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1992 Honda Civic with a Type R engine block - Going Beyond All Limits

Packs More Funk Than A Carl Douglas Remake

Jonathan Wong
May 1, 2000
Photographer: Richard S. Chang

Using no way as a way; Having no limitation as a limitation:... Bruce Lee couldn't have said it better when asked how to describe his style of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do. The idea of staying true to the classical form of Kung Fu challenged him to create another way of fighting that incorporated the basic traditional elements but without the fixed positions. It is a way of personal adaptation to which the fighter can develop his own unique techniques to improve his style of combat. Lee Randle knows what the Master was tryin' to relay. His '92 Civic exemplifies what it is to blend clean tactics with a personal edge.

Actually, Lee has been mastering his own style for a while. His previous fighting techniques were comprised of a '90 Civic Si with a ZC, a '91 CRX HF with an LS engine, and a '95 del Sol twin-cam VTEC. All were most impressive, but those skills alone wouldn't be enough to compete with today's standards. Lee needed something much more. A base-model fifth-gen Civic hatchback was chosen for its lightweight characteristics.

2017 Honda Civic
$21,500 Base Model (MSRP) 31/40 MPG Fuel Economy

A JDM B18C Type R block mated to a JDM GS-R cylinder head was swapped into the engine bay. The block maintains its near-factory status with the exception of JDM Type R pistons, which were bored .25 mm over as well as blueprinted and balanced by Erick's Racing Engines of Torrance, California. Erick's also reworked the valves on the GS-R cylinder head. So once the gas is punched, the car comes to life as soon as VTEC activates, all thanks to the JDM Integra R cammies. The car also has an XS Engineering ECU and is estimated to put out 200 hp at the crank.

Looking under the hood, you won't notice a thing with the naked eye. But it's the hidden weapons that will catch you off guard. You won't see the Skunk2 cam gears under the uncut valve cover or the header. That's right, a '97 JDM two-piece header sits underneath the factory exhaust-manifold heatshields and connects to a 2.5-inch resonated test pipe. But you won't see that either because the dummy heatshields conceal it perfectly. The custom mandrel-bent 2.5-inch Thermal Research and Development exhaust system is just about the only modification that you'll notice. And only JDM experts will be quick to catch on to the Japan-spec GS-R transmission equipped with a factory limited-slip differential.

Slammed is the way of Lee's ridin' style, so it's no wonder that a set of Skunk2 coilovers drop the EG to a rim-tucking stance. GS-R factory sway and strut bars were employed all around for a tight fit. The stock donuts were taken off for the rare black and red 15x6.5 Mugen RnRs, a must have for any JDM enthusiast.

Your first, second, and third glances at the car will also tell you that the Glasurit Sierra Pine Green paint isn't OE. Actually, Lee prepped his own car before it was sprayed at Auto F.L.M. The entire floorboard was cleared of all sound-deadening material, and the engine was removed to paint the engine bay. This car has been redone in such a fashion that you'd think it was a showroom option. A Spoon Sports rear carbon-fiber wing and a Sunny Styling carbon-fiber hood give off a pseudo N1 race look, and the DOHC VTEC side emblems from Japan add a nice touch of JDM flavor. The headlights are Japan-spec, as well, as are the full-amber corner lights from Vision.

Only a hardcore racer can appreciate an empty interior like the one in Lee's car. Fully gutted, it matches the outward appearance and features only the dashboard and del Sol buckets. And, no, those aren't stick-on white face gauges, either. They're the real-deal Civic Si-R II factory gauges with a redline of 8,200 rpm, just perfect for those with a twin-cam VTEC. Too bad they read in kilometers. And, yes, we had to mention one last JDM goodie: his Si-R steering wheel.

It's pretty easy to see how Lee shares the same vision as Bruce Lee. Adopt a style all your own and go with it, grow with it. You make it how it is. And we'll put it in here.

By Jonathan Wong
473 Articles



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