David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/4/04 9:24 p.m.

Yesterday we picked up our latest project car, a 1992 Honda Civic Si. While this generation of the Civic didn't make such a splash when it was first released--Nissan and VW seemed to really dominated the scene back then--this EG-series Civic has become one of today's most popular compacts.

We didn't buy one of these cars to win a popularity contest, however, as the vehicle has some very nice attributes. For one, this generation of the Civic is light, as the base-model CX hatch weighs only 2094 pounds. Honda listed an official curb weight for our "loaded" Si model at 2326 pounds.

The car also has the ability to swallow lots of powerful engines, as Honda's twin-cam B- and even H-series engines can be bolted in. Combining a light body with a powerful engine is a recipe for success in our book.

While the Civic is light, it's not tiny, as the car boasts ample interior space. Two grown-ups can comfortably fit up front, while the back seats folds down to form a larger cargo hold. And being a Honda, the car seems to age well.

Since this car was a little ignored when first released, we figured now was the time to make amends. While the 1992-'95 Civic was available in several different states of tune, of course we had to go with the Si model, which only came as a hatchback. (The 1992-'95 Civic was also available as a four-door sedan, while a coupe joined the lineup for 1993.)

In addition to the 125-horsepower VTEC engine, the most powerful one offered during this particular model run, the Si also received four-wheel disc brakes, front and rear anti-roll bars, a power moonroof and a nicer interior. Not all of those items make the car faster, but it does all add up to a nice daily driver. (We also want to see how well the car does in SCCA Street Touring autocross competition, and the way the rules are written we needed to start with a real Si.)

The Si models can be a little tougher to find, but some perseverance paid off. We found our car through honda-tech.com, a popular message board for fans of the Honda. The asking price was $3000, but the sellers had already accepted an offer for $2800. However, the buyer said he needed a month to come up with the money. We told them we only needed 24 hours.

While some would consider that to be strong money for a car that's going on 13 years old, there were some strong points. For one, the car seemed to have been loved, as it was very clean inside and under the hood, sported fresh tires, and didn't seem to be suffering from any mechanical issues. The air-conditioning system had just been totally replaced to the tune of $1200. The car did show 159,000 miles on the odometer, but apparently the engine had been replaced sometime in the car's life. We were told the engine in the car has about 100,000 miles on it. In Honda-speak, that means things are just getting broken-in.

The fact the seller came to the door wearing an Evolution Driving School shirt and pointed out every little "issue" left us feeling pretty confident about the purchase.

On the other hand, not everything was perfect. The paint had faded over the years, and the car was now about four different shades of red. There are also some dings and small dents, while the front bumper is a little buggered-up. The steering wheel is also a little on the aged side, while it's missing one of the rear hatch struts. We're also missing a piece of windshield trim.

The car seems solid, however, as we can't find any rust or evidence of crash repair. It goes down the road nicely. It's actually quite comfortable.

The car also had received a few modifications from the previous owner, but nothing major. A wrecked Integra donated its seats, floor mats and snazzy hubcaps, while a K&N air filter had been installed. The car also came with some JDM-style, all-amber corner lights.

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