The automotive world is full of great packages, in fact almost every manufacture has a great combo that creates a fan base world wide, Think the RB26 from Nissan, matched up with one of the most advanced (for its time) 4WD systems and a strong chassis made the Godzilla feared around racetracks and roads world wide. The same can be said for the 2JZ motor out of the toyota camp, it is widely known that you can drive to the track and run a low 11 second pass, then drive home with ease. Over the past 5-7 years we have noticed the price of these motors increasing as the popularity of engine swaps increase, we are finding Supra motors in everything from 6 second drag cars to “Seen better days” drift cars, the same can be said for every “hero” motor from the car builders world wide. Don’t even get us started on LS swaps. Not wanting to be left out of the engine swap craze, We wanted to build something that would make people rethink what can really be done with the right setup – planning and be stupid enough to even attempt it. First we needed a car, Luckily there was an EG civic in Canary yellow sitting in our garage that was used as a suitcase/surfboard rack amongst other things. Meet “Big Yella” a 1992 Honda Civic Breeze, This bad boy has a 1.3L carby (yeeeess) a bright and yellow three-door hatch with a 1.3-litre single overhead camshaft, carburetor fed four-cylinder engine that managed to produce 55 kW at 6000 revs. It had a five-speed manual gearbox and power steering was standard. Due to its colour we got it for a great price of $500.00 with a bit of rego, Perfect base car to create something cool that can drive on the road, but still have fun at the track/drag strip/ hill climb or a Sunday cruise. As you can see, Big yella was a hit, often hanging out at the track with his mates… They are a basic car inside and out, but that gives us plenty of room for activities. Not alot of room behind the rear seats, and as you can see there is no car behind the back wheels at all. This is common in a lot of Bum draggers. The EG civic is a very popular choice for enthusiasts or for a first car for a couple of reasons, They are a simple car to pull apart and put together, small, light and great on fuel. We drove this car for 3 months and it cost on average around $50.00 a fortnight in fuel. Things were about to change though, We knew that the 1.3l Motor was coming out but we just not sure what to put in. There are many options for engine swaps so we looked at 3-4 in great detail: B16a is a bolt in upgrade, good power for the money, you will see around 118klw at the flywheel which is more than double the current power. B18c is still probably the most popular upgrade for EG-EK civics, a quick google search will show you that these motors are strong as hell and with 138klw, an LSD and VTEC it is a great option if you want to create a good base car. Now these motors don’t mind a bit of forced induction once and a while, there are plenty of turbo kits out there for them, builds in the US have seen more than 800HP out of a B18c K20/24 is the current flavour of the month, and for good reason, with such a big motor under the bonnet you have heaps of torque to play with around town but can also unwind its legs on the track, in N/A form they have been seen to lap Wakefield Park in Sub 1:05 which is lightning quick. still on the expensive side as you could probably get a b18c and a basic turbo for a good tuned K20. so we pondered… which motor do we pick, if any. Should we have bought a awd or rwd car if we want to be fast at the track? We sat at the pub one night throwing stupid ideas at each other about what we should do the to car. Que Daniel from Impossible Fabrications, who has been known to think outside the box sometimes. ” If we are going to build a car, why not do it right and create a RWD platform around the civic”. Now we all thought he was joking, but he got a weird look in his eyes and got the tape measure out. After 30mins in the car park, he came in with a cheeky grin on his face, and utters 5 simple words to us “same wheelbase as a Silvia” Now this couldn’t be true, he must of had 1 too many, so we came out to the car park and brought a friends S15 and parked it next to it. Wow, the Civic is longer than an S15 by around an inch. So this got us thinking… could we really drop an SR20 into this little civic? what parts would we need, Front end, rear end, motor, computer, the list goes on. We hunted the internets for a month or so and came up with 3 builds across the world with had the same stupid idea we had. 1 was a full track car with a tube front end, another one was a newer model with more room than us, the 3rd one was never finished… hmmm not very promising. We then stumbled across a build in Japan that used an F20c (S2000) and a s13 rear end. These guys wanted to build a drift car with some parts they had in the workshop. With the longer wheelbase it looked very stable mid corner and a hell of alot of fun, So it was possible, we decided that this was the motor for us.
SR20 RWD civic concept was born. While Daniel started sharpening his hacksaw, we had to find a doner car. With the S13 becoming a bit old and still having a 4 stud hub our aim was to find an S14 or 15 that had been written off without too much damage to the front or rear end. Surprisingly enough there are plenty out there, in fact we had 5 different cars to chose that were cheaper than buying a B18c motor from a wrecker, all within a 2 week search. We ended up finding a very clean 72,000km Jap sepc S15, dead stock, with a nice set of wheels and some Cusco suspension. The car was in great shape besides the rear end, the owner had sold most of the panels off the front which was fine as we didn’t need them, the motor was untouched and looked in good condition. Only one way to find out though. The more we stripped the more the story of this car came to light, the Gearbox, never been out, sump, never been off, turbo never been off. It is a rare thing to find when buying a second hand Japanese import, but i think we found ourselves a Gem. Well i guess this is happening then… Time to keep stripping, the main parts we wanted to get out of this car was the complete front end including suspension, front cross members, power steering, brakes, hubs, etc. The easiest way was to pull it all out as one piece. We also needed the compete rear end, again in one section makes it easier to see how crazy we really are. One of the most time consuming jobs was to remove the compete wiring loom in the S chassis, the civic will run complete S15 wiring, with the only Honda wires controlling the headlights and tail lights. Here we have the main parts for the build, Front end (held together for now with bracing), Engine and gearbox which is about to get the life cleaned out of it, Rear end still sitting in Cradle. Although the civic is longer we kept the drive shaft just in case we could use it, if not a custom length drive shaft was needed, (one of a few custom parts). With a case of beer and a few mates, we had the car stripped to a shell in 1 night, that was the only easy bit done. From now on in it is going to get interesting. Stay tuned for our next installment on stripping the Civic and fitting the front cradle in. An interesting step is that Impossible Fabrications are using the Strut towers (front and rear) out of the S15, This car will feel and drive very similar to an S15 on the track, BUT is around 350kg lighter.