Here’s how we got a free Civic that led to the most fun any of us ever had in a car, and it only had 100 horsepower.
A fellow colleague of mine, Matt, had purchased his first car back in high school. That car was a 1995 Honda Civic DX. He enjoyed it throughout his younger years until it was time to move on to the next project. Luckily, he was able to sell the car to a friend so he knew it would be close by.
A few years had gone by when Matt’s friend asked if he would like to buy his Civic back, although it now had a blown head gasket. Even so, Matt saw it as an opportunity to get back in the car he whipped around in during his high school years. As any other gear head would have, Matt jumped on the opportunity.
The first thing on Matt’s list was to start fixing the engine. After some time the engine was down to just the block and rotating assembly, along with a very stubborn alternator. The alternator remained because one of the two alternator bolts would not budge. After multiple unsuccessful attempts, coupled with little free time, he decided to take a break from the Civic. And so it sat, and it sat, and it sat….for 5 years.
After being outside for a gauntlet of Michigan winters the car was pretty run down. Matt was hoping to sell it to my friend Hassan for $300 bucks. Hassan thought about it, but living in an apartment at the time, he had no where to put it. He turned him down and didn’t hear any more of it. A few months went by when Matt decided he just wanted this Civic out of the way. He contacted Hassan again, but this time it was free, and Matt even threw in free shipping. I told Hassan he could keep the Honda at my house until we figured out if we could get it running again.
So, in August of 2016 Matt came by with his trailer and dropped the Civic off in my driveway. It was beat up, but it had promise. At this point we still had no idea what that Civic would become. All we knew is that we were determined to get it back on the road.
Our goals shifted as we made a plan of attack, which was to take out the engine, clean everything, put it back together, and take it to a track day. So that was exactly what we did. A few weeks down the road the Civic was back together and ready for its debut after a 5-year slumber. Much to our surprise it started right up, even on the dirty old gas that was left in the tank.
Oh, how did we get that stubborn alternator bolt out you ask? The bolt that had given Matt so much trouble that he was willing to give away the entire car? Well, with our combined efforts, tool collections and automotive knowledge we were able to….smash it to pieces with a 4lb sledge. That thing was stuck.
That September we threw on some Falken Azinis and a set of Hawk HP+ brake pads, and took it, along with my 1997 Saab 900SE, to our very first track day at Waterford Hills Raceway.
If you enjoyed this content, be sure to check-in next week to find out what else was in store for our free Honda Civic.