Super Street Network

 |   |  1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch

Time Management Level: Expert

Rodrez
Feb 3, 2014
Photographer: Faiz Rahman

Sift through Andy Vasconcellos' feature car tech sheet info, which includes his storied history of Honda ownership and a long list of project cars, and you quickly get the feeling that he must have been at this for far more than 15 years. How else would he have found the time to own and modify so many different cars? With the majority of his previous projects hailing from the '90-'93 era, this '97 doesn't quite fit Andy's previous mold. However, breaking the mold is exactly what he wanted to do.

If you have the opportunity to see this car in the flesh, two things will probably happen in rapid succession. The first is, you'll be drawn to the car and almost forced to look it over, top to bottom. The second is, during your visual scan you'll probably note a few rough edges here and there, and Andy admits that his car isn't perfect. That suits us just fine, especially when you realize that Andy's two hands performed almost every aspect of this aggressive build.

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy
1997 honda civic garrett GT35R turbo 04 Photo 2/21   |   1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch

After having gone through a number of Hondas, Andy's friend Trey helped him find a '91 Civic Si and just two days later, it was in the driveway being cleaned up. A B16 swap was quickly completed, but the car was then sold to make room for a new DA that was purchased and painted, and then that car was in fact sold for a white DB2. The whirlwind of car buying and selling seemed to stop with the newly acquired GS-R, a car that Andy tells us was magazine worthy but he lacked the ambition to seek a feature story at the time. He adds, "After a few months, I traded shell for shell with my nephew Phill for his really clean '95 hatch. I stripped it bare and rebuilt it from the ground up." What seemed to finally be a long-term build wasn't very long at all, at least not after a chance encounter at JSpec, a local JDM parts importer. Andy adds, "I stopped and this CTR front clip kept staring at me like one of those ads with a hot blonde ... the eyes were following me." A few days later the front clip was brought home, but with a fifth-gen chassis in his driveway, another deal would have to be made. Interestingly enough, the search for a proper chassis led right back to his nephew Phill who'd recently picked up a '97 hatchback with what Andy describes as the nicest aftermarket paint job he'd ever seen—estimating at least $5,000 was spent on the color change, though he notes it was the ugliest orange he'd ever seen. A deal was struck, and the bright orange hatchback was added to the endless list of "new" cars. The difference being, this one would actually stick.

"My first step was to figure out how to remove a firewall from a car. I'd read probably 100-plus Honda-tech and NWP4Life pages to see what others had done." A newcomer to the concept, Andy researched as much as possible, then got to work. After an 18-hour stint, he had the frontend conversion done. He adds, "I bought a welder from my friend Andre and went to town on making the RHD wall look like it came from there to begin with. I felt like I climbed Mt. Everest, I was so accomplished once finished!" Rather than celebrating, Andy jumped inside the engine bay and began sanding it down for paint, followed by fabricating his own roll cage with some keen pointers from a trusted contact. Remember that expensive paint job? "Once I finished the cage, I did the interior and next was the exterior. I'll admit that sanding down that $5,000 paint only to repaint [the car] in my garage was a bit heartbreaking." Having painted his last two cars at home in a 2x4 paint booth set up in his garage, Andy felt he was experienced enough to lay down his nicest paint job yet. After a month of painting, fixing some mistakes, and painting again, the color change was finally complete. Assembly was next, but time became a serious opponent. He explains, "I was my own worst enemy! Every time I wanted to do one thing, I decided to change it to do something else. Between a business with employees to run, a personal life with my wife, friends, family, and responsibilities to fulfill at my church, it was becoming difficult to find the time to turn wrenches. All I had was a pile of painted scrap metal and multiple piles of parts." As if the hours in the day weren't short enough, Andy and his wife of 10-plus years discovered they were expecting a child. "We had waited so long and finally it was our turn. I didn't have to sell my project car but the process would be even slower now."

1997 honda civic skunk2 rear LCA 06 Photo 6/21   |   1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch

Time management was reworked so that assembly could commence and one of the first things Andy noticed was that his front clip's harness was in bad shape. His friend Trey donated a complete '95 Civic harness which Andy dissected and reassembled, granting him OBDI status, and leaving out anything that wouldn't be used on the car like wipers, defroster, etc. Simplified, properly wrapped in loom and heat shrink, the new harness was almost half the size of the original wiring.

A hardcore B-series enthusiast at heart, Andy opted for a low compression, Darton sleeved B18A1 block and B16A head for turbo duty. After doing design work for Adrenaline Autoworks on multiple occasions and having built a relationship with them, Andy reached out to Phil and RJ for a hand with engine assembly, one of the very few things not done in Andy's garage. Topping off the LS/VTEC mill is a Garrett GT35R that exits through a homemade hood (see sidebar) and a head packed with Skunk2 internals and bolt ons.

1997 honda civic spoon rear shock tower bar 05 Photo 7/21   |   1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch

On the outside, to further contrast the Kevlar body pieces, 15x7.5 Volk TE37s wrapped in yellow chalked RE01R tires add just a little more to the aggressive look. Behind the lightweight wheels, Spoon calipers, and JDM 5-lug conversion are ITR-spec HKS coilovers backed by an Energy Suspension bushing upgrade, Swift sway bars, and a combination of custom and Skunk2 camber kits.

