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1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

A Timeless Build Dedicated To An Unforgettable Friend

Joey Lee
Mar 31, 2014
Photographer: Quickworks

Family is an important part of life. No matter where you're from, you need your family members around. Family teaches you the basics of everyday life, what's right or wrong, and guides you in the right direction for the future. Within this ever-evolving hobby of ours, you'll come to develop another family. This "extended-family" usually consists of friends who share a similar passion and are mutually joined by the love of automobiles. It doesn't happen overnight. The camaraderie you build in the confines of a dimly lit garage working on your car at odd hours of the night is both timeless and priceless. You can be great friends, or sometimes, choose to place a label on things to signify your union; this is what we call a car club or crew. Title or not, this group of car fiends is indeed your family. Instead of sharing blood, you share tools, sweat, and even some occasional tears.

The ATS Garage crew has been one of the most popular, long standing car crews from the West Coast Honda community.

2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy
1988 honda civic EC works side mirror 02 Photo 2/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

For nearly a decade this group has produced a myriad of magazine-featured Hondas during their time and have always been known for building high-caliber custom creations. All accolades aside, the core of their success has been their unshakeable brotherhood. A tight knit family, they've grown quite a bit over the past few years and have remained close. In the beginning, ATS Garage was a much smaller group of enthusiasts. The man that served as the glue that helped strengthen their bond was Vincent "Valentino" Pascua.

"Valentino was the first guy that I met back when I was building a DA Integra" Michael Estebar, owner of this '88 Civic recalls. "ATS Garage was fairly new at the time, but he was the VP and the right-hand man to Ferd Natividad, who started the group. We started talking at a car show and we all just clicked. Vince invited me to join the crew and we've all been like brothers ever since."

1988 honda civic comptech intake system 08 Photo 3/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Just a few years later, tragedy hit this fraternity of enthusiasts—and hit hard. Pascua was involved in an accident that ultimately took his life. His untimely passing changed the crewmembers' lives forever. Estebar and the rest of ATS mourned, but knew that his spirit would live on forever within their circle. They were forever grateful that Vince helped bring them together and years later; Mike built this car to serve as a rolling tribute to his fallen friend.

When this Cargo Khaki-toned Civic hatchback first made its debut, there was some confusion as to whether or not this was "ATSxPeanut," a similar colored Civic that was built years before by Ferd Natividad. To eliminate any sort of mistaken identity, this is not the same build. This hatch, known as "ATSxRusty," is a completely different car that just happens to share some similar characteristics with its predecessor, which is by no means a coincidence, either. Estebar explains; "Peanut was the last car that Vince worked on before he passed. He was also a dedicated EF guy and had one himself. When Ferd put the car up for sale a couple years ago, I really wanted it because it was my only chance to keep a piece of Valentino. Money was tough at the time so it ended up being sold to someone else and we haven't seen the car since. My EF was done in a similar fashion because I wanted it to look like (Peanut)."

1988 honda civic JDM OEM EF9 sideskirts 03 Photo 4/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Estebar may have just finished his tribute project in the past year or so, but he had long thought to build a car in dedication to his late friend. He started collecting parts specifically for the build around 2007 and already had a shell on hand. An unfortunate run-in with a shady body shop caused him to scrap the project in '09, but his close friend and fellow ATS Garage member, Philip Sison, knew of his plans and helped find another shell.

"In 2010, my boy Phil was trying to sell an Integra that he had to some random guy. This guy drove up in an EF that was pretty beat-up. It was a standard 4-speed model that had the ugly brown interior, but what caught his eye was that it only had 70K original miles! He brokered some side deal with me in mind and he sold his Integra for $1000-less than his selling price while also acquiring the EF!"

1988 honda civic blox 1st gen intake manifold 10 Photo 5/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

The less-than-ideal exterior condition and low mileage motor resulted in the car being left as just a daily commuter. Still, Mike often found himself thinking about Vince and ATSxPeanut during his drives to/from work. It didn't take a whole lot of convincing from his ATS family, and eventually they got him to put some of the parts he had laying around on the car—the rest is history. Mike started by doing the exterior repairs himself, as to make it at least presentable, and then proceeded to gut the dated brown interior. The low mileage single cam he had was even exchanged for a JDM B18C that came out of another ATS Garage project.

"When we started putting ATSxRusty together, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic and emotional." Estebar says honestly. "It reminded me of the days when we were all in the garage together with Valentino working on Ferd's EF. My Civic may be a tribute to him, but I think it was the process of building the car with the guys that was the real tribute. The process was a way for all of us to heal and to remember a vital part of our family. (Rusty) is special to ATS because it reminds us of a simpler time when it was just the boys wrenching in the garage with red cups and cigarette butts. The legacy of Vincent 'Valentino' Pascua lives on forever in this build."

