Of the 10 generations of the highly profitable Civic family tree, which spans almost 50 years, the fifth-generation hatchback, like this 1993 Honda Civic CX, is arguably the most popular to modify. If you need a few reasons why, well: the parts bins are brimming with options; there's the almost unrivaled compatibility with just about any Honda engine; and the ability to host brake, suspension and even interior components from a number of chassis, including the extended Acura brand, for starters.
Being lightweight, cross-chassis friendly and easy to work on, heavily modified and high-powered EH hatchbacks with never-ending spec sheets are never scarce. This particular version, owned by John Cruz, isn't one of those. His list of mods is short, simple, and incredibly effective, proven by his lightning quick 1:22.704 lap during FF Battle 2019, which earned him top honors in the Race Class and established a new record for the 11th iteration of the front-engine, front wheel drive specific race event.
Long before that track day, the car's original owner, widely known as "FF Dylan," was responsible for the gold paint (borrowed from the Accord) and initial build-up of the hatchback using a careful selection of parts that, along with a group of friends and their trendsetting Honda builds, helped establish the FF Squad's internet dominance in the late '90s and into the 2000s. Images of the group's mostly '90s-era Honda lineup were strewn about every Honda forum on the web, from the overcrowded, corporate-run sites to the micro-sized start-ups with just a handful of loyal users. What made FF Squad cars so popular was the clean, purposeful look and feel of their builds. At a time when the masses were still feeling the cross-chassis head and taillight conversion and useless vent additions hangover, the group was focused on Hondas that drove as good as they looked and wouldn't be cringeworthy years later.
A few decades later and Cruz spotted the iconic Goldy up for grabs. He adds, "FF Dylan had posted it on Instagram for sale and I just had to have it, lol! At that time all I had was a drift car and I needed to get back into a Honda. This [car] literally popped up at just the right time." He wasn't alone, as multiple interested parties were ready to hand over the cash to own a piece of Honda enthusiast history, but admittedly none were as eager as Cruz. "I bugged Dylan continuously to sell it to me as a lot of people wanted that shell from him. We worked out a deal and I was on the way with a truck and trailer."
Look Back at our '09 Interview with FF Squad:
FFSquad interview 2009
Revisit John Cruz's 2019 FF Battle win
FF Battle 11 Race Class
The Rebuild Begins
What Cruz purchased was essentially a shell, dash and door panels, but that would grant him the freedom to build the car exactly the way he wanted while still keeping with the original theme. "I built it in my home garage and a lot of friends helped out. I intended to track it and bring the car back to its glory days ... almost the way Dylan had it back in the day." That meant simplicity, functionality and a "less is more" approach rather than throwing a mountain of parts at the chassis. It also gave Cruz a chance to learn about the car on track and find his groove, which later resulted in consistent performances as the track days accumulated and eventually culminated in a personal best and record lap at FF Battle.
As stated, the fifth-gen. can play nice with all sorts of Honda power plant offerings, but in the end Cruz opted for B-series power, just like FF Dylan had in the past. The power plant's history is a little blurry in this instance, as Cruz pulled the engine from a donor car and doesn't have a rundown of what's done internally. He believes there are some upgrades, he's just never had the need to tear it down and inspect as its been put through numerous track adventures without major issues.
Bolted on to the 1.8L are Toda ITBs and a PLM header that leads to a 2.5-inch exhaust system with turn down exit. A set of 440cc injectors, fuel pump upgrade and regulator along with Hondata's user-friendly S300 round out the entire list of engine upgrades, and equate to 187whp. Not a huge number but the engine isn't living on the ragged edge, and the throttle response afforded by Toda's Sports Injection and simple setup have served Cruz well. A '98-spec ITR transmission that's been fitted with a Cusco Race LSD installed by Ghostwerks is accompanied by an Exedy stage II clutch and lightweight flywheel.
The aggressive aero package that's become synonymous with fast Honda track projects is all but nonexistent and Goldy relies only on a war-torn Spoon Sports front lip and rear wing (Cruz recently changed things up with an Exceed lip and wing). What keeps the car planted and doing exactly what Cruz asks of it are Godspeed Mono Max two-way coilovers and a host of PCI arms and bushings, as well as a 32mm hollow rear sway bar. Direction changes are handed off to Nankang AR-1 tires mounted to lightweight TE37 in 15x8 sizing. Alcon front brakes handle the majority of braking with the rear drums ditched for an Integra rear disc conversion to help keep the Civic in check.
The dash and door panels that Dylan provided are still in place, joined only by a few new items that include a Recaro Kevlar Pro Racer bucket seat, Fastline shifter and behind the KEY!S steering wheel you'll find an EK9 Type R gauge cluster. The gold paint that once occupied Goldy's interior was recovered in flat grey and an AutoPower 4-pt. roll bar was bolted into place.
When we met up with Cruz to shoot the car, he arrived with a truck and trailer - something he didn't need previously. "It was a registered street car until the two-year mark came up and it needed a smog, and of course, in California it's not easy, lol!" For now, the Civic is only driven on the track, though Cruz intends to get it registered once again for street duty.
Legends Never Die
The legend of Goldy and its unintentional internet stardom now stretches over two decades. Based on its current owner's remarkable track performances and eagerness to keep the cars original FF Squad style intact, we expect it'll maintain its appeal for future Honda enthusiasts and serve as a point of reference to the "less is more" crowd.