A Home-Built Honda Civic With Nine Lives
Everyone has a prized possession – their own special something that they’ve kept for a relatively long period of time for sentimental or other reasons. More often than not, these items lie hidden away to prevent any risk of destruction, like expensive fine china sets handed down through the generations.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are prized possessions that are used to the fullest, such as a favorite pair of sneakers. These see their fair share of abuse – usually combining strange smells and awkward stains with some broken laces. Only their owner appreciates their battered fascia and remembers the respective stories that lie behind each imperfection. So they’ll buy new laces and clean the stains because the sentiment is more valuable than a new pair.
For Mike Jardel, his favorite sneaker is his 1993 Honda Civic CX hatchback.
When Jardel acquired his license as a young driver, he already had the bug for automotive modification. His driving career started off with a domestic vehicle in the form of a 1991 Pontiac Firebird, before he switched over to the dark side of imported vehicles and purchased a 2000 Honda Civic sedan. These cars were enjoyed, but left him wanting more. Meanwhile, a friend had purchased a Frost White 1993 Honda Civic CX from California. This led to a Honda Civic trade shortly thereafter between the friends – one’s sedan for the other’s hatchback.
Upon closer inspection, it was apparent the little white hatchback had been in a driver’s side front-end collision while in California. The panels seemed to line up, so it wasn’t a deal breaker, but there was evidence of a fairly decent knock to the chassis. The car had arrived from its West Coast owner basically untouched with the exception of a B16A2 engine swap, sourced from a 2000 Civic Si. This engine provided ample power to suit the needs of the previous owner, however while in Jardel’s possession it would require a little ‘boost’ in horsepower.
After piecing together his own forced-induction performance additions from different retailers, the B16A2 was soon spooling a T3/T4 turbocharger procured from eBay. During this phase of development, the car was commonly found speeding up and down multilane roads, surprising any opposing driver who challenged. Amidst the public road activity, the car took a few legal trips down a sanctioned dragstrip, where it clocked a 12.6-second best elapsed time. Like many otherwise-stock engines equipped with a turbocharger and driven hard, this partnership did not last.
Not keen on letting a blown engine deter his passion once the B16A2 let go, Jardel decided to go the all-motor route with his beloved Civic.
To pump up the power without the use of the snail, he swapped out the porous turbocharged engine for a built B18C1 bullet pulled from an Acura Integra GS-R. This engine had been assembled by a friend and already run through its cycles prior to discovering its new home in the white hatch.
Before using the engine himself, Jardel opted for some preventative maintenance and rebuilt the engine with new piston rings and bearings, installing a new, larger camshaft at the same time. Once the refinished swap was in place, the new internal parameters needed to have their air/fuel ratio dialed in for optimum performance. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be, as the timing belt jumped a tooth due to a broken camshaft while tuning the newly built engine. At this point any owner would be fed up.
“I got it running and not even 24 hours later it blew up,” says Jardel.
Still attached to his Civic, he found a completely stock B18C1 engine from an Acura Integra GS-R, but refrained from taking it apart prior to installation in the car, with hopes of gaining some enjoyable seat time.
A reliable engine setup should have granted the discouraged car owner a bit of relief, but the joy was short-lived, as the car was then hit in the rear passenger’s side by a school van. The luckless car had now been involved in its second major accident – and received numerous heart transplants – but he still refused to give up on it. Jardel temporarily fixed most of the damage himself, and the rear was repaired to have an acceptable appearance until more permanent repairs could be made. Ultimately, he decided the entire car needed to be stripped down and restored, so that the car’s exterior could match his personal vision of his adored vehicle.
He then removed the GS-R engine in favor of a final replacement, a ’96-’97 spec B18C powerplant secured from a Japanese-market Integra Type R. The new 205-horsepower engine brought reinvigorated enthusiasm for the bruised and battered econobox. The car was transported to Herlihy’s Paint and Fabrication in Virginia for a frame realignment and complete respray of the factory Frost White color. The interior panels were stripped out, and the glass and moldings were removed outside to ensure the nooks and crannies were filled with white. Even the rear quarter panels were treated to new patches to heal the weathered metal back to health. With the deep glossy white paint now encompassing every inch of the car, it was brought back to Jardel’s house for the final rebuild.
