Building the "Perfect" Honda Civic EK9
D David Cordell

Building the "Perfect" Honda Civic EK9

Oct 25, 2021

When the opportunity appeas, you can't pass it up. That is sort of the case with this Civic Type R. If I rewind ten or so years, I remember having one of those what-if conversations with a good friend of mine at a car show. That led us down the path of sourcing an EK9 Civic Type R from Japan and installing a K20A in it for him. 

Around 2011, we took delivery of a 1998 Honda Civic Type R finished in NH-0 Championship White. The new project had no engine but the importer managed to install a DC2 Type R subframe and steering rack for us since we already knew we were going to install a K20A into it. 

Once we pulled the car off the hauler, we took more images of it after inspecting the condition. Overall, the car was very complete with minor damage. 



 With 119,554 KMs on the clock, this one had uder 75,000 original miles. Over the next ten years, the car would travel just 7,000 more miles. Once the car was taken apart and painted, we installed a JDM K20A engine into it for the owner. He really wanted a clean EK9 that had a fresh engine bay that he could take to car shows. 

The car spent about six months apart getting completely repainted, cleaned and shaved engine bay. The owner also installed a set of brand new EK9 headlights, brand new windshield complete with new moldings and garnishes. All of the exterior stickers and emblems were also swapped out for new old stock versions. 

Once the car was completed it spent years traveling by trailer to events across the country. From Wekfest to Import Alliance if you attended any of those events in the 2011-2015 years you likely would have found it at our booth on display. 

Subtle changes to the car over the years included a set of Mugen MF10 in bronze, along with a Seeker V2 Carbon Fiber rear wing (OEM base) and a carbon fiber front lip by First Molding Japan. Otherwise the car remained relatively the same over the course of its life. 

Fast forward to 2019 and we ended up using the car to film some YouTube videos with and comparing it to our new FK8 Type R. Being that the car had been sitting for a couple of years in the owners garage, he opted to sell it to us since he wasn't using it. That is the sort of opportunity you don't pass up, so now the car has a new life here with us. 


Now to the title of this article... "Building the Perfect EK9." Well, perfect is subjective of course, but hear me out. Perfect means, to me at least, that this EK9 embodies the original Type R spirit and looks the part. I do agree that most EK9s should remain with the original B16B power plants, however we are far beyond that. 

But we have something better than the B16B. Much better. 

Much like the EK9, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a brand-new-in-box K20A from a 2011 Honda Civc Type R. This is a zero-mile engine swap, pulled directly from the assembly Honda assembly plant in Japan. I have only seen a few brand-new K-Series engines in my life and this is probably the most special ever. 

I updated the look a bit an installed a set of special order 16x8 Regamaster wheels in Matte Gunmetal. (I have the white stickers to go with them, but have not installed them.)

Now that we decided to restore the car and install this amazing engine, we needed to remove the old tired K20A and prep the engine bay for a respray. 

Eventhough the car hadn't been driven much, it has been driven. The engine had come out a few times for service and just general wear and tear had set it on the paint. Not to mention the engine and hardware had begun to corrode badly. Since the car was low and driven, the shock towers showed signs of cracks from control arm impacts. 

The situation could have been worse and I have certainly seen cars in worse shape, but... true to the title, we will build the Perfect EK9 so it must look as good as it can. 

Back from the body shop, we had the entire bay resprayed and all of the little imperfections fixed. We also added a new front bumper setup by Mode Parfume / AutoFashion. This is a new Japanese style bumper that I think will fit in great with the modern custom look. 


So now that the car is back from the bodyshop, we have a laundry list of things we need to change and update. First on the list is going to be to clean the wheel wells out and recoat them. They have years of paint and sludge built up on them so that will need to be cleaned and done first. Then, there are small surfact rust sports in some of the underbody seams so we will have to take care of those as well.  

 Ultimately, I want the car to look great, drive great and sing the tune of a NA Honda with the new FD2 K20A powerplant. This won't be a track car, it won't really be a daily driver of sorts, however this will be my version of the Perfect EK9. One that looks proper but drives with the heart of the best NA engine Honda ever made. 

Thanks for following along! We will have more updates coming soon! 


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