As my life with cars has lead me to own nothing but Honda Civics, I'd like to think I am more than knowledgeable on the subject of FF Hondas. With that in mind I am thrilled to share this superb example of how a contemporary EK hatchback is built. In my opinion, this car is one of the Honda communities best-kept secrets in terms of coverage, as it has sparked an underground following the internet world over and yet still hasn't seen its time in the limelight... that is until now.
One of my goals since coming on board at Super Street is to occasionally throw you, our readers, something a little outside of the mainstream for your consideration. This is one such car I personally have a very hard time finding a flaw in, although it might not be 100% the way I would build my EK, there is not a single aspect of the build that was overlooked or half-assed. And as such I can assure you that you will be seeing more cars built like this in the future, and although it isn't the first car to feature the style, I believe this is the first car that made people realize that having race-spec parts can actually look very good.
Several years ago when everyone was on the clean OEM JDM tip, Rainier De Leon (know as "Toto" by friends) was off in his garage collecting parts for what he knew would become a very potent hatchback. At the time parts like a large GT style wing, Stack cluster and 2-tone paint (different exterior and interior) could only be found on racecars and were often considered tacky by your average enthusiast. Rainier knew that if he put the type of effort into the build that he was capable of he could not only change minds, but blow them too.
Toto decided to set out on this mission alone, a true do-it-yourself'r. Not at all a "DIYWHFOSYNRDIY", which is an acronym Roel kindly created (short for do-it-yourself-with-help-from-others-so-you're-not-really-doing-it-yourself, for those of you that didn't read the article). And if you sneaked a peek at the spec box already you'll notice that by total coincidence, we have another die-hard builder from Seattle... must be something in the coffee! Get it, coffee... instead of water!? Waka-waka.
But the co-feature similarities don't end there. As with this month's BITD feature, this is De Leon's first car! How he managed to not wreck it or have it stolen is simply amazing, but not as much as the dedication to finish the project and the selection of parts assembling this beast. If you ever have the chance to see the vehicle in person I highly recommend it, you'll instantly see the quality of a vehicle finished by one person who cares very much about the outcome... The type of attention that simply doesn't go into a car built by other people.
When asked about the most difficult part of the build Rainer said "paint was the biggest factor that I encountered because this was the very first car I have ever sprayed in my life. Surprisingly the installation of the motor was cake-work compared to the paint." By looking at the exterior of the vehicle one would never guess that a novice had completed it... that's actually because by the time he was finished Toto was no longer a novice... he ended up painting the EK several times while in the learning process. "[I fixed the] paint issues with sandpaper, lots of sandpaper and lots of paint!! It was basically a trial and error process because I was learning how to lay down paint as I went along."
And as the build moved along not only did he add accomplished painter and tuner, but also master electrician to his automotive resume. "All my aftermarket wiring/accessories are integrated into the stock harnesses so they all plug and play. My Stack cluster is integrated into a stock cluster housing where all the factory warning lights are utilized." He would later hone these skills even more in helping some of his friends, DIYWHFOSYNRDIYs if you will, finish building their cars - the most famous of which you may remember in our January 2009 issue as a stunning red Integra sedan.
Other than that the spec box and photos should more than speak for themselves. It's all there, the best of the best, assembled in a manner that is awe-inspiring. "I built this vehicle to put all the parts I've ever wanted onto one car and call it my own." Toto tells me. "I've always loved the EK chassis, and it still remains supreme in my book. Basically I wanted it to be a collection of hard-to-find/functional track parts all in one package deal."
All in all, Rainier is everything that many Honda builders who half-ass cars just to win a car show trophy or a magazine cover aren't: he's down-to-earth, a loyal friend, honest, extremely helpful, dedicated, skilled in all aspects of car building and last but not least - he LOVES his car.
