At this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Honda officially made the 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine from its Civic Type R available in crate form. Getting 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque shipped to your front door has us thinking — what are the cars begging for a Civic Type R swap? Nabbing one of these will set you back a fairly reasonable $6,519.87 before shipping fees, and Honda will only let them go to people who are using one for “verified closed-course racing applications.” So, that might pose a problem if you’re trying to bolt one of these in your street car, but there’s probably a workaround.
Regardless, if you have a connection at Honda Performance Development, or actually want to build a race car with this Type R mill, here are a few places to start:
The NA Mazda MX-5 Miata might not be that fast, but with a Civic Type R engine in place of the stock Mazda piece — it would be more than potent enough for track use.
1. The Mazda Miata
Predictable, yes, but the Mazda Miata is the perennial track rat special and could benefit from a Type R swap. The first generation of Mazda’s legendary Miata roadster is still relatively affordable, especially if you’re not too concerned about cosmetic damage. The bump in horsepower that the 300-plus-hp Type R engine should be enough to help push the lightweight chassis to its limits.
The Honda CR-V with a Type R engine under the hood might surprise a few folks at a stoplight.
2. A first-gen Honda CR-V
Not as commonplace as a Miata, the first-gen Honda CR-V would be an interesting home for Honda’s hot turbocharged I4. With crossovers dominating sales, a crossover race series is inevitable. That means you can be ahead of the curve with a powerful race-ready CR-V. Of course, if you can manage to sneak one of these onto the street, a Type R-powered, 20-year-old CR-V would be a great way to embarrass people at stoplights.
The Fiat 1/9X is a perfect Type R swap candidate.
3. A Fiat X1/9
The wedge-shaped, Bertone-designed Fiat X1/9 is a refreshing look at the 1970s, especially with a midmounted 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 in place of the 74 hp SOHC naturally aspirated 1.3-liter I4. Of course, the step-up to computer-controlled electronic fuel injection alone might make the Type R swap a good idea, with the horsepower just icing on the cake.
The four-wheel steer would be the perfect track weapon with all the right Civic Type R bits.
4. A third-generation Honda Prelude 4ws
The 1988 Honda Prelude introduced the world to mechanical four-wheel steering, which, as confusing as it sounds, is relatively straightforward. Adding to that, a new Civic Type R engine would make it a force to reckon with on a road course. Of course, you might also find a way to borrow the entire Civic Type R torque steer management system.
The Lotus Elise might not be your first call for an engine swap, but it would be great with a Civic Type R engine.
5. Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise might not be the most noteworthy Lotus ever, but it’s a lightweight platform that looks the race car part. Available from 2005 to 2011 in the U.S., the Elise isn’t difficult to find stateside, and replacing the stock Toyota mill with the Type R engine would make for an exciting track car. Stuffing one of these turbocharged Civic engines into the Lotus might take some creative fabrication work, especially to mate it to the existing driveline, but it will be worth it when you button everything up and throw out the crate.