Honda Civic with 2.2


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Jul 01, 2023

Honda Civic with 2.2

Related Video Spend a little perusing used 1990-era Honda Civics online and, unless you've kept up with the times, you're likely going to experience some sticker shock. The innocent people movers that

Related Video

Spend a little perusing used 1990-era Honda Civics online and, unless you've kept up with the times, you're likely going to experience some sticker shock. The innocent people movers that carried extravagant amenities like manual cranking windows and cassette players today carry asking prices well beyond what your insurance company finds realistic.

If you were shopping for a 1991 Civic hatchback way back in 2007, your dollars would have of course gone much further, like they did for Matthew Nickolas when he picked up the white Si you see pictured. At that time, fourth-generation Civics, lovingly referred to by the masses as "EF" (although North American models are actually designated as ED chassis) were plentiful, and scoring one for a decent price wasn't an arduous task. "I purchased this car for $1,800," Matthew says. "All original and in good condition."

It wouldn't be his first Honda build, a CRX HF model that he picked up in high school. After that, a fifth-generation Civic was followed by a sixth-gen model, then an Integra and there were others, but they didn't have that "it" factor. "The EF/ED always stuck with me," he notes. "I've always loved JDM EF9 front ends and the clean, simple OEM look." With that, Matthew turned his attention toward finding all of the pieces needed for a proper JDM front-end conversion, including the fenders, hood, bumper, and headlights, and he nabbed some JDM side skirts as well.

All of those parts were dropped off, along with the car itself, to local paint shop Roland & Son's, where it was sprayed in Frost White. Once it came back, the Si's D-series was replaced by a B16A and later an LS/VTEC, both of which were assisted by nitrous. "I was introduced to nitrous by my neighbor, an old-school hot rod guy," he adds. Enjoying the car's potent power formula and JDM-inspired look, all was well until a broken ring landing and some critically injured valves put a stop to things. Lacking the funds to do a complete rebuild, Matthew decided to put the car on the back burner for a little while.

That short break continued for a year, and then another year and, before he knew it, seven years had gone by with the Civic untouched. He states, "I'd lost my spark of interest in building cars because I was traveling across the U.S. for work and was just never home, so I didn't have the time to do car stuff anymore. I sold all the B-series stuff but never touched the body or interior knowing that I would be back one day."

Eventually, in 2018, Matthew had some free time and additional income and just like that, his motivation returned, and he was sourcing parts online. "I had a '96 GS-R with an H22 Euro R swap so I knew the potential of them," he adds. "I did all the research to do an H2B swap, accumulated the parts, and had it back to life in just a few months."

Starting with Honda's original big block, the H-series, Matthew used QSD's H2B conversion kit that allowed him to mate a JDM B-series GS-R transmission to his Euro-spec H22. The block remains factory issue, but the head was fitted with a Supertech valve train and Skunk2 Pro 1 cams and Golden Eagle adjustable cogs. Adding to the mash up of Honda parts, a K-series intake manifold was bolted in place and based on the QSD H2B kit engine placement, has plenty of space between it and the firewall.

On the front side of the H22 is Danny Tran's masterful header design that leads to a Thermal 3-inch exhaust system and an intricately welded titanium intake by Fab Child hold a Vibrant filter. An ESP alternator relocation kit drops a D-series unit down low, and the bulky, often unreliable distributor has been replaced by a coil-on-plug kit. A pair of Nitrous Express solenoids can be found high on the firewall with their lines routed down and out of the way, and even the crankcase breather lines which leads to a Vibrant catch can are only visible at the valve cover.

So clean and organized is the overall look of the engine bay that you probably just realized the fuse box and accompanying factory connectors are still in their original places, rather than being relocated. In naturally aspirated form the combination produces 235 hp and just under 170 lb-ft. of torque. When things get spicy and Matthew activates his nitrous setup, the Civic puts down 346 hp and torque jumps up to 263 lb-ft.

The factory brakes aren't exactly up to stopping the additional 250-ish horsepower Matthew's added so he opted for Porsche 986 calipers mounted with Honed Developments' adapter kit. The clearance needed for the European brakes is no problem for 15x8 Volk TE37 in Titanium Gunmetal that plays off of the calipers and custom coated valve cover.

With intentions of driving the car as often as possible, aggressive fixed back bucket seats didn't make much sense and with his penchant for '90s-era styling, fresh Si seats that, unlike the majority still in existence, din't have huge bolster tears or extreme fading, seem like a perfect complement to this build. JDM EF9 rear seats were installed as was the Japanese model's gauge cluster which sits just behind a classic Momo Monte Carlo.

In the seven years that Matthew was on hiatus from the car world, the import forum craze crumbled, and social media took over. So, he created an Instagram account and began finding local events to reintroduce himself and his Civic to the Honda community.

"I found that the Honda scene had changed and wasn't so much about racing anymore but more about sharing the same interests for 90's Hondas and admiring each other's builds," he says. "We all grew up but still want to relive our younger years, lol! I'm hooked again and I've met a lot of new friends. The goal has been to just enjoy the car and that's what I've been doing."

Owner Matthew Nickolas

Instagram @matthew85_

Engine H22A Euro R swap; Hasport engine mounts; QSD H2B kit, billet water neck; KS Tune blance shaft delete kit; ESP alternator relocation kit; Honda D-series alternator; Supertech valve springs, retainers; Skunk2 Pro 1 cams, K2H manifold adapter plate, 70mm Pro Series throttle body, Alpha radiator; K20 RBC intake manifold ported and polished; Golden Eagle adjustable cam gears; Fab Child/Humble Engineering custom 3.5-in. titanium intake; DTR H2B header, Vibrant Performance catch can, flex coupler; Thermal R&D Performance 3-in. Turbo cat-back exhaust system; Walbro 450lph fuel pump; Hybrid Racing fuel rail, pressure regulator; Aeromotive fuel filter; RSX Type S fuel injectors; Nitrous Express single fogger wet 100 shot system, shark nozzle, 10lbs. bottle, high flow bottle valve, bottle heater, Maximizer EZ Progressive nitrous controller; HondaRulez coil-on-plug kit; Monotech coil-on-plug harness; Hondata S300 V4; XS Power battery, mount; Chasing Js VTEC solenoid cover, radiator cap; TracTuff oil cap; powder coated valve cover; Rosko Racing billet distributor cover

Power 235hp/168tq all motor, 346hp/263tq on nitrous

Drivetrain JDM GS-R transmission, LSD; Clutch Masters FX400 kit, H2B aluminum flywheel; Hasport shift linkage; K-Tuned shifter; Energy Suspension linkage bushings; Insane Shaft axles

Suspension Function/Form Type 1 coil overs; MPC drop forks; Skun2 Pro Series front camber kit, rear camber kit; Energy Suspension bushings master kit

Braking Honed Development Porsche brake kit; Porsche 986 calipers; StopTech 11.575 Mini Cooper S rotors; lug shim spacers

Wheels & Tires Volk Racing TE37SL Club Edition 15x8 +35; Nitto NT01 205/50

Exterior Frost White paint; JDM EF9 front end conversion, thin side moldings, side skirts

Interior JDM EF9 rear seats, gauge cluster, arm rest; EDM wagon center console; Mugen sports pedals; Momo Monte Carlo 350mm steering wheel, hub; BattleCraft Holdfast shift knob; Spoon Sports rear view mirror; AEM air/fuel ratio, oil temp gauges

Thank You My family for always being supportive in whatever I do, all my friends that helped in any way with the build. @fabchild for all my fab work @rayz_customs powder coating @ieautodetailing ceramic coating

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