PCH, Fun With Honda Engines Edition: NSX-Powered Legend or Turbo Civic?

The '58 Lincoln put up a good showing, but in the end the Porsche 928 takes the prize, with 56% of you choosing Polyester-Clad White Powder Distributor over Chain-Smoking Rat Pack Player in Monday's Choose Your Eternity poll. But with a Datsun nearly beating a Peugeot last week, not to mention an Acura winning the 24 Hours of LeMons, we felt the need to turn Japanese for today's challenge. As always, the challenge with finding good candidates for Japanese Project Hell is that damned Japanese build quality and reliability, not to mention the ease of finding parts... but we've managed to find a couple of potentially-fast-yet-nightmarish Hondas to make your tools burn right through your flesh!


We'd sure love to have an NSX, but it's pretty tough to find an example that's really a low-cost-of-admission project, for the same reason it's tough to find cheap project Ferraris. But how about that sweet DOHC NSX V6 engine in a more affordable car? Like, say, this Legend with a '97 NSX engine (go here if the ad disappears), which 500 bucks plus a trip to the bustling desert metropolis of Bullhead City will make your very own nightmare pride and joy. Five hundred little dollars! That's a 290-horse C32B in there, friends... well, it had 290 horsepower when it left Honda's hands; we're guessing a few of the ponies may have fled by now. The transmission is bad, and the condition of the body suggests that the car may have been hooned to oblivion driven enthusiastically prior to the transmission failure, but: cheap! Oh yes, the statement "in rage of tranny going out the windshield with need replaced" seems to indicate that the owner of this car has had enough... but you won't feel that way when it's your punishment dream car!
Thanks, and a half-credit towards a PCH Tipster T-shirt, to EMPM Esq for the tip!

Maybe you're hoping for something a little more sleeper-ish than a Legend, since everyone knows even the stock Legends are fairly quick machines. How about a Civic sedan stuffed with lots and lots of boost? You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of turbocharged Civics that look like plain-vanilla commuters, so imagine the fun you'd have smoking the front tires through all the gears in a fourth-gen Civic sedan (and nuking your third transaxle in a week, but you'll deal with that later). Now, the cheapest and easiest way to dive into Blown Civic Hell is to take on someone else's unfinished project, and we've found a real screamin' deal for you: this '90 Civic with turbocharged D15B VTEC engine (go here if the ad disappears) for only $1,500. Normally, we'd say the first thing you'd need to do with such a project is finish the running gear setup, but with this car we need to declare a 27-alarm emergency on the paint job, which appears to be a sort of Yakuza Police black-and-white deal. Once you're done making it look like Grandma's commuter econobox, you can do something about the fuel-delivery system; looks like the current owner installed a turbo kit without upgrading the fuel injectors... and has been driving it that way, which means the engine is getting fed a cutting-torch-lean fuel/air mix every time the turbo takes effect. Don't worry, though, because the seller has only "taken into boost 1 TIME YES IT WILL BOOST" What could go wrong?

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