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Eibach Meet, Part Two: Engine Bays That Mean Business

Engine bays of 30 Hondas we need you to know about.
By Aaron Bonk

You come to the Eibach Meet for the wheels you can’t afford but you stay for the engine bays. And that’s a good thing because horsepower will always be cooler than 25-year-old chunks of Japanese aluminum. The following are the top 30 engine bays you ought to care about, in no particular order.

And when you’re done with all of this, be sure to check out Eibach Meet, Part One: Going Faster, here.

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A nice mix of functional parts this simple, no-nonsense engine bay has got. While we wouldn't mind seeing a bit of grease caked on here and there to attest to that K-series engine's presumable use, we'll settle for perhaps just sticking a hose onto the end of that there filler neck.

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A lot of times, simple's better. Not simple as in rerouting a whole bunch of high-pressure hydraulic lines smack dab in front of the driver's seat so nobody can see them underneath the hood or rerouting wiring loom to some unserviceable depths of the fender wells, but simple as in hanging onto things like that factory distributor with its native plug wires and most of the Integra's original fuel system.

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There's a reason this H-series swap looks so at home within this fourth-generation Accord's engine bay and that's because, true to Honda's 1990s form, Preludes and Accords had more in common than they should've. Although some aftermarket bits have been used here, the whole swap can be completed all with factory pieces.

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Another purposefully executed engine bay where dollars weren't allocated toward polished bits of nonsense but instead toward the sort of things that make this Civic faster than yours.

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Dimple-dies on dimple-dies. A nicely executed shock tower brace on this S2000, and extra points for the upper radiator tube and its nifty mounting bracket just behind the intake manifold.

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Sportcar Motion's Civic four-door won't win any trophies for best-groomed engine bay and it couldn't matter any less.

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You can't not appreciate a supercharged NSX but, still, you've got to wonder what a different world this all would be were it easier to more efficiently turbocharger (or, more specifically, intercool) these suckers.

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Speaking of supercharging, Merc Racing's made Roots-style blowers a whole lot more logical for engines like Honda's K-series thanks to its unique manifold that, unlike other designs, allows for a traditional air-to-air intercooler.

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VTEC Academy's own Project Integra; because superchargers and engine swaps will always be more fun than circus-colored engine bays.

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Another engine bay with its priorities straight. Let's not forget that the factory distributor, its wires, and a Type R intake manifold are all good for an easy 500 whp.

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Jeremy Lookofsky's Drag Cartel Civic's engine isn't as active as it has been in the past, and it doesn't have to be. Lookofsky's set more front-wheel-drive, all-motor records over the past two decades than just about anybody else.

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You see the zip-tied vacuum hoses, the scuffed-up valve cover, and a laundry list of factory bits you think ought to be hidden away. We see somebody who only cares about going faster. And a ground wire that isn't hooked up to the right place but let's not nitpick.

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Look past the fruity-colored wiring loom and behold one of Honda's most capable V6s of the early 1990s. The single-cam C32A1 was good for between 200-230 hp right from Honda and, because of its 90-degree layout, won't fit in your Civic.

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Supercharged four-cylinder Hondas have come a long way since the days of Jackson Racing's early B-series blowers. Older Roots-style systems like these were negligibly more powerful than a well-planned naturally aspirated setup. That's all changed, though, and that's mostly because of the centrifugal Rotrex superchargers that companies like Jackson Racing use today that can take on many turbo systems.

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That time Edelbrock decided to make Honda turbo kits.

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Stick the right K-series underneath the hood of any '02-'05 Civic Si and there's no longer any good reason to hate it. Yeah, you can always complain about its MacPherson struts that replaced Honda's infamous double-wishbone suspension, but you've also never tracked your car to even recognize the difference.

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Honda's first B-series engine to be introduced to the U.S. by means of the 1990 Integra, the B18A1stuck around in some manner for 12 model years and changed very little. Also, we don't normally get excited over knick-knacks, but that presumably DIY plug-wire cover reminiscent of those found on Honda's DOHC VTEC engines is a nice touch.

