The Honda B-Series engines that powered the import revolution with Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) continues to be among the most popular and most frequently modified engines. With fully-built examples capable of producing more than 1,000 horsepower, the B-Series has proven a formidable engine even today.
The EF Civic and the DA Integra laid the foundation for the platforms that lead an import performance revolution. The EG and EK Civics, along with their cousin the DC2 Integra, harnessed the popularity of the B-Series engine and rode the wave of an explosive enthusiast market. Hundreds of thousands of these chassis were sold throughout the 90s and into the 2000s. With so many recipients on the road, thousands of B-Series engine swaps went along with them. The B18A and B18B, along with the VTEC equipped B16A, B18C1 and B18C5 propelled these sport compacts on the streets, around tracks and down the drag strip. Not long after, production power-adding solutions became available, raising outputs to astonishing levels that few imagined possible from small displacement, aluminum engines. The “replacement for displacement” mentality has been born.
EG Civic (1992-1995)
Honda’s EG Civic was among the first to hit the streets with extreme popularity. Available as a two-door coupe, three-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, these affordable yet sporty vehicles appealed to a broad audience. The flagship Civic Si trim was available with a VTEC engine, however it was a single cam D16 engine, which proved less than impressive compared to the B-series. Enthusiasts learned of the B16A-powered Civic SiR in Japan, which prompted some adventurous builders to invest in JDM B-series engines and figure out how to swap them into the US chassis. Their successes led to the mainstream embrace of engine swaps, especially among the performance hardcores and racers who soon found a venue at the burgeoning import drag racing events that started popping up across the country. In addition to being the recipient of a variety of engine swaps, the EG also benefitted from forced induction, taking a leap in power output and serving as the platform of choice for some of the quickest racecars on the track. Today, the EG Civic is over 20 years old and still a popular platform to build upon.
EK Civic (1996-2000)
Following in the footsteps of the EG, the EK Civic was largely offered in the same chassis configurations and trim packages as its predecessor. This next generation Civic carried on the torch of popularity, as its relatively attractive price tag continued to make it attainable to the masses. While the B-series engine swaps continued in mass, the engines swapped in diversified, as the B16A was joined by B18A, B18B, B18C and B20B engines sourced from Japan, as well as Integras and the Honda CR-V. Hybridizing the engines by mating VTEC cylinder heads to non-VTEC blocks (B18A, B18B, B20B) gained traction and added to the creative solutions for improving performance. For the 1999 and 2000 model years, Honda finally added a B16A-powered Civic Si (EM1) to its stables. Power adders such as turbochargers have helped to raise the performance bar for these platforms, taking Civics well into the single digits at the drag strip and quickly around circuits and on the streets.
DC2 Integra (1994-2001)
In 1994, Acura unveiled its third-generation Integra, chassis code DC2. While its “bug eye” headlights were the topic of controversy initially, it quickly grew on fanatics, who embraced the well-appointed platform from Honda’s luxury division. This was one of the rare instances that Honda elected to extend the life cycle of a model. The typical Honda model cycle had been four years, but for the third-generation Integra, Honda made minor changes and kept the design for an additional four years. The standard engine for this product line was the non-VTEC B18B engine, while the top-of-the-line GS-R came with the VTEC-equipped B18C1 engine. The DC2 was also the first to be sold in America in the Type R trim. This limited-edition Integra came with a more powerful B18C5 engine, along with several other enhancements that lent to improved performance and handling. The DC2 Integra benefitted from the same engine swap flexibility, and since it came with the B18C engine from the factory, it was often an engine donor as well. Turbocharging the DC2 Integra was a popular performance solution and delivered incredible output on street going builds, while fully built examples have eclipsed the 1,000-horsepower mark.