"I did all the work minus tuning the car and doing the wheel alignment," Austin Starr says. When Austin of Centre, Alabama, says all that includes arguably the most difficult part of a full, well-rounded build as well as perhaps the most attractive part of the whole build-the paintjob.
Austin readily admits that he got into cars around the time that the first The Fast and the Furious movie came out. And by the time the second one was released he was on his second hatchback, and loving every minute of it.
The build follows a clean, track-inspired, less-is-more approach with Austin's own touches to personalize the build. For example, the custom intake and heat shield as well as the A/C delete were handmade by Austin. The engine and the bay of this build had their fair share of problems and would prove to be a trying aspect of the build. First off, the parts took a lot longer than expected, but once everything arrived that was needed Austin put it all together and began driving the vehicle. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for issues to arise. "I thought my first engine had bad rings after I beat on it for a while," Austin says. So he got another motor and changed it out only to experience the same thing. Frustrated, Austin took the first engine apart and the culprit was found. "I found the ring lands on my pistons were broken off. Maybe too much ignition timing? Maybe bad pistons? I can't say for sure, but I'm not too happy to have had two identical engines." Austin took the second engine and decided to have that professionally done, so he sent it off to get sleeved by ERL to 84mm and matched up with new Supertech pistons and Eagle rods yielding an 11.5:1 compression ratio. Austin paired up the strengthened bottom end to a B16 head utilizing Skunk2 cams and gears with air induction being handled by his custom intake to a Professional Products 65mm throttle body and Skunk2 intake manifold. Exhaust gases exit through a Bisimoto header to an Omni-Power test pipe and out through an A'pexi exhaust. The combination yields a respectable 226 whp and 151 lb-ft of torque, enough to leave many a naysayer staring through dust at the J's Racing wing, and the sun glinting off the beautiful Honda Habanero Red pearl paint. Speaking of the paint, let's get back to that.
The paint is, in fact, the one part of the build that Austin is most proud of. "As I learned more about cars I wanted to learn how to paint my own, so at 15 I started at a local trade school to learn how to do my own bodywork and paint my own cars. I got better over time and went to college after I graduated from high school and my trade school to pursue my career in autobody. In college I learned advanced techniques, but the biggest leap in skills was working in the best local regional body shop around. Quality was everything and the learning curve was steep and harsh. There was one way and that was the right way or the highway. While under their employment I competed in the college level of VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). It's basically where colleges all over the nation compete first at the state level, followed by a national competition. I won the state level to go on and place Fifth overall in the United States. I didn't win anything, but I felt great for at least being able to go so far." With that type of learning experience it is no surprise the car looks this good. It is also no shock that Austin's current profession is an aircraft paint technician. Ironically, though, that specific type of experience ended up being a bit of a catch-22. Although, it made him much more knowledgeable than others with the specifics and nuances of painting metal, it left him with at least one more lesson to learn. "I had to repaint several pieces to my car because of 'running' since most of what I paint on a daily basis is industrial coatings on airplanes. They act completely different and don't spray the same," he says. But Austin learned from the experience, and the resulting paintjob speaks for itself.
The build you see before you is a great example of what is possible when enthusiasts take the time to build exactly what they want without cutting corners and allowing setbacks to discourage them or make them settle for less. "Patience is everything and cheaping out will always come back to bite you and let you down in the future," he says. "There were so many long nights and weekends invested. Since I did all the work myself and got very little help it was tough, but I'm proud to have the skill to do what I do every day." With that attitude we look forward to seeing what Austin will build in the future.
Behind the Build
Aircraft paint technician
Cycling, running, working on cars, gaming, sports
"Just having the hatchback I always wanted without skimping on parts or not getting exactly what I wanted."
1992 Honda Civic SiR
Engine B16 head; Skunk2 Tuner camshafts, cam gears, valvesprings, retainers, Pro Series intake manifold; Supertech valves; pistons; ARP head studs; Professional Products 65mm throttle body; Gates Racing timing belt; B20 bottom end; ERL sleeves; Eagle H-beam connecting rods; Bisimoto stainless header with 2.5 id; A'pexi World Sport 2 exhaust; Omni-Power test pipe; Mishimoto dual core aluminum radiator, silicone hoses, slim fan; Avid motor mounts; CTR N1 crank pulley; Endyn breather kit; custom intake; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; Golden Eagle fuel rail; RC 440cc injectors; NGK spark plugs; blue spark plug wires; custom tucked harness; custom teal valve cover
Drivetrain New U.S. Integra Type R transmission with LS Integra Fifth gear; Hasport Level 1 axles; Exedy Stage 1 clutch and 9-pound flywheel
Suspension D2 coilovers; Function7 rear LCAs, rear subframe brace; Buddy Club front and rear camber arms; Beaks subframe brace; Password:JDM shock tower bar
Wheels/Tires Volk CE28 15x7 +40mm; Toyo Proxes 205/50-50; Rays lug nuts
Exterior Habanero Red Pearl paint; J's Racing front spoiler, intake duct, 3D GT wing, front and rear towhooks; OEM EG6 fenders, headlights, moldings, and hardware
Interior Recaro SRD front seats; Mugen Type 3 steering wheel; MOMO hub; Works Bell quick release; NSX-R shift knob; OEM EG6 gauge cluster and rear seats
Gratitude "My lovely fiancé, Amanda, for putting up with me spending so much money on my cars; my friend, Justin, for being the only help I got the entire time I worked on my car and helping me find and buy some of my parts; my mom and my brothers for being there for me; International Jets for letting me work on my car in the hangars; my friends at work for being patient with me having my stuff all over the place; Jim Helbing of Motorvations Motorsport for being there whenever I needed anything; Matt Ye at ICB for selling me all kinds of lovely parts; Hmotorsonline for all their rare parts; Chris Dornon for getting down here and taking pictures of my ride; and Blair Auto Body for doing a special wheel alignment for me."