I was looking for a second crx to build into my sir clone. I specifically wanted a 88 si or dx. Then I stumbled onto this car on ebay. It is a real right hand drive japanese Si-R. i don't know the whole history of the car, but I have a few leads. A Japanese engine import shop in Maryland snuck this car into the country in a parts container. The car was complete when it arrived. But since you can't just bring cars in and register them, this one was completely gutted and turned into a drag race car. Then it was sold to a guy down in VA beach. He painted the engine bay green and let it sit for 5 years. He ran into some money trouble and put it on ebay. I didn't win the auction, but I asked that after the auction ended if the winning bidder backed out, to let me know. It worked out in my favor.
My initial thought was to restore it, then I did some research on the legalization process and most findings lead me to the decision to just remove or cut the parts I wanted from it and scrap the rest. I didn't want to chance fixing it and then having it taken away from me and impounded, and being stressed about dealing with Law enforcement, and potential insurance fraud. It wasn't until after I got it and sat in it, that I decided to restore it after all. I really liked being on the right side! I've never experienced any car like this before. Putting the car all back together without the knowledge of ever being able to register it is kind of stressful. This could all be for nothing. Here are the pictures that were posted on ebay. The car has no interior, motor, trans, wiring, and besides the roof, it has no glass either. The gas tank is gone. The tires are all shot.
Got the car on Friday, had no time to mess with it on Saturday, so here it is on Sunday, I can now take a closer look at it. I thought it was rust free. The floors directly under the roll cage weld spots have some surface rust. The hood had a tach drilled onto it. Both fenders are pretty beat up. The front bumper has been totally hacked. The front traction bar has a huge chunk cut out of it.
But this is ok, since I just bought a number of SiR parts that I was going to use on the 88 si, including a complete front end, power window regulators, harnesses,and switches. I also have a jdm hatch wiper which sits lower on the hatch than the USDM ones do. You need it to clear the spoiler.
The next thing to consider is the roll cage. Cut it out or leave it in? I tried to stuff a junk quarter panel in there to see if it would fit. It cracked in three places. The cage doesn't clear it either. it contacts the back corner where the storage lid goes. I could cut the panel to make it fit. A roll cage would look pretty nice in a finished car, but with this cage, I would have to cut both quarter panels and I can't run a rear seat or the usdm storage box(I could, but I would have to cut it up and it wouldn't be useable). But a roll cage would look cool. especially if I skip the jdm factory seats and go with some sort of racing seats.
I love going to junk yards! In Leesburg, there is a place called Auto-Recyclers. They have a ton of hondas in there. Only these 2 CRXs though. I took pictures of them to keep as a reference. So if I needed a part, I could just look at the pictures I had before driving out there. These cars have been there for years and have been picked through many times. I was looking at the pictures when I noticed a set of JDM si-r door panel in one of them. How did these japanese panels get into a scrap yard in Leesburg, VA?! I rushed out there and picked them up, they aren't perfect, but they cleaned up a lot better than I expected. Not a bad score for $50.
The car sat for 8 months while I have been working on other things. Not just for that reason, I have also been wondering if I should even go through with the rebuild. Plus the time and money necessary to get all the missing parts. I would need a US model 1988 crx si parts car, and a JDM front clip, plus a drivetain to make this all work. I was starting to throw in the towell when my friend Ian showed me new laws concerning "Replica car Title and Registration". It states that I can build a car using factory parts, including a chassis, and register it as a replica car. So this again gave me hope to obtaining legal paperwork for this car. And since time is an issue, I also decided to unload some of my other project cars, included the civic si hatchback.
Oh, Crap! Literally. Birds have decided to try and build nests above the si-r. I had to hose out the nest everyday for about a week until they finally got the idea and left.
So finally I started making progress with the car again. I cut out a lot of the rollcage and the racing seat brackets, and sandblasted the surface rust out of it. Painted it with Rustoleum.
I swapped rear hatches with one that had real glass in it
Got a set of 88 doors and installed the weather stripping and glass into the si-r. I also installed manual window regulators for now. No point in doing power windows until the harness is in.
Moving onto the engine bay, and the awful green paint! I tried to power wash the paint out. That didn't work very well. The first pictures shows what did come out with water pressure. I tried some stripper. Too messy. Then I started sand blasting it. That is working, as you can see in the second picture, but it is taking way too long! I'll just remove the parts in there, scuff it and spray paint it. It doesn't need to be perfect to go through the legalization process. And why spend 3 days on it if they ultimately tell me no way.
Then I picked up a 91 si with a b16a swap in it. I am going to swap the drivetrain from the 88 si parts car into this and use the swap in the si-r. I also took the gsr wheels off of it.
As of June 2009
Then I picked up an 88 si parts car. This car sported all original paint and had never been in an accident. Too bad the rust ate it! Really ate it! From this car I got the seats, seat belts, gas tank, fuel lines, hatch shocks, and rear quarter glass. Then I pulled the rest of the car apart, with some help from friends Alex and Max, and cut it up. Holy crap did that make a lot of noise!
I ordered some new Honda clips and rear quarter glass mouldings and installed the glass from the 88 parts car.
Then I ordered the front clip. That cost a lot more than I expected. $1200. I was only expecting to pay 1k, but had to pay the extra for the cluster and mirror switch wiring. The shop was going to hack the wiring for them. The front clip is in pretty good shape. The interior actually looks better than most crxs I see on the road anymore. Only one aftermarket part, a FEEL's brake master cylinder brace. I'll re-use it.
The Home Owners Association has noticed the SiR in the driveway and said it needed to be moved! As per usual, I waited until the last second to deal with it. It needed to be out of sight by Tuesday. I needed to get it in the garage, but the front clip takes up half the space. so here is what I did. I went ahead and finished pulling all the parts off the sir front end, including the plastic windshield, front suspension, steering rack, and traction bar. Then I spray painted the entire front end. FINALLY, no more green paint!!! Now the car is ready to be reassembled. so I started pulling parts off of the clip and installing them on the SiR. I got just a few parts done when I realized there just want enough time to do it all. So i focused on the clip and stripped it completely down. I worked on the car in 97 degree weather from 3pm to 4:30AM. I didn't have the SiR back on the ground until almost 2AM Tuesday Morning. At that time, there is no way I could cut the clip up, so I turned it on its side and packed in in and stuffed the SiR in behind it. There is not a spot of bare floor in the garage now.
Ok, now that the HOA people have come and gone, I can pull the car out again! I rolled the car out and started putting parts on it. I installed the fuel lines with their mounting clips. Then I put the interior harness in. I just need to figureout how it runs around in the engine bay and comes back into the car before installing the firewall padding. I also put in the brake master cylinder, dash mounting brackets, power steering resovoir, fuse box, t-bar, radiator and fan. I know I will probably be removing and reinstalling a lot of these parts as I try to get all the parts in. I also ran the hood release cable and re-attached the fender and hood. The last thing I did today was cut up the clip and haul it to the scrap metal place. Now the car fits in the garage a little better!