1 2 3
infinitenexus HalfDork
5/10/20 11:57 a.m.

I’ve been dreaming about building a challenge car since the very first one, the $1500 challenge. Well, two decades later I finally get to do it!

I started doing some delivery driving after hours for extra cash during the coronavirus quarantine, and while I love driving my 2012 Mustang GT, it’s a horrible car for Baltimore city roads, which have more potholes than pavement. Also averaging 15mpg sucks. So enter Facebook marketplace!

$1,000 landed me this. It’s a 1994 Civic EX, a good bit of miles but runs strong and everything works. The guy I bought it from is a mechanic and just replaced a bunch of parts. The only things wrong with it are it’s dirty, and there is some rust in the rear wheel arches. It’s also bone stock except for an aftermarket CD player and some Polk speakers (score). Overall a pretty awesome car. Although it’s small. I feel like I’m driving a toy. Here’s a picture from the ad:

I believe it had been sitting for a bit. When I got it, it was dirty, with some pollen and mold on it. In that pic you can see some damage to the door. Looks like someone scraped up against it. That should be easy to fix. 

I was able to squeeze it in the front of my driveway, next to the trash bin, in front of my wife’s car. It drove like a champ on the ride home, with a power moonroof and a/c. 

Now I get to scroll through the interwebs searching for cheap parts. I’m hoping with some weight reduction, bolt ons, and the right suspension/tire setup I can break into the high 14s at the challenge. More importantly, since the tires currently on it are almost brand new I’m going to teach the wife to autocross in this car

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/10/20 11:58 a.m.

I decided to name the car Risotto. I’m going to shoot for something that’s very well done but in the end it’s just rice. 

mr2s2000elise SuperDork
5/10/20 11:59 a.m.

Nice car. We used to love these back in the day 

the moonroof pop up and over was so fresh 


also all of us who lowered our Honda, we would get those swirl hubcaps, then we would upgrade to GSR fat vibes, then volks. 

we had a family friend who bought th is new, had the rare allow wheel package (not hubcaps), and the rare factory fog lights 


my 01 GSR sedan I picked up last year also has the faded wipers. I took them off since it doesn't rain here- but a little paint will freshen them up 

But I am more interested  to know what is the net income for the delivery ? 

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/10/20 4:26 p.m.

I'm a bit lazy with the delivery and just do it a few hours here and there.  A lot of that is because I don't like driving my Mustang in the city.  Now with this car, I'll be doing it a lot more often.  It usually comes out to around $20-25/hour.  It's a fun little side gig, especially with some good music in the stereo.  I enjoy it.


Now I get to start searching through the internet and learning about all the many DIY things you can do with the D16 engine.  I might even try porting the intake manifold.  We do want to repaint the car.  The factory black paint is faded and done, and on a sunny day the car just gets too hot.  I'm not really a fan of black cars, for that reason.  I'd like to repaint it white, but I know that'll be a lot of work disassembling everything to get it looking right.  I'm considering it.  For now I'm going to browse all the dirt cheap parts on eBay and Facebook marketplace and see what kind of crazy deals I can get.  I'm starting pretty mild initially, intake/header/exhaust, springs/shocks, and wheels.  Once I get to that point and after autocrossing it a bit, I'll decide what direction I want to go.  Ideally a bit of weight reduction and sway bars, maybe if I can score some cheap drag tires for the front, little things like that.

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/11/20 6:34 p.m.

Progress!  I removed carpet and junk from the trunk, lower rear seat belts, and the center console. Total weight savings: 18 lbs 

Also removed the factory rear spoiler. No use for that. Ordered a stainless steel header from eBay for $47.76 and a short throw shifter for $5.40, and solid shifter bushings for $9.98. A shifter won’t add power but the factory shifter is sloppy garbage so this is $15 well spent. I’ll be browsing intakes tonight. 


Budget total:

car: $1,000

header: $47.76

shifter: $5.40

bushings: $9.98

total: $1,063.14

but I almost forgot, I found 68 cents in the car! So my total is $1,062.46

i want to get an exhaust for more horsepower but I hate how these cars sound. I’ll have to figure something out. I found an exhaust for $80, maybe that with an additional resonator or something. 

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/12/20 7:26 a.m.

