Camaraderie is an essential part of the automotive community. The relationships we form with others who share a mutual interest makes for unforgettable memories and help to prolong the love of this great hobby. You can enjoy building cars by yourself but it just isn't the same as having friends by your side to share the experiences. That's why we have meets, shows, join clubs and hang out together. But if there's one thing that is more important than friendships, it's family. Not just the "family" that you have when you join a car crew, but people who we share a bloodline with. Take for instance this early nineties Honda Civic Si and CR-X.
It's second nature for us to choose who we're friends with and the relationships we want to uphold and value in our lives. But with family, "blood is thicker than water." We can't choose our family but we just have to put up with whatever they do sometimes. It's rare to see blood-bonds in the car community because family members don't always share mutual interests. One person in the family may be into a particular thing that a brother or sister isn't. Sharing a pastime doesn't always work between siblings because you're constantly around them and you can't escape them when you have a disagreement. That blood that you share is more important than anything else, so for example, if your sibling builds an ugly-ass car, you're stuck with that ugly car in the crew you can never leave.
With that said, there are rare instances when the stars align and our family and our hobby work together in unison. Meet the Jaimes brothers; Luis owns the bronze metallic Honda Civic Si hatchback and the teal CR-X belongs to his younger brother, Jose. Not only do they share a last name, they are also both Volvo Service technicians, carpool to work together every day and share a love of early-'90s Hondas. Both of their builds are very much their own and strong enough to be independent of one another—but neither would be where it is today if not for the other. Instead of thinking of it as two men building two cars, try to imagine it more as two brothers, working as one, to build two different Hondas.
There aren't too many enthusiasts left these days that enjoy and appreciate Hondas the way the Jaimes brothers do. They are very much a throwback to the early days when building cars was just for fun and a reason to hang out with friends. These days, finding feature cars has become more of a task than anything; people want to negotiate covers, have demands, make special requests—that sense of appreciation that once existed just isn't as common anymore. The Jaimes worked incredibly hard to get their cars to this point and were genuine in their appreciation of the opportunity to be featured.
"I got into this build with no expectations," Luis says. "I put this (Civic) together to challenge myself and to make good memories with my friends. It was just a means to go out and meet fellow enthusiasts that enjoyed cars."
Luis' Civic was the first to make an impression out here in Southern California. He was slowly building the car to where he ultimately wanted it but still regularly attended local meets and car shows. His brother Jose had a different approach; he had an all-original RHD CR-X SiR from Japan, but rarely brought it out because he was carefully planning out his other projects.
"When we were kids, we already had an interest in cars," Jose reminisces. "We couldn't drive yet so we built model cars. I had a CR-X model and just always had a particular fascination with the second-generation CR-X. Eventually I got my license and, obviously, I had to get a CR-X. One CR-X turned into two so I decided to keep my right-hand drive EF8 completely OEM while we planned-out the total transformation for the other."
Fellow Honda aficionados started taking notice of Luis Jaimes' Civic because of its central underlying theme of Mugen greatness. We're not just talking about wheels either—there are a ton of rare Mugen goods on this car inside and out. You can easily tell that he is a man of details. The outside features a Mugen EG6 front lip and side skirts, while the interior is adorned with Mugen products from both past and present. The newest would be the S1-R bucket seats and spherical shift knob. His Civic is literally "Mugen-powered" as well as the engine is motivated by a reflashed N1 ECU. Anything that isn't Mugen-ized inside is original JDM EG6 interior pieces. The most unique would be the checkered 20th Anniversary rear seats, door panels, armrest and floor mats. Luis even has the 20th Anniversary key and key fob to match! You'd have to look closely to find the rare Mugen accessory of the exterior—beneath his rear bumper is a stealthy Mugen "Tear Drop" exhaust that is probably worth half the cost of the EH3 chassis alone! A Mugen Active Gate brake setup would suit this build perfectly, but the Spoon clappers behind his 15-inch M7 wheels provide an interesting contrast that also matches his brother's brakes.
Jose's CR-X takes on a much more liberal approach. If you really had to pin a theme to it, I guess you can say that it is "Spoon-themed." When it first made its debut last year at the annual Eibach Honda Meet in SoCal, his CR-X had 15-inch Spoon SW388 wheels on it but he has since moved on to a set of Mugen MF10Ls. The entire shell was reworked with JDM EF8 CR-X SiR components before being doused with multiple coats of Scion's Hypnotic Teal Mica paint. The front lip looks like a J-spec EF8 SiR piece but is actually a carbon variation created by Password:JDM. His interior is a tad simpler than Luis' with just a single Bride bucket, Takata harness and a classic MOMO Monte Carlo steering wheel. Worth noting is that this CR-X has a Spoon Sports-built K20 manual transmission.
Of the two builds, the teal-toned CR-X came together much quicker because the brothers had already experienced the trials and tribulations first with the Civic. The most difficult project for them was getting the K20A to run. Luis explains, "The wiring was a headache. Since it was our first K-swap, it took us awhile to figure out how to wire the car to run. During initial start-up, the car would crank but it just wouldn't fire-up. We had to backtrack and make sure that everything was where it needed to be. With some phone calls and research on the Internet, we finally got it going." Jose took the ordeal as a lesson-learned and ordered a complete Rywire Mil-Spec engine harness for his swap. He just had to plug everything up and the car came to life with no worries. Other than the differences in the wiring, both K-swaps share a lot of similarities. The two are accessorized differently but the guts are essentially the same, running Skunk2's Mega Power exhaust manifolds, K-Tuned constituents and both fuel systems are plumbed almost identically. Aesthetically, the obvious distinction of the two swaps is with the intake manifolds; Luis runs a polished Honda RBC unit and Jose uses the factory manifold for clearance issues.
No matter how many parallels and differences exist between the two builds, it is apparent that the solidarity is unrivaled with these two brothers. Both set out to build their cars their own way, but you can see the influences of the two brothers in each car. Ask anyone that has encountered them and they will probably tell you that they easily get Luis and Jose confused with one another. The personalities are similar in that they are both soft-spoken and very reserved, but they are also each their own man. I couldn't really think of any other way to feature their Hondas but to put them together because, well, it just made sense to. They embarked on this journey as a duo and it didn't seem right to split them up. Blood (and motor oil) is thicker than water and you can throw in whatever over-used cliche you can think of. At the end of the day, it's family first.