ALL PHOTOS CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT THIS FLICKR LINK
If you’ve spoke to either myself or Misa within the past 2-3 weeks, you’ll see the exuberance and excitement in our face the moment “How was Seattle?” is questioned. It literally excites me to talk about Seattle because it blew my expectations out of the water and it is truthfully one of those experiences I wish literally everyone could have had the opportunity to be apart of. It’s one of those magical areas that has the ability to inspire you to go just a little bit further with your own projects and restores a little of that lost faith you may have from seeing cars constantly plastered with whatever is trendy on Instaface, Grambook, and all the other social media outlets.
And for an area to give you that type of feeling, you’d have to think they are doing something totally unorthodox and outside the box, right? Wrong. It’s easy to think that, and I thought it too when I would hear people talk about the area. I thought “What possibly could they do differently that makes this area sound so mesmerizing and different from what is quite possibly the mecca of the import scene (Los Angeles)?”, yet realized that it isn’t that the PNW community is doing anything different, they are just taking it back to what it all originated from.
In California, we are sometimes suffocated by what is trendy. We have media outlets everywhere, shows nearly every weekend, parts manufacturers and distributors in every major city, and nearly everyone is connected to everyone on social media. Because of this, the scene seems to expand at such a rapid pace because there are so many people, places, and things contributing to the California car scene and allowing it to expand exponentially. And with that happening, the trends seem to follow suit and move just as fast. There is a huge “need” to be different, to have your car come out by a certain time, to be “the first” to say you did something, etc. Even if you’ve finished your dream build and dotted every t and crossed every i, California sometimes has a weird way of making people feel like their project is “incomplete” or needs change.
Before I ramble even further about what the California scene is, that last line is the beautiful equalizer that makes the PNW region the place it is. Up there, you build a car for satisfaction and know that once you’ve reached the vision you have in your mind, you leave it be. There is no urge to constantly change or be different, only to enjoy what you have and make the most of what you can. PNW cars (Hondas specifically) are built with a minimalistic approach that mimics what the scene was when forums were your sources of inspiration and also your textbook. The PNW has seemingly been an underdog and untapped market for years, and it’s great that they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. If you ever have the time or means to see what they have to offer up north, take it.
It isn’t to say that this type of stigma and mentality doesn’t exist in California, but it is much more prevalent up north. We found that out on our first day up north when we were lucky enough to catch some of the prep on some of the best Honda’s in the CenturyLink events center the following day. The guys of Endless Looks/CityStars/NoNameGang were so gracious as to allow us access to their pad for copious amounts of beer, cigarettes, and inspiration.
Tomas Burns and myself have been friends for years now, and for years has told me that I needed to come north. I always kinda brushed it off like “Yeah I am sure it is cool, but it can’t be the way he describes it”. But Tomas was absolutely right, and we realized that within an hour of his invitation to his home for the prep work. Tomas is one that isn’t afraid to drive and makes SoCal a yearly trip, whether by plane or by car so it was nice to return the favor and come up north for a change.
Tomas has had his EG Civic under the knife for about a year now, if not longer, and I feel like the months leading up to this was nothing but a gigantic push to get this car done. Tomas would keep me posted about it weekly, but he always made it seem like it just wasn’t gonna happen. Tomas had a couple errors with paint during the transformation from Captiva Blue to CR-V color code Green Tea Metallic, and because he is such a perfectionist, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to showcase the car with the flaws in the paint. But within the last week or two leading up to Wekfest, he made that final push and the Civic Si was ready for the lights under the CenturyLink Convention Center.
William Potts was another guy who was on the verge of finishing a project but just wasn’t sure if he’d make it. Even the day of the prep, Will was still cutting and buffing the whole car and doubting if he would make it. Will’s 96 Spec Integra Type R was finished in time though, and we could just tell by his demeanor that this meant a lot more to him than just having a nice car. To Will, it was about finishing that journey you embarked on 3+ years ago and finally seeing the fruits of your labor come to fruition.
Brian “Butters” McAvoy was the third of the trio prepping for the big show the following day, and his H Swapped EG looked absolutely amazing. You’ll notice that like Tomas’ EG, Butters is rocking the full line of BYS equipment in the aero department. EG6 goods scattered throughout like the mirrors, the parking pole, and the stickers that lay beneath the moldings, these are items that you just don’t see as often as you once did. Brian’s car was also painted within the past year, making all 3 cars you see from this prep session rocking a brand new coat of paint.
To show you how locked into prep these guys were, we endlessly tried to get Tomas to drink with us and were consistently met with “I gotta finish my car, but we can do that afterward”. For Tomas and the guys, this was more than just having a good time bullshitting with the guys. This was a chance to give any fans of modified cars a chance to see just how the PNW does it and to put them on the map. For an area that is fairly devoid of big meets and shows, you could tell these guys were determined to truly show the best of the best and let everyone know that they are a force to be reckoned with. With that said, we let the guys handle what they needed to so we could go eat the assembly line style burgers at Dicks Drive In, drink plentiful amounts of Ranier Beer, and call it a night.
Upon waking up, we were all a mess. Hungover, sleepless, and zombified to say the least. We decided to grab breakfast before the event, which is apparently a 2-3 hour task in downtown Seattle on A Sunday morning . Sure, we could have went to Denny’s, but you have to max out on how hip you can be while you’re in an area that is foreign to you. After some amazing Eggs Benedict from Glo’s Café, we were ready to help one another smoke cigarettes, potentially fight one another, chug a beer before the day truly began, and view some of the badass rides that Seattle had to offer.
Upon entering the building, the of the first cars we gravitated towards was Daniel Haggerty’s beautiful Spa Yellow S2k. Looking absolutely beautiful on Work RSZ-R’s, the odd yet perfect choice of wheels is fitted with some meaty rubber to make the CR look subtle yet mean. Under the hood was a mildly tucked bay that housed a nice turbo setup.
Marcus Di Sabella of HeelToe Automotive made the long 20+ hour drive to Seattle to help with brand recognition and to showcase his badass 1G CR-X project. Housing an incredibly rare Brown Top ZC Motor with an easy to miss turbo setup, Marcus has a few more kinks with this car before it is fully operable. It’s been amazing to see this thing come together though, and we can’t wait to see the complete project!
Terry Suvonnarith aka Spriggan brought out his legendary Integra build to display it at The Chronicles booth and it is one of those cars we are happy to have had the chance to see in the flesh. So happy, in fact, that we don’t have a full photo of the car. Spriggans car showcases one of the best Integra builds in the PNW (and maybe ever, anywhere) and is outlined by the well plumbed B18C engine bay, the Feels front lip that you will likely never see ever again on any other car, and the 17” CE28N setup that looks perfect with a StopTech trophy brake kit housed behind them.
Bill Master’s EP3 build is one of those that is in the upper echelon of Honda builds in the PNW, and because of this, it took the best Honda of the festival on the day. Bill took a chassis that was never widely loved and adored by the USDM market and truly made it possibly the best EP3 build out there. Rocking a plethora of Mugen goods, from hood, trunk, post-facelift front lip, and even a full Mugen roll cage. It takes people like Bill to truly showcase just how far you can go with a chassis like the EP3.
And who would have thought that an equally as awesome EP3 would be found within walking distance with Mel Diego’s pre facelift EP3. Mel’s EP3 featured just a little bit more Mugen that day than Bill’s, but by no means are either of them Mugen catalogue cars. Both builders pride themselves on using the components that are best for them, as opposed to only utilizing the offerings from one select brand. Mel’s EP had all the same goods as Bills car, but one major addition that most would overlook is the dry carbon radiator duct in the front bumper. This Mugen piece costs 2 kidney’s and a lung if you can even find one, but it adds a great amount of beauty and aggression to the EP front.
