In terms of Honda enthusiasm, you'd be hard pressed to find a more lovable character than the ultra-versatile fifth-gen. Civic hatchback. Praised for its unintentional modular construction, ease of modification, and an aftermarket parts bin deeper than Atlantis, it's no surprise that the '92 to '95 chassis remains arguably the most popular version of the Civic lineage.
Chicago's Rick Vargas is all too familiar with what this model offers, and as such he's put countless man hours into his latest build, but this isn't his first go-around as he started tinkering with the mechanical side of cars as a kid. Rick states, "Ever since I was young, my dad kept me busy by helping him work on the family car. It forced me to do something positive rather than hanging around on the streets. Ever since then, my love for cars grew." His passion for cars experienced a significant boost when he hit the age of 15, tagging along with his brother's best friend who was already involved in the import world. "We would go to the races almost every weekend and right then I knew I had a love for imports."
Applying what he'd learned with his father to some trial and error, Rick navigated through his first B-series swap at just 16. Two years later, his long-term relationship with the EH chassis began. "I got my first '92 Civic as a graduation gift from my family. Over the years, I changed from fifth-gen to sixth-gen, then back to fifth-gen Civics. I sold all of my cars except for this last '92 hatchback."
The knowledge acquired during that first swap he'd performed almost 20 years ago was essentially second nature as he embarked on this build. In went an ERL sleeved GS-R block with 84mm Arias pistons and Eagle H-beam rods with the intention of bulking up the bottom end in preparation for 20 psi of boost. That pressurized air comes by way of a Precision 6266 snail mounted to a BWR top-mount manifold and is kept honest by a Tial wastegate. The combination, overseen by version three of Hondata's S300, is good for 550 whp backed by more than 400 lb-ft of torque—more than a handful for the anemic CX that in stock form tips the scales at just over 2,000 pounds.
The complexities under the Civic's hood are in stark contrast to the simple but effective exterior of Rick's build. Classic white Regamasters wrapped in Falken Azenis RT615Ks and a touch of carbon both front and rear might clue you into the fact that this Civic is by no means stock, but most wouldn't expect the 500+ horsepower punch it's packing.
This isn't the end of Rick's journey. His to-do list includes a rear brake upgrade, additional engine bay cleanup, and a full re-spray. And, if the mood strikes, the next round of surgery might include a switch to K-series power. If that doesn't keep him busy enough, the Ruckus project he just started should. In the back of his mind, he's already toying with the idea of starting a JDM EG chassis build. There's that familiar territory again...