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Craigslist: Honda Civic Hatchback with V6 power and a story

Kamil Kaluski October 5, 2012 All Things Hoon 29 Comments

The year was 1997, I think, and my best friend Vince just picked up his brand new Civic EX coupe. The new sixth generation EK Civic brought very little to the table in terms of technical changes. The parts from older Civics and Integra could still be easily swapped, or so everyone thought. The truth was that the rear engine mount was much different on the EK than on the EG, which made the straight swap of the B18 Integra-sourced engines a thing of the past.

Poor Vince, he had the slowest and yet the most expensive car from our group of friends. Things being relative, the fastest car in the group was a stock-ish Eagle Talon TSi and an surprisingly quick ’89 Probe GT. Poor Vince took a lot of shit for that too, but Vince was and is smart and clever. And very stubborn.

After one Saturday night, when a lot of alcohol was consumed, at about 3am at Vince’s house, a fight broke up between Vince and two other guys. Fists did not fly but mothers were insulted and egos bruised. Vince kicked everyone out and started working on his car right there and then. No one heard from him for about two weeks.

When Vince reappeared he was cool, collected, and confident. Under the hood of his Civic was a shiny B18C1 from a wrecked Integra GS-R. The engine was properly mounted, utilizing all OEM parts, with working A/C and power steering, even properly running the then-new OBD2 system. No one, that I know, did that before. That engine mount simply did not exist yet and OBD2 was suppose to kill cars for enthusiasts,… and yet there it was, looking as if it came out of the factory that way.

Now, here today, we feature a similar Civic, but with a much crazier V6 swap from the Acura TL (I think). Word to the wise, fabricating stuff is not as easy as SpikeTV would have you believe. Vince’s swap was not easy and I bet that neither was this. However, even if you’re not a fan of Hondas or wrong-wheel-drive cars in general, some things need to be appreciated, especially batshit crazy projects that do not really have a purpose, such as does this.

[Source: Rapid City Craigslist | Thanks Rob! And thanks to Ian Klass for the tip!]

From the ad:

1998 honda civic. j32 v6 swap – $1 (belle fourche,sd)

1998 Honda civic dx hatch

J32 v6 w/ 6speed

Body has chemical rust application done for rat rod look needs Dr door

Looking to trade for nice 4×4 truck must be ext cab or 4door and in good running and driving condition as that is wat condition the car is. Also might be interested in other trades as well as cash

Text is fastest way to get ahold of me my number is 5eight0-oneXXXXX

Plz include pics of ur trade and I have pics I can send also.thx for looking

My mother has a 2006 Acura TL. The torque-steer in that thing is just rediclous. By that value, the torque-steer in this Civic must be insane. This car probably does not handle well and is more of a drag car than anything, but even then there are probably quicker 4-cylinder versions. So what was its intension? I don’t know, perhaps to shut people up and prove that it can be done. It may not be the fastest or best handling but it’s probably a ton of fun.

Given the “trade for nice 4×4 truck” statement, I don’t think the owner is looking to part with it.


  • TrueBlue315

    The faux rat-rod paint kills it for me. A nice Audi Nogaro Blue would change this from homely to honey pretty quick.

    • danleym

      Yeah, and I'm not sure chemical rusting of an otherwise visibly normal Honda Civic quite fits into the rat rod genre.

      Props on the engine swap. I can even understand going for or keeping the existing beater look so that it's more of a sleeper. But throwing the term rat rod at what is nothing more than a beater? Silly.

  • Rust. Bucket. It would have been better if that rust was fake.

  • PUreRatROdmuscle

    More on the Vince fellow

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Indeed. Sounds like there are probably a number of good stories there.

      The kind that usually start with "So, this one night, I was so fucked up, and…."

    • It's best that some stories won't be told… my best friend from high school.

      We once put a NOS kit on a rented Impala. Didn't get far as the bottle was almost empty.
      His Civic was stolen at one point but the thief didn't get far as he ran ran out of gas around the corner… Vince only had a dollar on him on his way home from work one night.

      We bought a set of wheels once together for my mom's car, as her wheels were all bent. That happened at 3am in Weehaken… totally sketchy. We were also completely hammered (had a sober driver). So yea, two car guys bought some wheels, what could go wrong, right? Needless to say the wheels did not fit (different bolt pattern in '09+ TLs) and are still in my mom's garage. 🙂

      There are many more…

  • JayP2112

    One of my students at a HPDE event had a Civic with a bigger bore Acura engine. He rattled off what it was, I can't remember. The car was plenty fast. The next year he was back with a V6 replacing the 4. That was nuts.

