitzgibbon with a series of photos that allowed him to reverse-engineer his interpretation of the once race car engine. And what an engine it was, only if for a short period of time. Bungled calculations on his behalf ended in a nasty piston-to-valve mix-up once VTEC was engaged. “It been found that I had done the math wrong when adjusting the cam gears to compensate for the way the cams’ lobes would actuate the rockers,” Fitzgibbon explains. “I desired to clone myself just so I could possibly kick my own ass.” A series of mishaps and a steep learning curve led to four more engine failures, where time he decided to shelve the project for good. “I was a greater portion of a mess than the engine was,” Fitzgibbon says. “I decided that enough time and money had been used on a project which had previously only been accomplished by a team of well-financed engineers in an English race engine laboratory.”

The story of Fitzgibbon, his minivan, and his Super Touring car-inspired Prelude engine doesn’t end here. Although preparations for a more mundane H-series mill were subsequently laid out, the reverse-head idea continued to haunt him, as well as a newfound friendship with nearby RC Engineering’s John Park, who begun to take an interest in the project, helped begin to see the engine to completion. And Fitzgibbon will admit as much, despite the fact that five blown engines weren’t all for naught. “We now have the knowledge to build it right at the first try, and now we know that we’re not likely to be destroying expensive parts, we are able to experiment with higher compression, hotter cams, and port work,” he says.

The issues associated with trying to modify a seven-person family carriage for high-performance use don’t end here, either. Otherwise simple suspension mods are customized procedures when concerning the Odyssey, and because of the van’s weight, it’s severely over-geared and under-braked, according to Fitzgibbon. Says the guy who blew through five Prelude engines to meet his Super Touring car dreams: “Solutions for all of these problems are inside the works as well.”

1995 honda odyssey LX reverse head H22A1

1995 honda odyssey LX F20 valve cover

1995 honda odyssey LX individual TWM throttle bodies

Bolts & Washers


Reverse-head H22A1 engine

Neil Brown Engineering valve cover

Bisimoto adjustable cam gears

Modified OEM camshafts

Brian Crower stainless steel valves

Brian Crower titanium retainers

Brian Crower keepers

Neil Brown Engineering head gasket

ARP head studs

Modified OEM pistons

Knife-edged crankshaft

Balanced rotating assembly

H22A4 aluminum oil pan

Bisimoto balance shaft removal kit

Kaizenspeed manual timing belt tensioner

ITG air filter

TWM 50mm individual throttle bodies

B-Werks custom exhaust manifold

MagnaFlow primary muffler

Mazdatrix secondary muffler

SLP high-flow catalytic converter

RC Engineering 450 cc/min. fuel injectors

TWM fuel rail

Earl’s AN lines and fittings

AEM engine management system

AEM engine positioning module

K20A2 ignition coils

NGK iridium spark plugs

PRC Racing aluminum radiator

Prelude VTEC manual transmission

Prelude shift mechanism

Fast Eddie’s Racing shifter plate

Fast Eddie’s Racing heavy-duty clutch

Fast Eddie’s Racing lightweight flywheel

1995 honda odyssey LX shift knob

1995 honda odyssey LX valve cover close up

1995 honda odyssey LX recaro sport seats


TEIN HA coilovers, front

TEIN Basic coilovers, rear

Energy Suspension bushings

Ingalls adjustable upper ball front, rear and joints

Cusco rear alignment kit

Custom extended rear shock hats


Cross-drilled OEM rotors

Earl’s steel-braided lines

Wilwood proportioning valve

Wheels & Tires

17×9 Racing Hart Type C, 18 offset

225/45-17 Falken Ziex


Mugen aero kit

Mugen rear spoiler


AEM wideband air-fuel UEGO gauge

Recaro Sport seats

Sony Premier head unit

MOMO Monte Carlo steering wheel

HKB controls hub adapter

Tekniq AutoSport quick-release adapter

Wilwood clutch pedal

Fast Eddie’s Racing-modified OEM brake pedal

Arachnaforms shift knob

Tuffy center console


My dad, Tom Fitzgibbon Sr., for teaching me the way to think as an engineer. This project is dedicated to him and never could have been possible without everything I learned from him. My wife Renae. Harry and Arturo at Velios Machine Shop; Rick Rosales; Dennis Smith; Jim Pierce from Advanced Muffler; Beto from B-Werks; Steve Rodgers from SR Motorcars; Mitch Peterson from MP Tuning; Neil Brown along with his receptionist, Louise Wooley, from Neil Brown Engineering; Tony from Touring Car Spares; Sean Montoya; James Hsu; Mike “Monkey” Kim; my partner in crime, Kevin Hollis; Hawthorne Ngo; Scott Brasil; Kim Kovananth; Anthony Do from Infinit Wheels; Eli Sesma from Fast Forward Wheels; Millan’s Honda Wrecking; Alan and Ralph from Cali Accord Meet; Ron Cino-Cruz from Team Supastar; Ronald Wu from Aero-Duo; John Park from RC Engineering; Nate Duenes along with the boys from Kamakaze Racing; Anh from Style Over Comfort; Oscar Jackson Sr. from Jackson Racing

1995 honda odyssey LX exhaust tip

1995 honda odyssey LX engine bay

1995 honda odyssey LX TWM individual throttle bodies

Owner Specs

Daily Grind

Helping teenagers change their lives at Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy

Favorite Sites

Macross World, eBay, and Craigslist

Screen Name


Building Hondas

Since 1994

Dream Car

Whatever I plan to build next

Inspiration With This Build

Neil Brown’s famous BSTCC Accords

Future Builds

1975 Datsun 280Z, 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser, and someday a CRX

North American Touring Car Championship

Super Touring racing wasn’t just reserved for the Japanese and British. From 1996 to 1997, the NATCC (North American Touring Car Championship) was located in the U.S. and Canada, which served as a support series to CART’s road course and street course racing. Although popular among its fans, the series failed to entice a considerable number of competitors and was discontinued after its second year, although tasman Motorsports’ Honda Accord factory team and driver Randy Pobst dominated the series, winning the championship its first year. NATCC rules only allowed vehicles with production runs in excess of 2,500 units and with maximum displacements of 2.0L to compete, in which the Accords regularly produced nearly 300 hp and resulted in times comparable to or faster than today’s Speed World Challenge GT racers, making for the exciting series that arguably ended all too soon.