June 4th, 2010 7 min to read

Honda Civic, LS-VTEC, My Little Hybrid

Category : Honda

There once was a civic, it was small and silver and had a dinky little put-put engine, then one day a man bought this little civic and wanted to turn the grocery getter into a street terror. So, that man, opted to install one of the most unreliable, yet hugely popular, and fast engines into this little shopping cart with a motor and what became of it is left to be told right here.

The journey begins with me already owning a black 2 door civic hatchback, one of the cars I’d wanted for quite some time as it such a beautiful machine with some minor modifications to the exterior without needing to tweak the interior or engine at any point — Just put some lowering springs, rims, exhaust and you’ve got something that needs no other touchings to make it ‘pop’. Though, there were quite a few setbacks that I should have taken into consideration prior to making the final purchase of this car, such as it had dark window tints all around and it was automatic but I wanted the hatch so badly that I plopped down the 3K for the car without thinking further about the amount of extra work I would have to put into it to swap the transmission/remove the tints and then take it further with the modifications I was looking to make. After a short few weeks of ownership I was already considering trading my so beloved black hatch for something with much more ‘oomph’, thus began the search once again for a respectable machine (as we Jamaicans call it) with some street credibility to run with the best of them.

Craigslist here I come! If you do not know what craigslist is, basically it’s an free classifieds ad website which you can visit here. After a few more weeks of searching with emails between different sellers that were looking to trade their cars, alongside my own posting to trade my car with many responses from motorcycle owners looking to trade; I don’t have a license to ride a motorcycle and wasn’t really in the mood to learn but thought the idea to be grand of trading my civic for a death cycle 😀 which did not come to fruition as you will later read. I finally landed on a meeting with the owner of a beat up silver 2 door civic coupe with a legendary engine in the bay… an LS-VTEC, whatever the hell that meant to me at the time, I just knew the car was quick and could ravage the competition on the street. So, after some of the worst negotiating I could/ever will make in my lifetime, I traded cars with this guy.

Not to leave anyone in the dark here, I’ll give you the rundown of the Black 2 Door Civic Hatch in comparison to the Silver 2 Door Civic Coupe;


Black Hatch:

Standard Steel Wheels
D15Y (I believe)
Manual Windows
Manual Door Locks
Exterior Condition = Excellent

Silver Coupe:

18″ Alloy Wheels
Aftermarket Stereo System
Auto start
No A/C
No Powersteering
Manual (some aftermarket hydraulic setup, I forget now what it was)
B18A LS-VTEC Aftermarket Engine Swap
Rear Window Tints
Manual Windows
Automatic Door Locks
Exterior Condition = Not Good

He kept the rims/aftermarket stereo.

Talk about my negotiating skills, he could have asked me to give him 1K on the trade and I probably would have. Hah!

So with the deal done, we met one day swapped the wheels did the title and we were both on our merry little ways. Another side note, I was no professional at driving a manual car so there was A LOT! of stalling on the way home in the car, though it was fun to drive the little thing home. P.S: No A/C in Miami is like phoning the Grim Reaper and telling him to meet you at 12 for coffee.

In the end, I made it home after making the deal and my parents gave me the craziest look and I gave them an even crazier look which I feel is always an apparent look that I have, though it comes across differently. I would drive the car on/off during the week and primarily on the weekends, which was the utmost of torture since it didn’t have A/C but the exhilaration that copulated when I put my foot on gas and properly made my shifts was well worth the torture sessions. Given that I had a second car, it wasn’t in my best interest to take really good care of this car so, I didn’t wash it or properly maintain it which is where my pitfall begins.

After a few more weeks of ownership and lots more neglect, the car was beginning to display its signs of wear by making funny noises from the engine bay, such as ‘clank, clank, clank, clank’ with my response of ‘wtf is that g-d damn noise! eh, whatever’. At which point, I just pretty much put the car in the garage to sit and used my daily driver Mazda6 to get around Miami. Then one day, my friend Jeff announces that he will be coming to Miami to visit, mind you Jeff is a Honda Guru and wanted to know/drive/kill my Civic (i joke about killing it but he wanted to test the limits of what I had) at which point I explain to Jeff that the car has been acting funny and making funny noises.

Against my better judgement but wanting to show off the car to Jeff, I brought it out for the night he was in town. This was the night of definition for this car and I still neglected to prep it properly (wash, check the oil … you know, proper maintenance). After watching a movie, having some dinner, and some laughs we decided to head to South Beach at around 11P or 12A to check out the scene and just to hang out some more. Our friend Sharif decides to ride with me in the hybrid while the others go off in another car.

As we are cruising to the beach, I pull up to a light next to this guy in an Integra or something and he looks over at me and laughs because of how crappy the car looked and the engine was knocking harder and harder by the second. I look back and chuckle at him, then look at Sharif who was like giving me the go-ahead, so the guy gives me a rev. Light turns green and I never knew this little machine could rock so hard! The guy came up at the next light in shock and awe, we laughed at him but the car was crying, very loudly at that. I was thinking, this is not so good I should head home and see what the deal is but, the next thing I know I’m at South Beach looking for a parking space.

We hang out at the beach messing around for a few hours until Jeff announces that he has to get out early the next morning to get home, we then begin our exit from the beach with the car sounding at it’s worst ever (if your car ever sounds as mines did at this time, trust me, you need a new one!) I begin cruising home and the car started running worse and worse by the moment until it eventually stalled out… Facccckkkkkk! I drift to the hard shoulder, hang out for a moment, and get the car to start again. Drive a short distance, same thing, though this time, the car doesn’t come back to life 🙁 Stranded on the 836 at 3AM. Well worth it 😉 Jeff comes back and Sharif hops out and was like, yo man Ill chill with you ’til triple A (AAA) comes. So, we chill til they come at like 5AM to bring me and my ride back to the casa.

The Civic sits in the garage for a few months, with me thinking of swapping another engine into it and asking around for quotes and friends to help but, in the end I just post it on Craigslist for sale and take the loss.

Two Civic’s, One year, A total loss but not without a grand experience! I will tell you, I’d do it again but with only a few variations, one being taking better care of the Silver Coupe 😀

Have any experience(s) with swapped engines or into the modified car scene, share your comments please!