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1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

RC Chacon's old hatch rebuilt by a friend for tasteful balance

Rodrez
Aug 19, 2014

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 standout. 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.

1992 honda civic CX R crew header 03 Photo 2/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

From a purist's standpoint, simplicity still reins supreme as hard-core 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. "I started out wanting to build my '95 four-door," he says. "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, Michael'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 Michael ended up building a hatchback—the exact same car in fact.

2017 Honda Civic
$21,500 Base Model (MSRP) 31/40 MPG Fuel Economy
1992 honda civic CX volk CE28 04 Photo 3/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

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. Michael 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 four-door sat in the backyard for quite some time while the scavenger hunt continued, until Michael 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." Michael says emphatically, "Never have I liked hatchbacks, I'm a four-door guy, LOL." With the majority of the K-swap ancillary parts already on hand, the sedan chassis was abandoned for the time being and Michael and RC got busy working on the hatch.

1992 honda civic CX mugen 3 steering wheel 11 Photo 4/11   |  
The clean look of the bay and exterior continue inside the cabin.

The original plan called for a turbo K Series; Michael 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 setup 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 underhood appearance is a direct result of RC's Garage signature cleanup process that maintains the car's functionality while removing or hiding any unwanted eyesore that might take away from the bay's appearance.

1992 honda civic CX hose 05 Photo 5/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

After having the engine bay resprayed 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 3-inch intake. With momentum on the build at an all-time high, Michael and RC decided to make the trip from Arizona to Lake Elsinore, California, for the annual Eibach meet, which was quickly approaching. The scramble to finish led to an electrical gremlin that Michael can laugh about now, but he wasn't smiling just a few hours before hitting the road to SoCal. He recalls, "The night before Eibach, I kept blowing a fuse, which led 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 15-amp fuses. LMAO, FML!"

1992 honda civic CX sergeant rear wing 08 Photo 6/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

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 Michael's ears. "I swear if I would have heard that it still looked like RC's 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, Michael contacted the one shop that could procure tough-to-find JDM goods quickly—ICB Motorsport. 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." Michael also purchased a five-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 usable performance. "I can honestly say I love the car now," he says. "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!"

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20Z3
K20A2 head
Hondata K-Pro
Golden Eagle head studs
Hasport engine mounts
Engine bay by RC's Garage
Toda valvesprings
Web Cams (custom grind)
RSP CTR intake manifold
Hybrid Racing 70mm throttle body
P2R throttle body spacer
JDL Auto Design 3-inch intake
K&N air filter
Vibrant Performance Vanjen clamp
R Crew header
Walbro 400-lph fuel pump
K-Tuned fuel pressure regulator
K-Tuned fuel pressure gauge
Karcepts power steering delete
Karcepts A/C delete
K-Tuned filler neck
All-In Fab radiator
-16 AN radiator hoses
K-Tuned coil pack cover
EP3 transmission with TSX Sixth gear
Hybrid Racing shifter box
Competition Clutch stage 4
Hasport axles

1992 honda civic CX K20Z3 02 Photo 7/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

Suspension
Ground Control coilovers
Koni "yellow" shocks
ITR front sway bar
Full Race traction bar
Function 7 subframe brace
Function 7 LCAs
Next Miracle X-bar

Resistance
OEM ITR five-lug (32mm)
RCG brake booster delete
S2000 clutch master

1992 honda civic CX carbon fiber side mirror 07 Photo 8/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

Wheels & Tires
16x7 +42 Volk CE28
205/45-16 General tires

Exterior
Championship White by Terry Froelich
First Molding flugel plate lip
Sergeant rear wing
JDM headlights/corner lights

1992 honda civic CX wilwood brake master cylinder 06 Photo 9/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

Interior
Bride Brix 1 seats
Bride lowdown rails
Mugen 3 steering wheel
Works Bell quick release
Custom shift knob (four-speed)
OEM black interior swap

Props
My wife, Maria, and my kids, Nathaniel and Natalie, for the support; RC and the crew at RC's Garage; Matt at ICB Motorsports; Aaron at TSR; JDL Auto Design; Locash Racing; Ryan and Collin at Autofair Honda; Hasport, Downstar; Chris Ortiz at HGH Tuning; The Chronicles and Honda Tuning for showing love; all of my friends who have come to lend a hand or help out with parts; Bryan Thomas, Morgan, Terry Froelich, HOSE-B, Sergio, Enrique, and to everyone for the love and support, it's very much appreciated!

1992 honda civic CX first molding flugel plate lip 10 Photo 10/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Detail manager at Toyota

Favorite Site
azht.net, k20.org, nwp4life.com

Screen Name
clean4door

Building Hondas
12years

Dream Car
Imola orange NSX

Inspiration For This Build
Had to keep up with the homies at RC's Garage

Future Build
'95 sedan

1992 honda civic CX first molding flugel plate lip 09 Photo 11/11   |   1992 Honda Civic CX - K20 Swapped Purist

Sources

HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
ICB Motorsport
Chandler, AZ 85226
480-626-1927
http://www.icbmotorsport.com
K-Tuned
877-958-8633
http://www.k-tuned.com
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
909-592-4311
http://www.goldeneaglemfg.com
By Rodrez
541 Articles

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