In the world of automotive enthusiasts, there's a particular satisfaction in taking an old car and breathing new life into it. One such project is the "resto-modification" (restore and modification) of Sarwar Hussain Chowdhury's K20A Type R swapped 1989 Honda Civic EF.
A full-time science teacher by profession and an automotive engineer at night, Sarwar Hussain Chowdhury made the time for us to join him for an early morning drive to experience the remarkable Civic EF and find out more about Sarwar's journey.
"My first Honda was actually a Civic EG which ignited my love for the brand," Sarwar said, "I owned many Hondas afterwards including a DA5 Integra Coupe and Prelude."
However, in 2012, when the only Civic EF hatchback in the country was up for grabs he went for it without hesitation.
Its unique charm and classic lines made it the perfect canvas for his automotive dreams. He started the project in 2012 and was completed by the end of the same year. It wasn't just a cosmetic makeover but it was a complete overhaul.
The car was in dire need of attention, and he was determined to transform it into something extraordinary.
Sarwar believes that OEM components ensure the best results and stick to them whenever possible. The highlight of this build, however, is undoubtedly the K20A Type R engine, a powerhouse that brings newfound life to the EF.
To ensure it fits perfectly, he opted for K-Tuned headers and Hasport mountings. The suspension and braking system were taken from a Honda Integra DC2R, ensuring improved handling. A custom roll cage was also added to improve both the safety and rigidity of the car.
This project came with its own share of challenges. The K20A Type R engine swap was a first in Bangladesh, and according to Sarwar, "the next one didn't come until five years later."
This made sourcing components and solutions a real challenge. The drive shafts were hard to match and the DC5 hubs didn't go with EF UCA, so he had to get matching Torneo and DC5 driveshafts to make it as seamless as possible.
"Back then, there were no off-the-shelf solutions for this conversion," Sarwar recalled, "So I had to rely on custom fabrication for many parts, including the radiator and radiator hose pipe route." Even the dashboard wiring also had to be redone, although there are now available wiring kits for such swaps.
When asked about how it drives, Sarwar states that it embodies everything one loves about Hondas: a perfect driving position, excellent visibility and a chassis built for handling. Despite lacking ABS, the braking is top-notch, and the car's predictability and confidence-inspiring performance make it a joy to drive. While it might lack grip at low gears, once it's in motion, the EF shines.
Upon asking whether this Civic EF is his favourite build among others, Sarwar diplomatically replied that he loves all his "children'' equally, but the Civic definitely has a special place in his heart. His best memories with the Civic include late-night spirited drives with fellow car enthusiasts Avik Anwar and Jeff Rahat Hassan, pushing the K20-powered machine to its limit.
Also, the Civic EF's success in Rallycross events might have earned it some brownie points. Unlike many project cars that barely see the sunlight in years, Sarwar raced his built EF Civic in the Rallycross Championship of Bangladesh and graced the podium with it every time. His love for organised racing was evident in his choice to field a variety of his built cars in different Group classes.
The Civic EF, now over a decade old, needs some tender loving care. Sarwar plans to give it a thorough makeover to address accumulated issues. However, the formula that has made this car special will remain unchanged. It's about striking that perfect balance, and after all these years, the EF Civic comes close to automotive perfection.
Overall this project is a prime example of the love and dedication one can have for a car. It's a journey of transformation, from an ageing hatchback to a roaring beast. In the world of automotive enthusiasts, passion knows no bounds, and as Sarwar stated "Love your car and it will always love you back.