Builds>><br/>k-powered ’79 Civic

For me it seems that as the years go on I get more and more impressed by the unique and high quality build threads you come across on the net’s vast sea of automotive forums. No matter what part of the world you are in, chances are that a cool project is brewing  in a garage near you.

Found over on, I recently came across a thread documenting the build up of a 1979 Honda Civic out of Florida. A Honda preservationist might not approve of a such a clean and original first gen Civic being put under the knife as the basis for a lofty build, but once you see what’s been done with the car I think you’ll be on board.

The history of the build goes back almost four years, and the thread itself spans nearly 60 pages. This is what the interior of the Civic looked like when the project began back in the summer of 2008.

Within just a few days, the Civic was being torn apart and the long journey of the build had started.

From the beginning, the plan was to swap out the original 1200cc motor for one of Honda’s potent K-series motors.

Of course swapping a K-motor into a 1970s era Civic is far from a drop-in affair. In fact, a completely new front subframe was fabricated for the project based on components from the EP3 Civic Si.

Skunk2 coilovers originally designed for an Acura RSX were inserted into the new front end.

Within no time the bay was looking drastically different than what Honda had originally designed.

The original body was in surprisingly good shape, but no stone was left unturned…

…and the car was stripped down to perfect the paint and bodywork.

With a project of this magnitude, there are very few “bolt-on” modifications. Here we see the custom-fabbed reservoir tanks mounted up front near the firewall.

With the added thrust from the K-series to bring to a halt, a complete Wilwood brake kit was added to the mix.

Sure it’s a light car, but you can never have too much stopping power.  Here’s a look at the rear brake setup.

In the paint booth after body work.

As you can see the car was repainted in silver, much like how it left the factory some 30+ years ago.

That actually brings me to one of my favorite parts about this build. Although the car will be making a serious amount of horsepower, it’s much more a resto-mod project than a race car. There is no roll cage, no crazy fender flares, and no bright colors.

Every effort is being taken to make the sure the interior and exterior of the car are as original as possible.

While the body was being prepared, other work included this custom-fabricated gas tank

A new K20 motor was also being built on the side. For now it’s naturally aspirated although the owner mentioned the possibility of going turbo in the future.

Great shot here of the car being readied for the motor installation.

The freshly-completed engine bay is an absolute work of art. Simplicity and function are the keys here.

With all the work that’s been put into this car, the details are just incredible. There is far more to it than just what’s seen in this selection of photos.

What impresses me just as much as the build itself is the owner’s perseverance.  Four years is a long time for a build, and the car is not even completed yet. You hear so many stories about how life gets in the way and folks are forced to regretfully sell off or abandon their uncompleted projects. Not so in this case.

This is what the car looks like as of a few weeks ago. There’s still a way to go, but you can see just how amazing this vintage Honda will be when it’s completed.

If you’d like to follow along with the progress make sure you check out the amazing build thread over at

-Mike Garrett

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WTF anyone?


is this the same generation civic bruce willis crashed in pulp fiction?


With all the amazing craftsmanship that has gone into this car, I hope they don't settle on those Rota RB's in the last pic. 
Beautiful car.


i agree with JayB. Get some high dollar wheels please!!!


Beautiful build. 


that better not be rotas man.... wWTF


I'm impressed. Don't really care about the wheels, its an amazing build!


It will tip over


No, he crashed an '82; second-gen.


Haha, of course, just as soon as I let a preview of my '79 Civic project come out, Roger starts getting all of the exposure!  With good reason though, as his build is CLEAN and mine is just getting started.


I'll try to do the same with an old abandoned Toyota Supra...see what will come less than 4 years hoppefully


That is awesome!




Don't stop believin'! This is a cool build. Everything is being done cleanly and done right. I hope he finishes it!


lol at people complaining about the wheels. Like that's the first thing you notice. You don't notice or care that there is a K-series engine with ITB's sitting in a '79 Civic, no, you care about what wheels he has. 




 @JakeLaird I honestly didn't even notice the wheels until I read your post. The "ICE"/"Helllaflush"/"Excessive Camber" people are odd ones.

18 sick!


this guy is building one of my dream builds!  thank u. if i had the money i would of did one...sigh.  but do look forward to final outcome


Fantastic. I've always dreamed of shoving a B18 or a K20 in one of those tiny Civics, but it always seemed too tight in the engine bay. I love to be proven wrong!


my dream build is an n600 with a B18. this is close enough tho.


HOLLLLY SHIT. Never thought I would see something like this. Fantastic.


HOLLLLY SHIT. Never thought I would see something like this. Fantastic.




 @JayB They are not Rota's they are completely custom, I know the owner personally, he had rota at one point but the offset looked funny.


Thanks guys! LOL @ the wheels......that the only thing we could pick out....not the OBX ITB'S? (the only itb's that have the fuel under it so it hides all the lines ,I'll be OK:).
16 weeks for custom panasport wheels so I got some wheels to get it on the ground. FYI they are not rotas in the last pics, but they were cheap. So now that I know cool = High dallor ,sit tight I'm not done:).  Thanks for all the positive input. -Roger


Thanks Mike for the write up!


The ass is bad....


Honda's are the embodiment of the never ending story. Does Honda realize, that as a company, they can stop making cars right now. Just make motors. Your old cars a sufficient.


Front wheel drive cars are unsophicated


@MPistol That goes without saying for an car.....


It's really amaizing how they rebuild this.


Thanks for this information. I'm really impressed by it.