Back in 2015, @rwire_motorsport_electronics burst into the "SEMA build" realm officially with a built and boosted K-series JDM ITR fitted with a slew of electronics tricks and slick upgrades that had everyone talking. A year later, Rywire played a major role in Big Mike's Prelude build that debuted its complete makeover at the show and, just 12 months after that, the shop produced a stroked and ITB-equipped S2K build that showed up in the Toyo Treadpass sector of the show. These are the cars that have increased the brand's outward visibility, but the truth is, the wiring guru has had a hand in far more SEMA builds than the above mentioned.
When high-level builders need a custom wiring solution, they've typically got this shop on speed dial. Able to adapt and make things work together that, on paper, really shouldn't be able to work together, Rywire will often serve as a problem-solver in those final days before the big event. Still, even with the house calls and late-night stints, an in-house project was still the focus and once again landed in the highly-anticipated Toyo Treadpass lineup. In fact, Rywire had two potential cars slotted for the booth, but in the end was only granted the option to bring a single build, and this car took the honors.
The build is based on a third-generation Civic that many mistakenly refer to as an "EF," often confusing it with the fourth-generation chassis. Subtle similarities in the two cars' profiles and overall dimensions aside, the third gen. or, AH5 in this case, has slightly more abrupt lines and is far more angular in the rear section.
Owned by customer and long-time friend @bmerlots, the Civic has been the subject of a restomod makeover for quite some time. Body work and fresh paint applied inside and out was done by @willywerx and it maintains the OEM two-tone exterior paint scheme. Any parts that could be brought back to life were reconditioned, and in the end the 30-plus-year-old commuter car looks far better than we could have imagined.
Being an avid track enthusiast, the owner wanted much more than what the native engine could offer, so the starting point was a B16B from Honda's EK9 Type R. Torn down and reworked with custom sleeves, bored to 85mm, and using a GS-R rotating assembly, the once 1.6L B-series is now sporting 2.0L grunt. Additional mods include a set of 55mm Kinsler ITBs, Myers Competition header, and Skunk2 Tuner Stage II cams.
Like many of Rywire's projects these days, engine management is handled by AEM Electronics' Infinity and teamed up with Rywire's PDM system, chassis, and engine harness. It's a combination that's worked wonders at the shop, and in this case the combination produced a very healthy 240hp/165tq at the tuning fingers of @bbrtuning (you can find a dyno pull on that Instagram page and it's worth listening to) and plain ol' 91 octane with a user-friendly 11.5:1 compression.
As much as we love the restomod aspect and the undeniably nice kick in power offered by the little red hatch, it's the execution that had everyone talking. On the outside, the look is OEM+ and the owner has access to just about any Japanese wheel he wants. In this case, he chose classic and often overlooked BBR Competition wrapped in Toyo RR track-only rubber. Sneak a peek behind a few spokes and you'll spot a set of Spoon calipers up front, as well.
The purple speed front lip and Live Sports rear wing, along with the always tough to I.D. side mirrors, make up the entire exterior parts lineup. Simple and clean isn't just a catchphrase with this group, it's essentially a way of life.
Back under the hood, surrounding that stroked Type R engine you'll find plenty to drool over, from the high-dollar XRP lines that handle cooling and fueling duties to the modernized coil-over-plug conversion, fresh hardware and of course, Rywire engine harness, firewall plate and quick-disconnect option.
JRZ reservoirs are mounted to each side of the bay and even with the dimensionally challenged engine bay real estate, the appearance is incredibly clean and minimalistic.
Unlike most modern builds, the factory brake lines are left in plain sight rather than being tucked away or relocated. Look a little closer and you might notice that both the driver and passenger-side engine mounting points have been built from scratch—recreated by @segantimetalworks to accept a Hasport Integra DC/Civic EG-style mount kit, with the same treatment applied to the rear T-bracket mount.
Inside the cabin, Seganti Metalworks went to town on a custom roll bar that includes a harness bar and a lower cross bar which connects both shock towers, doubling as a mounting point for the rear suspension reservoirs.
Just behind the driver's side Mugen bucket seat is a Radium surge tank to combat the severe lack of baffling from the factory in this chassis and avoid fuel starvation issues. No corners were cut and XRP lines are used once again, this time waterfalling out of the tank as they make their way to the engine bay.
Being that the owner has expensive taste and is a sucker for hard-to-find Japanese goods from the golden era and prior, you'll find Mugen bits scattered around the cabin and engine bay as an ode to yesteryear, but like much of the build, there are modern additions like the AIM digital MXL 2 cluster and the aforementioned ECU and PDM systems anchored to the passenger-side floorboard by way of @checkerdsports mounts.
A third-generation Civic is probably one of the last things you'd expect to find at SEMA, especially in the highly-regarded Toyo Treadpass sector of the annual mega-show. Perhaps that was the idea, putting countless hours into a chassis that everyone else looked beyond, and in turn getting that much more attention during the week.
It's not a crazy theory but we think it boils down to timing and a little luck as the car's owner turned to Rywire Motorsport Electronics at the perfect point, and the result was a car that was finished to perfection and put on display at the biggest aftermarket event on earth. Some guys have all the luck...