The man who had the most to showcase at Wekfest Seattle was definitely Huy Huang who brought out all 3 of his projects for the Wekfest show. The first project on display was his nicely styled, K-swapped EK. Take note of the simplistic aero with things items like a Spoon Hood, First Molding Lip, Sergeant rear diffuser, and Seeker rear wing providing an aggressive EK that still retains all stock body lines.
The second project on display was Huy’s white DC5 project that he actually utilizes as a daily if you can believe that. Fully mugen kitted with a nice little stash of parts throughout, we can only imagine how nice it must feel to daily a car that is just as nice as all your other projects. And when the project you apply the least attention to is as nice as many of the project cars that you’d see at any other event, you’re definitely doing something right.
The crowned jewel of Huy’s collection though is his DC5 build dubbed “redrum”. This car graced the cover of Super Street last year and with one look it’s easy to see why. The full Mugen kit with a Varis wing fitted to the trunk, fully custom metal widebody, full weld in roll cage, and a full built motor with a beastly turbo setup are just a few of the highlights on the DC5. Easily one of the best cars in the building that day and easily one of the best builds the PNW has to offer, which could precisely be why it was dubbed import of the festival. Congrats Huy!
Jackie Law’s S2000 was another car we were super excited to check out as it is one of those S2000 builds that has been there for as long as we can remember. Jackie is a Canadian native and made the 5 hour trek to Seattle in what could be described as one of the more interesting journeys to the show. Jackie lives on an island in Canada and has to take a 2 hour ferry to get to the mainland. After this, it’s another 3 hours to get to Seattle. Almost makes me wish we could have a ferry or something to autopilot for us on the long trek to some events haha.
Jackie’s S2000 featured some cement grey TE37s that looked awesome against the dark grey metallic paint. Accompanied by various Voltex goods such as a Race front bumper, sideskirts, and S2000 specific diffuser, Jackie’s car retains stock fenders which is a huge deal for the S2000 chassis since it is so often you see them with widened, aftermarket fenders. One of our favorites on the day, truly an awesome ride.
Jeremiah Styles DB2 is another awesome gem from the PNW area. Out of Salem, Oregon, Jeremiah brings this extremely mint example of an almost complete Mugen catalogue DA9. From the rear bumper cover to the side skirts and wing, the aero on the 2nd gen Integra is absolutely stunning. Complemented by a set of Mugen M7s and more Mugen goods under the hood, this one was a car that truly left me in awe. I couldn’t help but look at this thing and smile because it is always nice to see people take the time to build an amazing DA integra.
Franky Chan of Private Runners is someone I’ve followed for quite sometime and have never been let down by his total willingness to drive his car whenever possible. It’s pretty amazing how clean Franky keeps this thing for driving it as often as he does. Franky used to have a DA himself but switched over the EG platform a couple years and seems to be enjoying it. J’s front lip, AutoPower Rollbar, and Mag Blue TE37s give the car a real simple yet aggressive look.
Gonna cut this one a little short, but we still have plenty of shots. We will revisit Seattle again sometime within the next week for some more show photos, roll out, and an awesome aftermeet at Alki Beach. Stay tuned!
ALL PHOTOS CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT THE FOLLOWING FLICKR LINK: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146662880@N02/sets/72157686133958616/
It’s been a long past month for us over here at Nemo’s Garage. Show season has been in full swing, and attending all the events on top of running a shop and juggling personal projects gets draining really quickly. We’ve spent the last month wrapping up our FA5 project, attending Wekfest Long Beach, WekFest San Jose, and Wekfest Seattle and it has definitely taken a toll on us. So much has transpired within the last month but it has been an absolute blast taking in everything that the West Coast has to offer in terms of modified cars. We showcased stop #1 of our West Coast Wekfest tour in the blog before this (https://nemos-garage.com/blogs/what-are-we-up-to-over-at-nemos-garage/wekfest), so if you missed it, feel free to check it out!
This coverage is gonna be short and sweet because we are already behind with Seattle having just passed. We drove the Civic all the way up and spent most of the night before having an AirBNB party of sorts with copious amounts of alcohol and Carne Asada, so needless to say, we were exhausted the day of the show. This coverage will be a little more behind the scenes of Nemos Garage with a little bit of coverage mixed in, so we hope you enjoy it!
Within 5 minutes of getting in the Civic, Bircheff realized he made a huge mistake
Our day began at 5:30 In the morning with 300+ miles of driving, trying to beat the mid day sun that would truly lead to our demise if we caught it. I drove the car with friend of the shop Alex Bircheff in the passenger seat. We were having a nasty exhaust leak that we discovered the cause of at the end of the journey, and after about one hour, Bircheff realized that he made a gigantic error by wanting to ride in it. A quick stop for breakfast in Gorman, California allowed Alex to switch cars with another friend who decided to take the trip up with us, Chris Garay.
Bircheff looks a lot more relaxed and relieved in the EF than the 8th Gen
Chris made the drive to San Jose with us last year as well, so he was trained for this journey. He is notorious for bringing his EF Civic on a set of beater wheels to unleash the heat that he and all his friends have to haul for him for 300 miles, taking up tons of valuable cargo space. As much of an inconvenience as Chris is, we think he’s okay and his wheel choice didn’t disappoint so we couldn’t be too mad (more on that later).
Behind the sunglasses resides bloodshot eyes from the gracious amount of exhaust fumes the Civic blessed us with
After 2-3 hours in the Civic, I was beat to shit. Literally drained from the deafening exhaust tone, the eye watering fumes, and the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 am. Me and another friend who made the journey, John, had had enough of this hell and decided a change was in order. At this point, I decided it was time to lead the convoy in our tried and true shop Prius to recover in the Air Conditioning, with other amenities like reclineable seats and a functioning radio! After a quick cigarette, we were back on the road and ready to roll
If you look closely, John is fast asleep in the passenger seat. We have no clue how this happened, so don't ask
The car sure was a beautiful sight to look at on the way up the grapevine, though. Definitely no complaints about having to stare at this thing for hours. We are proud we drove this car instead of trailering it up. Projects like this are meant to be enjoyed, even though they may bring unnecessary headache and risk with them. It may have been hell to make it happen, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once you've made it to Gilroy, you're in the home stretch. Reward yourself with some amazing Garlic flavored ice cream.
We made one final pit stop in Gilroy, CA aka the Garlic capital of the United States (Not sure if that is accurate, but I am going to assume it is). Chris took silly photos while on his tippy toes trying to reach the tallest of the Garlic caricatures in hopes that we would see he really was a man and not a boy. We also tried the notorious Garlic ice cream, that me and Alex wound up wishing was a resident flavor at all the popular ice cream spots. Everyone else spit it up upon tasting it, but we felt it was truly amazing. Imagine an Italian Breadstick coated in vanilla ice cream... amazing.
With Gilroy halfway done, we knew we were within an hour of our destination and Alex’s shirt said everything about the way we felt in that moment. It was almost time to finish the journey and enjoy an ice cold brew. And with that said, we got back in the Civic and wrapped it up
Well deserved after 6 hours of hell up the I-5
We safely reached San Jose, and after a couple hours of prepping the car at a local car wash, prepping the booth at Wekfest, and almost getting a state ref by San Jose PD, we had arrived at our AirBNB and could finally enjoy a relaxing afternoon. We went out on the town last year in San Jose and were pretty underwhelmed with its offerings and how quickly everything closes, so we opted this year to rent a badass AirBNB that would allow us to not have to really leave. In the company of great beer and a relaxing environment, we were set to not have to leave until the Wekfest event the following day.
Make no mistake, I have no clue what I am doing.
We decided to find a local carneceria, grab a hearty amount of Carne Asada and Pollo Asado, and just stay at home and grill. With me behind the grill, it was pretty much a nightmare waiting to happen but I just lived out my fantasy of being a modern day Hank Hill and everything turned out okay. With this and a near endless amount of beer, we were ready for a good night that would definitely allow us to get absolutely no sleep for Wekfest the next morning.
