What makes a Civic Type R so much more kick-ass than a regular old Civic has more to do with feats of engineering like a high compression ratio, tight gearing, a lofty horsepower-per-liter ratio, and a dope pair of Recaro seats, and less to do with shiny red badges and a cool looking front lip. Badges and lips aside-as sweet as they may be-there are more than a couple of cosmetic monikers that distinguish the EK9 from any of its other '96-'00 Civic hatchback brethren. It isn't unlike comparing a filet mignon to a slab of hamburger meat-they both come from the same place but were born and bred in entirely different ways, and resemble one another little once presented.
Real-deal CTRs are right-hand drive configured, which means imitating one to the tee isn't easy. Such conversions are perhaps the most difficult of all fabrication processes to duplicate perfectly. Although sourcing legitimate CTR parts is easier than ever, RHD conversions require skill, time, patience, and greenbacks, none of which flow abundantly for everyone. You've also got to consider the fact that RHD Hondas garner just a little bit more attention from the authorities than you might otherwise expect.
Legalities and driver configurations aside, under the hood is where the oil separates from the water. The CTR boasts a whopping 185 hp, while basic Civics, depending on the model, register a meek 106-127 hp. The CTR screams out to a 9,200rpm redline while lesser Civics calmly breathe in and stop somewhere around 7000 rpm depending on the exact trim. The CTR is also factory equipped with a limited-slip differential, making it that much more race ready, as well as fun to drive. Unique to the EK9 is its exclusive B16B engine, a powerplant fitted only to the CTR. The concept simply doesn't correspond with Honda's typical business model, one in which engines are used for at least a decade, and placed within the confines of everything from hatchbacks to SUVs for the ultimate in cost-effective production. The logic allows the company to produce fewer application-specific parts, instead spreading the wealth among multiple platforms, enabling Honda as a company to benefit from the economies of scale. But forget all of that; the B16B remains an EK9 CTR commodity.
When the B16B block debuted nearly 13 years ago it bewildered Honda heads across the board. Enthusiasts who first took a gander at its dimensions became puzzled and walked away scratching their heads. The B16B block is as tall as any B18 engine on the outside but is of less displacement on the inside. The CTR's B16B-like all 1.8-liter B-series engines-has a 270mm block height, but the B16B's displacement measures in at only 1,595cc, while the B18C's tips the scales at 1,797cc. In short, the B16B has the displacement of a B16A but the structure of a B18C. But this is no B16A, mind you. The B16B can afford to be as tall as B18 engines simply because it has longer connecting rods, 142.42mm ones to be exact, slightly longer than the B18C's 137.9mm ones. Like all B-series engines, the B16B features an 81mm bore but, thanks to those longer rods, its stroke measures in at 77.4 mm-that's enough to earn the CTR one of the most impressive rod-to-stroke ratios known to the automotive world. Call it a de-stroked B18C, call it an anomaly, but the fact remains that B16Bs remain a sight to be seen, as do CTRs. Confused? No worries. All that matters is that B16Bs and EK9s kick ass and are about as rare as they come.
Regardless of whether it's a CTR or a regular Civic, both filet mignon and hamburger patties feed the mind, body, and soul. At the end of the day, they both rock the H badge. With honor.
|EK9 Honda Civic Type R