Stance. Love or loathe the sub-culture built mostly around wheel fitment and ride height, I’m sure there aren’t too many people who don’t agree that a car that fills out its fenders both horizontally and vertically, is a whole lot nicer on the eye than one that does not. But as this ’97 Civic EK sedan all the way from New Zealand goes to prove, achieving perfect street stance doesn’t necessarily need to get in the way of functionality. It just takes a bit of thought.
The Civic’s owner, 28 year-old Anthony Wong, is no stranger to tuning Hondas. Almost a decade ago his EK4 NZDM VTi-R (aka JDM SiR) hatch graced the cover of New Zealand’s premier tuner magazine, and in between then and now he’s owned a bunch more noteworthy rides including a JDM ‘02 EP3 Civic Type R and a JDM ’90 Civic EF9 SiR that was restored and slammed silly on Work Meisters. But through it all the idea of building a K-powered EK sedan for street duties and the odd circuit session is something that’s never escaped his thoughts.
“The EK four-door always appealed to me,” says Anthony when questioned on chassis choice. And the inspiration for the K20A re-power? “That came from a guy in Cali called Danny who was one of the original guys to do a K-swap into a Civic. I’ve followed what he’s been doing for a long time now, and always thought how cool that would be to have something I can go for a cruise in with the boys, yet still be able to track.”
The build actually began around eight years ago, but before he had really got anywhere, the donor car—a NZDM EK1 LXi—was sold on and Anthony turned his attention to other projects. In mid-2011 he bought it back and set about seeing through the long-time vision. Right from the get go, the way the car came together as a complete package was a high priority. And wheel fitment was something at the top of that list. Back in the day, Anthony kicked around with the All Motor Group—a crew at the forefront of Honda street tuning. “The old Indonesian boys in the group, Ricky and Dommy, were really ahead of their time when it came wheel fitment and ride heights,” he explains. “We called it ‘Indo Stance’ back then and from that point on I’ve always favored nice wheels with plenty of width and dish.”
Sticking to the plan Anthony’s first point of business was to collect all the necessary hardware to complete the engine swap. A donor engine was the key ingredient of course, and that was pulled from a locally sourced JDM-spec DC5 Integra Type R, complete with its LSD-equipped six-speed close-ratio tranny and suitably sized drive shafts. For a low-fuss fit and power upgrades, however, Anthony turned to stateside K-series specialists ALL IN Fabrication and Hybrid Racing. Hybrid supplied the required K-series-engine-to-EK-series-chassis mounts along with a new fuel rail, fuel filter, 1.75-inch (70mm throttle body), a conversion wiring harness and one of its trick shift box kits. ALL IN supplied its branded PRO inlet manifold complete with extended runners, an intake pipe with velocity stack and filter and—on the other side of the engine— a 4-1 header that runs into a one-off, Kiwi-made Sinco Customs exhaust system.
Tuning was left in the capable hands of Rally AS’s Andrew Short—a Kiwi K-series engine building and tuning pro who managed to coax 224whp at 8200rpm from the package utilizing the abilities of Hondata’s revered K-Pro programmable ECU. According to the tuner, the limiting factor of Anthony’s current set up are the OEM injectors, which are currently performing at 97 percent duty cycle. An upgrade here would at least free up a few more ponies, and probably push output into the 230whp+ zone with a retune.
A small jump isn’t of much interest to Anthony who is already resigned to fact that when he next lays a finger on the engine it won’t just be the injectors that are upgraded but the cylinder head, too. If and when that happens 260 to 270whp should be on the cards.