Mikey's air conditioning in his Porsche worked well, and he made sure to point that out to us whenever given the chance. Thanks for being a dick, Mikey
And no sleep was had, at all. It didn’t detract from us enjoying the show at all though, and the fact that this Wekfest was inside with air conditioning definitely helped. Long Beach can be hell sometimes, but San Jose is always welcoming because the convention center always feels great.
We were positioned right behind the guys from IDL design who notoriously brought a full 18 wheeler full of amazing projects on it. Two of the projects they had on display were the OldNew Porsche 997 of Mikey Cristi which saw some sunlight for the first time since I believe Sema. Also making the journey up was Jerald Yutadco’s Rocket Bunny RC-F. Both cars are painted in the same color and look absolutely stunning when paired together.
If you could put a mid 2000's Honda in a time capsule, this is probably one of the first you'd choose.
One of the cars we are always excited to see up north is the 2000 Civic Hatchback that belongs to Kelvin Bulda. Kelvin has owned this car since he was in high school, and if the 17+ years of ownership doesn’t say enough about his passion, the car itself can fill in the blanks. Kelvin’s EK had a lot of subtle complimentary aero goods scattered throughout, like an Airwalker front bumper, Sergeant rear diffuser, Seeker V2 wing, and J’s Racing widened fenders. Tucked behind the newly released Mugen MF10s was a beautiful set of Endless 4 POT calipers that are usually one of the first things your eyes are drawn to on the EK Civic.
This car survived 16 hours down I-5, what's your excuse?
Seattle native Austin Hironaka hit us up a couple months before the show to see if there was anything we could do to help get him into the Seattle show. We sent some emails out, and are not sure if we helped make it happen, but we were just happy to see Austin bring his beautiful Del Sol. Austin’s RHD converted EG2 looked absolutely amazing under the lights at the convention center and allowed the K-Swapped bay to look truly amazing.
Most people, ourselves included, thought Austin was absolutely crazy for driving this thing down from Seattle. But Austin is a rare breed of human being, and knows that these projects go to waste if you’re not on the road enjoying them. Definitely happy to have met Austin on this trip, but we will talk more about his amazing cars in our Seattle coverage. Congrats for taking home best Honda of the day, Austin!
El Boracho's track ready R looking mean on MF10s
Chuy Navarro is no stranger to making the drive up north, as he was happy to showcase his white Spoon ITR for us last year at our booth. This year, he brought his yellow 2001 Type R looking fresh on the re-released Mugen MF10’s. Featuring an Exceed Japan/Mode Parfume front lip and brand new ASRxAP Racing brake upgrade, Chuy’s ITR looked timeless.
Believe it or not, these wheels probably cost more than most brand new, more modern options
As previously mentioned, Chris Garay brought some heat out to display at our booth with us. We really wanted to bring our shop EM1 out but it just wasn’t in the cards as it still needed a little bit more work. Chris filled in amazingly, and he brought some absolute heat with his custom SSR Defi Fin’s that featured NOS (New Old Stock) SSR cooling discs. These things are INCREDIBLY rare, and to find them brand new is nearly unheard of. It’s always awesome to see things like this because it shows how far the car scene has come, but also lets you appreciate the roots of what it evolved from.
Restoring faith in an often overlooked chassis
Jeremiah Santos and Joseph Pham came up from SoCal with their flawless EP3 builds. These guys seem to always make it out to everything and never miss a beat. Both EP3s were recently featured in the Super Street Honda Issue, so go check that out for a little more back story on two amazing EP3 builds.
Rare to see people still build AV Integras, but truly beautiful to see people still take the time on seemingly forgotten platforms like this
Plus One crew had an amazing line up on the day. The crew is notorious for having some of the best Integra builds out there, and this 1st gen Integra definitely did not disappoint. Rare to see people modify this chassis, so to see one looking period correct on 14” Mugen CF-48’s was a true blast from the past.
When your car can function both as a track and show car, you know you've built something badass.
N00dler’s S2000 always looks flawless, whether being showcased or on track. Amuse styled hood, Voltex front bumper, and the new SSR GTX01’s make the front end look super mean. He was showing with the guys at Track Spec on the day, who had a pretty solid line up.
One of the more extreme EF's you'll ever see
Jose Del Villar brought his K-Swapped EF Civic out looking great in it’s new candy apply red shade of House of Kolors. Jose’s EF is very simple in looks but super aggressive under the hood with a beautiful ITB setup that we helped get nickel plated for him. Congrats on the award, Jose!
The end of the show signaled another 6 hours of exhaust fumes, which was not as well received as the the award.
With the day wrapping up, we were reluctant to take 2nd best Civic of the festival for our FA5 project. We were excited that not only could the car make the 700+ mile trek unscathed, but also could win awards while doing it. We will continue to bring this car out for the remaining summer shows, but once summer is over and we have exhausted it with every meet and event we could, we do plan to take this thing out to see how it does on track. We appreciate all the praise and positivity surrounding this project so far, and we can’t wait to further improve on it and showcase it on track where we hope it will really shine!
We truly had a blast up in San Jose that weekend, and we definitely appreciate all the love and support from the crowd up north! A gigantic thank you goes out to Hernan Chaidez, John Galvan, Alex Bircheff, Taco Munguia, Chris Garay, Jose Reyes, Jose Rios, and Gabriel Martinez for helping along the way and making the trip that much more enjoyable. We can’t wait for next year! Look out for the Seattle coverage within the next week
Photo credit goes to Misael Munguia of Nemos Garage
All photos can be downloaded at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWR1ayF
It is a tell tale sign that “Show season” is in full effect when Wekfest Long Beach rolls around as it is right at the beginning of summer and regarded as one of the first major shows on the calendar. To most, Wekfest Long Beach is considered to be one of the crown jewels of the Southern California import communities car shows, as it brings out the best of the best from all realms of the car scene. There are no free passes to get into Wekfest either, and it isn’t a free for all where everyone with a willingness to buy a ticket is admitted. It takes hardwork and a true vision to get into the event, and because of that, just getting into Wekfest is an accomplishment for many (and for good reason). Many build their cars specifically with this event in mind, just because if you can showcase your project here, you are likely able to showcase it anywhere.
We are constantly trying to attend the full line up of Wekfest events, just because no matter what state you may find yourself in, you’re always going to see the best of what the area has to offer. And not only that, going to this event in each and every different region showcases just how vast and diverse the scene is as a whole. Go to Wekfest New York? You’ll see that everyone is hell bent on hitting each aspect of performance and everything is built for speed. Find yourself in Houston? You’ll see that the smallest details are what make the biggest difference. But find yourself in Long Beach and you’ll see what could possibly be the best of what is truly out there in the import scene. Most of the heavy hitters in attendance have checked off each and every area of what it truly takes to have a full build, and that is what makes it so special. That may sound a bit biased, and it possibly is, but there is truly nothing like Wekfest Long Beach and we are spoiled to be able to witness the event yearly.
The Nemos Garage FA5 all staged and ready for its official "show" debut at WFLB
For us, it is one of our goals to constantly have something new and exciting to showcase for Wekfest each and every year, and this year was no different. For 2017, we took a 2011 Civic Si, a car that is at the cusp of turning into a classic in the same right as the DC Integra or an EG/EK Civic, and transformed it into a time attack capable yet stylish and well executed machine. Being that these cars are getting a bit older and a little easier on the wallet to obtain, we feel that this chassis is going to be a platform that becomes what the Honda’s of old are. A car that you'll start seeing more complete builds of in the coming years and that will truly show that the new generation of Civic has just as much style and flair as those of old. Slowly but surely, this platform is turning into a classic.
