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1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

A pair of classics from the streets of Puerto Rico.

May 1, 2014
Photographer: Alberto Chevere of

In an industry inundated with knockoff parts and blatant copies, it's rare to find an enthusiast dead set on maintaining a strict diet of authenticity with their build. When tracking down original goods for a chassis that first showed up over two decades ago, the search becomes that much more difficult. Some give up and move on to something newer, others reach for the best replica replacements they can find. Still, there is that core group that will stop at nothing to reach their goal. Some call them fanboys, others call them obsessed, we're just amazed at what these guys can dig up from the past.

1991 honda CRX si JDM frontend conversion 03 Photo 2/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

"People who know me know that I tend to like simple and understated quality builds over crazy, all-out trendy projects." That fact is apparent from the very moment you glance at Jose Perez's surgically clean '91 CRX. He'd known about the car for quite some time as it belonged to a friend who owned a parts store that he would frequent regularly. His friend had dangled the carrot so to speak by telling Jose all about the long list of parts he had ordered to restore the CRX and while completing the JDM frontend conversion. He adds, "At the end of each conversation I would remind him that if he were ever to sell, he had to let me know first! I've always been a fan of the older Honda/Acura models. Anything from the late '80s up to the S2000, I love." A few years went by and his friend had, in fact, finished restoring the CRX, but with an NSX and S2000 also in his stable, he didn't spend any time behind the wheel of the Si. Finally, in 2011, Jose got the call that he'd been waiting for, and just a few days later, he was on site to look the car over. They took the CRX for a spin and as if to drive home the point of how much the car actually sat in one spot, one of the front tires began breaking apart due to dry rot. A purchase price was settled upon and Jose was the proud owner of this Tahitian Green CRX Si that would sit right next to his ITR at home.

1991 honda CRX si mugen valve cover 04 Photo 3/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

The car was by no means to become a daily driver, but that didn't stop Jose from getting the car on the road regularly, even putting it on track for some spirited fun. Admittedly addicted to NWP4Life and Honda-Tech classifieds forums, Jose found a few more parts to add to his collection. Classic Mugen RNRs in silver were mounted atop a complete DB2 brake conversion. A rare Miracle X-bar made its way to the cargo area just behind the JDM rear seat conversion and with Mugen bits scattered throughout the cabin, the interior was as modified as Jose wanted. Under the hood lies but a few choice bolt-ons, including the highly sought after Mugen valve cover that Jose was lucky enough to pull out of the original packaging for the first time. The end game didn't involve a shaved engine bay or extreme modifications, but rather preserving an icon.

The CRX's previous owner contacted Jose just a few weeks after he took ownership and requested that he be first in line in case the car ever went up for sale again. And though Jose is now busy working on his next project, he's not planning on parting ways anytime soon. He adds, "I'm not in a hurry, and after I finish my ITR, I'll continue with the CRX. I plan to keep her for a very, very long time."

1991 honda CRX si mugen shift knob 02 Photo 4/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Jose Perez '91 CRX Si
Bolts & Washers

AZ Race Machine mounts
Crome tuned ECU
M's intake
Spoon Sports header
Mugen EF exhaust
Mugen valve cover
Mugen Gen 1 oil cap
Mugen radiator cap
Password:JDM solenoid cover

1991 honda CRX si B16A swap 07 Photo 5/18   |  
A mild B16 swap sits under the hood of Jose’s CRX.

Function/Form Type II coilovers
Next Miracle X-bar
ASR rear subframe brace
Funcion 7 LCAs

DB2 brake swap
Goodridge stainless lines

1991 honda CRX si cusco strut tower brace 05 Photo 6/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Wheels & Tires
15x6.5 +45 Mugen RNR
195/50-15 Toyo

Respray Tahitian Green
JDM frontend conversion
JDM power folding mirrors
JDM front/rear foglights
JDM side markers

1991 honda CRX si mugen race II steering wheel 06 Photo 7/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Mugen Race II steering wheel
Checkered Sports hub
Mugen shift knob
JDM rear seats
EKDM door panels
Power window conversion

Thanks to my loving and patient wife Rosi, Pinkers Tha Family,, MMBC chat, 4thgenPR, Alberto Chevere, Javi Negron, Javier Torres, Ek Chan, Adrian "soull97Wrd," Phil at Inspire USA, Matt at ICB, Rafy at Green Honda & Acura, AutolifePR, and the rest of the Honda community in Puerto Rico.

