This Tuner Is Putting a Honda Civic Type R Engine in a 1996 Accord Wagon
This humdrum ’90s station wagon is being transformed into a hyperactive track demon.
The recent hoopla surrounding Honda Performance Development's Civic Type R crate engine and controls package is certainly warranted. If you're not in the know, cross-platform engine swapping in the Honda aftermarket community is as common as blinker-less BMWs. Honda's modular powerplants have been plucked and repurposed in home garages around the globe since the late '80s, but having the ability to order a crispy new K20C1 Civic Type R turbocharged engine (which puts down 306 hp in the stock Civic Type R) right from the manufacturer is something fairly new.
Unboxing the Potent New Engine for Something Old
The Type R crate engine program was actually introduced a few years ago during the massive SEMA gathering, but at that time it was only available to registered and active race teams. In addition, it left the end-user to figure out their own wiring and opt for a stand-alone engine management system. This latest iteration makes available not only the complete engine with accessories, but also an HPD-tuned ECU, universal wiring harness, and even CAN data output.
To help get the word out about the crate engine program, HPD supplied three different tuner outfits with the complete package. One of those engines will end up in a CRX, another in an S2000, and the engine that ended up with Fifteen52 will be shoehorned into a 1996 Honda Accord. Not a likely chassis for such a swap, as most would expect an older Civic or Integra to be the lucky Type R recipient, but this group wanted to do something unique and to drive their point home, so it's using an old Honda wagon!
Keeping It Wheel
Fifteen52, if you're not already familiar, is a wheel brand based in Southern California. Started back in 1996, today the group offers a long list of performance cast and flow-formed wheels, as well as off-road options for the truck and SUV crowd. You've certainly seen their wheels used by high-profile builders such as Bisimoto and rock star-level wheelmen like Ken Block. In February of this year, the group announced it would embark on a Japanese Touring-inspired Accord wagon build dubbed "Project 96" in a collaborative effort with engine performance specialist Mountune USA, which is also an official dealer for the HPD crate engine and controls package.
Longtime Honda nerds are well aware that Honda's H-series and F20B (derived from the Japanese Accord and Torneo, not the similar-sounding S2000's F20C) swaps have landed in Accords for years. With a JDM counterpart, the Accord accepts swaps relatively simply. However, this will certainly be the first time a modern Type R powertrain is applied to the mid-1990s Accord.
Beyond the Accord's tasty Type R swap, which was just recently bolted in place using Hasport engine mounts, the wagon is being prepped for competition with a full roll cage. Rolling stock, as you might expect, consists of Fifteen52's own Podium wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes RR radials, which meet DOT requirements but are intended as a track and auto-x competition-only tire. Just behind the front-mounted Rally White wheels, you'll spot signature red Brembo calipers and much larger rotors all around.
The wagon is a work in progress but as of late, is moving along quickly. Next up, according to Fifteen52 is a trip to Wrap Legends this Friday for a completely custom livery treatment. We're excited to see this unique build-up reach completion and even more excited to see it in action on the track!
Type R Crate Engine Specs
Engine Code - K20C1
Cylinders - 4
Displacement - 2.0L
Power - 306 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque - 295 lb-ft of torque from 2,500-4,500 rpm
Crate Engine Contents (available now)
K20C1 long block
Direct Injection Fuel System
Controls Package (available May 1st)
ECU developed and calibrated by HPD
Stand-alone engine harness with flying leads
Clutch and brake switches
CAN data output
Accord Wagon "Project 96" photos courtesy of Fifteen52