2000 Honda Civic DX
Owner rainier de leon
Hometown bellevue, wa
Daily Grind Student/pharmacy tech
Under The Hood 2.0L naturally-aspirated DC5 K20A Type-R; Hasport EKK2 mount kit and hose adapter; Hybrid racing pnp harness; Canton racing remote fuel filter; Magnafuel fuel pressure regulator; Marshall fuel pressure gauge; Earl's ano-tuff AN fittings and prolite350 braided hoses; Jiffy-tite quick disconnect fuel line fittings; Top fuel power neo; AEM fuel rail; Golden eagle oil block adapter plate; RBC intake manifold; Karcepts throttle body adapter and shift plate mount kit; Visteon/C&R radiator; Samco radiator hoses; Carbing coolant expansion tank, valve cover catch can, radiator cooling plate; GReddy PCV catch can; custom cold-air intake w/K&N filter; DTR/SSR 421 stainless steel header; Carsound hi-flow catalytic converter; Fujitsubo RM01-A cat back exhaust; Spoon radiator stay and titanium bolt; t-bolt intake and radiator hose clamps; Full wire tuck
Drivetrain DC5 ITR 6 speed transmission, clutch, flywheel and LSD brains Hondata KPRO engine management
Stiff Stuff Tein Re full coilovers; Comptech rear lower tie bar/sway bar combo; Comptech/ARP extended studs; SRR rear lower control arms; 98 spec ITR 5lug conversion; 98 spec ITR front cross member and steering rack/sway bar; Next Miracle X bar with parallel option bars; Mugen gen 1 rear tower bar; Carbing Type II aluminum 3pt front bar; Tilton steering reservoir; Aeroquip fittings for power steering delete; Feel's master cylinder brace
Stoppers Spoon twinblock calipers; Brembo slotted rotors front/rear; AEM rear brake pads; Hawk HP+ front pads; Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Rollers Mugen M12 17x7 +50 w/Toyo 205/40/17 R888 R-compound tires (track); Kosei K1 15X7 +35 w/Toyo RA-1 205/50/15 tires (street)
Outside PPG Dolomite Gray Pearl Effect paint; shaved front license plate holes; EK9 CTR headlights w/carbon inserts, tail- lights w/rear foglight, moldings, grill, rear lip; smoked amber side markers; Honda Access door visors; Mugen Type SS front lip; ARC splitters; Js carbon wing; Spoon rear tow hook; Vision type MC side mirrors; Honda HOP antenna block off; JDM Inspection number sticker (center windshield), Registration sticker (upper left windshield), Emissions/Parking sticker (rear left tailgate); Type one oil change sticker; EK9 VIN tag
Inside EK9 CTR red carpet, manual door panels, armrest delete, emergency road flare; Canada spec airbag tray; optional ashtray console; Si tweeter pods; Weave Kevlar fuel pump cover; Hondasport e-brake handle; C's shift plate and shift knob; Mugen battery kill switch, pedals, seat rail, ECU stay and heel adjustment plate; Recaro pro racer SPG seats; Takata 5pt harnesses; dead pedal riser; Honda access roof console, steering column light, floor courtesy lights; SARD stack meter in custom enclosure utilizing stock warning lights; Safety 21 rollcage; custom powdercoated gloss black side impact beam; Odyssey mini battery and aluminum battery stay with remote battery terminals and carbon insert; SRR ignition panel; relocated fuse box
Ice Premier CD head unit
Props The inspirational white C16 EK by Jon Duppong, Dennis Lui of fusion X, D, Will, da tamas, the hometown hero Terry, Joey and Chewbacca, "Supertwinz" mideng John, Loi from Sportcar, JHP USA, Mike Shin from Toyo, Adam from weaksauce, Tony "EK four", Ray "bombsounder", Sean "WWJD", www.NWP4life.com, Josh, Nick, Steve, Tai, Darnell, status Sean, Arby, Shmell, Danville, the ATS garage homies, the entire Trikspeed crew who I missed, my parents, Lola R.I.P. I love you, my girl Nikki, love ya haha and finally Team:2t0
www carbing.co.jp; jsracing.co.jp; jhpusa.com; mugen-power.com; nwp4life.com; recaro.com; spoon.jp; toyo.com