- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2004

The Si version of the Honda Civic instantly won the hearts of the “tuner” crowd when it first appeared on the scene in 1986 The “S” is for Sport, which Honda first offered in 1983, the Si is for Sport Injection. That first Si model was powered by a 1.5 liter, four-cylinder, multipoint fuel-injected engine producing 91 horsepower and featuring specific handling improvements as well.

The Si went away for a period, only to return by popular demand following a very brief hiatus.

For those who lusted after the sporty, diminutive, hot hatchback, there is now an even hotter example from the Factory Performance team at Honda, called FP.

For a mere $4,000 plus dealer installation charges (the latter can vary from dealer to dealer) you get: performance-tuned suspension components, including shocks and springs that drop the car approximately an inch lower than the stock stance; 17x7-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels shod with ZR performance-rated tires, that nicely fill up the wheel wells; an extended rear spoiler lip mounted at the roof’s rear edge; a special aero ground-effects kit with extended rockers and fascias, Honda Factory Performance badging; and an aluminum shift knob with the “FP” mark that goes nicely with the carbon-fiber-look center stack trim. The white face gauges add a sporty flavor as well.

A huge movement commonly referred to as “hot rodding” permeated the late 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, encompassing all of the above factors — perhaps somewhat crudely at first, but becoming progressively more refined with the passing of each decade. What was once known as hot rodding has come to be called “street rodding” today and is more popular than ever, giving rise to a huge availability of aftermarket parts and accessories.

Today’s movement comes from the Pacific Rim “Rods” — Asian model cars that are readily available and affordable, with a huge offering of after market parts and accessories geared not only to appearance modification, but to performance enhancement as well. It wouldn’t be proper to call Honda’s Civic Si FP a “Boy Racer” as there are an impressive number of young women who are just as involved in the customizing and racing of these neuvo hot rods.

The Honda Si FP provides enthusiasts with a 2.0 liter DOHC i-VTEC, 16-valve four-banger that delivers 160 horses with an 8000 rpm redline, mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The Hotter Hatchback gives off an image of speed, even when parked — nothing too far out of the ordinary at first glance, but in the upper rev ranges, the Si FP delivers one exhilarating trip.

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