To recap Project Sipper, we introduced our newly acquired '92 Honda Civic VX in Part 1 of our August issue with plans on building a fuel-efficient car. We set our sights on constructing a reliable daily driver that delivers excellent fuel economy but not at the expense of practicality. The plan is to build a visually appealing car with absolutely no compromise to its looks. No spaceship body kit, ugly wheel covers, or teardrop-shaped nose cones. We don't mind having a stripped interior and no audio, to go along with adding modest aero modifications if it means increasing mpg.
Continuing where we left off, we gutted the interior of the car (minus the OEM driver seat) and weighed the car to the tune of 1,987 pounds, a weight difference of 132 pounds from the factory 2,119 pounds. We decided to keep the factory A/C intact in anticipation of our final test, which will consist of a scheduled five-day road trip, taking place in the dead of summer. Yeah, we know what you're thinking. Call us little sissy boys but if our trip takes us just east across the Nevada or Arizona highway, we will gladly take the insults if it means not having to strip down and drive around in our underwear.
Shedding the Pounds
In a quest to shave additional weight, we spent a day at Seibon Carbon, located in the city of Industry, CA, to undergo an exterior transformation replacing the OEM doors, hatch, and hood with some lightweight carbon-fiber components. Seibon takes pride in handcrafting their products using quality carbon and resin components for a quality finish that looks good and resistant to flakes of chips. We quickly went to work and replaced the OEM pieces with a Seibon Carbon rear hatch and carbon hood.
Next on the list was the installation of a set of Seibon carbon-fiber doors. Upon installation, we noticed the doors were designed with provisions to install the factory accessories, which include the door handles, panels, side mirrors, and more. Don't assume Seibon carbon-fiber doors are cheap because they're not. These doors are lightweight and strong but intended for off-road use only and should never be used on any public highways. A quick weigh-in between the OEM and Seibon unit with guts removed showed a difference of 34.8 pounds. It was interesting to note that the weight of both carbon doors was equivalent to one OEM door. Now that's lightweight!
Lightweight Glass Replacement
Flex-a-lite stepped up to the plate and supplied us with their popular three-piece molded window kit. Contrary to popular belief, the Flexite back-half kit is not made of Lexan, but a clear lightweight material, which consists of a scratch-resistant polymer that is stronger and more durable than conventional plastic. These lightweight windows are a favorite between road and drag racers, but due to their design are not intended for street use.
Weight Loss Breakdown
OEM Hood vs. Seibon Carbon: -10.7 pounds
OEM Doors vs. Seibon Carbon: -34.8 pounds
OEM Hatch vs. Seibon Carbon: -5.6 pounds
Carbon-Fiber Weight Savings: -51.1 pounds
FAL Window Kit/Aftermarket Mirrors
OEM Rear Glass vs. FAL Three-Piece Molded Window Kit: -10.5 pounds
OEM Rear Quarter-Panel Glass vs. FAL: -3.6 pounds
OEM Side Mirrors vs. Spoon-Style Mirrors: -3 pounds
Window/Mirror Weight Savings: -17.1 pounds
Total Weight Savings: -68.2 pounds
Chuck's Creations Paint and Autobody, located in Santa Fe Springs, CA, provided a fresh makeover to the Civic's body and paint. Shop owner Chuck began body and paintwork at the ripe age of 16 and has continued to hone his craft till now at the age of 64. That's a lot of years of experience!
Besides the typical collision repair and OEM restorations, this family owned business also caters to the high-end performance and show car community. Working alongside his two sons, Chuck was responsible for ushering in a number of SEMA cars from last year, which included the Rally Innovation's Evo X, a Kia Forte for the Kia booth, and a Nissan GT-R on display in the Eibach Springs booth.
Chuck smoothed out years worth of dents and dings to the body panels before his son Joey prepped and painted the Civic using Mariner Blue (DU) found on the earlier-model Mazda Miata. The interior was cleaned up and resprayed using the original Honda white.