Crucified - Civics are a dime a dozen; let the owners think they are making theirs special *LOL*.
Also, you don't need a better car to modify the engine; I had a Custom Built $4000.00 (USD) motor dropped into this:
I am the second owner of this 4WD 1985 AMC Eagle LTD. I paid $650.00 cash for it and drove it for a year on 5 cylinders (the number 5 had no compression) before getting the new motor. So far, everything except the engine is all-factory (soon to change). People laugh, but my wagon can whoop 'em!