Before we begin breaking it down, this entire project could not have been made possible without the following and we truly appreciate the long nights and big effort they made to button this one up. Ken Suen and his team at LMR Development for their awesome fabrication skills and consistent flow of great ideas. Frankie Torres and his crew at Premier Autobody for the flawless paint and body work they provided. ESM Race for the full spherical kit the car features. Ken and Jon at Ken’s Race Engines, as well as James at Ghostwerks for providing a masterful rebuild on the motor and transmission. KoyoRad and Hasport for their support throughout the process and willingness to work with us on this one. David at Hybrid Racing and his whole crew for providing a whole arsenal of 8th Gen Civic goods to make this car perform it’s absolute best. Jorge Ramirez of Jorgie Built for all the patience that it took to properly plumb this car. And last but not least, Loi Hua and his whole crew at Loi Spec Garage for putting in the long long hours to get this thing operable and ready for this year.
Shot in the early hours of the morning before being loaded onto a trailer and properly detailed, the exterior is masterfully provided by a near complete Feels Honda Twin Cam catalogue
For exterior styling, we chose to go with Feels Honda Twin Cam components throughout. Front bumper, rear diffuser, side skirt add on, fenders, hood, and fender flares all bear the Feels Honda Twin Cam namesake and show the true aggressive lines that this 4 door can pack. Of course, to run this kit, Japanese front and rear end had to be utilized. And due to this, OEM FD2 headlights and an 09+ FD2 Rear end was fitted to the car to make. And this goes without saying, but no aggressive rear end is complete without a wing from Voltex Japan. Our FA5 features a Voltex Type 7 wing, providing 1600mm of width and a center mounting point for a bit of a different look.
By far the easiest pieces to miss on this car though are the roof and the mirrors, which were super custom jobs and changed the entire look and feel of the car. This car started as an original Si model, meaning it came with a sunroof from factory. But being that this is going to be a time attack car in the future, weight savings were crucial. This resulted in the need for a roof skin off of a Civic Hybrid of the same year. The guys at Norm Reeves Honda were able to help us get this one and the dudes at LMR Development welded it on perfectly.
The front quarter glass was deleted in favor of a carbon fiber plate that could mount a set of MRacing Type 1 RR mirrors with ease. This allowed us to shave the OEM mirror off the door and offer a much more aggressive look.
The mirrors are also another detail that may go overlooked, as they are normally mounted on the door and are fairly bulky. Frankie Torres of Premier AutoBody was able to fill the door to perfection, allowing us to remove the small quarter glass that sits in front of the doors and fit a carbon plate in instead. This plate allowed for easy and stylish mounting of a set of MRacing Type A mirrors to streamline the side of the car and further add an aggressive tone to the exterior.
For wheels, tires, and braking components, only the best components could be utilized. We started with a foundation of Volk Racing ZE40s in Diamond Dark Gunmetal and wrapped them in a set of grippy Bridgestone RE71R’s.You’ll notice a common theme if you look closely enough in that many details like the Valve Cover and full roll cage are color matched to the wheels, making them an integral part of the car. One look inside the wheel well and you’ll see a massive Project Mu 4 Piston brake kit, originally made for FD2 but modified to work with USDM Civic (Type R knuckles are different in size, leaving their braking and suspension components unable to work on their USDM counterpart without modification). The 355mm rotor is massive and when accompanied with the 4 POT BBK, the setup allows for a much needed increase in stopping power
Bride Japan bucket seats, LMR Development 6 Point Roll Bar, Hybrid Racing 8th Gen Shifter kit, Checkerd Sports floor plates, and few other pieces sit inside a near barren interior.
The interior (As well as the whole car) was sprayed by Frankie Torres and his crew over at Premier Autobody. They did an absolute masterful job on the timetable they had to work with and we are more than pleased with the finish. Frankie first sprayed the LMR Development cage the same shade of Diamond Dark Gunmetal as the ZE40s. Afterward, he went back and coated the rest of the interior in Formula Red. The rest of the interior is tied together with a set of Checkerd Sports floor plates, Willans Clubman harnesses, Carbon Backed Bride Japan Zeta III, Custom wrapped interior (Door cards and center console), and other small details that the naked eye may miss.
No extreme shave, but a fairly extreme tuck on the engine bay. Anything vital was left behind, and anything unimportant was removed for clealiness and weight savings
And with all that said, we reach the engine bay. If you own an 8th Gen Civic, you know that tucking or relocating anything is this engine bay is a daunting and gruesome task. There is so little room to work with, and nothing is simply removable. For example, Ken Suen of LMR Development let us in on a little tip that ABS is not removable on this car. Sure you can take it off, but because this car is more electronic than mechanical, the ECU will know you’ve removed the unit and govern speed from there on out. To combat this, Jorge Ramirez of Jorgie Built was called upon to relocate the ABS module under the dashboard and run all the hardlines for the setup.
The next issue with tucking an engine bay on this platform is the ECU and Fusebox. While the fusebox is a given, most cars already feature an ECU mounted inside the car. For this, Richewerks was contracted to make a harness that allowed us to extend these pieces into the car to further clean the engine bay up. He delivered with a full milspec harness built to the specification we needed and it truly transform the engine bay.
But the true heros of the engine bay were the dudes at KoyoRad, Hasport Mounts, and Hybrid Racing who came in clutch with the components we needed to get this project rolling. Hybrid Racing threw their full catalogue of 8th Gen Civic parts at the car, including a custom fuel rail that proudly showcases our shop logo. Koyorad came through with a full radiator and oil cooler setup that will help this car keep temps down on track. And Hasport provided a full mount kit for the Civic, ensuring the motor is secure and stationary at all times.
Further cleaned up by a full DownStar hardware kit, swirl pot and overflow tanks done by Rob of Tractuff, and endless fittings supplied by the guys at G&J Aircraft, the engine bay truly looks masterful. It may have taken a ton of work to get to this point, and many may still feel it is such a small bay that hides so much, but we feel this truly shows the potential that is under the hood of the 8th gen Civic for a nice and clean tucked setup.
We could talk about this car til we are blue in the face, but of course, there were other cars present for Wekfest Long Beach. One of the cars we were extremely happy to bring with us at our booth was the BB6 Prelude of sponsored driver Jeremy Allgier.
Jeremy is one of the few dedicated dudes who truly believes in the Prelude chassis, and he knows all about passion due to that alone. Knowing there are few options for the car out there to begin with, Jeremy got craft with the build and integrated components from other cars onto his own.
Abbey Road Company makes absolutely nothing for the Prelude, but that didn't stop Jeremy from getting crafty and making it work
It’s no secret what brand Jeremy has the most affection for, and his large collection of ARC goods may or may not give that away. ARC spark plug cover, header shield, over flow tank, and so much more that have all been custom modified to fit Jeremy’s Prelude. The rest of the bay is complimented by a rare Jackson Racing SuperCharger for H22, as well as tons of titanium hardware throughout. Jeremy's full car was sprayed by Jorgie Built last year and made it's debut at The Chronicles Year 8 event. Since then, it has been one of the true builds to look out for this year.
Nothin' like a set of OG TE37's. Notice the Kaminari side skirts, which are likely one of very few options for the sides on this car
You may have noticed in the previous photo, Jeremy was rocking a set of Chrome plated Advan RG-II’s. But because he couldn’t make up his mind. Jeremy decided to take one side on the Advan RG-II’s and one side on classic TE37s in white.
No matter if the event as far as Florida or as close as California, Mike is always willing to take this thing wherever there is a group of enthusiasts who share the same love.
Mike Schietroma and his now infamous RCG EM1 were out at the event from Arizona. Mike’s car is well decorated and needs absolutely no introduction, and because of this, he received one of the best seats in the house. Right on the water next to the best views, the car looks more photogenic just due to this alone. Mike continues to rack up the hardware with his Civic and took home Best Honda of the Festival. Congrats Mike!
