There is a glitch in the system. Show cars cannot be competitive track cars and track cars cannot be award-winning show cars. Things just don't work that way. If you believe this statement, then explain how the hatch here came to be a first-place finisher in both. Your guess is as good as ours—or so we thought.
We've been on the hunt for Angel Torres' '93 Honda Civic CX for a while now. It caught our eye originally because it was a very well-built "show car." Scheduling conflicts prevented us from ever meeting up with him to shoot the car, then Angel's neighbor decided to have a run-in with the car that resulted in a damaged front end.
While a Sergeant front bumper was on order, Angel ed us to set a specific date to have his Civic photographed. Why exactly did it have to be shot on or before his specified deadline? Well, Angel had planned to participate in the first round of the Redline Time Attack series. Wait, what? You're going to take this Civic, fresh out of the paint shop, straight to Buttonwillow Raceway? So not only did we oblige to his request, we even promised to meet him at the track to see all of this go down. This multiple award-winning Honda show car with a brand-new front end, which cost more than $2,500 in parts alone, was going to battle it out at Buttonwillow. There was no way we were going to miss this!
Angel isn't a beginner on the track by any stretch of the imagination, having competed his Civic Si coupe the year before. He just hadn't driven this particular EG on the circuit. So on that day, the game plan was to connect with Angel the morning prior to him ripping through Buttonwillow with the fear of damaging the car. Well, it didn't quite work out that way as he was immediately thrust into action. We waited in a little bit of horror—no shakedown, fresh motor, all caution to the wind. If he wrecked, that would be the end of an awesome story, but more importantly, it would ruin a build five years in the making. Fortune favored the brave that day and Angel finished first in the Street FWD category.
Looking back at this Civic's humble beginnings, Angel couldn't possibly have dreamed of all he's accomplished. "I originally bought this car from an old lady," he tells us. "It was damage-free and ran fine with the single-cam engine, but there was definitely some wear. The car wasn't anything to rave about. My friends even nicknamed it 'the lady bug.'"
Prior to purchasing the Civic, Torres was the owner of an RSX Type-S. He liked the Type-S but was more into street bikes at the time, so much so that when he had his bike stolen, he decided to sell his DC5 just to get another motorcycle. However, the decision to sell his RSX haunted him, maybe because it left him putt-putting around in an old 70-whp D-series Civic. He not only missed the power, but the comfort of the RSX, too. After some careful research, Angel chose to add those two missing ingredients to create his ideal Honda. He perused various forums and came upon a K20Z1 engine from a wrecked RSX. An agreement was made to purchase the swap. Out of good faith, the seller also included the original RSX dashboard skin. From there, shoehorning the K20 into the EG wasn't a very difficult task, but getting the dash to work on the '92-'95 Civic was no easy feat by any means. But the time-consuming retrofit was worth the effort and stands out as one of the most unique aspects of Angel's build.
Everything associated with the DC5 interior functions like factory—the gauge cluster, six-disc changer, head unit, even the OEM key works. The original door panels were altered to match the shape of the larger dashboard and music blares through RSX Bose speakers that have also been retrofitted to the car. To give it that personal touch, every panel was wrapped in Bride Hyper Black fabric to match the Brix II and Euro II seats. Angel mentioned that he eventually plans to 'cage his car, but the interior is so mint that it looks perfect the way it sits now—we couldn't agree more.
The K20Z1 he initially sourced isn't even worth mentioning anymore because there's a new setup installed. Currently residing in the bay is an '06 K20A engine built by Hytech Exhaust. The motor features a Benson-sleeved block with Carrillo rods and 86mm Wiseco pistons. The head and valvetrain have been upgraded to handle the added stress from the Jackson Racing supercharger. The blower pumps out 13 psi of boost thanks to a 3-inch Merc Racing pulley, plus an aftercooler has been integrated to remove heat soak. Mated to the K20A is a six-speed manual that's been completely overhauled with a new gearset and carbon-moly synchros from Gearspeed. Tuned by Bisimoto Engineering via an AEM Series II management system, Angel's K is capable of 373 hp to the wheels with a hefty 240 lb-ft of torque—and we're talking linear power!
Footwork upgrades are essential to any time attack vehicle, so no expense was spared. Mounted behind the headlights are remote reservoirs for the Eibach Multi-Pro-R2 dampers. These coilovers are known to be some of the best on the market for circuit duty, especially paired with matching sway bars. Tattered front upper and lower control arms bushings have been modernized using a PCI bronze bushing kit while the rear arms themselves have been switched out for high-grade aluminum Kiwi parts. Insane Shafts axles have been implemented to handle delivery of the force-fed horsepower to the meaty Toyo R888 rubber. Completing the chassis mods is a set of lightweight 15-inch Volk Racing TE37SL wheels that barely clear 11-inch Wilwood Dynapro brakes all around.
You'll seldom find a car that looks as fast as it goes and vice versa, but being that his Civic has its roots as a show vehicle, form now undoubtedly meets function. The Sergeant front bumper flows in conjunction with a carbon-fiber First Molding "Flugel Plate" and vented hood to give it an aggressive face. Looking especially peculiar in the rear is a pair of polished stands mounted to the rear glass that hold up a carbon J's Racing GT wing. Both the inside and outside of his chassis have been stripped bare and coated with Liquid Copper Metallic paint. The devil is always in the details, so every removable window trim, molding, weatherstripping, and window glass is all brand-new OEM Honda. Torres went as far as adapting factory RSX lock solenoids to his doors so his RSX keys and immobilizer unit operate properly.
"This was my first real car build and I did everything myself," Angel recalls. "I just learned by trial and error. Anybody can do it; it just takes time and research. When it came to learning how to drive on the track, things weren't much different. I practiced and made friends who helped coach me. Taking this Civic out for the first time was a bit nerve racking, but I'm confident that I can be a lot faster with more seat time this year."
We call Angel's build an anomaly or "glitch" in the grand scheme of things because it is completely unusual—it's everything we ever fantasized about but nothing we ever expected. An enthusiast from Eastvale, California, who was completely foreign to the idea of building a Honda of this caliber, not only produced a multiple award-winning show car, but also transformed it into a competitive time attack vehicle. The whole idea of this scenario just doesn't make sense, and somehow, it just...does.