1988 honda civic bride low max bucket seat 06 Photo 6/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Bolts & Washers

Hasport engine mounts
Blox HSL camshafts
Supertech valves
Supertech valvesprings
Supertech titanium retainers
Comptech intake system
Blox 1st Gen. intake manifold
Edelbrock throttle body
Hondata intake manifold gasket
SMSP exhaust manifold
Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust
PLM adjustable test pipe
Cusco exhaust hangers
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
RC 310cc fuel injectors
BDL fuel rail
Downstar Inc. fuel line kit
Earl's fuel filter
AEM fuel pressure regulator
Custom ATSxMagic spark plug wire cover
JDM S80 5-speed transmission
K-Tuned fully-adjustable shift lever
RedZone Performance clutch
RedZone Performance flywheel
Suja Motoring hydraulic clutch pedal kit

1988 honda civic comptech intake system 04 Photo 7/12   |  
Classic JDM B18C powers this spotless hatchback

Tein Flex coilovers (ITR)
Place Racing front cross member
Blox spherical rear trailing arms
RCrew ITR custom spherical LCAs
Buddy Club extended ball joints
Skunk2 front camber kit
Wicked Tuning spherical rear toe kit
Cusco front shock tower bar
Cusco rear shock tower bar
Spoon Sports lower tie bar

Brembo blank rotors
Hawk HPS brake pads
Spoon Sports front brake calipers
Goodridge brake lines
OEM AP2 brake booster
OEM AP2 brake master cylinder

1988 honda civic JDM OEM EF3 front bumper 07 Photo 8/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Wheels & Tires
Volk Racing TE37 15x7 +35
195/55-15 Trampio (Toyo) R888

Honda Cargo Khaki paint
ChargeSpeed EF3 front lip spoiler
EC Works side mirrors
Custom 1-piece ChargeSpeed-style rear spoiler
JDM OEM EF9 sideskirts
JDM OEM EF3 front and rear bumpers
JDM OEM EF3 headlights
JDM OEM EF3 taillights
JDM OEM EF3 corner lights
JDM Honda Access door visors

1988 honda civic KEYS racing steering wheel 05 Photo 9/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Cusco 6-point roll cage recoated in wrinkle black
Bride Low Max bucket seats w/head pads
KEY!S Racing steering wheel
JDM Honda Access pedals
Moon Eyes dead pedal
Moon Face shift knob
Cusco E-brake turn knob
JDM OEM EF3 5-piece floor mats
JDM OEM EF3 door panels
OEM EF optional console

The car could not have been finished without the patience and support of the following people. My kids Deanna, Deon and Dominic Keomany Estebar, Jani Keomany, Ray Bautista, Ferd Natividad, Phil Sison, Ronald Ibay, Jay Powers, Fred Chapman, Kenneth Li, Ian Estebar, Lee Gonzalez, Adam Luong, GJ Santiago, Alex Roxas, Derek Yoshikawa, Peter Heu, Jojo Espejo, Christian Dumlao, Kelvin Bulda, ICBMatt, and JHPUSA Dee

Special Thanks
ATS Garage Usa

1988 honda civic cusco front shock tower bar 09 Photo 10/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Owner Specs

Daily Grind
Distributing Honda parts

Favorite Site

Screen Name
ATS Mike Jones

1988 honda civic blox JDM OEM EF3 rear bumper 11 Photo 11/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino

Building Hondas
Over a decade

Dream Car
Honda NSX-R

Inspiration For This Build
Vincent "Valentino" Pascua

Future Build

Close But No Cigar

The two builds were years apart, so unless you were around to see both ATS Peanut and Rusty, you probably won't notice just how different the two really are. The two hatchbacks shared a similar color, but that and the Comptech air intake are about the only similarities that exist. Mike's "Rusty" resembles a JDM EF3 Civic, while Peanut wore a JDM EF9 SiR look. Estebar's Civic also has additional aero enhancements from Japanese tuner ChargeSpeed. Ferd's "Peanut," by all intents and purposes, was the more "refined" build that featured a complete interior. Rusty, as the name implies, is a bit more raw with its gutted interior and refinished rollcage. In the end, the only things that the two cars really share are the guys that helped build them.

1988 honda civic blox spoon sports front brake caliper 12 Photo 12/12   |   1988 Honda Civic - For Valentino


Blox Racing
Fremont, CA 94538
ICB Motorsport
Chandler, AZ 85226
San Gabriel, CA 91776
By Joey Lee
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