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Before the K-series came along, it was Prelude engine swaps like these that ruled.

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In hindsight, the '97-'01 Prelude is better than anybody almost 20 years back ever thought. For late-1996, though, it was overpriced compared to cars like the Integra GS-R or impending 1999 Civic Si, was heavier, and featured Honda's optional ATTS (Active Torque Transfer System) that might've been just a little ahead of its time.

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Like the fifth-generation Prelude, Honda's del Sol should've been more popular than it was, especially since it was the first variation of a Civic Americans could get with the twin-cam B-series engine.

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Honda engine swaps have come a long way. So much so that, today, a V6 transplant looks more at home than early B-series swaps did some two decades ago.

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This B-series engine swap—although we've no idea when it was done—stinks of 1995 in all its pre-OBD, factory-parts glory. Transport yourself back to that era and you were paying upward of $4,500 for this whole shebang.

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It's easy to feel sorry for the Honda engineer that developed the B18C's dual-stage intake manifold. Its internal butterfly valves essentially created two different plenum sizes that yielded the best compromise between low-end torque and top-end power and has since been yanked off by nearly every person who's ever modified a B18C. Except this guy.

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With its original oil cap, hose clamps, and hardware, it'd be a sin to modify this Civic Si's engine bay at this point.

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Non-VTEC B-series swaps aren't nearly as popular as they once were what with DOHC VTEC conversions being as affordable and as convenient as they are, which makes this later-model engine stand out, albeit with slightly less power.

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Leave it to the V8 parts makers to develop a prop-shaft-driven supercharger with an aftercooler fed by radiator fluid at a time when turbochargers and front-mount intercoolers were already synonymous with Hondas and for good reason.

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Getting the Integra Type R's intake manifold to fit onto GS-R cylinder heads before aftermarket versions like these were made available was a real chore. The bolt pattern had to be rearranged, a coolant passage had to be modified, and a good section of its mounting flange had to be lopped off. Do it right and you didn't end up with a violent vacuum leak.

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Now decades old, Honda's tall-deck B-series, the Civic Type R's B16B, remains one of the most impressive four-cylinder engines ever with a power-to-weight ratio that continues to rank it among the best.

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No useless pie-cut-tubes, no expensive paint job underneath the hood, and no gimmicky JDM chachkies. Builds like these will always be faster than the 1,000-plus-hp one that doesn't run because it's waiting on the powder-coater.

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Function defined. And, seeing a Type R engine put through the wringer like this one has been is always a good thing.

 

Nothing but Hondas. That’s exactly what you’ll find at VTEC Academy. Not because some of the other automakers’ cars that inherently drain the life out of the driving experience bore us, but because Soichiro Honda’s passion for motorsports and his company’s ability to express that in the machines they produce make a whole lot of sense.

VTEC Academy is a place for Honda fans who feel the same way and who seek the most accurate technical information and commentary to continue that very legacy and make whatever Honda it is that they drive just a little bit better. And faster.

The editors and contributors of VTEC Academy are some of the industry’s most experienced and trusted, which means the informative, unique perspectives you need are all right here. And, like you, we’re also obsessed with Hondas.

So, subscribe to our channel and hit us up at vtecacademy.com or, if you’re into social media, you can get your daily dose of VTEC Academy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We’re always on the look out for cool and fast Hondas.

Aaron Bonk on EmailAaron Bonk on Facebook
Aaron Bonk
Editor at VTEC Academy
Aaron Bonk first took an interest in Honda performance in the early 1990s. After studying mechanical engineering, he established Holeshot Racing—one of the first tuning shops to specialize in Honda engine swaps. There Aaron developed many Honda-specific engine transplants, long before engine mount kits and aftermarket wiring harnesses were realities. After more than a decade of development and professionally swapping Honda engines, he later transitioned into a career as an automotive journalist—authoring three Honda technical books—and has since held staff positions and contributed regularly to nearly a dozen print and online publications. To be sure, there’s no author who’s penned more words about the Honda brand. Aaron is the Editor and co-founder of VTEC Academy and resides in Southern California.