Mid-Engine Honda Civic Debuts Before Mid-Engine Corvette
Just kidding, it’s custom, but it did exist before the eighth-generation Corvette.
Honda’s enthusiast-oriented Civic has been a fan-favorite for modification and personalization since its inception. And though during the early 2000s there were a number of wild Fast and the Furious-inspired creations, none were as audacious as this mid-engine third-generation Honda Civic.
Built by hot-rodder Andy Barcheck, the mid-engine Civic—affectionately named Hondura for its Honda and Acura components—was inspired by the Renault 5 Turbo rally homologation. Of the project, Barcheck said, “It took a lot of time and design work and things that had never been done before. And it worked out really well.” Barcheck later sold the car after competing in autocross events, winning a handful of car show awards, and playing with it until he found a new project. The car has changed hands a few times during the interim.
The current owner, who’s had the Civic for the last decade, swapped out the original “tired” Acura 2.5-liter V6 engine from a 1986 Legend for a J32A 3.2-liter V6 out of a newer generation Acura CL Type-S, which came complete with a 6-speed manual transmission. Barcheck approves of the swap, saying, “I built it to handle an extra 100 horsepower. And it always really needed that to be a neat car. I’m glad someone finished it up the way I should’ve done.”
The mid-ship design required Barcheck to cut the floor and build a tube frame for the entire rear. There are also custom roll and sway bars to ensure everything stays tight in bends. The gas tank was relocated to the formerly occupied front engine compartment, and a Corvette-sourced radiator and Corvette brakes were applied to keep things cool and to get it to stop. The Civic was widened by two inches at the front, while the rear saw 4.5 inches of bloat.
When the Civic was finished and people would stop and stare, Barcheck would tell a tall tale to onlookers about how Honda built two mid-engine Civics. They were secretive projects used to test whether the company could compete in WRC’s Group B era. “I’d tell them Honda built two,” Barcheck says, “One is in a garage in Tokyo. This is the other. And people believed it!”
Though the story isn’t true, the idea is something we can get behind. This is undeniably cool. We wish we could get behind the wheel and feel how it drives.