Everyone has a story involving a hatchback. Whether it involves jumping a set of train tracks in your 1985 Chevy Nova or tearing down the ‘Ring in a Renault Megane Trophy-R, this configuration of car gets it done. Citroën is credited with the first civilian hatchback utilizing a lift gate for rear storage. While that was many, many decades ago, this design still remains wildly popular with enthusiasts and average commuters alike.
Photography by : Viet Nguyen
Words by : Rocky Pacifico
There is something for everyone when considering this body style: typically lightweight, maneuverable, and ultimately usable make for a successful recipe. Need proof? Most of the best selling automobiles of all time were offered in a hatch. The most hyped up car out in the US right now is a hatchback (Focus RS). So many movies featured a hatchback. It’s only fitting that we spotlight one of the greatest non-trunked vehicles of all time.
Honda Civics are the Original Gangster of Hot Hatchery. When originally launched, this car only came in a lift gate-equipped model. It was the early 70’s and a young Honda Motor Company was trying to break away from the stigma that they can only specialize in 2-wheeled variants. There were a few Honda automobiles that came before the Civic but nothing that captured hearts of the masses like said car. It’s widely known that the 70’s were a difficult time for cars but one star emerged.
While the big 3 automakers were trying to figure out how to transform big, heavy V8 powered cars into an economy and eco-friendly ride, Honda knew the trick. CVCC technology was the answer; an acronym spelled out Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion meant Honda didn’t have to install catalytic converters on these cars. While this doesn’t sound like interesting reading, it does explain Honda’s forte. This manufacturer has always been on the forefront of converging technology. VTEC bro!
It’s a simple formula: build the lightest weight car with an sufficient amount of power and bam! You’ve got an interesting ride. Many have capitalized on this theory, mostly using turbocharging. Honda has always been from a different school and it took 43 years before they’ve introduced above atmospheric pressure to their money-maker. They’ve also always been a purist company and this meant breathing under it’s own abilities. The technology mentioned above (VTEC) has always been the supplemental tool in fetching Honda’s huge power to displacement claim. Where else can you find 100+ HP per liter? To put this into perspective, your average Corvette would need to make 620 HP naturally-aspirated to keep up (well, efficiency-wise).
Ryan’s car is the formula. It appeals to the right people when considering its ideals. This Wonder Civic was a transaction between two Hondaphiles and while it did change hands, the previous owner’s goals were recognized. Walking up on the Civic, the most notable feature of the car is its cleanliness. This restomodded hatch could have easily employed a K series or becoming more popular J series.
The ever so talented and delightful B18C resides under the bonnet; mix that with individual throttle bodies and you’ve got Honda Heaven. Claimed weight is around 1900-2000. You could say this car is a smile-maker. Suspension on the car has been specifically adapted to this application.
Everything looks period-correct; however, it hides its strongest attribute. Ryan’s business is wiring and he lets his handy-work do the talking. All the engine management is handled by an AEM Infinity but looks stock. I know I might be flogged for this however could this be the perfect collector’s Civic?