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1994 Honda Civic CX - The Art of Spoon-ing

The classic catalog car, with a few twists

By Jonathan Thompson, Photography by Matthew Jones

Many enthusiasts’ projects lean toward a specific purpose with their builds, which ultimately influences, and sometimes limits, their decision making throughout the entire process. This isn’t one of those enthusiasts. In fact, the custom blue pearl ’94 Civic you see before you received some love in every department. Fresh paint, slick wheels, go-fast goodies, sexy interior, you name it and he touched on it. The adventure took owner Efren Diaz of Texas eight years and many, many dollars to complete. Efren’s satisfied with the end result, and why wouldn’t he be? He’s taken the classic Spoon Sports catalog build and put his own spin on it, and the results speak for themselves.

Probably the most unique aspect of this build is that it’s considered “finished” by the owner, and he truly feels he’s achieved all of his goals. Like many, he paid for and performed the modifications little by little when finances and time allowed. Unlike many, there are authentic Spoon Sports parts sprinkled throughout the EH2. How much, you’re asking? In total, he’s spent well over $6,000 just on Spoon merchandise. If Spoon actually made a spoon, this guy would be shoveling breakfast cereal with it daily. “I’ve always been a fan—they make quality parts. The first thing I ever bought was a (Spoon) steering wheel,” he explains. Other bits and pieces include the highly-sought-after (and copied) carbon-fiber bucket seats, the very popular four-pot twin-block brake calipers, and the very rare instrument gauge cluster.

Ample amounts of time, hope, faith, and a little luck along with some unique situations occurred in his quest to acquire his authentic parts. For example, Efren once drove with a friend and his friend’s father across Texas for a set of used Spoon Sports spark plug wires. They left at noon and returned close to midnight. Additionally, a local friend heard that Efren had a set of brand-new Enkei RPF1s wrapped in fresh rubber chilling in his garage. Because the guy didn’t have the cash to actually buy the wheels, Efren agreed to have him use his credit card to pay for several Spoon Sports items online to trade for the virgin rollers.

Like any well-rounded build, there were a few setbacks throughout the journey. The EH2 is on its third paint scheme, second short-block, second cylinder head, and second transmission case. There was that time that a garage shelving unit decided to commit suicide off the wall and straight onto the Civic’s defenseless fender. Then there’s the night Efren was cruising home from the paint shop when he lost pedal braking power. “I noticed there was fluid leaking from the brake master cylinder and realized I was going to have to use the handbrake all the way home,” he recalls.

Looking back, Efren says he only would have done one thing differently—he would have purchased a Rywire engine harness. He had no knowledge or experience with engine wiring harnesses at the time he dropped the swap, and it was his first attempt. “I’m getting better now that I’ve done three of my friends’ cars,” he says. Besides the tune and the paintjob of course, all of the work was performed in his home garage as well.

And speaking of the swap, the powerplant consists of a B18C1 short-block with ITR pistons paired with a B16A2 head with Skunk2 valvetrain components. The “poor man’s Type R” produced a very respectable 210 whp on a DynoJet relying on Hondata’s S300. While most catalog-style cars are identical inside and out, Efren was sure to mix things up in order to stand out from the clones. Once the hood is popped, eyes usually focus on the ARC super induction airbox, and then there’s the extremely rare carbon-fiber intake manifold designed by A.I.R. and Endyn. Carbon dioxide and water vapor exit via Hytech’s exhaust manifold and an A’PEXi exhaust system. A Carbonetic LSD and Competition Clutch Stage 4 clutch and flywheel combo make no qualms about transferring power to the pavement. The performance enhancements lend themselves to a fast and fun drive reliably, every single time. When asked what memory stands out the most, he reminisces, “The most memorable moment I’ve had in my car was when I beat a Civic Si that had a K20 swap back in the day when they were first coming out.”

The plans are simple for now: Efren wants to sit back in his high-dollar bucket seats, bang gears, break necks, and who knows, maybe even take home a few trophies. He really has no immediate plans other than just enjoying the fruits of his labor. Next up, he’s going to focus on restoring a ’99 Si to factory specifications. Factory specs? Famous last words…

By Jonathan Thompson
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