’80s Looks, Modern Performance

I don’t think I’ve ever opened one of my posts with a picture of shoes before, but this image is so synonymous with Japan and the respect that is instilled into people at a very young age.

Even during the set up for the 27th annual Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show this past Saturday in Yokohama, people were taking their shoes off before walking around their cars. It would make total sense as it keeps dirt off the display carpet, but in a lot of cases it was just temporary plastic sheets.


I like little things like these, small traits that make up a specific culture, a sign of respect, or just good manners. I also like little Japanese cars from the 1980s that have been given a lot of love and attention, much like the Honda Civic Si you see here.


The clean stock body mated to classic Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels is nothing short of minimalistic perfection, something you also see a lot of in the Japanese way of doing things.


This car came two whole generations before the Type R moniker was applied to the Civic, yet the little 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve Si had the fighting spirit living within it.


But over and above its twin cam engine, it wasn’t really all that sporty; it was an uncomplicated and compact three-door hatch design penned more for practicality than anything else. Yet it had an extremely light weight, just like a lot of other similarly-sized cars from the ’80s era.


And where there’s lightness there’s always potential for performance – all you have to do is add power.


The beautifully executed K-series swap certainly takes care of that, the engine almost looking like it’s floating in the shaved and wire-tucked bay.


There’s not much to look at, except for the billet mounts that hold the motor and gearbox assembly in place and the meticulously laid out wires and piping you see at the back.


This is the sort of creation that gets my juices flowing; it combines the perfect mix of form and function, with heavy emphasis on the latter. It fills me with joy seeing the Japanese push presentation in this way, something that has been getting more and more popular over the last few years.


This Civic is the equivalent of a karesansui, a zen rock garden, a visually simple approach to creating something beautiful but comprising of so many well laid out and appointed details.

Japan, more of this please.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Man the '80s, '90s, and early '00s were those kind of cool days
I miss those days so much nostalgia


I cant wait till someone bank rolls my project so i can put that turbo awd drivetrain into my yaris and push 300 hp 300 ft lb with a 1200 dollar tune and a 3500 dollar motor and assorted extras that will bring the total up more, fsport swap baby. seeing this civic ingites my own passion for OCD on my yaris and its an inspiration of that less is more and that i dont need to go too wild to be appreciated. and that sometimes the simpler details outweigh the wildest stanced out widebody cars at most shows. cause lets not forget its is a car afterall, still goes from point a to point be and sometimes over complicating things can throw off the balance and design of a vehicle, espeically something as well crafted as that civic. which was designed by a penman with the skills of Pininfarina builds like these lusts for more simple things like this cause it takes alot of attention to detail and these attention to details are how sex spec and audio cars were in the early days of bliss and ingnorance where even a fuse box would fail your entire presentation.


"Can't wait till someone bankrolls my project".

Damn dude that's an odd attitude for me. Unless it's promotional, shop sponsor or similar why would you expect anyone else to pay for your car?


$3500 engine? If only a solid build were that cheap. Even with my engine installed and running, the car it's going into will never be worth half as much as I've put into the engine itself :(


Is it bad, from an automotive perspective, that I’m stuck in the 80’s & 90’s?


Same here.


Beautiful game


There's nothin' better than an old civic.


Cool to see a K swapped 3rd gen Civic, especially one from Japan since I'm led to believe K swaps aren't very common there. This is a really good example of the US Honda scene influencing Japan.


Great initiative.


Dino I loved this spotlight. You have brought back such fond memories for a 67 year old gearhead. I used to autocross and regionally rally one that looked just like this one (only USDM side drive & privacy blacked out back 3 windows) these frequently at SCCA events around the mid-west USA from late October 1986 until the end of the 1993 season. As a matter of fact, I put it through it's first autocross event 2 days after I bought it and came in 2nd in class to a Porsche 914 2.0 by less than .05 seconds on OEM tires and no mods. Even in slightly "tweaked" stock configuration (adjustable KYB shocks, K&N air filter, Red Line synthetic oil, and Bridgestone RE71Rs or Yokahama A008Rs, this car was an absolute joy to drive/race. I can remember it was every bit as quick 0 - 60 mph as a Porsche 944 of its day (won't mention what happens after that). Eventually it became my oldest daughter's "hand me down" vehicle when she was in college. It experienced Northern Ontario Canada winters where the ECU just couldn't figure out what to do when the ambient temp was -35 Celsius, as well as another 10 years on the road before being sold off to its 3rd owner (when I lost track of it).
Damn, I still miss that car EVERY day!


Even though I keep seeing so many older Civics with K20 swaps, is it bad that I wish that the L15A engines were a bit more popular? I mean, usually, if there's a Honda with a swapped motor, it is either a K20A/F20C engine, or maybe a B16/B18/B20 if it's an older chassis... I guess I have never driven any car with either a K20A, an F20C or a B-series motor, but I imagine even the L15 would be awesome with some light tuning...


Good grief yes. Very similar to my project car goal, but executed so, so well. One might almost say "life goals."

Well, except that my engine is a B18c and not a K-series, but in essence what I want is almost exactly this.