The 92-95 Civic, or "EH chassis" as U.S.-bred versions are stamped, is by far the most popular body style to build and modify. Flanked by two monumentally popular Civic generations ('88-91 and '96-00), the slippery, mid-90s hatchback has proven itself more than capable with countless street, show, and even record-setting race versions that blanket the Honda enthusiast crowd. With all of that notoriety comes a rather tricky part —building a stand out. Owning one of these vehicles automatically places you into very crowded waters and breaking free from the herd is typically short-lived as trends and "looks" seem to disappear only moments after they've arrived.
From a purist's standpoint, simplicity still reins supreme as hardcore EH fanatics search for a proper balance of performance and uncompromising aesthetic touches. For Michael Blancke, owner of this '92 CX, the lure of the popular hatchback wasn't all that enticing. He states, "I started out wanting to build my '95 4dr. I was collecting all of the parts for a couple of years, including a built ITR motor and SiR interior." As the parts pile continued to stack up, Blancke's good friend RC Chacon, owner of RC's Garage, was busy building the exact car you see pictured. Only at that time, its chest cavity was home to a boosted B series heart and the car had gained national attention as it graced the cover of this very magazine. Avid HT readers will recall from the article that RC wasn't exactly a big fan of hatchbacks either, which is ironic considering both he and Blancke ended up building a hatchback—the exact same car in fact.
So how did an anti-hatchback guy with a built B series on the back burner end up with this K-powered CX? Well, let's start from the beginning. Blancke adds, "I took a ride in my good friend Rhett's K-swapped ITR and I was hooked! I immediately wanted to go K series. So I sold all of my B series stuff and started collecting K-swap parts to piece together a motor." The 4dr sat in the backyard for quite some time while the scavenger hunt continued, until Blancke brought it to RC's Garage in hopes of finding some solid motivation. The build process began, albeit slowly, and not long after, motivation again waned. "I just lost motivation again. A short time after that, I had the opportunity to buy RC's old car [but] the first time it was for sale, I didn't want it. He ended up buying it back after selling it, and then I got a weird itch to buy it. He wanted me to buy it because he wanted one of his good friends to have it, and this time around, I really started to like it." Blancke states emphatically, "NEVER have I liked hatchbacks, I'm a 4dr guy, lol." With the majority of the K-swap ancillary parts already on hand, the sedan chassis was abandoned for the time being and Blancke and RC got busy working on the hatch.
The original plan called for a turbo K-series and Blancke purchased a turbo kit, but it was intended for a K24/K20 combo. He soon realized that a straight K20 as compared to a Frankenstein set up carries enough differences to cause far too many headaches. Rather than forcing the turbo kit into the bay, the components were instead sold and the money was spread out across the entire build, in naturally aspirated form.
The sanitary under-hood appearance is a direct result of RC's Garage signature clean up process that maintains the cars functionality while removing or hiding any unwanted eye sore that might take away from the bays appearance.
After having the engine bay re-sprayed by local paint guru Tony Froelich, the powerplant was prepped for duty. Using Golden Eagle's head stud kit, a K20Z3 block was mated to a K20A2 head fitted with Toda valvesprings that provide support for a set of custom ground Web Cams. The cold side sees an increase in airflow thanks to an RSP Euro CTR intake manifold, Hybrid Racing 70mm throttle body, and a Vibrant Performance Vanjen clamped JDL 3in intake. With momentum on the build at an all time high, Blancke and RC decided to make the trip from Arizona to Lake Elsinore, CA for the annual Eibach meet, which was quickly approaching. The scramble to finish led to an electrical gremlin that Blancke can laugh about now, but he wasn't smiling just a few hours before hitting the road to So Cal. He recalls, "The night before Eibach, I kept blowing a fuse which lead to no power to the ECU. We could not for the life of us figure it out. Soon there was a team of people trying to figure it out with Hasport's wiring guy, Brian Thomas, leading the way. It ultimately came down to my own human error after being deprived of sleep when I installed the fuel pump. I pinched a wire when I tightened down the pump and it was causing the fuse to blow. We went through like 20 of those 15amp fuses, lmao, FML!"
Having repaired the issues at hand, the Civic did make the trek to the massive Eibach event on time and not surprisingly, captured the attention of attendees throughout the day. The only problem was, some were saying the words that still ring in Blancke's ears. "I swear if I would have heard that it still looked like RCs car one more time, I was going to drive it off a cliff, lol!" Jokes aside, it was time to revamp the exterior bits to make the car truly his, and knowing this, Blancke contacted the one shop that could procure tough to find JDM goods quickly—ICB Motorsports. He adds, "I hit up my good friend Matt of ICB and ordered a First Molding hood and flugel plate. While I was there, he brought out a Sergeant wing, which looks a tad more aggressive than a Spoon wing and it's fiberglass. Decided I wanted it, and I color-matched it to the car." Blancke also purchased a 5-lug conversion from RC's Garage and sourced a classic set of bronze CE28s of the 16x7 variety.
A purist at heart, Michael Blancke focused on a solid balance of tasteful appearance and useable performance. He states, "I can honestly say I love the car now. Even RC loves it, lol! Weird how that works. The plan now is simple; drive the sh*t out of it and take it to the track to do work!"