The Darkside Grows Stronger with this K20-powered 1992 Civic Hatchback

Pandemic quarantine boredom leads to an elite level do-it-all 5th gen. Civic build.


Think back to the madness of 2020 and the uncertainty of it all as the global pandemic took hold and had millions of people hunkered down at home awaiting word on what was next. The setting wasn’t ideal for day-to-day business and the supply chain issues that resulted are still being felt to this day, but for Chris Dumlao of famed Norcal car crew Darkside Racing, that downtime was the perfect opportunity to build something remarkable.

No stranger to project cars, Chris has a lengthy list of previous builds on his resume – all of them black. Just before he got started on this 1992 Civic CX dubbed “8-Ball,” he’d been splitting time between drag racing his twin turbo LS-powered Mustang and hitting track days in his K20-swapped ITR. He states, “I thought, why not do a new ground-up build with something I always wanted to cross off the list while we have all this downtime?”

The new build started as a completely stock, straight-bodied ’93 Civic coupe (black, of course) that he’d found at a very low cost and having never owned one before, it seemed like the ideal candidate. “A few days went by, and members of my crew were saying how our team never owned a black ‘92-95 hatch, and we’d never seen any clean black hatches around the Bay Area,” Chris recalls. “So, I changed the platform and decided on this ‘92 CX that I got from a teammate.”



Already fitted with a B-series swap, JDM interior, and several knock-off exterior pieces, Chris stripped everything off the car and sold it all, leaving him with little more than a bare shell. “I always want to do a car my way, from the ground up, and that’s what started the build list. Basically, in 1-2 nights of doing research and looking at other people’s build, I was able to build the car in my mind and have a rough image of it. I constructed a check list and started to purchase parts from everywhere to get this car rolling.” Covid extended the wait times for much of the parts with shipping and ETAs constantly changing and Chris and his best friend and teammate Steven, who helped with the build, weren’t sure how long it was going to take but pushed forward. After stripping the car down to a bare chassis, it was delivered to Angkor Collision for a 2-month stretch as they straightened the body and applied numerous coats of Beluga Black to replace the yellow that covered the car at the time of its purchase, while parts continued to trickle in.

The paint and maintenance of the black surface seems to steal the spotlight whenever the car is brought out. Contrary to the universal dread of owning a black car and dealing with the almost standard swirl marks, Chris’ hatchback maintains a glass-like appearance. The Sergeant Racing front bumper takes cues from a factory EK bumper and was fitted with a color-matched First Molding front lip, with the brand’s lightweight vented hood replacing the factory version. Another lightweight change comes by way of FAL’s long discontinued polycarbonate rear quarter windows which are incredibly rare and tough to source.



Step around to the rear and Osaka JDM’s Devil Wing hangs off the hatch, while down below, a fellow Bay Area builder’s unique dual exhaust set up inspired Chris to add it to his build. “When I was younger in the scene, I saw a civic EK with the baddest exhaust I’ve ever seen,” he states. “It was Fred Chapman of ATS Garage’s grey EK who executed it and I always told myself that one day I would build a car with a center bumper exit. I contacted Fred about the idea, and he was kind enough to send me pictures of how he routed everything.” Chris brought the idea and the info to Kellybuilt Fabrication who took on the lofty challenge, applied his skill, and the resulting fit and finish is second to none.

Having a vehicle to use for time attack and another built for drag racing, Chris’ intentions with this build were to do all the above – including car show displays. The 5th gen. Civic is blessed with a low curb weight, a mountain of aftermarket support, and plenty of Honda/Acura cross-platform compatibility, making it an ideal subject for multiple disciplines. But to get the car’s ride height set for shows, properly pre-loaded for drag duty, and still have the ability to dial it in for circuit-style, back-to-back aggressive turns, the right suspension was needed.



To that end, Function+Form’s Type 3 Coilovers were brought in. Monotube shocks filled with high-viscosity fluid are paired with customizable spring rates and each corner offers 24-step, 1-way adjustability and independent ride height and spring pre-load settings. This gives Chris the flexibility he needs to set the car up for the street, drop it lower for a show, stiffen things up for drag duty, or take advantage of the digressive valving for those competitive track days. A move to spherical bushings throughout the car’s underpinnings added to its razor-sharp handling and wheel and tire choice depends on what sort of event Chris is taking on for that day. 5-lug Spoon Sports SW388 with Falken RT660 or Volk TE37 with Nankang AR1 are both at his disposal.



