Modifying a car is the lifeblood of the hot rod world. From the days when people couldn’t wait to take mom’s grocery-getter 1972 Nova and turn it into a Mustang eating dragster to more modern times when hopped up Civics, Lancers, Camaros and Mustangs rule the weekend car meets, gearheads just love to mod their rides. Over the last few decades the Honda Civic has become one of the most heavily modded car models out there, with an entire industry revolving around thousands of ways to jail-break a Civic from the factory design and turn it into a Fast and the Furious street racing monster. Due to the light weight of the Civic (which is anywhere from 500 to 1,000 lbs. lighter than the 1972 Nova) and easy mod-ability, chances are we won’t see an end to this trend anytime soon.
While in many cases the mods are an improvement, in many others they really aren’t. Maybe it’s a “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing, who knows. But, with the ability to modified everything from the paint, wheels, body, chassis, suspension, powertrain, interior, lighting and entertainment systems making a Civic uniquely your own is easy if you have the time, money, resources and imagination to make it happen. Granted, whether or not you have taste and an eye for cool seems to have no bearing when it comes to the ability to modify a Civic. Thankfully, there are enough who do cool things that the ones who don’t remain fairly well balanced out.
20 1992 Hatchback
The 1992 Civic hatchback is easily one of the most sought-after Civics when it comes to a blank canvas for modification dreams. While Hondas aren’t nearly as popular in Australia as they are in the United States, that didn’t stop two brothers, Jimmy and Benny Tran from doing one up all race-style. Here’s what they told SuperStreetOnline: “According to Benny, "We started by putting in a B18c Type-R engine, which was the start of things to come. That was our first engine swap, learned purely off Internet resources. Once the transplant was completed, we slowly began modding the car, starting with simple bolt-ons to the suspension. That's when I attended a club track day and fell in love with the car even more."
19 Hi-Rise Wing?
The ability to generate downforce is almost as necessary as the ability to get up and go when it comes to building a fast car. Nothing ends a trip down the strip faster than going airborne in the middle of a run.
One of the best ways to keep the tail on the ground is through use of a rear spoiler or wing.
A good wing is essentially the same thing you see on an airplane, except it’s turned upside-down. Using the aerodynamic principles that generate lift to get a jumbo jet off the runway can then be flipped to keep your hot rod firmly planted on the pavement.
18 That’s a Wrap
If you really want your Civic to stand out from the crowd, you can drop a few thousand dollars into having it custom wrapped. The wrap jobs can end up looking every bit as killer as a custom paint job, but they require far less work (which means you aren’t paying as much) and can achieve an outcome you can see and approve before anything is actually applied to your sweet ride. With the proliferation of commercial vehicles using wraps these days, chances are any large city near you will have quite a few companies dying to wrap your ride.
17 Black is the new Black
Gloss black paint has always been a classic choice when it comes to hopped up cars. However, these days it’s almost a “too much of a good thing” issue where there are so many shiny black cars that they just become visual background noise.
Thankfully, if you’re just all about the black, there are new options just for you.
From carbo-fiber to a variety of matte and flat black finishes, there are lots to choose from when it comes to the base color of your Civic. And, if painting isn’t your thing, the local auto wrap company can do it up in vinyl for you as well.
16 Ground Pounder
It’s often unclear why people do certain things when they mod their cars. But, one trend that’s caught on over the last few decades that seems to have no practical application is "slamming," where owners drop the vehicles' chassis and suspension as low as it goes.
Lowering a car’s stance to a certain point offers handling and top end benefits when it comes to racing.
However, when you drive on public streets where potholes, speed bumps and disjointed pavement joints often change the road surface elevation by several inches in the blink of an eye, there’s a point where lowering works against you. Thankfully for this one, it looks really cool.
