Super Street Network

Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit www.motortrend.com for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
 |   |  1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

This K-Powered Hatch Goes From Cross-Country Commuter To American Touge Competitor In Less Than A Week.

Aaron Bonk
Jan 1, 2006
Photographer: Tracy Stocker

When Charlie Rhyu made the trek from Palatine, Ill., to do some autocrossing and catch the JGTC (now Super GT) 2004 race event in Southern California, he had no intentions of crashing Best Motoring International's "American Touge Showdown" video production. He certainly never dreamed his '92 Civic CX would later compete in the Showdown and damn near win it.

Htup_0601_01_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+front_right Photo 2/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

Rhyu wasn't invited to the event, which put Japanese über-drivers Keiichi Tsuchiya and Manabu Orido in cars built by America's leading J-car tuners. He couldn't resist attending as a spectator when he learned the BMI guys were filming the day after Super GT, but in the back of his mind he had the idea of competing.

A series of mishaps and chance connections made Rhyu's idea a reality as organizers allowed his hatch of simplified proportions to run alongside some of the best Japanese car tuners in the country. It was nothing short of a flat-out testament to the fruits of his labor.

Aspirations of traveling cross-country and winning races weren't on Rhyu's radar from the beginning, though. He simply wanted a B-series engine swap for his '91 Si.

Htup_0601_03_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+right_rear Photo 3/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

"I was gonna build the crap out of that car," he says. When he learned that bolt-in engine mounts kits weren't yet available, and that cutting and welding were necessary, he sought out an EG chassis in which the B-series transplant was a true bolt-in affair. After much Internet research, Rhyu's Civic gave refuge to a B18C1 engine and Integra Type-R gearbox.

Not interested in cracking open the engine for more power, the GS-R powerplant later made room for an ITR powerplant. "That did me well ... for awhile," Rhyu says.

Shortly after the RSX's introduction, Rhyu caught wind of a K-series engine that found its way under the hood of an EG. He consulted Dan Phan of Rcrew, who knows a thing or two about the K-series, for guidance. Phan directed Rhyu to a stash of K's in the back room. At the time, little was known of the K-series.

Htup_0601_04_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+engine_bay Photo 4/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

"What the hell are these?" Rhyu asked the first time he saw the K20A. "There's no way- no way-this will work."

Rhyu left Phan's with a JDM K20A Type-R.

His timing was a mixed blessing. K-swap mount kits were still unavailable, keeping the engine's cost in the affordable zone. But unavailability still meant no mounts, so Rhyu waited seven months until Hasport released its kit, then quickly proceeded with the transplant. Rhyu says the K20 is the culmination of everything he felt lacking in the B-series: the square bore/stroke relationship, 2.0 liters of displacement, variable cam timing.

Htup_0601_05_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+interior Photo 5/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

Anxious to debut the swap, Rhyu put out word that he'd be attending an upcoming drag race. The car did well at first, then was sidelined by a broken axle. After a new set of Hasport axles, the Civic posted a best e.t. of 12.28. But as much as Rhyu loves a good quarter-mile pass, he'd long dreamed of road racing the hatch. Having spent most of his money on underhood power, he slowly began to tweak suspension and braking to match the newfound horsepower.

With the chassis up to spec, Rhyu made arrangements to enter a Southern California autocross event, planning to convoy with friends from Illinois to California, enter the event and catch the Super GT race later in the week. The prospect of financing a lengthy drive and taking two weeks off from school and work wittled the convoy down to just Rhyu and a passenger.

Htup_0601_06_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+rear_hatch_view Photo 6/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

Undeterred, he made the trip, competed in two races and checked out Super GT before attending the American Touge Showdown. A mishap for Team Vishnu's EVO VIII inadvertently led to an open spot for Rhyu's Civic. He happened to be in the right place at the right time, and his car placed second in a field that included Comptech's NSX and S2000, Hasport's K24 supercharged EP3 and an AE86 Corolla with F20C motor swap.

Both Tsuchiya and Orido took turns behind the wheel of the car, raved about it's balance and power, and ultimately ranked it second only to XS Engineering's WRX STi.

"The driver loved my car," Rhyu says. "To see the Civic out there on the track was like a dream."

Bolts&Washers
Charlie Rhyu's 1992 Civic CX

Propulsion
As proprietor of Palatine, Ill.-based tuning facility, Top Setup, Rhyu was armed with the know-how and the contacts for a potent build-up. Dan Phan of Rcrew suggested the K20A and later rounded one up for him. The internals remain untouched. Forgoing a B-series engine overhaul was one reason why Rhyu turned to the K in the first place. Bolt-on power adders remain modest and include a K&N air filter, an Rcrew Race Version exhaust manifold and a Top Setup three-inch race exhaust.

Htup_0601_09_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+pcv_valve Photo 7/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

Fuel concerns are addressed through a multi-pronged approach consisting of a DC2 fuel pump, AEM fuel rail and SARD fuel pressure regulator. A Hondata K-Pro engine management system regulates air/fuel mixtures and optimizes timing events.

Hasport engine mounts support the K20A within the confines of the EG chassis and the six-speed Type-R transaxle transfers torque to pavement with the help of Hasport stage two axles. The OEM clutch was swapped in favor of an Exedy.

Stance
A'PEXi N1 coil-overs prop up the hatchback while rear camber concerns are addressed with an Ingalls alignment kit. Prothane bushings replace OEM issue for additional stiffness. Rhyu went factory with the GS-R front sway and shock tower bars, and ITR lower control arms and rear sway bar.

Htup_0601_10_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+kosei_wheels Photo 8/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

Resistance
Front and rear brakes were swapped in favor of GS-R units. The fronts are further beefed up with Power Slot rotors and GS-R calipers loaded with Hawk HP Plus pads. A DC5 brake master cylinder pumps Motul RBF 600 fluid through the system.

Rims & Rubber
Rhyu selected a set of 15-inch Kosei K-1s with 38mm offset (4x100 bolt pattern), weighing 13 pounds each, then wrapped them in Toyo RA rubber sized at 205/50-15.

Fashion
Outside: Stock. Original paint.
Inside: Despite its daily driver duty, the Civic's interior is stripped to the bone. A Sparco Pro 2000 offers a place for Rhyu to plant his ass, while a JDM Type-R Recaro does the same for his passenger. Sparco harnesses keep them strapped in during heated blasts.

Htup_0601_07_o+1992_honda_civic_cx_hatchback+front Photo 9/9   |   1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback - Right Place, Right Time

I.C.E.
A Kenwood head unit and Boston Acoustics front speakers offer an alternative to the sweet exhaust note.

By Aaron Bonk
417 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Aston Martin teams up with Curv Racing Simulators to build what it calls the "ultimate in luxury Esports experiences."
Greg FinkSep 21, 2020
Alex Markovic originally purchased his EM1 to be a dedicated winter beater, but about 15 miles into driving his new car home, that plan began to change.
RodrezSep 21, 2020
Tyler Graff picked up his Mk4 Supra when he was only 22, but don't think for a minute that he was some spoiled kid. He worked his butt off to be able to buy it as well as build it to the car it is today.
Sam DuSep 18, 2020
Riding shotgun with Randy "the Rocket" Pobst as he takes on Willow Springs in a 2020 Civic Type R
RodrezSep 18, 2020
Other than its color-scheme the connection between this Civic DX hatchback and the late, great Kobe Bryant isn't completely clear, but talk to its builder, GhostboyAki, and things clear up in rather short order.
RodrezSep 17, 2020
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP