June 13, 2021
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The Odd Couple: Two K20 Civics with Opposing Personalities

The similarities between these two Civics are irrefutable: both have two doors, both have K20’s, both have wheels that are more at home on racing cars than on street cars, but that’s where the similarities end.

Let us begin with the coupe. It’s the street car of the pair because, well it’s a daily driven street car. It still has a full interior that, outside of the Broadway rear view mirror, is stock. The exterior also remains close to what Honda released between the years of 1996 and 2000. The only additions are the Spoon replica lip, 15 inch Motegi Traklite wheels, and Darth Vader drift charm/tow hook protector. That, however; is where the stockness ends.Two K-Series Civics

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Under the hood is a K20A2 and six speed manual transmission out of a 2002-2004 Acura RSX Type-S. A far cry from the 1.6 liter SOHC motor is shipped from the factory with. The 200-ish horsepower the i-VTEC mill produces is transferred through a pair of Hybrid Racing axles, out to the Kumho’s and finally to the pavement. A custom intake brings fresh air into the engine and a DC Header, in combination with a custom exhaust and Magnaflow muffler, expel the spent fumes. Under hood bling is provided by a custom teal powder coated valve cover and a stickered out custom spark plug cover… Oh, and the K20 itself is a pretty sizable chunk of eye candy too.


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A set of KYB AGX struts and Eibach springs have the suspension handled. The combination provides a ride height that’s lower, good, and a ride quality that isn’t incredibly harsh, great.

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The coupe has yet to see any track time, which is disappointing because the car most certainly would be a blast. The hatch on the other hand has traded its streetness for trackness.

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Underneath the black painted hood is a K20Z1and six speed non-limited slip differential equipped transmission out of a 2005 Acura RSX Type-S. Holding the two liter mill in place is a set of Hasport mounts which weren’t really “securely fastened” to the car itself when the vehicle was purchased. Only one of the three bolts that hold the mounts to the car were threaded into their holes. After the motor was secured is when the go fast bits were added.

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A custom intake feeds a P2R 70mm throttle body and adapter. The throttle body, adapter and gaskets are attached to an RBC intake manifold, to which a BDL fuel rail is bolted. A Hondata intake manifold gasket helps lower intake temperatures. Fuel (supplied by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, BDL fuel pressure regulator and Summit steel braided fuel lines) meets air in an unmodified combustion chamber, goes BOOM and proceeds out a DC race header, and Kteller exhaust sporting a Magnaflow muffler. Power steering, and the steering rack associated with it, were ditched along with air conditioning. Orchestrating the whole deal is a Hondata KPRO ECU.


Bringing any car to a halt is a simple process that starts when the brake pedal is pressed. In this case the pressing of the pedal opens a valve in the 15/16th’s brake master cylinder. ATE Super Blue Racing brake fluid flow out of the reservoir, through a proportioning valve, through Goodridge Stainless Steel brake lines and into the valves residing in the brake calipers. There AXXIS Metal Master brake pads clamp down on Brembo rotors. When foot is removed from pedal the fluid flows back into the reservoir and the AXXIS pads let go of the Brembos and ludicrous speeds can be reached.

While all those parts initiate the braking, the actual braking forces are applied by one thing: the tires. In this case a set of Toyo Proxes RA-1’s shod over a set of 949 Racing wheels. Keeping the sticky Toyo gumballs pointed in the right direction are a set of Hard Race rear toe and camber kits and a pair of Blox rear lower control arms sporting new bushings. Those tires won’t do much if their not planted on the tarmac, so a set of Skunk2 coilovers with Bilstein shocks along with front and rear strut tower bars were enlisted to make sure the tires kiss the pavement.


K-series civic

A minimalist approach was taken when addressing the exterior. OEM Honda mudflaps hang behind the wheel arches, JDM headlights and amber corners replace the USDM units. 1996-2000 Civic side skirts have been fitted along with a Civic Type-R front lip and a Carbon Fiber duckbill spoiler in the rear.

The interior has also seen few modifications. Sound deadening has been removed, the battery is now living in the rear cargo area and a JDM clock and climate control unit have replaced the stockies. The two noticeable changes are the AEM Wideband gauge and the Honda S2000 gauge cluster.

Civic Interior

These cars are completely different: the hatchback hides in the garage most of the time while the coupe struts about on the streets. The hatchback lives for track days while the coupe has yet to set a tread block on the smooth tarmac that is a race track. You can have a conversation in the coupe without yelling at the person sitting next to you, like you do in the hatch. Despite their differences, the cars before are brothers: despite their tremendous differences the similarities are too strong to ignore.

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

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