ROTM February: Oscar & Rambo’s ’81 Civic Wagons


Clash of the Wagons, it all starts here! Meet Oscar Rivera & Rambo Layugan’s ’81 Civic Wagons. We couldn’t decide who was more worthy for February’s “Ride Of The Month” and so….we give you our two winners!

Wagon Rivals!

Starting off is Oscar’s amazingly green and slammed Civic Wagon from Arlington, Texas. Oscar always dreamed of owning one and actually fell in love with old school from Justin March’s featured 1st Gen wagon in the early 2009 issue of Honda Tuning magazine. (Find out more here)


The search went on for 5 years with no luck to score a worthy candidate for his nostalgia obsession. But luck seemed to come quicker than expected and Oscar discovered the beauty via Craigslist. He says one of his co-workers at the time asked if Oscar could help him find a Civic and the search went on.

“One of my coworkers asked me to help him find a civic on Craigslist and I stumbled on mine by mistake. It was only labled as Civic. It apparently was for sale for months. I called the guy and he still had it.”


He quickly got his things together & drove to the gentleman’s house to take a look at the Civic. His discovery was a little less appealing than Oscar expected, but having only 78k original miles on the 1500….he had a gem on his hands.

“I went to look at it and the guy failed to mention the body damage on the right side. He apparently wrecked it earlier that year. He said he drove it into a ditch. There must have been a tree or light pole there because it hit just above the b pillar and pushed in the roof, broke the windshield, wedged the trunk permanently shut. It was rough.”

After settling on a fair price and payment plan, the Wagon was all Oscars and his Roots journey would start. He quickly started on pulling the dented roof back out, had a normal functioning trunk again and patched up some rough spots on the body. Soon after the car became his daily and has made two round +600 mile trips to Houston, Texas even.


He soon lowered the Civic with cut springs in the front and 4-inch lowering blocks in the rear (leaf springs). The option to add some clean 13×5.5 Enkei Competition 8 wheels was necessary to aid in daily driving, but add some style to the wagon’s dope stance. His friend Rambo helped tracked down some NOS Honda Japanese fender mirrors (Accord/Vigor) for the completion of the wagon’s look.

He also was able to track down information on the original owner of the wagon, which is always a favorite history lesson here at Roots!

“The first owner worked for Northwestern Airlines, then the the man I bought it from said he bought it from his uncle who apparently bought it from the original owner. I believe I’m the 4th owner.”


Oscar plans on making the wagon even better with the help of his local sponsor, Dallas JDM Motors. Already some rare SSR MK2’s 13×6, 4×114 with a +15 offset have been ordered from Japan. He’s planning to revise the hubs from 4×100 to 4×114 and add 4-wheel disc brakes all around. Recently our own editor, Ethan Strok, helped Oscar with some pointers on a recent Weber swap to the 1500. 😉 Keep us posted Oscar!

Next is Rambo’s All-Black & sinister, ’81 1300 Wagon. Roar……


This sly and cleverly put together Wagon is eye-candy if your rolling  around the local So-Cal area. A lot of people like the term Dope or “That Stance”, but we say it’s right at home with being nostalgic & having a flair of “Bosozoku” styling.


Rambo Layugan is no stranger to the Honda scene but has had his hands on some sweet BMW’s from previous years. Maybe this helps contribute to having a particular different view-point than what us Honda fan-boys share, but it seems he’s hit all the right ques in the styling department. Everything from the HID retrofit to the dual pipes angling towards walking pedestrians, it’s plain out sick looking! Is that a JDM parking pole on the front?


Originally the wagon started off simple and even featured that Bosozoku cooler look 2 years ago. The added Japanese NOS Honda fender mirrors were a needed touch while the rear door handles were shaved to give it a more 2 door coupe-like look.


Lowered on custom Skunk 2 coilovers in the front and 4-inch lowering blocks for the rear springs, the ’81 just sits right with those wide offset wheels. Rambo adds that he had to cut into the original fenders to accommodate the wheels so he had enough suspension travel for daily driving. The custom fitted MK1 VW Rabbit fender flares help disguise this well.


His current plans are to keep the stock 1300 engine running strong, but later transplant a D15Z1 that’s sitting currently in his garage. Waiting for all the right parts, we appreciate Rambo taking his time and making this wagon into the flat  black beast it was meant to be. Please do a B-swap Rambo 😉

Even though these wagons are roughly 1,600 miles apart from each other, Rambo & Oscar are friends and have helped each other through their builds. This is true Roots and that’s why we couldn’t separate the two for this months ROTM. If you run into them, let them know you read their stories though us here at Roots.


All photo’s and quotes are from their respected owners and used with permission.

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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