All gold everything on Tommy Nguyen's "StormtrooperDC5"
Anthony Gonzalez of Encore Automotive in Indio, CA brought out Tommy Nguyen’s gold decorated Acura RSX. This build has been many years coming, and it is always awesome to see the joy both Tommy and Anthony have when talking about the build. The real focal point here is the engine bay, which is themed around two things: Gold and titanium. Overall, another outstanding build from the guys at Encore Automotive.
Type R Front end with Mugen Lip and Grill on these 8th Gen Civics. One of the most instantly recognizable (and expensive, haha) JDM conversions out there.
Anthony Reynoso’s beautiful Mugen themed, CTR inspired 8th gen civic parked next to Kelvin Ceron's equally clean, white Mugen themed 8th gen. As we said earlier, these cars truly are starting to become more prevalent out there, and guys like Kelvin and Anthony are leading the pack to provide inspiration for those who want to take one on. These cars headlined a row that was seemingly multiple Mugen catalogues from different generations
Mugen, Mugen everywhere.
Parked next to the 8th Civics were the fillipino group of Mugen freaks that dub themselves the “Mugen Manyak’s”. Mark Moonoz 3rd Gen Civic was first in the line up, rocking a Doobie/Purple Speed front lip, a mint set of Mugen CF-48 wheels with Aero Disc, Mugen S1 Buckets, and more. Mark's dedication for a car that has literally nothing out there is awesome and it is amazing to watch him build something truly period correct. Next to him was Alex Alfaro’s beautiful 97 Spec R that wound up taking best Acura of the festival. Mugen Half Lip, S1 Bucket seats, and more make the ITR one of the best examples of a Mugen DC2 out there. And rounding out the trio was sponsored driver Fred Antonio, who took 2nd place best Acura with his Mugen catalogue RSX. Complete Mugen kit sitting on the recently recreated MF10's made by Rays for King Motorsports
The dust at Wekfest Long Beach isn't always forgiving, but it is a tell tale sign that you were apart of the event and can be taken home as a trophy so nobody leaves empty handed!
Robert of West Collectives simple NA1 NSX on another set of the recently re-released Mugen MF10’s. This setup is staggered in perfect NSX spec with 17x9 rear and 16x8 front. You’ll see the blue on Roberts car doesn’t shine as much as usual due to the heavy amount of dust from the Wekfest grass which is one of the very few drawbacks of the event. Still looks amazing!
Simplicity always makes a bold statement, but not everyone in this generation always keeps that in mind. Thankfully, there are people like Hector who abide by the rule of simplicity.
Hector Levario’s Voltex themed S2000 also made it out, showcasing a very simple yet still mean look on the AP2. Voltex diffuser, Type 2 wing, and Race front bumper compliment the car nicely with a set of custom spec TE37s tying it all together.
Rob's Spoon EG is always a crowd pleaser whenever it is out and about. You name the Spoon item and I guarantee you Rob has it on the car or has plans to have it on the car
Sponsored driver Robert Perez and his Spoon themed EG Civic need no introduction at all as his car has been a staple of the Honda community in So Cal for many years. Rob stopped bringing it out due to a couple personal issues he had with the car, but it’s nice to see him bringing it out again. There are very few items on this car that are not Spoon Sports, but this photo alone shows just how much of a Spoon nut Rob is. Rob took home the Best Civic award, which is a tough honor considering the abundance of clean Civics present at the event that day.
Nobody should build for the hardware, but a little recognition is never a bad thing.
With the day nearing a close, award time brought a couple pieces of hardware to the cars we showcased at our booth. Jeremy Allgiers Prelude took 2nd best Honda and our FA5 Civic taking 3rd. We were shocked that our Civic took anything, because in reality, we feel it is not quite 100% yet. We can't wait for it to be 100% by San Jose, though.
Barry's passion for the EP3 chassis is near equal to Jeremy Allgiers love for the Prelude. We need more people who see the potential in these oft forgotten chassis.
We caught Stay Classick creator and EP3 fanatic Barry Ancheta on his way out of the event. Barry helped organize parking and helped keep the event under control all day, but he still managed to bring his Phoenix Yellow EP3 out to showcase it. Nothing too over the top, but the Mugen front end pieces and CTR bits scattered throughout compose a really awesome build.
Nothing beats retaining stock body lines and simplicity
With the day coming to a close, that means that it was time for all the infamous photos by the water. Kelvin Ceron's aforementioned Mugen/CTR themed 8th gen sure was eye candy out on the water. As I have said probably multiple times throughout this post, simplicity is often forgotten but the builders who can utilize it and utilize it properly are honestly the ones who make the most timeless projects.
Often thought of as a crew, Hasback is a brand headed by Son that is dedicated to the love and appreciation of Honda modification. Son's EK leads a fleet of well done builds that are all about doing things the right way
Creator of Hasback brand, Son’s EK is also one of those cars that is just an instantly recognized staple of the SoCal Honda community. Son always has a new set up or is consistently mixing and matching what he does have to create different looks and always awesome setups. He showed up to WekFest rocking a front end consisting of a First Molding hood and Backyard Special bumper, with further aero provided by Vision Type DC Mirrors and a Zeal/Endless Rear Spoiler. The wheel wells were complimented by rare yet blingy Crimson Linea Sport Super Spokes.
Making it to Wekfest is so important that sometimes you just gotta suck it up and bring your project non running. We should know as we have done it too haha
Long time customer Tan Tran finally was able to debut his EK Hatch after it being down for a couple years. Right hand drive converted and K-Swapped, Tan’s car unfortunately had a wiring short somewhere that he couldn’t trace before the event so he unfortunately had to bring it non running. We were happy to help Tan with most of the K-Swap and aero goods on his ride, and we are excited to see the car operable and running at 100%
Never a bad photo out on the waterfront and easily where the best photos of the event are created
Son, Rob, and Tan taking some photos at sunset with the beautiful scenery of Long Beach as the backdrop. Always one of the quintessential parts of leaving Wekfest LB is trying to capture that one photo of your car right before the sun goes down.
It's near impossible to build an S2000 the wrong way since there are so many options that just look so well mixed and matched together
Can’t identify the owner of this S2000 but everything about it was executed nicely. Voltex Street front bumper, J’s Racing Type V hood, and an OEM S2000 CR wing give the car more of a street style than an over the top aggressive look.
Packing up the FA5 after a long day to bring it back to the shop and prepare it for San Jose. Always an enjoyable and amazing event that the Wekfest staff put on, we are truly grateful for such an awesome platform to showcase our builds and view everything else the scene has to offer. We eagerly anticipate San Jose in a couple weeks, and hope to catch you at the event! We will be there with a full booth so make sure to stop by
Photos by Misa Munguia
A lot can change in 20 years. From your dreams and aspirations to the crowd you associate with to the interests you share, it’s near guaranteed that who you were 20 years ago is not who you are today in at least more than one way. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, as sometimes the seeds you sow can prove to be life changing alterations that seemed like minor events at the time. When you apply this notion to Honda and Honda Motorsports as a whole, 20 years ago the seeds were planted to establish themselves as more than a company built on fuel economy and affordability. Honda Motor Company gave birth to the idea that Motorsports could be marketable and sold to the masses, thus birthing the Type R brand.
20 years later, Honda has reveled in the success of their Type R line up and the platforms have become the epitome of what nearly every Honda enthusiast wants or strives to have. At the time, Honda may not have realized that they had crafted a legacy or birthed a legend, but they established themselves as a motorsports juggernaut that was just as capable as anyone else. They established a legacy that had to be preserved and respected by people like Adam Elghriany who were capable of ensuring that examples of the now classic EK9 Type R could be viewed and appreciated for generations to come.
For Adam, preservation has always been the key. He purchased the CTR after selling a Civic coupe that he had an extreme amount of funds invested into. Though his coupe was an overall build with no stone left unturned, Adam began to part it out piece by piece when the opportunity presented itself to purchase one of his dream cars. He may or may not have known it at the time, but his build style would change immensely going from his coupe to the CTR, as he went from full blown show stopper to restoring a timeless chassis.
With that said, Adam recalls that the first mod he did was a little revamp of the sound system just because the Japanese system in the car didn’t work. “I love music especially when traveling to events all over the country”, Adam says, “but unfortunately, the Japanese radio wasn't working here in the states and a couple of the speakers were blown. Naturally, one of the first mods I did on the car was putting in a sound system. Nothing crazy just nice and simple”. May sound like a small deal, but if you’ve ever driven a car with no radio (especially cross country), you know how painstakingly hard it can be to keep your sanity.
After that, Adam threw the car on the Volk TE37s in OG bronze finish. The wheels pop nicely off the Phoenix Yellow paint and do a great job at making the exterior look mean while maintaining a relatively stock CTR exterior. A Mugen twin loop exhaust system pokes out from the rear bumper, Honda Access headlight covers protect the pristine CTR headlights up front, and every other CTR exterior pieces sits as it should, where it should.
The interior matches what is seen on the exterior with Civic Type R pieces scattered through out. Carpet, floor mats, cluster, door panels, and so much more are surrounded by a Spoon Sports Gen III steering wheel, Spoon Sports shift knob, Works Bell Hub and Quick Release setup, and a few other small complimentary pieces. Also take note that Adam is utilizing both one DC5 Recaro seat in the driver seat and a CTR recaro seat in the passenger. Not 100% sure why both models were utilized but we aren’t complaining about it either!
Make no mistake though, as Adam does have plans to redo the car entirely. It isn’t that Adam had no intention or plans to modify the car heavily, but how can you dismantle one of few examples left of a car that deserves to be remembered? “It's hard to say what future plans I have for the car, because I don't want to do to much to the car since it is an iconic car and I don't want to take away from its originality”, Adam says. “I would never do anything to the car that I can't put back to stock”, he continues, showing a willingness to retain the goods he takes off and at least always be able to say that he has a full Civic Type R that can be restored back to stock within a days time.
Adam won’t give up any hints about what is coming, but he admits he has always idolized the Spoon Sports EK9 Civic. He also told us that he was fortunate enough to meet Motoshi Ando, owner of the infamous brand First Molding, and may be incorporating some of the goods he manufactures for the EK9. Whatever direction Adam goes, We are proud to be onboard with him on this project and know that it will become one of the prime examples of how you can retain a modern classic while still putting your own twist on it.
Adams car is a reminder that while we may not realize the importance of an event in the moment, once we do realize the importance, we must do all we can to make sure these moments stay relevant and continue to be talked about by the generations to come. And it may sound silly to say that about a Honda Civic, but may I once again remind you, this chassis was the turning point for Honda motorsports. It showed that the econobox car manufacture could also make sporty cars capable of keeping up with the best of them. It showed that sport and reliability could go hand in hand and a huge turbo or RWD drive train wasn’t required to go fast. 20 years ago, the CTR set a precedent for Honda as a brand, and we are grateful for people like Adam who continue to showcase that story for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.
Photos by Misa @niftymisa and Angel @thatog_nemo. Words by Joe @charged_ and Angel.
As long-time supporters of the Vtec Club series there was no way we were going to miss the first Autumn Speed Festival. This was the first all-Honda event and although we love seeing all makes and models it was pretty damn cool seeing so many purose built Hondas at one event.
This is actually the first Vtec Club event that we've shot and shared in a blog post. Looking back I'm not sure why we haven't been shooting and blogging since the beginning since we're out at most Vtec Club events to drive or hang anyway. Shooting added another dimension of fun to the event becuase it gave us a great excuse to really check out Vtec Clubber's cars in detail and talk to drivers more about their builds. We're looking forward to getting up close and personal with many more drivers at future events and maybe even doing some features or something.
Myself and Misa were shooting most of the day and when it came time to edit we realized how quickly photos add up. We snapped several hundred photos of the 80-100 cars in attendance but with the Black Friday craziness at the store there was just no time to edit them all. We'll be walking around and shooting at rd.5 at Button Willow this weekend also so if you don't see your car in this post check back next week for rd.5 coverage!
Side note before we get started, we edited a lot more photos that we didn't have time to add to this blog post either. To download high res versions or peep the full set, follow this link to Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146662880@N02/
One of the highlights of the day was the presence of Tatsuru Ichishima, president and creator of Spoon Sports. I believe he was visiting from Japan to attend the SEMA show in Las Vegas and Global Time Attack's Super Lap Battle. Not sure how he heard about the Autumn Speed Festival but it was pretty cool of him to attend. Especially since Spoon Sports had their own event starting a few hours later at Go Tuning in Orange (around 2 hours away).
The legendary Honda tuning shop out of Tokyo, Japan was started by Ichishima in 1988 and has become a powerhouse when it comes to producing balanced yet unequaled aftermarket parts for Hondas. Enthusiasts like Ken Gibson were happy to get the chance to meet Mr. Ichishima as he really is a celebrity when it comes to Honda tuning and aftermarket support.
Other enthusiasts like Joel Webster were happy to gain a bit of insight into what a man like Ichishima-san thinks of the Hondas present at the event. And of course, to have him embellish his signature on whatever Spoon Sports goods were present to have as keepsakes and memories.
Though John Cruz had no Spoon goods on his Integra Type R, Mr. Ichishima was gracious enough to apply his signature to his Type R spark plug cover. Request like these show a real respect for the man. His impact and presence is that of a legend.
Another visitor from Japan, Kazuhiro Furukawa, better known as the man behind Osaka JDM. Kazuhiro has been building this EG Civic for track use here in California and was excited to shake it down at Big Willow at the Autumn Speed Festival. Driving Big Willow for the first time, Kazuhiro held his own, hanging with Big Willow-veteran times. It will be interesting to watch this car evolve over the next few months.
The red NSX was finally ready to get a few laps in. It felt great, but will still need a good bit of work before it is competitive. To be honest this is a back-burner project for us right now while we focus on other projects. But next year when we really tear it apart for a full build I think everyone will be really happy with how it turns out. Right now it's just a fun car to drive. So fun in fact that it's pretty much become my daily haha
While some experts were continuing their dominance, drivers like Joel "Nite Grind" Webster were getting their first taste of track experience at the fastest track in the VTEC Club series. Joel has been building his 96 spec Ferio for a couple months now and times are improving quickly. Track life fenders, ferio rear wing, and Enkei Racing S leave it looking aggressive, while all sorts of EK4 optional goods rest in the interior to provide some show to compliment the go.
Seasoned drivers like Amir Bentatou prove that improving driver skill never stops. Amir took 1st place and snagged a new personal best of 1:29 in the Marvelous Tune X Nemo's Garage NSX. Congrats Amir!
Alex Zhao of Wheel Flip/Arcane Wheels recently made major aesthetic and performance imporovements to his S2000. Supercharged, aggressive Voltex aero (Voltex front bumper, over-fenders and Type 7 rear spoiler). Awesome seeing so many people involved with the automotive industry taking part in this series, shows how quickly it's growing.
Matt Roger of M's JDM Motors and Dimes Performance fueling up his real EF6 CR-X before take off. Matt imported this thing just for the purpose of wailing on it on track, something many of us would only dream of doing. On a set of burning red TE37s.
The gentlemen of Loi Spec Garage came out with their Integras and put in work on track. Pictured is Loi Hua's instantly recognizable k-swapped Type R sporting a First Molding front lip, First Molding hood, Voltex wing, PCI side skirts, some killer ZE40's, Recaros, a host of Mugen parts and much more. Also pictured is his brother Brian's DB8 Integra, featuring J's front fenders and hood, as well as a C-West front bumper.
I LOVE seeing cars of this caliber at track putting all of these ultra high-quality Japanese and American parts to work. The cars that come out of Loi Spec regularly display show-quality, but don't get it twisted, these are track machines. Being able to take honors at a Southern CA car show is just a bonus.
Arizona resident Phil Robles came out with his well known and loved EG Civic. Phil has come out to Vtec Club events before but this was Phil's first time at Big Willow. Hard to believe considering Phil is seemingly always at track somewhere, but I suppose there is a first time for everything. Phil put down a final time in the low 1:30's, which is pretty damn quick, but was already looking forward to improving his times with another trip out to Willow Springs. I guess that shows how much he loves to push himself to improve and continue to grow as a driver. His civic features Chargespeed fenders and side skirts, C-West front bumper, J's rear GT Wing, TE37RT's and just about every other item an EG enthusiast could fanboy over.
Word on the street is there are some big changes coming soon. Can't wait to see the next step for this car. It was great seeing you Phil!
Amongst the fastest on the day was Jose Mejia with his DC Integra. Another car that could easily be mistaken for a show car. Don't let the fancy Mugen spoiler or the European front end fool you, Jose's DC is 100% track. Featuring a B20 that is pushed to the limit of it's class rules, its insane how fast this guy makes 160 Horsepower look. Jose put down a 1:34, which obliterated the old N2 track record and allowed him to take 1st overall in N2 class. A great effort by Jose and the rest of team Chewerks. Congrats Jose!
Henry Fierros getting ready to take his champagne colored EK Ferio out on track. PCI side skirts, Special Projects front lip/splitter, and Mag blue TE37s. We've helped Henry out with quite a few parts on this car and it's awesome to come out and see people like him putting them to good use!
John Cruz brought his 98 spec Integra Type R out and bested his previous PB. John was running mid 1:40's in his old GS-R swapped EK. A couple months later, he improved to low 1:40's. And after round 4, he is now sitting at a 1:37. It was interesting to hear this from someone like John because I have personally known him to be a great driver for quite some time. It just goes to show that no matter how good of a driver you are or think you are, there is always room for improvement. Happy to see your skills evolving John, keep going!
James Ornelas aka "Ghostwerks" and his 96 spec MFactory EK. 5 lug conversion, burning red TE37s. Simple but looks great.
An impressive duo of CR-X's that were present at the event. The first being the k-swapped, olive green CR-X belonged to the guys over at Barramundi Wheels USA. The second belonging to Carlos Garcia aka "DPK Los". Recently acquired from Jo of 38 Speed, Carlos wasted little time in getting this rex prepped and ready for track duty.
James Li's HKS themed S2000 made an appearance. Equipped with Volk ZE40's, a Voltex swan neck, Spoon Sports front bumper, and much more. Thanks for the support, James!
Ken Gibson is still growing as a driver but I love hearing about how excited he is to be out on track. Kenny doesn't care so much about the time he puts down, but more so about having fun. That is the true essence of VTEC Club. Just get in your car and push it as hard as you can with a big smile on your face.
Mark aka Ecko_3420 leading the pack out of turn 9 and into the final straight in his EK hatch. Track life fender cut outs, Bomex rear spoiler, and a BattleCraft hood made to work with a 96-98 front end.
Son Vo aka n00dler's aggressive S2000 bringing it home after a session on track. Hard to tell by the photo but Son is on a set of the new SSR GTX01, a great looking wheel.
A photo of Mr. McRib himself fixing a cooling issue he was suffering from. Turns out a slim fan is necessary when running an oversized header. An easily correctable issue though, as Joel was back out in no time.
Not quite sure who owns this EG but I really loved the way it looked. Very purpose-buil and well executed.
Tom Liang chopping it up with Melvin "Rod" Rodriguez while checking his tire pressure on his K-swapped Civic EF. This image embodies what the VTEC Club series is to me: Camaraderie. Everybody is an equal. Everybody wants to see the next man succeed. Fast times are great and come with seat-time, but having fun is most important. It's a great feeling to be in this environment.
Hope you guys enjoyed the coverage. See everyone this weekend at Button Willow!
Once again, to download high res version, click HERE.
For years now Joey Lee's "The Chronicles Meet" has been a favorite for So Cal Honda guys. There are bigger shows/meets as far as quantity but I can confidently say this is annually THE gathering of the best quality Honda builds in California. It's a pretty intimate event and that's part of what makes it really cool. You usually know at least half of the guys there so it makes for a fun day of catching up and BS-ing with old friends. The dudes at Auto Fashion grace us with 90's hip hop all day, you drink that 6-pack of Modelo you and your co-pilot snuck in and life is good.
This year the guys at Hybrid Racing decided to make the trip out from Louisiana to attend the meet. We recently became their West-Coast distributor so we thought it would be cool to host them at our booth. They brought out a bunch of gear and a few new parts that we will be posting photos and details of on our Instagram next week. It was a busy day but our shop photographer Misa found a little time to run around and snap some shots before people started taking off. He actually got 3-4 times more cars than we are sharing below, but since we are in the middle of a transition from a crazy SEMA week to a back-to-back event weekend we just don't have time to process and post all of the photos. We'll share more photos on social media over the next few weeks. This is just a teaser anyway, I'm sure Joey's coverage will be a lot more detailed than ours. Hope you guys enjoy the preview!
Tommy Nguyen’s DC5 debuted with us at our booth and we were extraordinarily happy it made it out. Anthony Gonzalez of Encore Auto in Indio, CA has been putting this one together for quite some time so we were happy he and Tommy were able to debut it with us. Titanium piping and a ridiculous amount of gold dipped pieces throughout, the boys wound up taking home Best Engine Bay. An easy decision I'm sure. Amazing work guys, we're looking forward to seeing it next summer once it's 100% dialed in.
Positioned on the other side of our booth and making the trek all the way from El Paso, Texas was Johnny Ortiz and his aggressive track EG Civic build. Fitting a 275mm tire under the wide Chargespeed fenders should tell you everything about how much power this turbo’d, K-Series hatch is putting down. Johnny runs JFA Repair back home and this EG is a sample of what they can do. If you're looking for some help on your next build in the El Paso area make sure to give him a call. Thanks again for making the trip Johnny!
Chuy Navarro of DPK showcased his immaculate 98 Spec Integra Type R. He’s really been enjoying it on the Mag Blue Volk CE28N’s lately and we don’t blame him. You may notice that one of the differentiating factors of Chuy’s car has been put back to normal, with his custom headlight air scoop and titanium intake being swapped out for an OEM headlight and Comptech ice box intake. It was supposed to rain on Saturday so Chuy was just being prepared for the worst.
Jimmy Uria brought out his awesome Mercedez Benz W108. You may have seen this car in Super Street a couple months back, and while it may look subtle, there are so many extremely rare OEM optional parts on this car that it isn’t funny. We love the W108 Jimmy, but bring the Del Sol out some time soon!
Year 8 was the debut of our sponsored driver Jeremy Allgier’s Prelude. An engine bay adorned with ARC goods retrofitted from other cars, we are truly proud of how far Jeremy has taken an often forgotten Honda chassis. Though not fully complete yet, we wanted to congratulate Jeremy on winning The Chronicles award and an overall amazing product!
Matt of M’s JDM Motors and Dimes Performance brought out his unforgettable EF hatch with a little bit of a different look. Usually on Carving Lover Souls, Matt switched it up with a nice set of Mag Blue TE37s that blended in nicely with the shade of his paint.
Our friend Adam Elghriany brought out his real deal Civic Type R all the way from New Jersey just for the event. We spent a ton of time with Adam over the weekend and will have more on this car in the future.
Mike Schietroma also came from out of state, bringing along his highly decorated EM1. Crazy that a full year after its' debut it is still winning best of show honors. Congrats Mike!
Dave Chik didn’t bless us with his beautiful DA Integra, but he did bring out his supercharged S2000 on Desmond Regamaster Evo’s. Always loved Dave’s car for featuring a rarely seen S2000 piece with the Mugen 3 piece rear spoiler.
Ho Dao did bring out his DA Integra though, on rebarrelled Mugen MR-5’s. Always a favorite simply due to those wheels alone.
Loi Hua of Loi Spec Garage brought out his personal ITR which features a plethora of amazing aero. Crow house fenders, First Molding hood and lip, Spoon mirrors, and more. The ZE40s were a nice touch on the car and they fit right in with the older Honda platform.
Marcus Thomas came from northern California in his ever evolving EG hatch. Notice small things like the shaved side moldings or R32 Skyline wheels up front and you’ll quickly see Marcus loves going against the grain. We recently helped him acquire his J’s Racing GT Wing and it only added to the aggressive styling of the car.
Marc aka Down_Since_85 always showing just how down he is. This guy comes out from Arizona for anything and everything. His DAP hatch gets driven often but it still looks damn good. Mark was sporting a set of Sprinthart CPR’s on the passenger side, with SSR Type C’s on the drivers.
The Palafox Brothers EK is just one of those builds you will truly never forget. Painted in an off white “pepper” color, it’s simplicity does so much justice to the EK chassis. Equipped with a Mugen SS lip and EC works mirrors on the outside, the inside sports Spoon bucket seats and a Miracle X Cross bar.
Randall Ang never brings his 96-98 spec Civic coupe out, but it’s always nice to appreciate it when he gives us the chance. Turbo charged with minor exterior goods like SiR Bumpers and Spoon mirrors, Randall switched it up with his wheel set up and showed up on Advan RG1’s.
Juan Leon’s midori EK Civic is such a looker. Proof that a Honda doesn’t need much to look absolutely stunning. Pictured on 5 lug Spoon SW388 wheels, it truly is such a timeless look.
Sponsored driver Jonathan Monteith brought out his track bred EG hatch. We seriously love this car, and I swear it isn't just because hes sponsored ;) The red accented engine bay, interior and exterior flow really nicely. The wide fenders, canards, gt-mirrors, cut rear bumper, J's exhaust and Js GT wing create such a balanced aggressive look. Everything is executed way more meticulously than a track car ever needs to be. The fact that he actually puts all of these fancy pieces to work at Vtec Club regularly just adds to the total package.
Rob Perez brought out his super clean Spoon EG hatch. Rob has been taking a hiatus from bringing the car out due to some incredibly small imperfections that only a perfectionist like Rob would notice, but it is always a pleasure to see it out and about.
John Cruz brought out his 98 spec ITR that sees regular track use. I love the use of Work RSZ-R wheels, as it looks so period correct.
Again, we left a ton of really clean cars out, but I'm sure you can catch them on The Chronicles when Joey releases his coverage. Great to see everyone last weekend, now back to the SEMA show, then the Turtle Garage meet on Saturday and Auto Fashion's VIP Fest on Sunday. Then a full day of micro-naps at our desks on Monday...
When starting a project car, you can never be too sure what direction you will take it. We are products of a fast moving society, and so often, we come to find that our taste in parts or style differs as time goes by. The style you may have been going for yesterday may not be the goal you are aiming for today. And while it is not necessarily a bad thing to have choice, the freedom to have choice sometimes makes us build cars we never thought we would be building. In steps Louie Arias, the owner of this 1996 Honda Civic CX, one of many victims of a “small change of plans”.
Louie set out looking for a 96-98 Civic, and after about a month of searching, he stumbled upon a 96 Vogue Silver Metallic hatch. He purchased this car at a point in his life where funds were not as accessible as he would like, but that didn’t deter him from going after the quality goods he wanted. “I learned from my previous build that replica or cheap parts were lacking in quality, so I taught myself patience and learned to save as much as I could”, says Louie.
He aimed to build a Spoon Sports/EK4 inspired hatchback, and he was definitely on that path for awhile. Acquiring items like OEM EK4 front and rear bumpers, fenders, thin side moldings, rear seats, and more, he was on the right path to building a great EK4 clone. Some more time went by and he equipped the car with Recaro Speed seats, a B16A motor, and a classic set of Carving Starks, making the car fit the image Louie was really going for. But then, the “small change of plans” occurred, and the car was sent down another path.
Louie decided it was time to get rid of that faded, Vogue Silver Metallic paint that he had and get a new paint job altogether. He drove the car up to Gilroy, Ca where he and his buddies from Team Insidious dismantled nearly everything so the car could get fully resprayed. From engine bay to interior, everything was removed and the whole shell was to be painted, inside and out.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. Louie went to pick up the car, only to realize that there was some miscommunication with he and the painter and the interior was not sprayed at all. Louie let it slide, but his dislike for the incomplete paintjob left him with an itch to complete the car up to his standards. Instead of deciding to get just the interior painted, Louie decided it was time to repaint everything. This is where the real makeover occurred.
Starting with a facelift, Louie picked up some Civic Type R headlights and built upon that. From there, he went with a Jblood front bumper, J’s Racing front fenders, and a Shift Sports hood to cap off the full 99-00 conversion. He didn’t leave the back untouched though, as a Seeker V2 wing and Sergeant rear diffuser were also added to make the car look even more menacing.
But he didn’t leave the interior untouched, as he left it all gutted for the respray. Louie, along with his brother and girlfriend, put in a team effort to remove all the sound deadening from the car and make sure every crevice of the interior would also be covered in paint. And if that wasn’t enough to make the interior stand out just as much as the exterior, Louie had a set of Bride Zeta III bucket seats waiting to go in after the car was out of paint.
And once all that was complete, Louie was back to a point where the car was ready to be sent to paint. He sent it to a different painter this time hoping for better results, but once again, he was a bit let down. The paint came out nice, sure, but he didn’t like the fitment on certain body panels. He had told the painter beforehand to do whatever he could to make the pieces work together, but the painter seemed to ignore his concerns and didn’t fix the issues at hand. Due to this, Louie let the car sit and kept saying that “next weekend” he would reassemble it.
After two long years, next weekend finally came and Louie got the boost he needed. His friend Omar offered his assistance, and that small gesture was all it took for Louie to finally make moves with his EK project. First he started with brake lines and made his own custom set of hard brake lines. He then began re-installing pieces like the dashboard and other OEM goods, making the car start showing signs of life again. But during the time the car was down, Louie sold his B16 motor. He quickly realized that though the car may be showing signs of life, in order to give it life, he needed to re-acquire another B16 motor. And thus, a B16 motor was sent to Omar’s shop, ensuring that Louie would be able to get the car back up and running.
Things started signaling a return after the motor was in. Everything was connected, fluids were going in, and the car was almost ready to turn over once again. But then, one final setback got in the way of completion for Louie’s EK. He noticed that the brake lines he hand made were all leaking at the proportioning valve. Due to this, most all the brake lines had to be remade. This proved to be the final setback though, as Louie cranked the car on that day and drove it home the following morning.
Louie may have taken the path he didn’t think he would end up going down, but in the end, I am sure he would agree it was a lot more rewarding. Many more lessons learned, many great memories due to the power of amazing friends, and a car that looks absolutely perfect. Louie may hate that he had to get the car painted twice, or that certain items didn’t fit how he’d like, or that he didn’t go with soft brake lines instead of bending his own, but I know for a fact he is ecstatic with the way the car came out. Once uninterested in the car to the point where it may never have gotten finish, but now so interested in it that it truly shows whenever he speaks about it. We are happy to be apart of your build Louie, thank you for being an inspiration to us and the many other enthusiasts out there.
Louie would like to thank: “Everyone who helped me out, especially my boy Omar for being an asshole and always talking smack on how I had given up on the hatch”