This Honda Issue wouldn't be complete if we didn't stir up at least a little K versus B debate. In America, the advent of the K-series helped to change the landscape of the Honda tuning crowd. The thought of having new technology that was readily available inside a classic Honda chassis had American enthusiasts extremely intrigued. There were even some who had since moved on to other makes who were so interested in the K-series that they came back to build another Honda. There was a point in time when the popularity of Hondas was fading and the K breathed life back into community. Since the first swap in the early 2000s, the K-series has seen enormous growth with an abundance of aftermarket support and the swap is now considered commonplace.
In Japan, things are a little different. Though the K is equally as available to the Japanese as it is here, swapping them into older Hondas is anything but common. To the majority of the Japanese Honda crowd, they feel the K motor is indeed a great engine but belongs in the original models that they come in. There's plenty of aftermarket support but there aren't any companies like K-Tuned who make specific parts catered to those with the swap. For them, the classic B-series engine is the perfect platform to mold. They are reliable, highly responsive and provide great overall balance for the cars they are offered with. Balance is very important to the Japanese Honda enthusiast and they feel that the K is a little overpowered for their needs. Add to that high costs along with strict rules that come with vehicle inspections and K20/K24 swaps are few and far between. There just aren't as many "backdoors" like there are here in America to keep a K-swapped Honda on the road. The Japanese are a bit more reserved and tend to abide by the laws presented to them.
Taking all those factors into consideration, we were completely surprised when we found this 1991 Honda Civic. This EF was everything that you wouldn't expect from a Honda built in Japan. From a country that's so big on cleanliness and refinement, there was nothing remotely "refined" about this Civic-it was raw as hell, and we loved everything about it. The body resembled that of the classic Kanjo racers from Osaka but without the graphical livery. Instead, we have an aged EF body with the exposed holes from the side moldings covered with tape. The bumpers were left unpainted and the only semblance of aftermarket style came from the carbon Car Craft Boon rear spoiler. What made the otherwise stock chassis so aggressive-looking were the meaty ADVAN A048 tires wrapped around 3-piece forged Eleven wheels from Barramundi Design. The beefy rubber had obviously made contact with the front fenders often as they showed signs of wear and spots showed rust from being exposed to the elements.
What captured our collective fascination the most was the TODA Racing fuel rail that's exposed through a cut-out section of the carbon hood. Its relative forward mounting position meant only one thing: K-swap. And it's not stock, either. Lurking below are four individual throttles that complete the TODA Racing Sports injection kit. A quick chat with the owner, Shinya Nakashima, revealed that the K20A was originally from a FD2 Civic Type R. Mounted to the motor is a six-speed manual transmission from a DC5 Integra Type R. Nakashima says the factory guts of the gearbox were removed and upgraded with a race-conditioned Spoon Sports Cross Mission gear set.
Speaking of the manual transmission, one of the most intriguing aspects of Shinya's K-EF is the shifter set-up in the cockpit. Utilizing a custom sheet metal box, he was able to raise the CL7 Accord Euro-R shifter to optimal shifting position based on his size and driving posture. Everything else in the interior, with the exception of the two door panels, has been removed in favor of weight savings. The lower half of the dashboard was also eliminated. All that remains is a single Bride Maxis III bucket, Takata safety harness and concave Nardi steering wheel. In true Kanjo fashion, a NASCAR-inspired window net is pinned to the driver's side door. One addition that left us scratching our heads was the polished rollbar. The mirrored nature of the piece was a little showy compared to the raw nature of the rest of the vehicle but we can only assume that it was acquired that way used.
Unofficially dubbed the "Banzai Attack EF", Shinya Nakashima's build is a breath of fresh air in the Japanese modified Honda scene. On any given weekend, you might catch a glimpse of this EF9 on the expressway in Hyogo prefecture and possibly in neighboring cities. He pushes the high-revving K to the limits on the track, does some "recreational night driving" with fellow Kanjozokus on the Osaka Loop, and even appears occasionally at car shows. Its crude nature represents an "I don't care" type of attitude and the K20A swap is a smack in the face to those who swear only by the B-series. It introduces chaos into a controlled world where Hondas have been built traditionally based on balance and conformity.
1991 Honda Civic
Hometown Himeji, Hyogo, Japan
Occupation Boss at Rhythm Motors
Engine 2007 2.0L Honda K20A (FD2 CTR); Hasport engine mounts; Karcepts A/C & P/S removal kit; TODA Racing Sports Injection Kit; Rhythm Motors custom exhaust, oil pan and radiator; SARD fuel pressure regulator; Bosch fuel pump
Drivetrain Honda Integra DC5 ITR transmission; ATS carbon clutch and carbon limited-slip differential; Spoon Sports FD2 Cross Mission gear set; CL7 Accord Euro-R shifter kit
Footwork & Chassis TEIN Type N1 dampers; K-Tuned traction bar
Brakes Spoon Sports 4-pot twin block front brake calipers; Winmax AC1 front/rear brake pads
Exterior Car Craft Boon/Osaka JDM rear carbon spoiler; carbon-fiber hood modified to clear fuel rail
Interior Nardi steering wheel; Bride Maxis III seat; polished 4-point rollbar; Takata safety harness; custom shifter box
Thanks You Barramundi Design; Rhythm Motors; Osaka JDM