A few years back, Jason Pham from Fairfax, Va., was a huge fan of the Japanese Civic Type R. He says he used to have wet dreams about owning one. But since the CTR never made it to the States, Pham bought himself a black '99 DX hatch and tried to get as close to the spirit and performance of the revered JDM machine.
Rather than getting himself some imitation rims and a body kit off of eBay, Pham took the rougher road, snapping up issues of Option magazine and cataloging the parts and pieces he wanted. With the help of friend Harry Nguyen at Car Trenz and advice from his teammates in Team eMotion, Pham had parts from Japan arriving at his door almost everyday.
First on Pham's agenda was replacing the stock motor with a B18C and a Spoon clutch/flywheel combo inside the transmission housing. Outside the motor, he added a J's Racing carbon-fiber intake, Mugen 4-2-1 header and a custom 2.5-inch B-pipe flowing into an Ultimate Motorsports hi-flow cat and out a 5Zigen Fireball axle-back can. An A'PEXi VAFC-2 offers air/fuel adjustability and a Nitrous Express NXT direct-port wet kit is on hand for cheap thrills.
Outside, the stock black paint with bird shit stains wasn't gonna cut it on the show scene, so Pham sent it, along with what he says is one of the first four-piece Charge Speed lip kits in the U.S., to Tommy at Tommy Kustoms for a complete spray of NSX Long Beach Blue Pearl. Finishing details include Civic Type R headlights, rain guards, power folding mirrors, rear spoiler and front grille (due to a minor accident with a deer, the Charge Speed lip incurred damage and in its place sits a VIS carbon-fiber replacement).
Underneath that soaking wet blue pearl sheet metal, the EK sits on JIC FLT-A1 coilovers attached to SRR lower control arms, along with a Carbing three-point upper strut bar and rear lower tie bar, and a Cusco six-point cage for additional chassis stiffening. Connecting it all to the road are 16-inch AME Tracers sourced from AutoRnD and completed only after the required conversion to a five-lug setup. Dunlop Direzza shoes, along with Spoon 4-piston calipers, pads, Brembo rotors and Earl's lines, complete the hatch's rolling motions.
About a year ago, Pham started scheming ways to make the hatch even closer to its Type R inspiration and realized he had only one further option: a right-hand drive conversion. Anyone who's done a RHD conversion knows it's best left to an experienced hand, but Pham says that after sourcing a JDM front clip-the hardest part of the process-he and good friend/skilled wrencher, Sophal Try, pulled off the swap in his garage.
A new CTR dash anchors the interior, accompanied by Mugen S1 buckets, Takata harnesses and a Mugen FG360 steering wheel with quick release. For windows-down, top-speed soundtracking, Pham opted for Alpine's CVA-1006 flip-out monitor, along with Polk Audio amps, component speakers and dual 10-inch subs to handle audio and video.
Although the right-hand drive conversion was no easy chore, the front clip took an effort to locate, and now the trip through the Mickey D's drive-through requires some additional yoga, Pham's work on his hatch is reminding everyone that hatches still hit hard, as he's currently dominating show after show with his crew, Team eMotion.
bolts & washers
Jason Pham's '99 Civic DX
Nothing too crazy powering Pham's EK, just a classic B18C with all of the attendant Integra Type R internals-cams, valves, springs, retainers and rockers-while Spoon cam gears regulate cam motion. The throttle body and intake manifold are also JDM Integra Type R issue.
Respiratory enhancements include a J's Racing carbon-fiber intake, Mugen header, custom B-pipe, Ultimate Motorsports high-flow cat and 5Zigen axle-back exhaust. With all of that N/A love on tap, Pham found a simple solution for his push-to-pass needs: a Nitrous Express NXT 100-shot direct-port wet kit, fuel rail, and two 5lb. bottles. An APEXi VAFC-2 unit offers a mild degree of tuning flexibility and cooling is handled by a Fluidyne radiator.
Inside the S80 transmission, a Spoon Sports clutch and flywheel combo enables bang-off snap shifting and delivers power to the wheels via Civic Type R axles.
Rims & Rubber
AME Tracers, sized 16x7 with a +32 offset, weigh in at just 14.1 lbs. apiece. They're wrapped with Dunlop Direzza meats sized 215/45/16.
Although it's not factory Type R issue stuff, the JIC FLT-A1 coilovers come with a full JDM pedigree, as do the Carbing upper strut tower bar and front/rear lower tie bars, Top Fuel four-point B- and C-pillar bars, and Cusco six-point cage. Not JDM, but still of the Asian performance persuasion (via Taiwan), are SSR's rear lower control arms.
Spoon front calipers and pads meet slotted Brembo rotors in an Italian-Japanese love thing, while rear brake duties are handled by CTR calipers and Spoon pads. Brake fluid is carried through Earl's stainless-steel braided lines and forced through by a CTR master cylinder and prop valve.
After a loving spray of NSX Long Beach Blue pearl inside and out, the EK received aero upgrades in the form of a Charge Speed lip kit, Civic Type R headlamps, taillights, side moldings, grille, rear spoiler, power folding mirrors and right-hand drive wiper configuration. Hella HID's in the headlights guide this EK stinger through the dark.
Three words: right-hand drive conversion (yes, that's three words: the first compound modifier counts as one. Trust us on this). From the CTR front clip he found, Pham installed the dash, gauges, climate control, center console, pedals, carpet and floor mats.
Mugen S1 buckets and Takata harnesses handle the seating and strapping duties, with a Mugen steering wheel added for driver input.
An Alpine CVA-1006 flip-out monitor head unit generates signal to the dual Polk Audio amps (one 4-channel unit and one mono for the subs), which feed into a set of Polk DB-6500 component speakers in front, DB-690 three-ways in back, and dual DB-104 subs. A PlayStation2 is on hand for gaming fixes.
"My girlfriend Jennifer, Harry Nguyen, Sophal Try, Eric So, Tommy, Matt and Al at Tommy Kustoms, Rishie at Auto RnD, Pag at Competition Grafix, Edmund at Glosser.