Engine Info: K Series Engine

The 1992-95 Civic’s engine bay can fit just about any Honda/Acura engine you can imagine, though in recent years, the K-series has proven to be the most versatile and popular. Chris went with a K20A2 laced with a Kellybuilt intake that leads to a 72mm throttle body and DNR ported RBC manifold before pushing gasses through a DTR header, then to a pair of Vibrant resonators, and finally out of the slick bumper-exit exhaust previously mentioned. With Hondata’s K-Pro V4 calling the shots, a solid 252whp with 175 lb.-ft. of torque is realized. That power is sent through a K20A2 transmission with a Quaife LSD, 4.7 final drive, and complete Synchrotech gear set.



The EH chassis and K20 pairing’s power-to-weight metrics were more than enough to keep Chris on his toes for time attack duties at Buttonwillow Raceway earlier this year and, more recently, he netted an impressive 11.9 E.T. during test and tune at Raceworz Sonoma while also earning “Best Civic” car show honors at the same event – for the second year in a row. Chris dialed the timing back to bring the car comfortably into the 12.5 index and was on pace to bring home a win but ultimately faced a broken axle and had to bow out. The 11.9 is just the beginning, with plans to add substantial power already on the table, he’s looking to bring that number down significantly while keeping the car time attack and show ready. He adds, “I built this to be an all-around car that I can take and utilize anywhere. There’s no fun in building something and just having it sit around collecting dust.”



Chris Dumlao’s 1992 Honda Civic CX Hatchback

Engine Specs K20A2 swap; Hasport EGK2 mounts; CP Pistons 12.5:1; Crower rods; NGO Competition assembled block; Drag Cartel stage 2 cams, tensioner cover, VTC strainer; Supertech valvetrain; Dave Nguyen Racing ported head; Kellybuilt center-exit exhaust system heat plate, intake w/Alphaloc quick-disconnect, valve cover breathers; Danny Tran Racing DTR custom BMC header; dual Vibrant resonators; RBC intake manifold ported by DNR; Blox 72mm throttle body; Walbro 255 fuel pump; Hybrid Racing fuel filter, rail, regulator RDX injectors; Checkerd Sports fuel pressure gauge, coil cover, oil cap; Speed Factory tucked radiator w/Spal fans, catch can/overflow tank; K-Tuned coolant housing, filler neck, EP3 idler pulley, swivel thermostat housing; Spoon Sports radiator cap; Clockwise Motion oil pan baffle; Hondata K-Pro V4 management; Rywire Mil-spec engine and sub-harnesses

Transmission & Drivetrain K20A2; Hybrid Racing V3 shifter, base plate, shift cables; Competition Clutch Stage 3, ultra light flywheel; Quaife LSD; OEM 4.7FD; Synchrotech 1-6 gear set; Driveshaft Shop 2.9 axles; Speed Factory detent springs; K-Tuned shifter cable bracket; S2000 clutch master cylinder; Circuit Hero spacer; Hybrid Racing steel braided clutch line

Suspension Function+Form Type 3 coilovers; ITR front sway bar; Blox adjustable end links; ASR 24mm rear sway bar, subframe brace; PCI compliance bushings, trailing arm bushings, rear lower control arms, rear camber links, rear toe links, front lower control arms, front upper camber arms; Spoon Sports front/rear shock tower brace; all forks and arms powder coated matte black

Resistance ITR 5-lug conversion; Fastbrakes 300mm STL race kit; Wilwood Dynapro, Hawk DTC60 front; ITR caliper, disc, Hawk HP+ rear; Stoptech steel braided lines; Karcepts 36mm front hubs; ARP extended studs; ITR brake booster, 1-in. master cylinder, EM1 40/40 prop valve; custom NGO Competition brake line tuck

Rolling Stock 15×8 Spoon Sports SW388; 225/45 Falken Azenis RT660; 15×8 +35 Volk TE37; 225/45 Nankang AR1; Project Kics R40 Iconix lug nuts

Outside Beluga Black paint; shaved antenna; Sergeant Racing Division aero bumper; First Molding lip, vented hood; Aerocatch hood latches; Osaka JDM Devil Wing; Aero Duo mirrors; Checkerd Sports block-off plates, crash bar; JDM headlights, corner lights, clear side markers; red/clear taillights; PCI front/rear tow hooks; K-Tuned quick-release hood hinges; FAL Flex-a-lite quarter windows; new OEM seals and moldings; newly undercoated bottom and wheel wells

Cabin Sparco Evo QRT seats; PCI seat brackets; Stroud 5-pt. camlock harnesses; Autopower roll bar; Sparco R353 steering wheel; Works Bell quick-release; Checkerd Sports slim hub, shift knob, ECU stay, dead pedal, floor plates; Tiltworx titanium steering wheel hardware; Nikoworks carbon fiber dash delete kit; custom suede wrapped dash, door panels by Avilas custom upholstery; Alpine BT head unit; Sundown Audio 4-channel amp, speakers


(Wekfest LA 2021)

Function and Form Type 3 Coilovers Honda Civic EGPurchase Kit (Click Image)






Leave a Reply