15 Why so blue?
This one is a love it or hate it mod-job, for sure. Dubbed the Metra Elektrik, this Civic will get your attention no matter how you feel about it. From the folks at autoblog.com “The company gutted everything about this car and put back in an all-electric and drive-by-wire system, electric steering and brakes, a 7 hp electric motor powered by eight of the company's Tsunami batteries arranged in serial, 20" DUBs, HP Racing Brakes and serious audio/visual mods. The interior plays host to a removable WiFi tablet-style PC, which controls the audio/visual elements but also monitors the entire vehicle and can even be used to drive the vehicle remotely. The hacked PlayStation Portable, a contribution from Aurora Multimedia, can also be used to drive the vehicle remotely along with other functions. Under the hood is nothin' but audio equipment. There are also 6 DVD players, 23 Monkey touch screens, gauges on the bumper monitoring temp and load of the audio equipment, and incredible paint by Brian Boan of Devils Candy Customs, which took 4 weeks alone.”
14 Things that go BOOM!
Another highly popular Civic mod is the stereo/entertainment system upgrade. There’s really nothing better than blowing the doors off the competition in a race while blowing their eardrums out with the beat of your choice. However, when the engines are wound out, it takes some serious wattage to blast the opposition with soundwaves of a more musical variety.
Thankfully, most Civics have ample trunk and/or hatch space for all the bass blasting amps and speakers you could ever need. Just be careful not to make it so loud you blow out your own back window, which actually happens at serious car stereo competitions.
13 Annnnnnd GO!
While some cars are slow and some are “all show and no go”, there’s another few groups out there. Like the sleepers: cars that don’t look fast but really are, sort of an exact opposite of the “all-show” crowd. And, the ones that not only look fast, but move even faster. Say what you will, but this Civic definitely appears to fall into the latter category as it looks so fast you might keep expecting it to fly off the screen every time you hit “refresh.” If you can achieve both looks and speed, your job as a pro-Civic modder is done.
12 Hot Wheels
While some Civic owners want to go full-on race car, Fast and the Furious gaudy with their rides, other prefer to remain understated. This one looks like it just might have quite a few horses hiding under the hood, ready to send this black beauty rocketing down the road in a blur of crimson-accented jet black. The nod to the Mattel Hot Wheels line of toy cars shows the owner has a sense of history and quite possibly the mindset that this Civic is the best toy they’ll ever have. But, the ground effects, rear wing, and red accent lighting under the rear-view mirror prove that, toy or not, this Civic should be taken seriously.
11 Hood? What hood?
While all the great engine mods out there are what a Civic really needs to be a great street racer, putting all those engine mods on but then leaving the hood off doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The hood not only protects the engine and all its accessories (water pump, alternator, etc.) and all those glorious bolt-on mods you put on the engine, it’s a crucial part of the car’s aerodynamics.
Having the hood off greatly disturbs the wind flow over the top of the car, creates drag and decreases downforce. So, don’t go through all the powertrain enhancing efforts only to stop short of the finish line-bolt that hood back on and get going.
10 Scissor doors
If getting into your Civic the old-fashioned way, just as the Honda Civic design team intended, just flat out cramps your style, there’s a whole fleet of companies who offer different options. For many, they opt to go with the scissor door route. Alfa Romeo introduced the scissor door in 1968 on their concept car the Carabo, but Lamborghini swooped in and co-opted the design to the point that scissor doors are often referred to as “Lambo doors.”
So, if you feel like your Honda Civic just doesn’t put off that Alfa Romeo/Lamborghini vibe you’ve always wanted, just hunt down a supplier of scissor hinges and slap them on you Civic, you’ll have a tricked out way in and out of your ride in no time.
9 The Duckling
And, then there was the one where the Civic owner hated his poor car so much he ugly-fied it to the point where all the other Civics made fun of it and wouldn’t let it play any reindeer games. For those who know the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer who was shunned and nose-shamed by his peer group, don’t do that to your Civic, that’s just cruel. And, if making things epically ugly is just how you roll, you’d get further faster by starting off with an uglier car to begin with, like an AMC Pacer, Pontiac Transport or a Suzuki X-90.
