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1998 Honda Civic - Down But Not Out

We Take Stock And Put Together A Game Plan For This Neglected Civic Hatch.

Nate Hassler
Nov 9, 2010

In many ways, I feel weird publishing anything about this car. Years ago when I first bought my Civic hatch, I (like many car owners) had dreams to someday see my car on the pages of a magazine, but not like this. As you can see, the car isn't exactly in mint condition. The front lip is broken, one of the wheels is bent and the alignment is all off. There are about 10 lbs of flies, bees and mosquitoes stuck to the front end, a residual effect of the 1,000-plus-mile drive south on Interstate 5 from Portland to Los Angeles. In a nutshell, the car has seen better days and now resides in my garage, waiting patiently for its time to shine once again. Before I get ahead of myself, I suppose a little back story is in order.

Modp_1011_01_o+1998_honda_civic+garage Photo 2/4   |   1998 Honda Civic - Down But Not Out

I bought this car from a gentleman in Portland back in late 2005; he was getting married and the time had come to pass on the project to someone new. Over the next few months, we put the car together in his garage, using a free B16A2 swap, spare parts he had laying around and the assistance of a few helpful friends. We miraculously managed to pass the DMV-required smog check and I finally drove the car home, all smiles and satisfied with my purchase. But right away, I knew I wanted more. I bought some exterior parts, got a few bolt-ons and basically did the honda-tech.com "Stage 1" upgrades. I daily drove the car for awhile, but my commute was less than 10 blocks, so the car sat in the garage for the most part. The most miles that were ever put on the car came from a few road trips to the Bay Area and, ultimately, the long drive from Portland to Los Angeles when I uprooted and moved. The bugs from that trip still speckle the car's front end - a sign of how high a priority it had been in my mind until recently.

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy

It feels good to finally talk about the car. My Civic has been a part of me for a long time, and it has been through a few phases in life - a couple of motors, lots of changes to the exterior and only one set of wheels (to the dismay of many vocal posters on Internet forums). Yet, it never quite got "finished," as they say. As if any project car is ever "finished," right? Regardless, an unfortunate run in with a curb - as a result of me dodging one very lucky canine - hasn't left the car in ruins, but it's certainly in need of some work. Since I no longer daily drive the car, I'm taking the opportunity to fix it up, correct the silly mistakes I made with the previous setup and get my baby looking (and running) better than ever.

Modp_1011_02_o+1998_honda_civic+rays_engineering_wheels Photo 3/4   |   1998 Honda Civic - Down But Not Out

The goal here is not a race car. I want a cool-looking, fun-to-drive street car - a car that has some stuff you don't see every day. I want a car that I can take to the track on occasion, but won't feel out of place or uncomfortable driving on the city streets. The first phase of the rebuild will include repairing body and suspension damage, getting a proper alignment, as well as a proper set of dry-weather street tires. Stay tuned as the gears begin to turn and my baby comes back to life!

Specs & Details
'98 Honda Civic
Engine Honda B18B LS-VTEC
Engine Modifications PR-3 head w/ 5-angle valve job; Integra Type-R springs, valves, guides; Civic Type-R intake cam; ARP head studs; Wiseco 11.5/1 forged pistons; Eagle connecting rods; stainless oil lines; AEM short ram intake; HyTech race header; Top Fuel 60mm after-cat; custom test pipe
Engine Management P05 ECU; Chrome tuned
Drivetrain '00 Civic Si transmission; MFactory 1.5-way LSD, 4.9 final drive; new synchronizers; new bearings; Skunk 2 short shifter
Suspension TEIN Monoflex coilovers; SRR 19mm rear sway bar, tie bar, LCAs; Arospeed front UCAs; USDM Civic Si front LCAs, front sway bar; Spoon strut tower braces
Exterior '99-00 front end w/ Civic Type-R headlights, grille, mirrors, thin side moldings, window visors, rear lip; Mugen front lip; Bomex rear wing; shaved license plate holes
Interior USDM Integra Type-R front seats; Civic Type-R steering wheel, gauge cluster; CRV roof-mounted rearview mirror storage unit; Spoon shift knob
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Rays Engineering forged 16x7" +42 wheels (f/r); Yokohama AVS100 tires 205/45R16 (f/r); USDM Integra Type-R 5-lug hubs; S2000 brake calipers; Mugen Active Gate brake rotors (f); stainless steel brake lines; Hawk HPS brake pads, S2000 brake booster

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By Nate Hassler
182 Articles

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