I found a turbo kit and coilovers for $250.  Tempting.  Also found a set of drag radials and 2 rims for $100, so I'm going to pick those up today after work.


edit: also picking up a set of E30 bottlecaps today for $60.  Score!  I plan on using these as my daily rims, not as part of the challenge setup.  I'd prefer a set of 15X7s for the challenge.  Although for that price, it's hard to go wrong.

clutchsmoke UltraDork
5/12/20 1:42 p.m.

I can confidently recommend the yonaka cat back. I had it on my D16 EK and it sounded great. Just a little louder than stock and a nice deep tone without any raspyness.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/12/20 2:05 p.m.

They also have a silencer on ebay that bolts into the 4 inch tip. Really,  really works. Had one on the crx and the p5 with ebay fart cannon exhaust,  and it quieted them and changed the tone enough to call them pleasant. 

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/12/20 8:00 p.m.

Thank you for the recommendations!  Hopefully I can find more good deals like I did today. First off, a set of 4 E30 bottlecap rims for $60. Dirty and could use a paint job, but otherwise in great condition. Plus Lowe’s makes spray paint for $1/can, so it’s an easy fix. He also threw in some lug nuts. 3 of the wheels came with good tires. This will get repainted and installed on the civic as my daily rims. Much better than steelies. Not sure if these will be part of the challenge or just for daily driving. If I can find a good deal on a set of four E30 basketweaves I’ll be super happy. 

And the second  deal was a pair of 15x6.5” rims with “drag radials” on them for $100. So when I finally checked them out the tires aren’t drag radials at all, but Hoosier R6s!  That made me pretty happy. And they’re 225/45R15, which is the size I would ultimately like to run on this thing. The tires still have life left in them, the rims just need a paint job. 

I don’t know what brand these rims are. They say “racing monoblock ultralight” around the side, and made in Taiwan on the back. And they are indeed lightweight. Maybe some googling will show answers. Tomorrow I’ll be getting the car registered and insured, so that’s a nice step as well. And I’ll start removing the tires from the bottlecaps so I can strip those wheels down and paint them. 

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/12/20 8:05 p.m.

Okay that took 20 seconds. The wheels are Koenig Heliums. About $100/rim so I guess I made out pretty well.  11.4 pounds each. Hard to argue with that. 

clutchsmoke UltraDork
5/12/20 9:30 p.m.
infinitenexus said:

Okay that took 20 seconds. The wheels are Koenig Heliums. About $100/rim so I guess I made out pretty well.  11.4 pounds each. Hard to argue with that. 

I have a set of 4 Konig Helium in my garage I ran on my Honda fit with winter tires I need to get rid of. I highly recommend them. Held up great through 3 Chicago winters.

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/12/20 9:33 p.m.

Yeah I’m hoping to find two more nearby. There’s a guy selling one the exact same size as this for cheap, so I might spring for that. 

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/13/20 6:46 a.m.

I've been thinking about how I'm going to fix the bit of rust in the rear wheel wells.  I have a friend that welds and I'm wondering if I can convince him to weld up some new metal for free, since he is a car guy and would probably love the idea of the 2000 challenge.  Also I'm wondering if it's a good reason to hack the wheel wells open a bit and install fender flares and wider tires.  I'll have to see what the budget allows.  Picked up a quart of white rustoleum yesterday.  I can't really deal with a black car, I tend to be a hot-blooded person anyways.  I'll melt.  So we're going to be painting the car white.  There will be some form of accent color and/or graphics, I just need to decide what.  I've been looking at pictures of old race cars for inspiration.


Today's to do list includes getting the car registered and trying to remove the tires from the E30 rims I bought so I can scrub them down.  I've never removed tires from rims before but it seems pretty straight forward.  Also we're going to remove the sunroof and just bolt a piece of lexan in its place, so I'll start planning for that today.  

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/13/20 5:37 p.m.

I started today off on the right foot, literally. Wore a pair of my second favorite socks to set the mood. 

So I took my E30 bottlecaps and a crow bar and set to removing the tires. I’ve never done it but I wanted to try, to save some cash. Well, after thirty minutes I finally broke the bead on one tire and said eff it and took them up to the nearby tire place. $12 later I had my rims free of junky tires. Lesson learned. I scrubbed them as thoroughly as possible, but decades of brake dust left them pretty grungy. After they dried I hit the backs and the center section of the fronts with a few cans of $0.99 spray paint from Lowe’s. Once it dries I’ll tape off the center and paint the lips bright silver. 