1991 honda CRX si next miracle x bar 08 Photo 8/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Business owner

Favorite Site

Screen Name

Building Hondas
12 years

Dream Car
Ferrari F40

Inspiration For This Build
As with all of my builds, I try to go with clean and timeless mods on a car I can take out and enjoy

Future Build
Type R, EG, and S2000

1991 honda CRX si mugen RNR wheel 09 Photo 9/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Thrill of the Hunt!

For Carlos Rivera, the search for rare goods is every bit as invigorating as driving his pristine Civic hatchback. The problem with highly sought after, long discontinued parts is that they carry an unfair price tag—something Carlos was able to look beyond. He'll be the first to tell you that it was by no means easy. Working on a budget based around minimum wage (at that time) and dealing with the high shipping rates required to bring goods into Puerto Rico really took their toll. Over a two-year period, the tedious process of digital hunting and gathering eventually led to a room full of old-school parts that Carlos was proud to call his own. Thoughts of transferring the parts from his room to the body of his daily driver, a fourth-gen Civic, were quickly shifted when he caught wind of a neighbor selling his '91 Si which had already been fitted with a B16 swap and was the perfect subject to carry Carlos' collection.

1991 honda civic si JDM frontend convesion 10 Photo 10/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Outside, a JDM frontend conversion and Livesports rear wing were installed along with a bevy of OEM JDM goods from front to back. Period correct MR5s made their way under the arches and inside the cabin more Mugen goods were installed along with SiR seats and an EDM center console.

Content with the exterior and interior of the car, Rivera enlisted his friend Josue to help clean up the engine bay by organizing the wiring, removing some of the nonessentials, and applying some fresh paint. It was during this time that Carlos was truly pushing himself, working six days a week to bring in additional funds to complete the build and lending a hand to Josue whenever he found a little time to spare. Once the paint was dry, the engine was fitted with a Mugen 4-1 header and a Mugen ITR intake that Josue modified to fit the Civic properly. That left the exhaust system, which just so happens to be one of the more rare pieces in Carlos' collection. The Mugen EF3 exhaust purchase was somewhat of a gamble as it had quite a bit of damage and rust and there was no guarantee that it would even be salvageable. Carlos broke the exhaust down, reconditioned it piece by piece and refinished it to like-new status, and in the end, the gamble paid off.

1991 honda civic si mugen valve cover 16 Photo 11/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

If you're wondering why Carlos didn't opt for a fully built K-swap with a massive turbo and high horsepower, the answer is simple: He has no interest in any of that. He adds, "I built this car for me to enjoy on the street, I didn't want to build a track or race car. I drive the car all over PR without any problems. It's not finished yet, but I can say that I'm hapy with the final result (so far). I'm going to keep searching for hard to find parts and keep doing what I like." No false hopes, no excuses, just a timeless build in classic "quality over quantity" style.

Carlos Rivera's '91 Civic Si
Bolts & Washers

Hasport mounts
Mugen ITR intake
ITR intake manifold
Mugen 4-1 header
Mugen exhaust
Mugen test pipe
Skunk2 cam gears
ITR injectors
Koyo radiator
ACT clutch

1991 honda civic si B16A engine 12 Photo 15/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Function/Form Type I
Innovative traction bar
Skunk2 front/rear alignment kit

'91 Civic EX front brakes
'91 CRX Si rear brakes

1991 honda civic si JDM rear bumper 17 Photo 16/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Wheels & Tires
15x6 +45 Mugen MR5
195/50-15 Toyo Proxes

JDM frontend conversion
Livesports rear wing
JDM side skirts
JDM front/rear foglights
JDM moldings
Honda Access window visors
UKDM glass headlights
JDM third brake light wing
JDM rear bumper
JDM taillights

1991 honda civic si mugen shift knob 18 Photo 17/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

JDM SiR seats
Mugen FG360 wheel w/pad
Mugen pedals
Mugen shift knob
EDM center console
EF9 cluster
Honda Access floormats

Mom, dad, my girlfriend Suleika, Josue Colon, Orlando, Beto magic transport, Aby, Ivan, Johnel, Josean ,Freddie, Javier, Alberto Chevere, Julio,Kenneth, Don Lasky, Phil & Inspire, Shaun oldskool, MMBC chat, Los Duros Official, fourth-gen civic PR family,

1991 honda civic si livesports rear wing 14 Photo 18/18   |   1991 Honda CRX Si & 1991 Honda Civic Si - Timeless

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Surgical devices (manufacturing)

Favorite Site

Screen Name
Charlie Mugen

Building Hondas
8 years

Dream Car
R34 Skyline

Inspiration For This Build
Old-school Civics

Future Build
A new house


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