JDM EF9 Honda Civic SiR

The Legend : EF9 Honda Civic SiR

With the launch of the 8G Civic here in Malaysia barely 10 hours away, I thought it most appropriate to celebrate the event with my next TOVA Feature Car and the perfect car for this task can only be the Civic that truly started it all, the legendary EF9 Honda Civic SiR. While there have been great Civics before this one, to the hard-core enthusiast, the EF9 Civic SiR is the one that really started the legend of the enthusiast's Civic. It is the first Honda to carry the legendary SiR badge and with it, state of the art racing technology made accessible to the common man.

The EF or 4th Generation 'Grand' Civic was launched in September 1987 for the japanese domestic market. The EF9 Civic SiR however did not feature in the starting line-up in that launch. The launch introduced four key engines, a 1.3l SOHC carb, a 1.5l SOHC dual-carb, a 1.6l SOHC PGM-Fi and the famous ZC 130ps DOHC PGM-Fi. The top model in 1987 was thus the EF3 Civic Si carrying that ZC 130ps DOHC PGM-Fi engine with a 5MT. This model was famous in its own way, with a unique feature lovingly called the 'power bulge' by enthusiasts. This is a little hump on the left side of the front bonnet whose presence signifies it houses the ZC engine. With a 0-100kph time in the low 8-seconds range, the car was quite widely recognised by performance enthusiasts. Still the general concensus was that it was a "nice preppy little car" but true respect as a serious performance car was still not coming its way.

In those times, the Civic runs with a 4 years life cycle, with the mid-cycle MMC coming in almost spot in the middle of the life cycle. And so the EF Grand Civic received its mid-life MMC in September 1989. And that year then signifies the arrival of a great legend, the EF9 Civic SiR. This car is the one that finally brings respect and I would say even 'fear' amongst enthusiasts because the SiR badge signifies the use of the mighty B16A 160ps DOHC VTEC engine. While the EF9 was not the first Honda to use a VTEC engine, it was the first Honda to wear the SiR badge and this badge has since gone on to become a greatly respected and loved badge amongst Honda enthusiasts even today.

There were 2 versions of the EF9, the Civic SiR and the Civic SiR-2. The Civic SiR is actually the 'bare hones' version. Besides the 160ps B16A mated to a 5MT (auto versions are not available), the SiR features a 'manual' air-cond, front and rear disc brakes, front and rear double wishbone suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars and semi-bucket front seats and optionally a viscous coupling LSD. The EF9 SiR-2 adds sunroof, ABS, power windows, powered side mirrors and various other such features.

The true greatness of the EF9 SiR is of course that it introduces the world to a Civic with an 8,100rpm redline and a level of performance that puts many 'performance cars' of that era to shame. The SiR badge is to continue into history as a badge that adorns Hondas with a serious level of performance and enthusiast appeal. Even in today's world of Type-Rs and Type-S's, the SiR badge still holds a great degree of reverence and respect from long time hard-core Honda enthusiasts.

The specifications below are taken from the Honda Motor Co. Ltd (Japan) website for previous models and so are the 'official' specifications.

Model Code : E-EF9 Civic SiR
Configuration16V PGM-Fi DOHC VTEC
Displacement1595 c.c.
Max Power160ps (118kW) at 7,600rpm
Max Torque15.5kgm (152 Nm) at 7,000rpm
Transmission5MT only (with option viscous coupling LSD)
Gear Ratios3.166, 2.052, 1.416, 1.103, 0.87, R=3.000
Final Drive4.266
Kerb Weight990 kg
Dimensions (LXWXH)3,995 X 1,680 X 1,335 (mm)
Wheel Base2,500 mm
TrackF=1,440mm R=1,445mm
Ground Clearance150mm
Wheel Size195/60 R 14 85H
Suspension(F) Double Wishbone
(R) Double Wishbone
Brakes(F) Ventilated disc
(R) Solid Disc
Anti-roll BarFront and Rear

The car which I am featuring in this article is an original JDM EF9 Civic SiR-2, imported as a used unit directly from Japan. It is a rare vehicle indeed as most so called 'EF9s' in Malaysia are actually 'lower' models, usually the 1.5l or even 1.3l versions converted to SiR 'status'.

As rare this EF9 is, a completely stock EF9 is even rarer and so the car here has been modified by its owner, Tan, over his years of ownership. While the engine is still more or less the original B16A that comes with the car, it has a 'Type-R' intake manifold and the usual complement of bolt-on mods. The gearbox too is no longer the original S1 unit but the YS1 from the post MMC (1991) DA6/DA8 Integra XSi/RSi, featuring gear ratios similar to the later EG Civic SiRs, a 4.400 final drive and in this case, has also been fitted with an original 'Type-R' Helical LSD.

More than any other Civic, the EF9 Civic SiR featured here will bring the message clearly across what hard-core Honda enthusiasts have always meant when they say 'The Civic DNA'. Bear in mind that this car was launched way back at the end of 1989, more than a decade and a half ago. That such a level of technology and performance was available way back then, at such an affordable car clearly shows why it is said that the Civic has always featured the most current and desirable technologies and why there are so many Honda and especially Civic fans in the world today. The sad thing is that Honda has lost its way in recent times and many of these hard-core fans have actually left, some even for competing makes. It is hoped that the message that I have been getting for the new 8th Generation Civic will be realized in tomorrow's launch and that I shall finally see the return of the true Civic back to its former glory.

E-EF9 Honda Civic
EF9 Civic SiR Feature Car Gallery
For each photo, clicking on it will load a SVGA version

Four views of the car

Drivers Cabin

The Driver's View of the Dash

The instrument panel featuring the 8,100 redline tach

Electronic Air-cond (non Climate Control)

The engine bay featuring the mighty B16A engine

Wong KN
March 2006
© Temple of VTEC Asia.