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Honda CRX vs. Civic - Battle Of The Budget Builds

Watch Us Take Project Car Down In An Ef Shootout You Won't Want To Miss

Jonathan Wong
Jul 1, 2008
Photographer: Terence Patrick
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We here at Super Street love a good challenge. Sure, we've taken many a beating in the past for being the mechanically challenged, not the best source when it comes to tech or the slowest of the bunch-but that doesn't mean we won't try (and besides, we have won a few build competitions in the past with the help of some really great mechanics). Recently, we got ourselves into a pissing match with the boys over at Project Car to see who could build the better EF after seeing us take on one of our own. After seeing what our build plans and budget were, they've decided to do try an EF of their own-a CRX-and will try to make a mockery of our budget build by taking our leftovers and building whatever they can with their sorely limited resources. Well, we're here to accept their challenge because this is a game we simply cannot lose. Hondas are our forte! We'll build our car over the course of a few months, then put our money where our mouths are with a tried and true drag race where the editors of both books will be the sole drivers to determine which EF will come out on top. We won't even challenge them to a showoff because they can't even afford to paint their car.

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EF You See...
When i initially thought of starting a new ef project, I was elated that Project Car decided to step in and lend a few helping hands. They needed their next project and Gary's expertise is always a welcomed opportunity in my book. Things started off great and the PC staff was eager to get started, but when they mistakenly took my car for a 130K beater when it was in fact a 310K beater, the jokes came flying. Now, I'm hardly a confrontational guy, but their constant jabbing at my "rust bucket" (hey, it needed some TLC; I didn't say it was perfect!) and the "Man, these parts alone cost more than the POS you're installing it on" were enough cause for war.

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They can laugh all they want at the dollar amount spent on restoring this car, but this is the one project that I refuse to take any shortcuts on. While the PC boys don't consider a nice paint job a necessity, I do. "Spend the money on building your engine instead of painting it DX blue," they laugh; they're not even sure the B16 I picked up was going to be worth its weight. But I like to look towards one of my mentors for inspiration: Junior Asprer. Back in the day he drove a "baby blue" Civic, but more than turbocharging his D16 and getting it to pull 11-second runs, he cared about the way his EF looked just as I do with mine. He saw the benefit in sporting a clean Mugen body kit and wheels; mine's only going to be the JDM body panels because there's no way in hell I'd be able to find a Mugen kit today. Who says you can't be fast and look good at the same time?

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As far as my engine swap, I never set out to build a killer K; I don't even plan on going to town on my B16's internals. All I want is a reliable power plant that can hopefully pass smog for the state ref. Stock intake tube, header, just a HKS Sport exhaust. PC thinks the coin I spent could've been used to boost my stock D16 but there's a good reason why I didn't (actually, there were 310,000 reasons why I didn't). Yeah, we'll see how long their little turbo holds on as I blow past them. You can laugh all you want at the $30K Civic, but it's going to cost them a lot more than the $3K they used to build theirs in order to fix it. Hell, they should've used that money to get rid of that burlap sack interior. And they're laughing at me?

JDM Wong, Super Street

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Project Underdog
Some things in life just aren't fair. When Jonny approached me to take over as the editor of Project Car I didn't waste a second to accept. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. Not only do they make us build three cars in two months and write a magazine about it, but all they give us is a home garage, two guys on staff and a budget controlled by Jonny's tight wallet. I just entered the world of indentured servitude.

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After I'd spent a few weeks with the company, Jonny said, "Hey, I found this really clean EF. Do you think you guys can build it for me?" Once again, this sounded like a good idea, as we were desperately in need of a car. Unfortunately when Jonny showed up with his dented rust bucket, I knew I just made my second mistake. We were now faced with the challenge of building Jonny's "bucket" into a JDM masterpiece while still finding a way to build two other cars with whatever time and money might be left over.

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After getting stepped on too many times, we came up with the perfect plan to get even. No blackmail or hitman for hire here. Instead, we decided to beat him at his own game-with his unwanted motor in a busted CRX. That's right, we salvaged his old D16A6 from the trash and decided we'd use what little money he left behind to build something capable of spanking his Easter Bunny blue EF. The objective was simple: embarrass the Super Street crew by not only beating them, but doing so with they're unwanted parts on a budget they'd blow on one designer outfit, as seen in their Paris Hilton-approved "Style Issue." "That issue was sooooo hotttt," Paris Hilton said.

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Our build will consist of nothing more than a junkyard T-25 turbo, mounted on a $35 HF/STD factory manifold through the use of a BMC Racing adapter plate. For fuel management, we can only afford an FMU coupled with a Walbro fuel pump. If that isn't ghetto enough, we are also planning to rely on a $100 eBay intercooler to harness our intake temps. If our OG turbo kit ain't capable of smoking these guys, we have a few other surprises in store, but nothing that can be discussed while Jonny is prancing nearby.

No matter how you gut it, this is the classic rich kid/poor kid showdown. Not having the budget to build the internals of our engine is a serious limitation. But to even the playing field, we've limited Jonny to a stock B16 SiR swap. Despite the stock-spec limitations to the B16, his power-train should prove to be much more reliable than our 310,000 mile ticking time bomb. The only thing we have going is the fact that we are the underdogs. We'll save the trash talking 'til after we make his $30K EF look like the rust lurking under all that baby boy blue paint. Peace,
Gary Narusawa, Project Car

By Jonathan Wong
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