8 Something might be missing…
For anyone who really loves Civics, or just about any car for that reason, seeing one left on the curb sitting on its brake rotors and drums is heart-breaking. Why on earth would anyone do this to their Civic, especially one that’s sought after by people who love to mod Hondas? If the owner did this intentionally, they should have to hand the title over to a more humane Honda person. However, this pic might be from an unintended mod perpetrated by a loser crew who came along and stole the Civic's wheels and tires. In that case, hopefully they’re reading this from the comfort of a nice cozy prison cell.
7 Merry Christmas?
When a new invention co-opts an existing term, name or phrase, it often takes a certain segment of society a while to catch up. Take for instance exhibit A here, the Christmas wrapped car.
Instead of wrapping it in some eye-blisteringly awesome bundle of vinyl go-fast graphics, someone opted to give this ride the automotive equivalent of an ugly Christmas sweater.
Hopefully, this joke didn’t last long, and someone unwrapped this gift to find a far more attractive Civic under all that wrapping paper and holiday cheer. If not, well, someone might want to tell them to get with the program.
6 Just No.
Wheel alignments generally consist of three sets of adjustments: cast, camber and toe. Camber is how the wheel/tire leans inboard or outboard in relation to the side of the vehicle. The further in the camber is adjusted, normally the better the car handles. Camber it in too far and all you end up doing is wiping out an expensive set of tires in a few hundred miles. Running the camber all the way in while putting tires that are too small for the rims under the front end is just a recipe for major body damage and a Civic that will rapidly become undrivable.
5 Bumper car?
Taking this picture as a snapshot of the life of this Civic can lead one to wonder what happened in the pictures leading up to this one. Someone had to think “you know what? I need a really big bumper, like the ones they put on one-ton pickup trucks, strapped to the front of my Civic.”
Then that person had to find a like-minded individual (or company) who made such a thing unless they were good at fabrication. Once that step had come and gone, the Civic owner had to install the giant bumper, somehow convince themselves it was cool, then go drive around in public looking to play bumper cars with an F350.
4 Too much time on their hands
These days, most of us continually complain about not having enough time to get everything done. Between the demands or work, home life, family and friends, it would be great to have a few extra hours added to each day, so we can get done everything we want. Sadly, that isn’t the case for whoever cosmetically molested this Civic. The real problem comes in when you figure this could be some sort of misguided attention-grab. Unfortunately, most people are going to be so repulsed by this ride that the driver is in for some of the loneliest commutes in Honda Civic history.
3 Smoker Stack
Exhaust modifications usually fall into the categories of mild or wild. From tasteful custom or pre-packaged systems meant to complement the Civic’s existing powertrain and owner’s tastes, to ones that loud, visually gaudy and totally obnoxious, there’s more than a few ways to go to achieve either the mild or wild you desire.
But, if you refuse to drive to the beat of those drummers, you can always find a quality meat smoker, hack off the smokestack and weld it to your exhaust tip, then call it a day.
Technically, that is covered under the “freedom of the open road” mantra, it’s just not recommended by the National Hot Rod Association.
2 Wing Stop
If you’re actually taking your hopped up Honda Civic to a professional race track and running top speed laps, a wing like this one can certainly come in handy. Unfortunately, far too many car modders these days bolt these ridiculously oversized wings onto Civics that barely have enough horsepower to hit 110mph (the rough speed you have to achieve for a wing to be of any use). Factoring in the notion of how much these things weigh, and then calculating the horsepower to weight ratio often means some actually make their Civics slower by bolting on go-fast parts. Take about counter-productive.
1 Not ok
When done as a joke, which it usually is, making mods to your car with the use of duct tape and cardboard can bring out some serious laughs. Like the time a few friends and I made a giant cardboard wing for a co-workers Ford F150, tapped it to the top of his tailgate and made a giant bowtie on the back of the tailgate using blue painters tape.
Using cardboard and tape of any sort as a serious mod material for your Honda Civic is a big no-no.
Now, again, feel free to prank your friends with it, just make sure to upload the photographic evidence somewhere Google will find it so we can all join in the laughter
Sources: SuperStreetOnline.com ProCivic.com RoadandTrack.com