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1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

There’s a reason why this hatch earned the nickname “Le F!@#ing SiR”

Jonathan Thompson
Jul 4, 2012
Htup 1207 05 o+1996 honda civic CX+EDM rear lip Photo 1/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

One of the most unique aspects of this build is its location—Puerto Rico. The Honda community is indeed growing in this region, but isn’t quite commonplace. At least not yet. Most companies don’t want to supply this area with parts; perhaps they feel it won’t be profitable enough. The unincorporated U.S. territory’s physical distance from Japan and the mainland U.S. drives up shipping costs from companies and third-party sellers who are willing to do business here. These two factors alone increase the difficulty in customizing a Honda, as well as create part scarcity. Some wait extended amounts of time for just one part. Others opt for knock-off parts, slap on illegal logos and claim they’re using legit stuff. Of course, there are the purists who believe a real car should have real parts—despite costs and delivery time. One such person happens to be Johnel Maldonado Donate of Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. He built a well-rounded street machine despite the unfavorable conditions.

This particular Civic build started as nothing more than a family gathering at his grandfather’s home. Johnel and his brother noticed the stock Civic in a neighbor’s backyard. Johnel needed a commuter car for college, and at only $3,200 as the asking price, he was quick to jump on the deal. A year of college classes had passed, and Johnel began to notice that his family and friends were becoming completely engulfed in fixing up their Hondas. He couldn’t help himself as his friends were having too much fun and he wanted to share in their experiences. The gas-friendly hatch quickly became a race-inspired attention grabber—daily driven from day one.

Htup 1207 26 o+1996 honda civic CX+sppon sports header Photo 2/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas
2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

As mentioned, finding high-end parts in Puerto Rico can be pretty tough. Johnel took to the web to track down a number of authentic parts for his build. To be quite frank, the amount of Spoon goodies on this Civic hatch is downright ridiculous! Just look at the Spoon Sports–built engine and transmission that were purchased from an auction site in Canada. Originally, the plan called for a K-series swap, but the auction was far too tempting to resist. Johnel frantically tried to verify the legitimacy of the engine before placing a bid. Fortunately, the specs checked out, and it was in fact a real-deal Spoon B16B long-block from Japan. As if to accentuate the highly sought after Spoon motor, all unnecessary extras under the hood were ditched, leaving that signature yellow valve cover to shine in all of its glory.

More than just a pricey powerplant, the bright red hatch sports some tough-to-find white with polished lip 16-inch Sprint Harts wrapped in 205/45-16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2. Johnel also worked hard on sourcing a number of EDM exterior pieces to help set his car apart from the typical U.S.- or JDM-style hatchbacks that he’d seen online. A Mugen front lip and side skirts sporting a flat black theme tie into the OEM door moldings to accentuate the Civic’s rather aggressive street style.

Htup 1207 02 o+1996 honda civic CX+mugen lip Photo 3/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

A well-rounded build includes interior enhancements as well. The highly coveted Mugen instrument gauge cluster might draw your attention away from the CTR seats and door panels, if only for a moment. An EK9 navigation system allows for smooth travel around the island’s various hangouts using the coveted Mugen FG360 steering wheel and sport pedals. Depending on his mood, a Spoon Sports or CTR shift knob handle shifting duties, while various bits and pieces throughout the interior were swapped for their JDM or EDM counterparts.

Johnel set out to build a Civic that would be highly respected in Puerto Rico and widely recognized beyond. The project lasted five years and included the efforts of dozens of individuals. “I give thanks to everyone who helped and hope they enjoyed it as much as I did,” he says. In the end, he spared no expenses and patiently waited for ultra-rare parts. For his efforts, his well-crafted build earned the nickname, “Le F!@#ing SiR.” No doubt a confirmation of a job well done.

I’m sad to report that this high-quality build is no more. Ivan Soto, die-hard Honda aficionado and main Honda part hookup for many enthusiasts in Puerto Rico, hosted a farewell meet before the Civic was parted out and sold. It was more like a funeral. Gearheads from all over the various islands came to the gathering to pay their last respects to a job well done. Some even pleaded to spare the unnecessary slaughter. However, the amount of love and money poured into the hatchback ultimately killed it. A problem many on the mainland face as well, Johnel couldn’t drive it daily anymore with all of the rare and expensive parts. Much like enthusiasts everywhere, the constant threat of thieves was enough to cause an ulcer.

