February of 2021 was a chilly one. We experienced winter season in full effect spending most of our days and nights cleaning out the garage space and setting up an area fit to work in.
One of the first things Hamza said to me when I went around to his check his garage facility out was “I’ll make ya a bench”. And he kept to his word, as you can see. It was a team effort though, I’m not letting him get all the credit!
Measuring 3 metres wide, about 1 metres deep, and about a metre-and-half high, this is our garage-made wooden workbench. That grey one from Halfords you saw in a previous post did alright, but I needed as much worktop surface as possible, because it’s about time I stopped working off the floor. Also, I’d now be able to fix my bench vice onto this one thanks to the beefy 1-inch plywood top.
You might be thinking “why haven’t you mentioned a word about this said ‘Civic’ yet”. Well, throughout those 4~months since buying the K20A, I was obsessively checking everywhere for the right base to build upon. I even remember being in supermarkets rummaging through magazines like Practical Classics, with no luck in their Classifieds pages.
Alas, the lengthy wait for the car to come up was soon to come to an end. You know how it is. You get fed up of seeing absolute piles for sale online, making you think that you’re never gonna find the “one”…
At work one day, busy trawling through Piston Heads, Auto Trader, Gumtree on my phone for that 90’s 3-door hatchback to be there and waiting at the right price, in the right condition.
Then I thought, “ya know what? Sod it, I’m gonna get an S2000 instead!”
Sike! Although, I was considering K-swapping one of these instead, I stuck to my guns, and probably saved some pennies doing so.
What actually happened was not too far off being a miracle. Out of nowhere, eBay had a listing for a 1996 EJ9 Civic, in “Milano Red” [read: Pink]. I thought it was a joke, because the auction was upto around only £1500 IIRC, and the mileage was 13XXX. Yes, that thirteen-thousand, not one-hundred-and-thirty-thousand. Needless to say, I hounded the seller’s inbox, he sent me over loads of photos and a detailed walkaround video not too long after.
That Saturday was THE day. My brother, Mana, drove us down to rural Nottinghamshire that morning.
That first drive got me buzzed, bear in mind the car was only a 1.4i with an automatic gearbox. For an old Honda, it feels damn-near perfect. Gauging the balance of the chassis was second-nature. Even with the suspension as is, on it’s 25-year-old shocks, springs, and bushings, the car was enjoyable to drive in that slow-car-fast kinda way. Oh, but those 13″ antique tyres were definitely the limiting factor, as you’d imagine.
Once the car was home, we discovered plenty evidence of how long this car had been parked up. The telltale sign was when we switched the cabin blower on for the first time, only to be then attacked by bits of leaves and plant debris.
I couldn’t just park it up and leave it alone, so once it was manoeuvred into the garage, I got to doing the important stuff. Rear muffler off, sound ON. D-series engine don’t sound bad at all for a single-cam motor.
I’ll talk a bit more about the car and my decision behind getting this Civic in particular, in future posts…