If you ever have any doubts or fears about the decline of import lifestyle or even the distinct niche of the Honda segment, all you have to do is attend the annual Eibach Honda Meet. It's hard to argue a scene is dead when you have approximately 8,000 loyal fans gathering at Storm Stadium in Lake Elsinore, California. I mean, who goes to Lake Elsinore for an import car show? The only thing cool about making the trek to the Inland Empire city is the optional mountain route you can take to get there. Yet every year since Eibach HQ in nearby Corona was deemed too small and the event had to relocate, it just gets bigger and bigger. What was originally a small meet with 50 cars in a parking lot has become the massive 800-car count it is now.
Event co-founder Matt Rodriguez, aka Rodrez, says, "Highlights from this year would be Falken Tire signing on as the main title sponsor. I've been a fan of their product and the grassroots stance their staff takes really just feels right when combined with this meet. Also, the car count climbs each year and this is the largest number of pre-registered vehicles we've had so far and the fastest roll-in procedure."
Just like the previous year, the venue had two separate areas for vendors and private car displays just so there wouldn't be any confusion with EZ-ups. Rodrez mentions, " We were pleased with the massive numbers and the fact that we didn't have any incidents throughout the day. The vibe was extremely laid back and people were just enjoying the cars, the event and the overall interaction. Vendors were happy with the foot traffic as well."
While Hondas at large can have a bad reputation for "rice," there are a handful of builders with exceptional taste and a fetishistic approach to clean engine bays and rare wheels. One of the builds that stood out was Jay Sese's 1995 Honda Civic SiR II he originally brought from Canada as a shell. Jay tells us that Canada uses a 15-year importing law instead of the ridiculous 25-year law we have in California. Under the hood is a supercharged, period-correct B16A2, but will soon have a Type R motor with an HKS turbocharger. Jay says, "The theme is a street car with the occasional track capability. There are parts that I want to keep OEM just because it's so rare to find SiR II parts."
Another sick build was Carlos Palafox's 2000 Civic hatchback with a 2000-spec Integra Type R motor. On the outside is a Mugen front lip, Seeker V1 wing, Craftsquare mirrors, and a clean Peppermint White paint job. The interior has rad Spoon parts including his bucket seats and steering wheel. "I love collecting rare parts," Palafox says. He even has small details such as the discontinued Spoon titanium shift knob and is currently on the hunt for a Spoon cluster.
In the vendor area, Robert Chew's Rocket Bunny NSX at the Auto Fashion booth was a big hit. It's not all show either, as it's equipped with a Gruppe M supercharger. Robert says, "It's done for now, but I do have plans down the road to modify it more.."
Rodrez concludes, "It's funny when people say that we should hand pick which cars that are able to park inside the gates and there should be a 'best of show' or something similar. That's exactly what we don't want. There's more than enough events with all of that pressure and politics. We prefer keeping this a meet, intended for any and everyone that loves Hondas. That's it-as simple as it gets."