Third Times a Charm: A B16 Swapped Civic that Stands the Test of Time
We all know the “Honda guy.” For many, Honda’s compact cars were a stepping stone into the automotive world, a cheap, easy-to-modify starter vehicle to get some experience before jumping into something else. But for the Honda guy, those little hatchbacks were the end-all-be-all. There may have been other cars along the way, but the driveway always had room for a Civic, Accord, or Prelude.
3rd Time Owner?
For owner Guy Haynie, that story has been a lifelong journey. Purchased in 2006, this 1989 Civic Si was his third Civic hatchback. Third time’s a charm, right? Well, the story wasn’t that simple. Guy’s current stint with this Civic is the third time he’s actually owned this exact car.
Keeping a car for nearly fifteen years, through the twists and turns of adult life, isn’t easy. Kids, job changes, career moves; as great as all these things can be, they sometimes are the catalyst for hard decisions. Most recently, the car was owned by a good friend of Guy’s, a fellow graphic designer and car enthusiast, that was kind enough to hold the car for awhile as Guy navigated another turn in life.
Originally sold with 108hp, the fourth generation Civic Si certainly wasn’t an overly performance driven car on paper. While volumes have been written on the merits of the chassis, swapping a JDM-sourced B16A engine enhanced the car with 170hp and an 8000rpm redline.
The EF generation Civic was the first that was able to take advantage of Honda’s VTEC technology, arguably the source of what we think of as modern Honda fanboyism. Although VTEC is still used in Hondas today, the classic, naturally-aspirated, rev-happy engines have been replaced with torquier, though admitted less engaging, turbo units.
The exterior has thankfully maintained an OEM look, being tastefully modified with an Osaka JDM Devil wing in the rear and Chargespeed-style lip on the front. The car was updated with a recent respray of the OEM Flint Black Metallic.
Wheels and Tires
The exterior is perfected by Limited Edition Work Equip 40s in period-correct sizing, with meaty 205/50 Nitto NT05 tires. This throwback design was re-released in 2017 by Work, and is a winner, especially when mated to the appropriate chassis.
For a car with a legacy so closely tied to handling, choosing a tire that provides precise and responsive handling and performance was important. The specifically formulated tread compound and reinforced internal construction were engineered to emphasize dry road response, traction, handling and high-speed capabilities.
Much of the Honda fandom was built on the impressive handling that punched far above its class, and Guy has been careful to improve on that with quality parts. The ST Suspension coil-overs bring hatchback closer to the ground, while an Innovative traction bar and Suspension Techniques rear sway firm up the chassis.
The interior has been kept relatively stock, which is admirable. The purpose-built designs of this era are easily some of Honda’s best. A Personal steering wheel and K-Tuned shifter are welcome touches, however.
As the performance ecosystem goes through yet another change, there will be fewer and fewer cars like a B16-swapped Honda hatch. Granted, enthusiasts can choose cars with 500+ horsepower, gobs of instant electric torque, and perfectly tuned turbocharged engines, all without having to change a thing from the factory.
It doesn’t take a Honda guy to realize that something has been lost in the progress, however. There is an analog feeling, a connection between man and machine that will be lost forever. This Civic Si has that, and represents one of the last generations of affordable enthusiast cars to offer that experience to the everyday driver. For owner Guy Haynie, that benefit is coming back to; again and again.
|Engine||B16A Hasport Mounts, PLM replica Toda header, Tanabe Medallion exhaust, Spoon Sports Oil Cap, Skunk2 Half Radiator|
|Suspension||ST Suspension coil-overs, Innovative Traction Bar, Suspension Techniques rear sway bar|
|Exterior||JDM SiR LED rear spoiler w/ Osaka JDM Devil Wing Chargespeed style front lip|
|Interior||K-Tuned shifter, NRG quick release, Nardi Personal steering wheel, Type R shift knob|
|Wheels and Tires||Work Equip 40 Limited Edition, Nitto NT05 - 205/50/15|
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