Then i hopped under the hood and tried to get a grasp of just how much junk we are going to have to remove to paint this thing. It won’t be fun. But I unbolted a few little brackets and took a wire brush to them. My wife and I have been thinking of an accent color for this car and the other day I pointed out an electron blue civic in a parking lot and she really liked the color. So of course I went through my stash of 10 year old cans of spray paint and I had a can of electron blue touch up paint, score!  I probably bought it a long time ago and forgot about it. I’ll have to figure out where I bought it so I can add it to the budget. 


Anyways, I unbolted the valve cover and spent an hour scrubbing all the grease off of it and painted it electron blue. It looks pretty great!  I didn’t take a picture of it so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. 


Also an interesting uodate, I bough it as a 1994 but apparently according to the VIN it’s a 1995. So there we go. 

Tomorrow I’ll be picking up my license plates and doing some cleaning. I’ll have to wait a week or so for the paint to harden And then I’ll hit it with some rubbing compound to get it smooth and shiny. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 7:04 p.m.

please don't tell me they have chevy orange for 99 cents a can.  i just paid $5.50

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/13/20 8:20 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

please don't tell me they have chevy orange for 99 cents a can.  i just paid $5.50

Black and white, that's it.  Although several colors including orange were on sale for $3.68 (down from 4 something) at a local Lowe's recently and I get a 10% military discount so that helps.  


So the wife and I are browsing old race cars right now looking for a paint scheme.  We know we want to paint the car white, because black cars are just too hot (even though I plan on keeping the A/C) and we kinda want to use the electron blue as an accent color.  We're budgeting $100 for paint, and we need some ideas for a nice paint scheme so we can completely destroy everyone in the concours.  My first thought is hot rod flames, which I can do really well, but I don't think the wife is down for that.  

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/20 8:27 p.m.

Its a 94 civic  embrace your inner ricer and bring this for radwood in blue and white. Complete with wing, neon, and fart cannon!

rodknock Reader
5/13/20 9:12 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

I am liking the Radwood idea. I will humbly suggest this because it's already the right color. Just be sure to grab an SR20 soon. I hear they command a premium before Race Wars. 


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/13/20 9:18 p.m.

Great car and, yeah, totally F&F. It's basically an EG Si but with a trunk.

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/14/20 9:06 a.m.

If there's room left in the budget I'll probably put some blue neons underneath it.  Gotta get that corny F&F vibe going.  Right now after we paint the car white I'm thinking I'll try some hot rod flames on it.  If the wife hates them I can always sand them off.  If she's okay with them, then score!  I get a 26 year old Honda Civic with spray painted hot rod flames, every kid's dream.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/14/20 9:47 a.m.

As much as I love neon lights, you should do it! 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
5/14/20 11:22 a.m.

I had a '95 Civic Ex coupe.  I encouraged my new girlfriend in 1995 to get out of he POS 4cyl Mustang and lease the Civic. After her lease ended she git an Accord and I bought the Civic. 

I was putting on a lot of sales/rep miles back in those days.  Awesome car. It was just plain good at everything. 

driver95 (Forum Supporter)
driver95 (Forum Supporter) New Reader
5/14/20 11:46 a.m.

I had a 94 civic in 90s teal, loved that car. 

Since its a delivery car and you're painting it white, my vote is for some sweet graphics.

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/14/20 12:37 p.m.

I've been thinking hard about doing that exact style/color graphics on it.  It would be perfectly 90s and excellent for Radwood and I'm sure I would get a chuckle out of it, but I don't know if I could stomach it in the long term haha.  Maybe if I did it in vinyl instead of paint.  

infinitenexus HalfDork
5/14/20 7:13 p.m.

Taped off two of the e30 bottlecaps and painted the lip silver. They look pretty nice. Once the paint cures and hardens, I’ll put a ton of clear coat on them. 

And also finished up the valve cover. Once the paint hardens I have one small scuff to polish out and then I’ll throw it back on the car. 

I know paint won’t make me faster but I like the look of painted valve covers. This weekend I might start sanding the car down and slowly prepping for paint. No money for a carbon fiber hood so I might Swiss cheese the underside of it. The trunk as well. Tomorrow I’ll focus on finishing the other rims and I’ll get the budget in order. 

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners