‘Life is too short to drive a boring car.’ We know that phrase well, but you don’t need to go crazy with wild looks and huge power. Some of the best modified cars sit behind a modest external appearance.
I have a lot a time for cleanly-built cars that retain a lot of their factory look. And even more so when that car is a ’90s JDM machine, which as time goes on are becoming harder and harder to find, even in semi-stock condition.
At first glance, Muhammad Balbed’s Honda Civic EG hatchback, complete with EG6 wing and Honda Access front lip, doesn’t scream ‘modified’. Sure, the bronze 16×7-inch Mugen MF8 wheels and J’s Racing R304 muffler give a little bit away, but for the most part the exterior look is stock, just how Muhammad likes it.
More than a few Civics have passed through Muhammad’s over the years, and for a long time a K-swap lingered in the back of his mind. The Civic before this one was a likely candidate, but ultimately Muhammad deemed it too good to go under the knife. He sold it and went on the hunt for other options, ultimately landing on this silver car. It wasn’t in great condition, and that made it ripe for an engine swap.
Switching from D or B-series to K-series power is a straightforward proposition when you have the right parts for the job.
The name Hybrid Racing is extremely well known in the Honda tuning world, and Muhammad has thrown the whole conversion catalog at his Civic to complete the swap – from the mount kit with 75A bushings to the wiring harness, fuel line kit, shifter, clutch lines and everything in between.
The engine itself is a K20A unit, originally fitted in a 2003 DC5 Integra Type R and good for 217hp out of the box. Muhammad has taken the K a little further with a Hybrid Racing cold air intake and fuel rail, S90 76mm throttle body, and a Hybrid Racing PLM 4-2-1 18G race header running into a custom stainless steel exhaust system that ends with the aforementioned J’s Racing muffler. The whole package is controlled by a Hondata K-Pro V4 ECU.
As a tropical island in Indonesia, Bali gets hot, so Muhammad ensured the Civic’s reliability (it’s his daily driver) by fitting a Koyorad full-size aluminium race radiator with Spal and Hybrid Racing fans. And ensuring the power gets to the ground reliably via the Integra Type R donor’s 6-speed gearbox are Driveshaft Shop Level 2.9 axles.
Engine and driveline sorted, Muhammad turned his attention to the suspension. On top of Tein Flex Z coilovers, Hard Race components feature heavily here with the front upper arms, front lower control arms, tie rods and ends, and rear lower arms all replaced.
The brakes too were upgraded with Mugen AGBS (Active Gate Brake System) front calipers, Mugen AGBS 300mm front rotors, and HEL braided stainless steel lines. The rear disc setup is EG6 spec.
Inside, Muhammad has kept things clean with rare blue Integra DC5 Type R Recaro SR4 seats, an EG6 white cluster and SiR-II trim, Mugen Racing III steering wheel and the previously mentioned Hybrid Racing shifter (with Mugen billet aluminum shift knob and Honda Access boot), all of which really enhance the driving experience.
And instead of a bunch of gauges on or around the dash, engine information is simply relayed via a Joying Auto Android 6.2-inch unit.
With his Civic build, Muhammad has achieved what I consider the perfect balance of modifications for a street-driven EG Civic in the modern era. What do you think?