    The car was stripped out. He drove to all the events with track tires in the back. Did all his own work. Hard to miss- yellow civic with a mailbox lookin' lump on the hood.

  • 03Type-S

    The 6speed J32 motor came in the Acura CL. They never made a TL with a manual transmission.

    I daily a 03 Acura CL Type-S with the 6MT. The first time I drove it, the torque steer caught me off guard, but after a week or so I didnt notice it.

    • 03Type-S

      My bad, I forgot there is a newer TL Type-S that does have a 6MT but it has a J35 motor

    • dculberson

      They made TL's with a manual transmission. Even the non-S TL was available with a manual. They're not exactly a dime a dozen but they're around.

  • BobWellington

    He willingly put chemical rust on it? I hope he never reproduces.

    • I fear that he already has reproduced since he is seeking an extended cab or 4-door truck. I went from driving a Z3 to a Silverado extended cab when my daughter came along.

      But the only rusty vehicles I've ever driven had 100 percent natural rust.

  • MVEilenstein

    "Body has chemical rust application done for rat rod look "

    Immediately lost interest.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      I lost interest as soon as I saw the "I <3 Haters!" sticker. I'll withhold too much comment, but my experience with people who apply that sticker does not inspire confidence with the quality of this build…

    • MVEilenstein

      Lost interest in this car, mind you; not Kamil's story.

      • 🙂

      • skitter

        Read both of those as 'love interest'.

        Don't mind me.

  • Synchromesh

    This is my good buddy's dream car. He's been into Civic Hatches for many years now and after the first one got stolen he's into the "complete beater" look. But swapping a V6 is something he's also been dreaming about so that car is really everything he wants in the car.

    I'm not a huge fan of these but I've driven one with a JDM B18C1 swap. That thing was quick!

  • Fenian

    A problem with J-swaps in Civics/Integras is hood clearance issues, which some people have fixed by actually dropping the engine down and cutting the webbing off the bottom of the hood.

    • I have owned way too many of these cars in the 90s: CRX, DC2, EG, and a few others and… I never understood why anyone would want a V6 in there. The heavier engine makes the weight distribution worse and while more powerful, I am not sure that it would be faster than a well sorted 200WHP B18/B20.

      Also, I wouldn't have one without P/S and A/C.

  • Van_Sarockin

    'chemical rust application', because otherwise it wouldn't rust fast enough. Can't blame the guy for lack of follow through – he wanted everything on the car to be fast.

  • PotbellyJoe

    1989 Turbo Probes are pretty easy to get decent numbers from. All it takes is a willingness to replace consistently eaten parts and to drive a 1989 Ford Probe. Otherwise that turbo (shared with the MX-6 if you want to go the non-probe direction) is a fun motor to mess around with.

    • Since we were all broke at the time the idea was not to break anything but still go faster than stock. 🙂

  • A modern day big block Nova, it seems.

  • jtk2

    That fake rust or whatever is awful. The hood scoop looks a bit sketchy as well.

    I did like the story though. I also had a 97 Civic EX that was the slowest in my group (dyno: 98 hp). I made up for it a bit with smooth driving though. I had one friend who was always pulling his e-brake for some reason… he was easy to beat.

  • Engine bay is a thing of beauty, outside looks like hell froze over. I'm thinking he took his moms advice a little to seriously. "It's whats on the inside that counts, dear."

  • James

    Well there's always positives and negatives. I'll look at both.

    + J-swapped Civics are a riot. The J32 from the TL (or the earlier CL Type S) is a great engine. Hasport makes a swap mount set, actually two: one that keeps the axles relatively level and has the intake manifold sticking out of the hood, and one that drops it lower for more axle angle but working with a stock hood. Not surprisingly, most people go with straight axles and a chopped up hood. I'd much rather just cut out the shape of the manifold and intake tube in the hood than do the dome. But hey: these motors make more than twice the horsepower of a stock D-series civic, they're reliable (just need t-belts and valve lash every 100k or so) and they are one of the better-sounding V6's out there. Plus, Jackson Racing makes a blower.

    – Rat Rod + Civic = no. This could be fixed, but it wouldn't be cheap. Generally "hoodride" is a rusted HOOD, not the whole car! What was he thinking? That hood is awful! God!

    • Kogashiwa

      Yup, very nice work on the engine swap, it's a pity he now needs a body swap.