This Toronto-built S2000-swapped Civic is a tire-smoking wonder
On the track, as on the street, the old adage is that you may want speed, reliability, and affordability, but you can only pick two. With Honda projects, however, a creative mind can often find the right balance between these three, thanks to these engines’ dependable character, the accessibility of cheap parts, and a relatively easy tuning process.
In Randy Viveiros’ case, he found that sweet spot with his S2000-powered 1995 EG-generation Civic, which may well be the first of its kind. A bit of a contrarian, the Toronto, Ontario resident wanted something different than a run-of-the-mill K-series swap, but he almost bit off more than he could chew.
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K-series Honda engines are known for coming to life with some simple bolt-ons, but the S2000’s 2.2-liter F22C1 inline-four simply starts with a higher baseline for power and torque. Slightly torquier than the F20C 2.0-liter that powered AP1 (1999–2003) S2000s, the F22C1 that powered AP2 (2006–09) models dropped its redline from 9000 to 8200 rpm which, for this pocket-sized, 237-hp VTEC motor, was still good for a ton of fun. Back in 2006, S2000s were inexpensive—though they’re fast appreciating now—and Viveiros easily sourced a low-mileage, crash-damaged AP2 for its F22C1 engine and a few other parts.
Today, S2K engine swaps are more commonplace, but in 2006 there weren’t any kits available, so Viveiros’ project required comprehensive fabrication starting with an adapter plate to mount the transmission, which he plucked from an Acura RSX. The F22C’s intake manifold required a modification to the hood for clearance, but the car’s latest custom intake now fits under the Civic’s original body lines. Viveiros infused other bits of the donor S2000 into to the Civic, including the instrument cluster, seats, and shift knob.
The stock S2000 oil pan is larger than that of a typical K-series, but ground clearance isn’t a problem on the larger diameter wheels and tires that Viveiros has been using on the street. The thirteen-inch tires he uses for the drag strip still leave a few inches of space between the pan and the track surface.
Vivieros said the RSX hanger bearing mounts almost perfectly to the S2000 block; it’s as if Honda intended the engine for a front-drive application. The build uses the S2000 flywheel plus the RSX axles and hanger bearing along with a few other off-the-shelf Honda parts, followed by extensive, custom fabrication, and aftermarket mods, which are documented in the car’s Kijiji listing.
Yes, it’s finally time to sell this wild build; but Viverios has thoroughly enjoyed breaking out of the K-swapped Civic mold and realizing the front-drive potential of the F22.
“Everybody knew the potential of the S2000 engine,” he says, “but imagined what it could be if it was set up as a front-wheel-drive engine. When we put it together, we picked up almost 20 horsepower without doing anything to the engine.
“Nobody understands how much fun this car is to drive. This car, the engine, the way it drives is amazing. I used to drive this car every day—like, every day. I used to hit it with nitrous when I would race it every weekend.”
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As a true testament to tuned Honda reliability, Viveiros drove his S2000-powered Civic daily for nearly a decade, using it as a commuter car and enjoying in on road trips to Niagara Falls and Montreal, Quebec. You may meet the nicest people on a Honda bike, but there was a time when you could meet one of the most creative in a S2000-swapped Civic.