Bolts & Washers

Spoon Sports B16B
HaSport engine mounts
Spoon Sports crankshaft
Spoon Sports pistons
Spoon Sports rings
Spoon Sports camshafts
Spoon Sports valves
Spoon Sports valvesprings
Spoon Sports retainers
Spoon Sports valve cover
Spoon Sports Kevlar intake elbow
Spoon Sports 70mm throttle body
Spoon Sports Gen 1 header
Skunk2 MegaPower exhaust system
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Russell Performance in-line fuel filter
Mishimoto radiator
Mishimoto FAL radiator fan
Spoon Sports radiator hoses
NGK iridium spark plugs
Spoon Sports spark plug wires
Spoon Sports Kevlar spark plug cover
Spoon Sports Gen 1 Oil pan
Spoon Sports clutch
Spoon Sports flywheel
Spoon Sports LSD
Spoon Sports 4.857 final drive
Spoon Sports chipped ECU
Custom wire tuck

Htup 1207 23 o+1996 honda civic CX+spoon sports B16B Photo 4/8   |   The yellow-top Spoon Sports-built B16B is the crown jewel under the hood of this CX.

Function Form Type 2 coilovers
ASR subframe
Skunk2 lower control arms
Top Fuel antiroll bar

Htup 1207 28 o+1996 honda civic CX+skunk2 MegaPower exhaust Photo 5/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

ITR brake conversion
Chase Bays brake tuck kit
Project Kics R40 extended lug nuts

Wheels And Tires
Front: 16x7 Sprint Hart, +38 offset
Rear: 16x7.5 Sprint Hart, +38 offset
205/45-16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2

Custom paint
Mugen front lip
Mugen side skirts
EDM rear lip
EDM headlights
EDM headlight covers
EDM front grille
EDM rear tailgate spoilers
EDM side markers

Mugen instrument gauge cluster
CTR seats
CTR door panels
EK9 navigation system
Mugen FG360 steering wheel
Mugen pedals
Spoon Sports shift knob
CTR shift knob
Honda Access steering wheel column
EDM ashtray
EDM lower console
JDM airbag-delete cover

Htup 1207 17 o+1996 honda civic CX+EK9 navigation system Photo 6/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

Josean Dk, my family, Ivan JDM Parts, Mec. Basica, Alan STPR, Javier JDM Connection, Antonio “Aby,” Ito, Joel Vega, Oldskool, Luis Burgos “Yeyo Yuka,” Junito Spoon, Pulgo Ef, Oscar Paint, Ramesis Paint, Luis Inzane Photo, Charlie Mugen, Freddie Lozada, Alberto Chevere, Garage Ferdy

Owner Specs

Daily Grind

Htup 1207 09 o+1996 honda civic CX+mugen sideskirts Photo 7/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas

Favorite Site

Screen Name
Brother’s EK

Building Hondas
5 years

Dream Car
Spoon Sports S2000

Inspiration For This Build
Bro’s car and father

Future Build
’81 Toyota Starlet

The Downlow on Spoon Sports Engines

Spoon Sports no longer offers complete engine or cylinder head assemblies. According to Brandon Bacio, co-owner of Inline Four, a major factor in this decision is that older Honda chassis such as the EG, EK, and DC2 are over 10 years old. Vehicle manufacturers are only commissioned to produce replacement parts for 10 years after their original manufacture date. The good news is that Inline Four is an official North American Distributor for Spoon Sports parts and accessories. The company can rebuild or overhaul engines and transmissions to Spoon Sports and OEM specifications. Costs vary depending upon an individual build’s needs. Depending upon the shop’s current volume of work and part availability, turnaround time starts at two weeks. For more information on how to get an engine with Spoon Sports specs, check out

Htup 1207 12 o+1996 honda civic CX+bumper moldings Photo 8/8   |   1996 Honda Civic CX - The Valiant Lord Of Hondas


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