X-perimental Rex – Ryan Smyth’s ’83 Ballade Sports CR-X


Power lacking, a stabilizer bushing creaking, the smell of that old car interior……

”it reminds me of my younger days. I can safely say I have never owned a car I have had this much fun in. And it looks great!”

Meet Ryan Smiths ’83 Honda Ballade Sports Civic, aka the ‘Civic Renaissance Model X’ when it rolled off the showroom floor brand new. Experimental is a term used heavily when Ryan described to us this beauty out of Western Australia. At first glance, its period set Zender Turbo 2 rims to the custom molded skirts and bumper replicas, it yells out nostalgic with a local squeeze of the street scene found in Perth. Judging this book by its cover is a true understatement. This Rex roars!



When the car was found and bought, Ryan describes the body being near perfect and the original EW1 already transplanted to a standard B16 from the previous owner. It could have easily went straight to the track when the keys were handed over. The car beckoned for more and so did the modifications once the build was started.

“I purchased all of the parts for a fully build B18C2 (GSR) and a used but in excellent condition JRSC unit. Due to having to cut the front cross member, I backed off and sold it all! I then sourced the B18CR from a ’96 Integra and got the engine fully rebuilt (thanks Simon). “




With the already equipped Hasport mounts and hydraulic setup in the bay, an EK9 (S4C) trans was sourced and was added to bring LSD and dual synchro’s to the table for the CR-X. The power was pushed Ryan says, but he soon craved more and recently had the head rebuilt with all Toda parts including true Spec B cams, springs and retainers. A Hondata S300 and hard-to-find Gruppe M intake was added with a good tune that bought the ’83 zinging to drag strip for battle. (Cheers Michal Zak)

A recent trip to the strip, the CR-X was able to punch a 13.4 time, proving it can do the mid – low 13’s.

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The cockpit looks just like any normal 1st generation but what’s interesting is the custom S2k gauge cluster that’s nestled in the dash bezel. Surrounded by a custom CF fascia, the cluster had to be modified to fit and is considered one of the first in Australia as all the necessary healers and a unit from modifry.com were sourced. Considering the rev limit on Ryan’s build is set past the 9k mark, he had to consider other options than going with an original digi-dash that was rare and optional back in the day.

Nate Mitchell

HR Commander n' Chief Collector of 1G Preludes and resource material. Keeping the Roots Alive one car at a time!

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