Find a scratch, a ding, some uneven kevlar weave near a tight corner or see a missing plastic clip or two? That's fine, Andy is content with the level he's taken his CTR-converted hatch to, especially in the face of time draining opposition and the pressures of becoming a full-fledged Dad. We can't help but admire the dedication and work done on his own. Time crunch? Nonsense, it's all about time management.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
B18A1 block
B16A head
AEM EMS V1
Darton Sleeves
Bored to 83mm
LS crank polished
JE Pistons 9.1:1
Eagle rods
ITR oil pump
Garrett GT35R turbo
Blitz intercooler
Custom 3in piping
Custom 3in hood exit exhaust
Tial 44mm wastegate
Greddy blow-off valve
OEM S2000 coils
Skunk2 Pro Series 90mm throttle body
Skunk2 Ultra Series intake manifold
Skunk2 3.5L spacer
Skunk2 Pro 1 cams
Skunk2 Pro series valves
Skunk2 Pro series valvesprings
Skunk2 Pro Series retainers
Skunk2 composite fuel rail
Walbro 480lph
Precision 1000cc injectors
Russell fuel filter
AEM fuel pressure regulator
Custom radiator
GS-R transmission
OEM JDM ITR 36mm axles
KAAZ LSD
Gearspeed carbon synchros
Competition Clutch Stage 5
Fidanza 10lbs flywheel

1997 honda civic darton sleeve block 03 Photo 11/21   |  
An 83mm Darton sleeved LS block is topped with a B16A head and Garret GT35R snail.

Suspension
HKS Hipermax damper II coilovers
Energy Suspension bushings
Buddy Club front camber kit
Custom rear camber kit
Swift front/rear swaybars
Spoon front/rear shock tower bars
Skunk2 rear LCAs

Resistance
JDM ITR 5-lug conversion
Spoon Sports monoblock calipers
Hawk brake pads
Earls stainless lines
Relocated prop valve

Wheels & Tires
Street wheels
Volk TE37 15x7.5 +43
Bridgestone Potenza RE01R
195/55-15
Track wheels
OEM CRV wheels
Nitto NT555R 205/50-15

Exterior
Painted Nighthawk Black Pearl
Walker Japan front bumper
EK9 rear lip
Seeker Version II wing
Custom Kevlar wing insert
Custom rear diffuser
Custom Kevlar front splitter
Chargespeed lip/Kevlar splitter (track)
Custom Kevlar mirror deletes

1997 honda civic custom rear diffuser 07 Photo 15/21   |   1997 Honda Civic - The Time Crunch

Interior
Custom 7pt roll cage
DC2 Recaro seats
Takata harness (driver side)
JDM ITR steering wheel
JDM ITR steering column/OEM key
Circuit Hero shift extender
Skunk2 short throw shifter
Spoon Sports shiter bushings
Spoon Sports shift knob

Props
My wife Erin for her patience with me! My brother Robert who has always been my partner in crime (even though he's a VW guy) since we started playing with the cars when we were kids, Phill my nephew who always kept me motivated, Phil RJ and Nikolai from Adrenaline Autoworks, Karim, Chris and Daniel from Jspec Auto, Brandon McCray from Skunk2, all of my friends who helped me from time to time.

1997 honda civic circuit hero shift extender 21 Photo 16/21   |   1997 Honda Civic Circuit Hero Shift Extender 21

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Graphic designer/graphics business owner

Favorite Site
none

Screen Name
D A 9

Building Hondas
since 1997/98

Dream Car
Authentic Spoon Sports ITR

Inspiration For This Build
wanted a car that looked good/aggressive, fast in the quarter mile, road racing and auto-x; able to be daily driven if I chose to

Future Build
Supercharged Acura TL and Datsun Bluebird

1997 honda civic skunk2 ultra series intake manifold 19 Photo 17/21   |   1997 Honda Civic Skunk2 Ultra Series Intake Manifold 19

Where'd all that kevlar stuff come from?

Having no luck finding a specific kevlar part for his car, Andy decided to learn about the process himself via YouTube, and took on the task of learning how to do it himself. A solid 12 hours of research led to a kevlar fabric and epoxy resin purchase so he could try it on his own. He adds, "I practiced a lot on small stuff, made and sold some fuel pump covers and used that income to buy more materials." With a little experience under his belt, Andy got to work on a cracked carbon-fiber hood that he sanded all the way down and repaired with kevlar. Custom interior pieces came next, followed by taking on the entire roof and rear wing for a completely one-off look. Now comfortable with the process, Andy is often approached by others requesting custom parts.

1997 honda civic DC2 recaro seat 20 Photo 21/21   |   1997 Honda Civic DC2 Recaro Seat 20

Sources

Energy Suspension
San Clemente, 92673
888-913-6374
http://www.energysuspension.com
Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
951-808-9888
http://www.skunk2.com
Adrenaline Autoworks
804-525-6738
http://www.adrenalineautoworks.com
By Rodrez
634 Articles

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

Sometimes, you don't need a lot of flash or gimmicks when you commit yourself to mastering the classics.
Jonathan WongOct 16, 2018
All too often when admiring a high-quality build at a local meet or major car show, we take for granted the fact the car we are admiring was once completely bone stock.
Andrew BeckfordOct 16, 2018
Porsche rolled out two more Panamera models—a Panamera GTS and GTS Sport Turismo variants that slot between the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo.
Ed TahaneyOct 15, 2018
The Robles have built some wicked machines, but what's important here isn't that a father and son each own a fast car; it's the environment from which they came.
Patrick ReynoldsOct 15, 2018
Hot Rod's Drag Week isn't the place to go if you're an avid, diehard import fan. However, this year's was a little different with a MkIV Supra in the mix that had everyone talking
RodrezOct 12, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP