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1993 Honda Civic CX - Gray Matter

Mouth shut, mind open— the thinking man’s (re)build.

Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
Oct 12, 2011

A short blip of the throttle sends a well-tuned exhaust note through the afternoon air, overpowering the eager, almost impatient onlookers. Soft-spoken, 27-year-old Will Salazar is a ball of nervous energy and intense concentration. Armed with a full race suit, helmet, and a wealth of hands-on experience, he’s poised on the starting line, anticipating not only his own actions, but also that of his opposition. The “go sign” is given, and the starting grid rips out of the hole like rabid animals, each fighting for the coveted lead position. Relentless, Salazar continually pushes his vehicle to its mechanical limits and, without remorse, sometimes slightly beyond—no doubt a by-product of an obsessively competitive nature. The above narrative is twofold, in that it can be applied to his experiences on both sand and concrete—two wheels or four.

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In 2007, Salazar’s hatchback was photographed for Honda Tuning Magazine sporting its original fire red paint and motivated by an ITB-powered B-series motor. Landing the article was no fluke, as he’d carefully chosen every performance part and supporting upgrade based on research and real-world results that had been well established. The end result was a reliable, respectably quick Civic that leaned more toward the track end of the spectrum rather than the street. While the combination of raw power and style would be enough to satisfy most, this longtime motorsports enthusiast felt he was missing something. He adds, “It was a really fun road-race motor, and the sound of VTEC with the ITBs was cool, but I wasn’t entirely happy with the power output. I wanted more.” Rather than continuing to throw parts at the motor in search of more power, at the cost of reliability, Salazar took a step back and did some serious soul searching to ensure his next move would suit his needs and his financial limitations. “After thinking things over, I decided to go bigger and better with a K20 swap. I’d get more power right out of the box, and still be able to drive the car reliably on the street.”

2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

As with any of Salazar’s vehicle builds, a complex plan was devised and he began selling off his B-series goods in order to source a K20Z1. Before going to its new home, the motor received a few bonus parts courtesy of Tony Shagday and Skunk2. They provided newly released (at the time) cams, valvesprings, and retainers; the parts shipped to the infamous Jeffro of Car Tune Auto Repair, who got busy assembling and prepping the new motor for duty. Along the way, Salazar scooped up a complete ITR five-lug conversion, and with everything installed, the car took on a whole new persona. The stock block K20 rocked the dyno with an additional 60 lb-ft of torque and 62 whp compared to the previous B-series setup.

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Rather than rely on typical off-the-shelf upgrades to complement the newfound power, Salazar paid a visit to Dana Czech and Gabe Agana of ASC Speed Metal for some one-off custom parts that are every bit as functional as they are fashionable. A custom-built four-point rollbar, cold-air intake, 3-inch exhaust, and now highly sought after three-point shock tower bar were custom built for the hatch. A host of other handcrafted bits and pieces was created by the fabrication gurus before Triad Powderworks stepped in to lay down some long-lasting powdercoated protection.

Just as quickly as the project’s reemergence had begun, without notice, it came to an abrupt halt. “I just got bit by the off-road motorcycle racing bug, and I sort of lost interest in the car. My dad has always been a big influence, and he’d been riding and racing Baja since he was about 12 years old. I’d been into it for about eight to nine years, and it was taking up all of my free time and interest.” While he was spending a few years competing in AMA District 38 desert racing and Baja, his EH sat completely neglected and soon took a backseat to his weekend escapades in the desert, ripping up off-road courses on his meticulously built CRF450R.

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With all of the hard work put into the Civic essentially “on ice” as motorcycle racing stole the spotlight, Salazar’s brother Gil felt he had to speak up. “Willie basically took a hiatus from cars altogether, and to be honest, I was pretty bummed. We’d always built our cars together and even tracked them together, but the desert racing was consuming all of his time. I remember him talking about putting the car up for sale, and I told him to hold off. The economy was really bad and he wasn’t going to get nearly what it was worth, plus I figured if he waited, he might want to pick things back up again. I think part of the problem was he had a nice motor and all of these sick custom-built parts, but the overall finish of the car wasn’t up to his standards. So I suggested we rebuild the entire car together and do it right,” Gil states.

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A spark immediately ignited in Salazar’s eyes, and shortly after, the pair could be found in the garage pulling the car apart. When their hands weren’t dirty with the Civic, they were scouring forums and websites in search of some very tough-to-find aero like the coveted Mugen side skirts, J’s Racing fenders and ultra-light J’s Type T bonnet. Opting to leave the bright red hue behind him forever, Salazar enlisted AG Auto Body to freshen up the exterior before dousing it with a fresh coat of gray pearl (custom mix).

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You might view Salazar’s “vacation” from building his Civic as time wasted, but we tend to think that the pause in momentum only added to the finished product. He and his brother were able to devise a solid game plan to bring the car up to its current status. No wallet-shriveling race motor build that would place a question mark above the reliability factor, no trendy fads that will no doubt fade away in a year’s time, just a well-executed rebuild that’s as capable on the street as it is on a road course. While he can still be found tearing up the off-road motorcycle track on select weekends, make no mistake: Will Salazar won’t be losing interest in his Civic again for quite some time.

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The San Diego Connection
Here’s a rundown of the San Diego sources used to help piece together Will Salazar’s incredible ’93 Civic CX.
ASC Speed Metal operates out of Lakeside, California, and specializes in, well, whatever you can imagine. It has been known to fabricate everything from tiny custom mounts and hardware to hard-core, multi-point rollcages and race components. Its attention to detail and precision are second to none, and it is San Diego’s best-kept secret.
Circuit Hero is Gil Salazar’s brainchild and offers a number of Honda-specific as well as universal performance goods. Some of the items available were actually created in conjunction with ASC, and Circuit Hero stocks them, ready for purchase.
Pann Auto is San Diego’s largest and longest-running performance retail shop, offering just about every conceivable go-fast and aesthetic part known to man. The company has held its position in a city that has seen countless shops come and go over the years, and it has recently celebrated 20 years in service.
Car Tune Auto Repair is nestled within the same building as Pann Auto and has its hands in everything from basic maintenance and automotive repair to performance upgrade services and troubleshooting.

Bolts & Washers

Assembled by Jeffro
Skunk2 Stage II cams
Skunk2 valvesprings
Skunk2 retainers
RBC intake manifold (shaved and ported)
70mm Skunk2 throttle body
Circuit Hero velocity stack
K&N air filter
R Crew header
R Crew 3-inch exhaust piping
ASC custom muffler
Circuit Hero test pipe
Chase Bays engine harness
ARP head studs
Mugen thin head gasket
Walbro 255 lph fuel pump
Blueprint oil pan baffle
ASC custom cooling windage plate
ASC custom oil catch can
ASC custom coolant overflow receiver
RSX Type S transmission
Buddy Club shifter box
S2000 clutch master cylinder
Exedy Stage II clutch
Exedy chromoly flywheel
OBX limited slip differential
RSX Type S 36mm axles
Hondata K-Pro
263hp and 184 lb-ft of torque
Tein RS coilovers
Eibach springs, 14K front, 16K rear
ITR 25mm front antiroll bar
Comptech ITR rear antisway bar/brace
Energy Suspension urethane inserts
Skunk2 front A-arm camber kit
Skunk2 rear camber kit
Circuit Hero–spec ASC 3-pt shock tower bar
ITR 5-lug conversion
EM Racing trunk bars
Hardcore ITR LCAs
Skunk2 extended wheel studs
Spoon Sports calipers
Hawk HP+ pads
Drilled/slotted rotors
Motul DOT 4 fluid
ASC brake lines
40:40 DC2 prop valve
Wheels And Tires
Volk CE28 Time Attack Edition wheels, 16x7 +42
H&R 10mm spacers, front
Falken Azenis RT615K 215/40-16
PPG gray pearl (custom mix)
Mugen front lip
Mugen side skirts
J’s Racing Type T hood
J’s Racing fenders, +22mm
Spoon Sports rear wing
NZ Aero custom ducts
Vision side mirrors
Circuit Hero towhooks
S2000 gauge cluster
Mugen S1 bucket seats
Takata Mugen Edition harnesses
Mugen SW36 steering wheel
Mugen pedals
Circuit Hero shift knob
Mugen ECU stay
Tweed door inserts
Swoosh oil and water gauges
ASC 4-pt rollbar
My family, Cindie Nordahl, my brother Gil Salazar, Gilbert Corona, Jeff Oleksow at Car Tune, Justin Lim and Thomas at Pann Auto, Andrew at Triad Powderworks, Armando at AG Auto Body, Dana and Gabe at ASC Speed Metal, Tony Shagday at Skunk2, Dan Phan at R Crew Racing, Ben at Blueprint Racing, Todd and Shawn at Church Automotive Testing, Katman, John “Supertwinz” Nguyen, Rodrez, and Chase Bays

Owner Specs

Favorite Website
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
11 years
Your dream car
Baja Trophy Truck
Build inspiration
N1 race cars
Current stable
’06 Toyota Tundra TRD
What’s playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
Greatest movie of all time
The Karate Kid


Triad Powderworks
Falken Tire
Skunk2 Racing


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Falken Tire
Fontana, CA 92335
Torrance, CA 90503
By Matt “Rodrez” Rodriguez
69 Articles



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