White body, shaved engine bay, K-swap... Like an unofficial user guide, these same three steps seem to pop up time and time again for modern-day Honda builds, all with varying degrees of success. Much of said success is based on the builder's skill level, depth of his pockets and the level of dedication. Of course, with so many similar versions being pieced together, the number of high-quality builds is often outnumbered by the mediocre ones and can end up lost in the shuffle. Building a standout in today's ever-booming Honda community is a tall order and one that Daniel Stoicescu of Rogers, Arkansas, took very seriously with his 2000 Honda Civic hatch.
On paper, Daniel's EJ hatch may not sound like a standout. It relies on many of the same ingredients that enthusiasts base their builds upon. The difference here is the execution and minute attention to detail that help set his sixth-gen apart from a massive crowd. Having purchased his '00 Civic the same day that his first son was born, Daniel's poured more money and man-hours into his hatch than he can possibly recall. He adds, "It's a never-ending project and has gone from the track, to shows, and was all built in my garage."
Having devised a plan for the build and envisioning the finished product, figuring out the power equation was high on his to-do list. Rather than working with the factory SOHC heart, Daniel opted for a K24 as his weapon of choice—a fairly common yet pricey swap that can be done at home over a single weekend. But this wasn't going to be a 48-hour project. He wanted it done right, so he set aside enough time to de-clutter the engine bay.
Any non-essentials under the hood were ditched and a number of factory holes welded shut and smoothed over for a seamless look. The shock towers were boxed and welded to avoid the inevitable cracking that comes with road time. Rather than opting for a brake booster delete to allow for more space, Daniel chose to keep his braking system as Honda intended but with bent custom hard lines in place. A set of Wilwood calipers replaced the anemic stock brakes that were intended to control far less power.
With the engine bay complete and prepped for paint, Daniel sprayed the entire car in factory Honda Taffeta White. The freshly sprayed exterior included a number of Civic Type R body pieces that maintain the car's factory-fresh appearance and steer away from gaudy changes that he might regret in a few years. To complement the OEM-supplied variants are Devsport winglets, carbon bumper ducts and a CCC Racing carbon rear wing that add contrast to the stark white body, as do the Enkei RPF1 rollers that sit comfortably in the wheel wells thanks to custom PIC coilovers.
Once the paint had cured properly, the engine was carefully lowered into place and secured with Hasport mounts, then outfitted with a custom header and 3-inch V-band exhaust system. The same piping diameter and hardware were used on the custom intake that leads to a BDL throttle body and port-matched RBC intake manifold. The combination, controlled via Hondata K-Pro management, is good for 227hp and more than 180 lb-ft of torque, all packed into a feather-light chassis.
While the exterior carries a rather low profile, the interior is the exact opposite. Bright yellow and black Recaro Tomcat seats laced with Crow harnesses are flanked by CTR door panel inserts. A Key!s steering wheel is joined by a K-Tuned shift knob and staging brake, while a CTR cluster and HKS gauges keep tabs on the vitals. The rear seats were replaced with Type R counterparts and surrounded by Top Fuel pillar bars.
Having reconditioned, replaced or upgraded just about every piece of this hatchback, Daniel is certainly content, if only for a brief period. Plans to boost the engine in search of 600+hp are already in the works. Plus, with a growing family, the purpose of the build now has more meaning than ever as it combines his faith with future weekends that will no doubt be spent under the hood with his kids. He adds, "I want this to continue to be something I can do with my boys—pass it on to them. It's our goal to hopefully inspire others and use this as a tool to share the gospel. Our motto is 'race to win' (Corinthians 9:24). So in all I do, I aim for excellence to make sure the glory goes to the only one who really deserves it."
EJ6 hatch?! Dude, it's an EK!
Actually, it's not. Honda enthusiasts have been using chassis codes for years when referring to specific models, but more often than not, they're not used correctly. The sixth-generation Civic hatchback in the U.S. carries an EJ chassis code on its nameplate just like its non-Si coupe counterpart. In Japan and other parts of the world, the EK designation is applied. That includes the coveted CTR (EK9), which unfortunately, the U.S. never received.