Lookn' for project
Hey i have a daily Volvo XC70, but recently i got into car culture and would like to get my hands on honda civic 6gen as i heard they are quite easy to work on. My current budget would be 3.5k max and then i would not have enough capital to work on it for some time, so it should be already quite a fun drive at that price hopefully.
So i need an advice:
What's best to look for in my situation (i have practically not worked on cars before) Should i get bare bones rust free civic and do engine swap in the future or better get something like 1.5 LSi for 3.5k and later work on it more?
What would you recomend?
P.S. i live in northeastern side of europe
Venturing into car culture with a project like a 6th generation Honda Civic is a fantastic choice, especially since you're new to working on cars. These Civics are indeed celebrated for their ease of maintenance and a wealth of available modifications. With your budget and goals in mind, let’s consider the best approach for you.

Prioritize a Solid Base​

Given that you are new to car projects and your budget is limited after the initial purchase, it's crucial to start with a good base. Look for a Civic that is as rust-free as possible. Rust repair can be costly and complex, particularly for a beginner. A solid, rust-free chassis will save you many headaches and expenses down the line.

As for the engine, the idea of starting with a 1.5 LSi and then working on it later is appealing because it allows you to enjoy the car immediately without needing significant initial modifications. The 1.5 LSi engine isn’t the most powerful, but it’s reliable and provides a good foundation for future upgrades such as engine tuning or even an engine swap if you decide you want more power later on.

I did an article on Civic Engines so check these for upgrade options, generally though the more power you start with the easier it is to add more.

Starting with a more modest engine like the 1.5 LSi also gives you the opportunity to learn and understand the vehicle before diving into more complex modifications. You can begin with simpler, less costly upgrades that enhance the driving experience and your mechanical skills, such as:

  • Suspension Upgrades: Improving handling can make the car more enjoyable to drive.
  • Brake Upgrades: Essential for safety and performance, especially if you plan on increasing power later.
  • Interior Enhancements: These can improve comfort and aesthetics without breaking the bank.
Once you’re more comfortable with the car and perhaps have increased your budget, you could consider bigger projects like an engine swap. The Civic's engine bay is accommodating for more powerful Honda engines from other models, which is a popular route for many enthusiasts.
  • Inspect Thoroughly: When viewing potential purchases, take your time to check for rust, especially in areas prone to moisture and salt exposure. Checking under carpets, inside wheel wells, and along the edges of the windshield and rear window are critical.
  • Mechanical Health: Ensure the basics are in good condition—engine, transmission, and major electrical components. These are costly to replace or repair.
  • Service Records: Cars with detailed service histories can be a safer bet, indicating responsible previous ownership and maintenance.

Starting with a car that’s already fun to drive and requires minimal initial work would be ideal in your situation. It allows you to gradually learn and appreciate the nuances of car modification without overwhelming yourself financially or technically. Enjoy the journey of personalizing your Civic, and welcome to the vibrant world of car enthusiasts!

I love my 2011 Honda type R but it is way too heavy @ 1330 KG but the K20Z4 motor is a real gem and hasn't missed a beat in 4 years of tack days sometimes on 30+ deg days. I really wanted a DC5 but they came at a much higher price.

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