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Projectcarpalooza:1992 Civic Hatchback

We’ve all gotta start some place.

By Aaron Gaghagen

Meet our 1992 Honda Civic CX. I bought this hatchback about a decade and a half ago and it’s about time to blow the dust off of it and get it back into shape. I plan to try my hand at autocross and do some more track days, but how the car currently sits, it’s not quite ready.


At one time this was my daily driver, no AC, no rear interior and no problems... For the most part.

The car worked great as my daily driver. Although most people wouldn’t agree, I didn’t mind not having A/C in the hot Arizona summers. Despite being lowered on mystery springs, it was quite functional, taking me from home to work and work to home and home to work and… That was about all I would drive it to during the week. Honda car theft, especially modified fourth- through sixth-generation Civics in Phoenix, was no joke. Previously, I had an almost identical hatchback stolen so I made sure to always know where this one was. That meant that if I took it to a restaurant, I had to sit by a window where I could keep an eye on it. No movies where I drove the car to. That also meant that I didn’t drive it to the store unless I had no other option and I would be in and out as quickly as humanly possible. I’d driven the hatchback to the mall three times and two of those times thieves attempted to take it. If it weren’t for kill switches and a detachable steering wheel, the car would’ve been long gone.


Clear corners for life! Also note the chicken wire grille. It may be tough to see as I took it to another level (No, not really.) and painted it black. Get on my LEVEL!

Eventually I decided that I would take the 1992 hatch off of daily duty purely out of wanting to be more social. I bought a cheaper theft target that I would be less paranoid about leaving parked outside of secure parking. Life was grand and I could actually go hang out at friends’ places and do normal things like shop for toilet paper at Target without sweating bullets. I would still bring out the 1992 hatch for meets and cruises, though.


Doing some fan laps at Phoenix International Raceway. It felt great hauling down the main straight over 100 miles per hour.

When I bought the car it already had been swapped to a B18C out of a JDM Integra SiR-G, but most people just call it a GS-R swap. The B18C had ARP head bolts, titanium valve springs and retainers, and a Civic Type R intake cam. Engine management remained stock with exception of the rev limiter being removed. A no-came intake fed the engine and a DC Sports 4-1 header into a gutted cat (emissions testing always required finessing) finished with a GReddy EVO cat-back exhaust shooting spent gases out the back.


Here's a glimpse under the hood in 2007. Today it remains mostly unchanged. Except for maybe the oil, side mirrors and the MSD digital ignition?

There were also Z Speed shock tower bars and hood pins (not sure why on a stock hood) that helped it look the part. The fuel pump had been upgraded to a higher-flowing unit to help feed the engine when the full-throttle-activated 50-shot of nitrous kicked in. That’s right, NAWWWS! Boost in a blue bottle helped in those situations where fast wasn’t fast enough.

So, what plans are in store for this project? The first order of business must be the suspension. The springs and dampers need to be updated and set up for performance driving and not just a lowered profile. The car is 24 years old (holy s#%t; is that possible?) so the suspension bushings need to be checked out and evaluated. The rear doesn’t have an anti-sway bar stock and since that can greatly improve handling. I’ll look into that as well.


This is what the rear section of a GReddy EVO exhaust looks like after 15+ years of service. In an attempt to make it less flashy and appealing to thieves I painted it black with high temperature paint. I told you I was paranoid! Nevertheless, it's seen better days.

Further down the line updates to the exhaust system, exterior, engine, and transmission will be examined. Recently (within the last year) the rear drums were retired and replaced with discs, and it would be a good idea to take a look at the old rubber brake lines. I’m sure other things will pop up along the way. They always do.



Aaron Gaghagen on Email
Aaron Gaghagen
Multimedia Editor at VTEC Academy
Aaron Gaghagen is a veteran video editor and longtime Honda enthusiast. All told, he’s owned seven of them, and has enjoyed every single minute of wrenching on every single one. Except for that automatic one. That was probably a mistake. In 2010 Aaron teamed up with Brian Gillespie who along with another partner launched Nacho Speed Garage, a venture that capitalized on Aaron’s video expertise to do its part in entertaining and educating the Honda masses. Nacho Speed Garage took everything to the next level. Instead of reading magazines and cruising forums for content, Aaron and Brian were generating it themselves. The demise of Honda Tuning magazine in 2014 was the impetus for Aaron to do something even more impactful, though, which led to the creation of VTEC Academy and aims to carry that Honda torch forward in the same spirt of not just Honda Tuning but Nacho Speed Garage.