I’ve said it before, but I really do have a newfound love for Hondas.
I’m sure that like most places around the world, there was a time where ‘modified’ Hondas were everywhere near where you lived, and were generally perceived to be a nuisance. Certainly not the actual performance models like the Type R or even SiR, but rather the lesser models pretending to be their significantly faster brethren.
The pain of listening to a straight-piped SOHC Civic as it took several minutes to clear a junction is not something I want to experience again.
As time has moved on, the people driving pretend-fast Hondas have (thankfully) moved on to other things. It’s rare now to see a Honda from the late ’90s and early ’00s on the street here in Ireland, but when you do, it’s normally something pretty special.
The relative rarity of these cars has had a curious by-effect, where that you now find that most, if not all of these examples are in the hands of die-hard Honda fans and often for a considerable amount of time, too.
Lee Murphy’s EG6 Civic SiR is a prime example of this. Having been in Lee’s possession for over a decade, it was one of the first K-swapped Civics in Ireland when he bought it at the time. Unrelated, it was also quite purple.
The car was used primarily as a street car with regular track visits, but Lee eventually outgrew it. Typically, most would sell up and move onto a new project, but Lee decided to start all over again,
It’s not something you see all that often, which is surprising considering how much sense it makes. Here, you have someone who is incredibly familiar with a car, and knows precisely what needs to be done differently in order to build the car around them. Simply, Lee took the guesswork out of the project, which has resulted in what I consider to be arguably the finest Honda in Ireland.
The car is perfectly built for him to grow into once more.
The black-on-black colour scheme heavily disguises this car, almost to the point where you might not give it a second look.
If you do, you’ll then notice the Chargespeed front fenders, and the discreet blue detailing around the exterior of the car which draws you in closer.
And that’s when you’ll spot the subtle carbon fibre additions like the Spoon spoiler, mirrors and bonnet, and the Speedfactory carbon roof. There might not be anything shouty about the car at a standstill, but it has one hell of a bark.
Curiously for a Honda, all the noise comes from the front.
This is where the Stafford Performance-built 2,040cc K20 race engine resides. Lee’s goal was to have a fast K20 built that retained its 2.0L capacity, and some of the details he was willing to share are a 13.5:1 compression ratio, Jenvey 52mm tapered ITBs, 4 Piston Racing ported head and oil pump, and a Skunk2 Alpha exhaust manifold flowing into a 3-inch custom exhaust.
With Ecumaster management, the engine makes a peak power figure of 319hp and 197lb-ft of torque.
A Quaife sequential gearbox is outfitted with a close-ratio rally gear set, a 4.2 final drive and a Cusco 1.5-way plated differential. The rest of the transmission features a Clutch Masters twin-plate clutch, K-Tuned master cylinder and clutch reservoir, and Insane 500hp driveshafts. Yes, the car is equipped with a flat-shift system supplied by Geartronics.
The interior is host to a world of wonderful details, and from the B-pillar forwards is borderline civilised. This is still a street car with track day intentions, so a careful balance of practicality and performance has been considered. Full door cards and even carpets in the front tip the scales one way, with Kevlar Bride Zeta IIIs on Bride low rails, a custom Cusco cage and a fully stripped rear evening things out. That’s not to mention the Quaife sequential shifter, the hydraulic handbrake, the Carbontec passenger foot tray and the Ecumaster digital dash display and keypad either.
It’s minimal, but functional.
The 16×8-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37s, wrapped in 225/45R16 Toyo Proxes R888R tyres, frame Ceika Performance 6-piston front callipers with 315mm 2-piece rotors at the front, and 4-piston callipers with 300mm 2-piece rotors at the rear. Carbon Lorraine pads are used at all corners, with custom braided lines, an Ed Sport pedal box and a Tilton brake bias valve.
Function is pretty much the key to most aspects of this car so far and naturally enough, chassis and suspension components are no different. The coilovers are BC Racing units, with Hardrace lower wishbones, camber arms, balljoints, track rod ends, bushes and traction bar at the front, along with a Cusco front anti-roll bar.
The rear again features Hardrace lower control arms, camber arms, links, trailing arm bushes and adjustable trailing arms. Both axles have been converted to EK9 Civic Type R 5-stud hubs.
A Quaife manual steering rack has been used, too.
Underneath, the car is as fresh as the exterior. The ASR brace can be easily seen from behind, but to truly appreciate things it would need be on a lift for a proper look. Unfortunately, I left my two-post at home. That’s a lie, I don’t have a two-post.
On a rain-soaked Mount Leinster, I could have stayed for hours looking at this thing. Even as a non-Honda owner, I can appreciate the decisions made and hopefully integrate a few of them into my own projects in the future. In particular, I enjoy that it’s not hardcore to the point where you just wouldn’t bother driving it. The simple retention of carpets and door cards for instance just make the overall car feel finished.
There might be no radio, but who needs one of those when the engine’s at 9,600rpm?
So, this is certainly a case of evolution rather than revolution, but maybe instead of constantly trying to create new things, we could start working on perfecting the ideas that are already out there. You don’t always have try and completely reinvent the wheel, but that’s not to say you can’t improve it.