What qualifies one's ride as JDM? Everyone has a different perception. For some, it means obtaining that rarified, overseas-only doodad that only they will ever know exists underneath their hood. For others, only by boxing up a right-hand-drive sled and having it shipped straight to their doorstep may true JDM-ness be realized. Southern California resident Ryan Ordinario's '90 Civic Si falls somewhere in between the two, but damn near close to the latter.
Ordinario picked up his Si nearly five years ago with the sole intent of creating his own version of a JDM masterpiece. Aside from the whole left-hand-drive thing, little else indicates this Civic wasn't born and bred in Honda's homeland.
Smitten by the show car scene, Ordinario saw to it that the Civic undergo a complete JDM transformation. The overseas '88-to-'91 Civic SiR was emulated, and anything and everything SiR was quickly sourced. The front clip was swapped out with its foreign brethren's muscled-up hood, fenders and bumper. SiR-only headlights, marker lights and turn signals further distinguish this Civic from the pack. The hatchback conveys JDM from any angle, from the Vision side mirrors to the unique rear bumper to the taillights adorned with the Special Edition garnishes that make Ordinario smile every time he looks at them. As for the inside, open the door, plant yourself into any one of the SiR seats and you immediately know this hatchback emanates JDM.
When it comes to wheels, Ordinario takes pride in his collection of more than a dozen hard-to-find JDM antiquities. The Civic is outfitted with different wheels for every show, which makes for a new look every time. Ordinario was infatuated with old-school wheels of the JDM grade long before the Civic project commenced. The requirement for wheels to be mounted on this Civic? According to Ordinario, everything that goes on this EF9 must be of the same era; '88-to-'91. Oh, and of course, JDM.
The hatchback originally came already outfitted with a JDM B16A nestled between the strut towers. Without the aid of an engine mount kit, OEM brackets are welded to the chassis and stock mounts hang the powerplant from the frame rails.
For the most part, the B remains stock, save for a freshen-up job performed by Lucky Race Shop in nearby Gardena. Ordinario wanted to avoid the hassles of a fully built race setup, but wanted the reliability of a zero-mileage engine. Aside from a pair of high-lift, Integra Type R camshafts mandated by Spoon Sports adjustable timing gears, the B16A's internals remain as Honda intended.
Despite the attention paid to aesthetics, in no way has power production been overlooked. With the Civic up to JDM specs inside and out, a custom turbo kit was pieced together and installed at Sportcar Motion of Vista, Calif. A Precision SC61 turbocharger mated to a Sparks Racing exhaust manifold supply boost, regulated to a mere 4 psi by means of a Tial wastegate. Four psi isn't a lot, but until an engine management system is up and running, Ordinario is going to take it easy.
To date, Ordinario's EF9 has nabbed top honors on the show circuit but has yet to make its debut at the track. Future plans call for a race-prepped B18C and more than a few passes down the 1320. "My goal was to model the SiR ... and I think I've done that," Ordinario says, proudly referring to his own version of a JDM masterpiece.
Bolts & Washers
Ryan Ordinario's 1990 Civic Si
In between the air filter and custom exhaust system, air is inhaled, combusted, compressed and exhaled. Inhaling duties get under way with an HKS filter mated to a custom-made, 2.5-inch aluminum pipe and are multiplied with the aid of a Precision Turbo SC61 turbocharger. Air molecules are directed out of the .60 A/R compressor, through 2.5-inch intercooler piping and are chilled inside a Rev Hard, front-mount intercooler. Once the gas pedal is stabbed, air travels through a Civic Type-R throttle body and into an Integra Type R intake manifold.
A 255-lph, Walbro fuel pump kicks off the combustion process as it sends fuel to a set of Mitsubishi Eclipse, 450cc injectors. A B&M fuel pressure regulator holds the otherwise stock fuel system's pressure in check. NGK plugs and Spoon Sports plug wires transfer the necessary spark as a B16A, PR3 ECU dictates fuel and ignition maps.
From there on out, the nearly-stock B16A functions as Honda intended, save for a pair of Integra Type R camshafts controlled via Spoon Sports adjustable cam sprockets. Exhaust gases are exhaled through a Sparks Racing stainless steel exhaust manifold just before traveling through a 3-inch resonator and exiting out the side of the Civic. A dummy muffler resides out back to make the whole affair appear legit (uh, ignore that last part). An HKS Super Sequential blow off valve relieves boost pressure between pedal jabs while a 38mm Tial wastegate ensures the B16A receives no more boost than it can handle.
Transmitting power to pavement is an S1 gearbox from the JDM Integra XSi. An ACT, single diaphragm, six-puck clutch is bolted to an otherwise stock flywheel to keep up with the turbo's additional torque demands.
Rims & Rubber:
Step into Ordinario's garage and it's like you've walked into a wheel and tire shop. His collection consists of 15 sets of JDM rarities from the likes of SSR, Work and Mugen, to name a few. Today, the Civic rolls on 15-inch SSR EXC Neo rims, draped in Falken 195/50-15 meats. Tomorrow who knows?
KYB shocks address compression and rebound concerns at all four posts as Skunk2 adjustable coil-overs determine the EF9's optimum ride height. An Evasive Motorsports Racing C-pillar enhances upper rigidity and decreases chassis flex. In preparation for the inevitable, an Autopower four-point roll bar is securely bolted behind the front seats.
Powerslot cross-drilled rotors beef up the front brakes in conjunction with stock calipers and pads. The rear drums were left alone but since we've met up with Ordinario, they've been upgraded with Integra rear discs dressed with Powerslot rotors.
Excluding one or two subtle additions, if it's not JDM, you won't find it on this hatchback's exterior. The Civic has received a facelift in the form of a front-end conversion consisting of a hood and bumper swap, fenders, headlights, corner lights and side markers, all from the JDM SiR. Also included from its JDM counterpart are matching side skirts, side moldings, a rear bumper and taillights. A wing from the '88-to-'91 EDM Civic Vti, a front lip from J's Racing and Vision side mirrors round off the body add-ons. Lexus LS 430 Black Cherry Effect paint covers the body and engine bay courtesy of Mob Works of Orange, Calif.
As with the outside, the inside emits a JDM persona. Front and rear seats from the JDM SiR replace the stockers. A Mugen steering wheel, pedals and shift knob occupy Ordinario's attention while on the move as a GReddy boost gauge and instrument cluster from the SiR keeps tabs on vitals. Power windows and door locks as well as the climate control are all borrowed from the aforementioned SiR as well. A set of Mugen floor mats add the finishing touches to the Civic's JDM character.
A Clarion head unit works in conjunction with Polk Audio 6.5-inch separates and 1-inch tweeters. Polk Audio 4x10 Coaxial rear speakers and a 10-inch Kicker subwoofer round off the sound system.