The influx of aftermarket parts was seemingly endless as every piece of the car was improved using performance alternatives. Starting with the engine bay, Jardel sourced several rare pieces including an SMSP long tube header, and a Comptech Titanium front strut bar.
The exterior hosts its own collection of goodies like the fiberglass front brake ducts from Echelon, a new OEM front lip, and the OsakaJDM EG Devil Wing. This particular wing is the sixth unit produced and was shipped directly to his door from Japan only days after the design was released to the public.
The most prevalent manufacturer found on the car is proudly illustrated on the rear windshield, Spoon Sports.
The Japanese powerhouse’s parts can be found all over the chassis. A Spoon Sports-altered Momo steering wheel and Duracon shift knob complete the driver’s connection to the car, while in the engine compartment the company’s radiator hoses serve the coolant to the engine. Their reservoir socks cover the addition of a Honda S2000 clutch master cylinder and OEM brake reservoir. A Spoon Sports valve cover and Kevlar plug cover are in place and have been autographed by Ichisima-san himself (the owner of Spoon Sports in Japan). Located out of sight, a Spoon Sports rigid collar kit uses a series of metal bearings to seal up loose fitting subframe mounting points underneath the car.
However nice the finished car appeared, it needed to be used frequently to sate the owner’s appetite for fun. Over the course of a few months, he and the Civic participated in a few track events at Englishtown’s Road Course, along with immeasurable spirited drives everywhere he could find an opportunity to do so. The car even made appearances at top-tier East Coast import car shows like Wekfest East, and First Class Fitment.
Sadly, its pristine exterior would not last long, as any automotive enthusiast’s worst nightmare happened – Jardel recently came into contact with a deer crossing the road while out on a drive. The animal’s body clipped the edge of the front, damaging the hood and fender while also destroying his rare European-market SiR glass headlights.
Despite a constant string of bad luck, Jardel and his Civic aren’t done yet, as he says it’s currently his favorite stage of the car.
His future plans involve respraying the car yet again in fresh Frost White pigment, installing a different front lip, and more engine work as the budget permits. The continually eventful story resumes for this Civic and its owner, similar to the comparison between fine china and a favorite pair of sneakers. While the spotless dishes may get passed down between generations without defects, it’s the favored shoes that enjoyed their life out in the open with plenty of stories to tell.
- MRacing Type 1 Carbon Fiber mirrors
- JDM OEM Clear corners
- Echelon fiberglass brake ducts
- OsakaJDM Devil Wing spoiler #6
- Shaved front plate holes
- JDM EG6 cluster
- JDM EG6 climate control
- JDM EG6 center console & arm rest
- Integra Type R shift boot
- Fast Line Performance shifter
- Checkerd Sports steering hub
- Recaro Pole Position bucket seats
- S&W Roll Cage
- Broadway convex mirror
- Sparco Racing 5-point harness
Wheels & Tires
- 15×6.5 +35 Volk TE37 wheels
- 205/50 R15 Yokohama Advan A048
- Checkerd Sports lug nuts
- ARP extended wheel studs
- Buddy Club RSD (Race Spec Damper) coilovers
- Buddy Club front and rear camber kit
- ASR rear subframe brace
- ASR 24mm sway bar
- Function 7 rear lower control arm
- Front/rear GS-R brake conversion
- Hawk HP+ pads
- 96-97 spec JDM Integra Type R engine/LSD trans
- HAsport engine mounts
- Phearable chipped ECU
- ACT clutch/flywheel
- Header wrap
- Blox test pipe
- Buddy Club Spec 2 Exhaust
- Mishimoto aluminum radiator
- Spoon Sports rad hoses, valve cover, wire covers
- Password:JDM carbon fiber intake
- AEM fuel pressure regulator
- Stainless steel braided clutch and brake lines
- Bolt Boys engine bay dress up kit