If you're in the midst of tackling a build using the sixth iteration of Honda's beloved, longrunning Civic family, then you've got quite a few options to power your project. The EK engine bay offers a warm welcome to just about any Honda engine platform, within reason of course. The current era revolves heavily around the K-series lineup, and for good reason - it offers the sort of modular compatibility that every builder looks for, and takes kindly to bolt-ons or boost, even in stock form. Before the "K-swap the world" movement took over, however, the B-series powerplant served as king.
It's hard to believe that it's been almost 20 years since the K20 was first , and not long after, began making its way between the fenders of various '90s Honda chassis. As aftermarket development and installation kits continued to evolve, K swaps became the norm. That's not to say that the B-series loyalists called it quits; parts development has never gone away, and if you ask engine mount manufacturers about their customers' buying habits, the B-family is still a major player in the aftermarket. Nevertheless, you're far more likely to see a K-series mill tucked neatly under the hood of most Civics and Integras these days.
For someone like Taku Kusugami, owner of this '96 EK4, the merits of the more modern K were never enough to sway him away from a nicely built B-series. Having owned and modified this car for the past 15 years with much of the build's credit going to his friends at Tactical Art, he's found the perfect combination of power and torque for his needs, which revolve around street use as well as romps through local track days.
Though heralded as a workhorse, the original B16 found under the hood of this EK4 has been replaced by a B20/VTEC setup. The 2.0L bottom end, in its native form, offered a leap forward in torque but lacked the top-end power Taku was after. So, after having the crank knife-edged and adding a set of Tactical Art-spec pistons, the bottom end was blueprinted and balanced, then topped off with a ported and polished B18C head. A set of valve springs and retainers provided by Tactical Art support the CTR cams, and adjustments are made via Toda Racing adjustable cam gears.
Rather than opting for a bigger throttle body and a traditional style aftermarket intake manifold, Taku made the jump to Toda's individual throttle bodies, and under the watchful eye of Link's G4 management, the combination is good for 250whp - right on par with modern K-power. Now, before you mention that the B20/V required some dollars and cents to get to that point, keep in mind that a B20 block and VTEC head are far cheaper starting points than a K-swap, even before you get into the costs surrounding the transmission, mounts and ancillary parts needed to make it all work.
To look the part, Taku did a complete color change and borrowed Sepang Bronze from BMW's color swatch. Shift Sports' vented fenders carry the new color while the vented carbon fiber hood provides a shift in color and texture.
The front lip options you've seen bolted to various EK builds over the years countless times aren't found on the front of this EK4. Instead, Tactical Art stepped in to provide their signature double-step carbon fiber creation that offers a fresh take on a classic front end.
At all four corners of Taku's hatchback you'll find Tactical Art TA dampers and 16x8-in. TE37 Sonic wrapped in 225 Dunlops that, with their aggressive concave faces, offer picture perfect fitment. The only other changes to the exterior include an EK9 grill, wing, and rear lip which only help to maintain the timeless look that Taku's not going to regret in 10 years.
In terms of factory amenities, you won't find much beyond the OEM dash and door panels - even the carpet's been removed before a fresh coat of muted grey was laid over the bare floor and custom Tactical Art roll cage, matching the theme under the hood. Just behind the passenger seat, engulfed by the arms of the cage are a SARD surge tank and fuel pressure regulator, its carefully formed hardlines painstakingly bent into their proper position.
With a build of this level, the clunky OEM steering wheel and rather high-positioned factory seats were never a consideration; Taku instead opting for Bride Zieg III Type R Japan buckets laced with Prodrive harnesses and a Momo steering wheel.
Whether Taku is embracing nostalgia or just a dedicated B-series fan, his EK is our idea of the perfect balance of function and form. A look that never goes out of style and a powerplant, accessible to just about anyone, able to be built in different iterations intended for multiple purposes. Tactical artistry indeed
Car: 1996 Honda Civic EK4
Owner: Taku Kusugami
Hometown: Osaka, Japan
Occupation: Tire and wheel shop craft
IG name: tactical_ek
Engine B20B block, ported/polished B18C head; balanced/blueprinted; knife-edged crank; B16B cams; Toda Racing sport injection (ITBs), adjustable cam gears; SARD fuel surge tank, fuel pressure regulator; Mugen 4-1 header; custom exhaust; Spoon Sports ignition wires; Koyo radiator; GReddy oil cooler; Rywire Mil-spec harness; Link G4
Drivetrain Exedy Hyper single-clutch; Toda Racing lightweight flywheel; Cusco LSD
Suspension Tactical Art TA damper
Wheels & Tires Volk Racing TE37 Sonic 16x8; Dunlop 03G 225/45-16
Brakes Endless 4-pot front brake kit with stainless lines; CC-RG front brake pads, CC-X rear pads
Exterior BMW Sepang Bronze paint; carbon fiber vented hood; Shift Sports fenders; EK9 rear lip, wing, front grille; Aerocatch hood pins; Tactical Art carbon front lip
Interior Bride Zieg3 Type R Japan seats; Prodrive harnesses; Momo Drift steering wheel; Tactical Art custom rollcage; Carbing Dash deadpedal