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1997 Honda Civic Hatchback CX - Creating A Family Tradition

Extreme Honda builds are the norm for the Hawbaker family.

Jonathan “JT” Thompson
Mar 27, 2013
Photographer: Matthew Jones
Htup 1303 09+1997 honda civic CX+VIS carbon fiber rear hatch Photo 1/9   |   Rolling shot of an EK9 1997 Honda Civic Hatch

Many families have shared hobbies that vary from sports to stamp collecting. These like-minded interests often allow a family to bond, enjoy a common activity together as a unified group. Of course, there are the automotive enthusiast families like that of Randy Hawbaker's out of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania. The interesting aspect, at least for this particular magazine, is that the family was focused more on domestics than anything else. Randy grew up working on Mustangs, and high-horsepower Hondas were not a part of the family tradition. But that would all change soon enough.

Randy recalls helping his dad build a custom Mustang for his mom that he even painted at school at the ripe young age of 16. That was then. Now, mom, dad, and sis all sport the H-badge. Dad drives a Civic coupe with a built and turbocharged GS-R powerplant. The Civic throws down roughly 650 whp. Oh yeah, Dad also cruises around on drag radials. Mom owns a 2001 turbo Integra GS-R and is currently in the pursuit of 450 whp. Sis rocks a 2010 Si sedan with bolt-on goodies and is yearning for a 400-whp turbo setup. And yes, the Hawbaker family cruises in their heavily modified Hondas together--imagine that for a moment.

Htup 1303 01+1997 honda civic CX+VIS carbon fiber hood Photo 2/9   |   1997 Honda Civic Hatchback with a VIS carbon fiber hood

Randy's been building Hondas for over eight years now. Although he respects any well-rounded vehicle, he favors Hondas for their power-producing capabilities despite their smaller engine size. High-revving shifts also strengthen his love for the H-badge. Randy is a valuable Honda resource within his network, and he's no stranger to family and friends frequently reaching out to him for help on their own Honda projects. The hatch's K20A2 received a Precision 6266 turbo featuring an .82 area/radius and V-band discharge. "I chose this turbo because of the billet wheel combined with it being a small-frame turbo which makes for fast spool. I feel it makes the perfect street turbo," he explains. According to a Dynapack dynamometer, the EJ6 produces 554 whp, 367 lb-ft torque at 17 psi on 93 octane. Supertech valves, valvesprings, and retainers were paired with Prayoonto billet Stage 2 cams to help pull more power.

The hatchback originally belonged to a friend, Justin Gossard, who owns and operates Hub City Performance in Hagerstown, Maryland. The race-centric garage specializes in fabrication, welding, and paintwork. The Civic originally had a built GS-R turbo setup and produced over 700 whp. The B-series engine repeatedly experienced head gasket issues and eventually became a dust collector. "When it was a B-series, the fastest quarter-mile time was 10.30 at 149," Justin recalls. Randy persistently asked Justin to sell the hatch to him, and finally Justin had enough and caved in. Randy decided to let Justin perform the majority of the build as Randy simply didn't have enough free time to work on the build.

The shaved engine bay required more hours than any other aspect of the build. Justin invested 50 to 60 hours tidying up the engine compartment. "Every hole was welded closed. Every seam was grounded and sanded," Justin claims. The bay received four coats of base paint and three coats of clear coat. The results are a sleek, sexy, and shiny art piece underneath the hood. The goal was to create a super-clean and fast street car--objective achieved.

An interesting aspect of the turbo setup is the custom intercooler and piping. Randy happens to be connected with many knowledgeable and skilled Honda enthusiasts and called upon Derek Robinson of Innovative MotorWorks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Derek and Randy agreed to a trade. Randy offered up his Volk CE28N wheels in exchange for a custom intercooler system built by Derek. The massive intercooler that resembles an aggressive boxer's grin with a protruding mouth guard is seemingly stuffed into the bumper space with perfection.

Randy simultaneously works on two other project cars as well. He's busy infusing a 2000 Civic Si with a nitrous oxide system, the final goal being around 350 whp. "I want to experience a different form of power," he says. He ruled out superchargers because people he is familiar with tend to have issues with engine belts breaking and other operational problems. He recently scooped up a CRX that will get the shaved bay treatment and a boosted K series--somewhat similar to the hatch. "I just enjoy building cars, to tell you the truth. I don't have a use for the CRX. I just enjoy this stuff," he says.

Htup 1303 08+1997 honda civic CX+s2000 steering wheel Photo 6/9   |   1997 Honda Civic Hatchback CX - Creating A Family Tradition

The lighthearted family rivalry provides an outlet for them to connect and have fun together. Recently, Randy called his dad, told him to go outside of his automotive shop and instructed him to listen. Randy zoomed by the garage at full throttle like Maverick in Top Gun. Dad then told Randy that he might want to put his hatch away before Dad has to smoke him. Blood may be thicker than water, but a little lighthearted trash talk is always acceptable in a tight-knit family like the Hawbakers.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20A2 engine
HaSport engine mounts
Prayoonto Stage 2 camshafts
Supertech valves
Supertech valvesprings
Supertech retainers
Precision turbocharger
JDL Designs intake manifold
Q45 90mm throttle body
Innovative MotorWorks custom intercooler
Innovative MotorWorks custom intercooler piping
TiAL Q blow-off valve
TiAL 60mm wastegate
JDL Designs exhaust manifold
Hub City Performance downpipe
Hub City Performance exhaust system
Walbro 400lph fuel pump
Russell Performance fuel filter
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Golden Eagle fuel rail
Injector Dynamics 1,000cc fuel injectors
Russell Performance lines and fittings
EP3 transmission
Buddy Club shifter box
Competition Clutch twin disc clutch
Competition Clutch flywheel
Quaife limited-slip differential
RSX driver-side axle
2000 CR-V automatic transmission passenger-side axle
CX Racing radiator
All In oil catch tank
Hondata K-Pro engine control unit
Custom shaved engine bay

Htup 1303 05+1997 honda civic CX+K20A2 engine Photo 7/9   |   Boosted K20 in a spotless engine bay.

Suspension
Omni-Power drag full body coilovers
ASR subframe braces
Full Race traction bars
Blackworks lower control arms
Skunk2 camber kit

Htup 1303 07+1997 honda civic CX+ASR subframe brace Photo 8/9   |   ASR Subframe Braces on a 1997 Honda Civic Hatchback

Resistance
Brembo drilled and slotted brake rotors
Hawk brake pads
All In Fab brake tuck kit
Custom brake tuck

Wheels & Tires
Mugen MF10L 15x7. +42
205/50-15 Nitto Neo Gen

Exterior
CTR foglights
CTR headlights
CTR mirrors
CTR front lip
CTR rear lip
CTR taillights
VIS carbon-fiber hood
VIS carbon-fiber hatch
Password JDM thin side moldings

Interior
S&W custom rollcage
ITR front seats
S2000 steering wheel
Neptune Tunerview assorted gauges

Props
Family
Chris Edwards
Derek Robinson
Jason Schmuck
Jeremy Daywalt
Justin Gossard
Wes Miley

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Tester at JLG Industries

Htup 1303 06+1997 honda civic CX+mugen MF101L Photo 9/9   |   Side profile shot a 1997 Honda Civic Hatchback on Mugen RF10Ls

Favorite Site
Google.com

Screen Name
Hawhater

Building Hondas
8 years

Dream Car
Dodge Cummins

Inspiration For This Build
Something clean, nice, and respectable

Future Build
Street-purposed turbocharged CRX

A Review Of Honda Civic Sales In The United States

American Honda Motor Company began sales of the Honda Civic in 1973. Honda sold 33,000 Civics the first year. The historical average number of units sold yearly from 1973 to 2011 is 232,000. In a more recent time period, the average number of units sold yearly from 2007 to 2011 is 282,000. The most Civics sold in one year was 339,000 in 2008. Since 2008, Civic sales have decreased. In 2009, sales dropped 24 percent. In 2010, sales remained flat at 260,000 total units sold. Sales continued downward in 2011 to 221,000 total units sold. In 2011, the number of Civics sold contributed toward 22 percent of all models sold by American Honda. Sales information for 2012 was not available. All above information was obtained through the self-published Honda September 2012 Digital Fact Book.

Sources

Hondata
Torrance, CA 90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Injector Dynamics
214-607-9022
http://www.injectordynamics.com
Blackworks Racing
http://www.bwusa.com
By Jonathan “JT” Thompson
11 Articles

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