Hatch build thread
What’s up guys my name is Carlo, I am from the South Bay area. My first introduction to Honda’s was in the street racing scene. I admired how affordably you could build a Honda and how fast you could make them. However, after many encounters with law-enforcement and a lot of tickets I was forced to do some growing up and stay out of trouble. I still loved these little cars so I decided to build something nice to just enjoy and take out to car shows and meets.
Early November 2017 I was scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed when I came across this 1992 civic shell that was up for sale. It was hard to tell what condition it was in from the pictures but it looked promising. Even though I already had a project dc2, I was always a big fan of the Hatchback so I had to go check it out.
When I went to go check it out I soon realized that there was a lot of parts missing including all the brake lines and interior. However, it was reasonable for the price, the paint and body was not too bad and the previous owner had taken the time to shave a lot of the bay.
I decided to pick up the shell. I was just going to store it for now but I figured if I didn’t end up doing anything with it I could sell it for at least what I paid for.
My plan was to collect parts for a while, assemble the car, dial it in, maybe do a few events, and eventually in the far future strip it down and repaint it.
Next I began to collect parts for the build.
Most were purchased used on Facebook market places or on Instagram when I ran into something good. Having access to a Powdercoating Shop, I was not afraid of picking up parts that needed to be refinished.
For the interior I found a cusco 6pt chrome dipped roll cage, an authentic miracle xbar, an ap1 cluster, and some hand me down bride seats my buddy had sitting in his garage.
Coming from a “street racing” background I still wanted a fast car so I then began collecting engine parts. I had a friend selling a 1000 + hp turbo kit I ended up buying but realized it was way too much. I ended up selling it in pieces and kept the full race twin-scroll manifold. Later I paired it with a entry level precision turbo, tial bov, and tial wastegates. I ran across a sheepey intercooler on Facebook and had to pick it up.
As far as the engine, I rebuilt a b20 vtec I had sitting around and I was going to throw it in on low boost just to get the rest of the car assembled.
A few weeks later a friend called me up asking if I was still looking for a transmission. He had an itr transmission with an m factory lsd from a vehicle he had wrecked. When I went to go pick up the transmission I was curious to what else he had left over. Unfortunately the car was pretty bad and the only other thing he salvaged was a sheepey built up pipe, which he said I could have if I wanted.
After about 8 months of ownership and a good amount of parts collected it seemed like a good point to pull the hatch out of storage and begin working on it.
The first thing I did was pull the ugly grey dash out and removed all the ac/ heater (because racecar). I then marked the rest of the holes I wasn’t going to need in the engine bay and began welding them up.
When I got the car it had a blue bay that I could not stand so before I started mounting the motor I went to autozone and found the closest looking red I could find to the color of the car. (I talked to someone who had owned the car before me and said he had painted the car with single stage paint from Napa but I couldn’t find the color anymore)
The engine was finally in and I was starting to pick up momentum on the build as it felt I was nearing completion. Next, a buddy fab’d up the intercooler piping and I began to realize I was going to have a hard time mounting up a normal radiator. The back door intercooler left me with very little room so I decided to temporarily go with a speedfactory radiator because it seemed like the only option I had at the moment. What I eventually wanted to do was relocate it to the rear and run an electric water pump.
I then had a local fab guy @gordobuilt make me a custom set of dump tubes. I asked him to try and match the sheepey style uppipe and in my opinion he killed it. The first time I tried to start the car there were some wires smoking from the back section of the chassis harness so I decided to re-wire up the car so I wouldn’t have to deal with the car catching on fire later on.
The car was finally ready to start up and hit the dyno. I took the car to Lawrence at Dyno Spot Racing, when we started the car it had a small oil leak coming from the back of the engine, he decided to throw it on the dyno and give it a shot either way. Unfortunately the bov was staying open and was failing to build boost.
I fixed the bov issue but after a lot of inspection and even doing the headgasket like 3 times I could not get rid of the oil leak. I was a little discouraged and I neglected the car for a few months up until the next car show season came about. The car ran still so I could drive it in n out of shows. I took the car to a few 2019 events in this condition (Hot Import Nights, Stance Nation, WekFest) to try and find some motivation.
But still the car just sat.
On September 22nd HotWheels was hosting there local stop (San Jose) for their HotWheels Legends tour. I was hesitant on going the car had fouled a spark plug and was only on 3 cyl, but I was like “ehh I only have to tow it 10 min away”. As the shows went judge’s walked around I seemed to be getting approached a lot but didn’t think much of it. They said the liked how much attention to detail was put into the car and how It looked different from all other civics out there. Long story short, they eneded up picking my car as the winner of the show. Among some of the prizes they invited me to an all expense trip and an opportunity to showcase my build at SEMA 2019. I was mind blown! I had no idea what I was in for all I knew is that my car was not ready for SEMA.
With SEMA starting November 4th a had a little over a month to get the car ready. This is where the fun really began. I made a few calls, one of my best friends dad owned Hollister Powersports Custom Paint and Body, and they were willing to sponsor me with some of the labor cost and we’re willing to take on the challenge of helping me paint the car. I had to stick with a similar concept of that the judges had seen. So the car had to remain a shade of red and I had to leave the bumper and good off still
I had one shot at this and wanted to do everything right. The following days the car was stripped down to bare shell. Given the time frame I was in I had make it as easy as I could for the body shop. I decided to sandblast the entire car inside and out. (I would not recommend sandblasting a car, I still get piles of sand lol) The car was at finally paint so I decided to focus on what I could when I didn’t have the car. I went through all my parts and powder coated them all, and decided to build a motor since I still hadn’t found the leak ( I later found it was the set screw that blocks the oil passage to vtec head). The motor was now a 84.5mm golden eagle sleeved motor with 10.5:1 weisco pistons and eagle rods.
Two and a half weeks later the car was home for a week to be assembled. It had to go back to the body shop the last week before sema to get the body panels and glass reinstalled. I had a few friends that would come over and work late into the night to make sure we got the car together in time. I picked up the shell on a Friday and the car was running by Wednesday. I took the car to Ngoc at Synergy Autoworks for the first start up. Friday the Car went SpeedElement (in San Jose) for an alignment and a pre-dyno inspection. The car was then taken to Ryan at tech 3 for a decent map (my tuner Gary Bains from SpeedElement was out of town) I could drive the car on. It made 397hp on 12lbs of boost but that was enough to get it in and out of the sema show.
The car went back to the paint shop as planned and everything went pretty smooth. Devin and Kyle from speedelement reached out to Steve from Falken tires and they were able to hook me up with a set of tires to mount on the freshly powder coated te37 sls.
When I picked up the car for the last time, it was just little things that had to be installed. Fenders, lights, interior pieces all went back on 1 piece at a time. At 4pm the day before SEMA started the car was finally ready to be loaded up. I hopped in the shower and drove all night.
The SEMA trip was a success. It was my first time going and man was it a handful. I was parked next to the drifting lots so I was constantly having to wipe the car down. Other than that I had an amazing time and got to meet some well known gear heads!
SEMA was over… now what lol
The car was still not how I wanted it, so I still had some work to do. I had the vtec locked on my motor and realized it was way to hard to drive the car, and I had not even seen the car with a bumper yet. When I attempted to put the bumper on o realized how much trimming I still had to do to get it to clear the huge intercooler and thought I’d never be able to use a lip with this intercooler.
During this downtime I found fresh set of red dimond stitched status seats and set of chargespeed fenders and lip. I sent those off to paint.
I know have the engine back in and re tuned. I can now drive my car out and enjoy the nice days. Its always a hit among any type of enthusiasts. It’s still a project so I will forever be tinkering with little things here and there to switch things up. Just recently got the fender and lip back as well as another set of te37s. Currently waiting on tires so I can get the car to sit how I’d like.
Thanks for reading. I missed a lot of early pictures wasn’t expecting to write up a Build Thread. I will post updates as they come around.