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1996 Honda Civic - Relationship Goals

One man's quest to juggle multiple Honda builds unleashes yet another masterpiece with his close friends

Joey Lee
Jul 6, 2016
Photographer: Sam Du

Huy Hoang is a bit of a whore when it comes to customizing cars—Hondas in particular. He's owned several vehicles over the years, not including the three projects he has currently. You may be familiar with his turbocharged, Mugen-themed Acura RSX, which graced our cover less than a year ago (Vol. 19, No. 11). In his stable is yet another Mugen-outfitted DC5, as well as this supercharged K20A-powered Civic.

1996 honda civic seeker v2 rear spoiler Photo 2/11   |   1996 Honda Civic Seeker V2 Rear Spoiler

Huy is a product of hard work and dedication. He doesn't squander his hard-earned money on fancy clothes or partying on the weekends. He knows how to spend wisely on what he loves; he just happens to really, really love Hondas. We believed that he might be spreading himself thin by having so many projects at once, but he promises that he loves all of his builds just the same. They all just happen to serve a different purpose. The red DC5, nicknamed "REDRUM1," is his masterpiece. The other DC5 serves more as a daily cruiser, and this Civic came together during the years of downtime while REDRUM1 was being assembled. It just so happens it became a masterpiece of its own.

1996 honda civic first molding flugel plate front lip Photo 3/11   |   1996 Honda Civic First Molding Flugel Plate Front Lip

"This Civic used to belong to my friend Joe Pax," Huy explains. "I've known Joe for a number of years now, along with my other close buddy Bill Master. We were all building Hondas together and he was our personal [engine] tuner. When he owned this Civic, he just had a single-cam D-series engine in it that pushed 91 whp. He took it to the track a couple of times but it was just a clean, simple build. The only thing that really stood out was the custom green paint, which I have kept still."

When Joe needed to sell the Civic, Huy was the first to leap at the opportunity. It was nice to keep the car within the same group of friends because it retained a sense of sentimental value, however, Huy had much bigger plans than what Joe had originally set out to do.

1996 honda civic volk racing ce28n wheels Photo 4/11   |   1996 Honda Civic Volk Racing Ce28n Wheels

The teardown of the hatchback started out swift, but things slowed down when Huy decided to ditch the single cam for a newer, more powerful 2.0L K20A from a Type R. Had he done the swap in '16, things would have gone much smoother, as the availability of K-swap parts is endless. Seven years ago was a much different story. A couple of the major issues Huy faced involved the wiring and mounts. Nowadays, you can jump online and purchase any number of pre-made engine swap harnesses and engine mount kits, however, back in the day, without as much swap support, enthusiasts took matters into their own hands, much like what Huy and his friends did. The custom pieces may not have been as clean as what you can buy now, but they worked.

Other problems arose as well that weren't related to just parts. Huy resides in the Pacific Northwest, an area known for being wet much of the calendar year. "At one point, I had a fish pond in the passenger-side cabin because the rain had seeped in through cracks that had formed while the car sat outside," he remembers. "I ended up having to strip the car down and had the entire thing repainted the same shade of green."

Huy credits his good friend Bill Master with being an essential piece of the puzzle and getting this Civic to its current state. The two spent countless hours on the car over the years, including multiple extractions and re-installations of the K-series. "Modifying cars wasn't just a hobby for us; it became an obsession to continuously learn and gain knowledge. The interactions with friends and other enthusiasts became more important than building the car itself. Through those relationships, I came to realize why I built this Civic as well as all of my other cars. It helps bring people together, and there's no comparable excitement than the fun of accomplishing something great together," Huy says.

1996 honda civic volk racing ce28n wheels Photo 8/11   |   1996 Honda Civic Volk Racing Ce28n Wheels

This Civic has gone through many transformations, but the current version is the best yet. As mentioned, under the hood (Spoon Sports carbon hood to be exact) is a K20A, but Huy modernized his setup with the latest catalog of K-swap-specific products from Hybrid Racing. Replacing the factory intake manifold is a roots-type supercharger from Jackson Racing. With Hondata K-Pro, his force-induction K20A now makes 325 ponies to the front wheels. Also noteworthy is his exhaust setup, which is a mash-up of classic and new age components: Up front is an R-Crew header designed specifically for K-swapped vehicles, while at the opposite end is a traditional Mugen Twin-Loop muffler.

1996 honda civic first molding flugel plate front lip Photo 9/11   |   1996 Honda Civic First Molding Flugel Plate Front Lip

The interior of the Civic is now free of water damage. You'll find a set of Recaro buckets surrounded by interior components from a Japanese EK9 Civic Type R. Huy has a stash of Mugen steering wheels that he switches in and out of the car depending on his mood, while the instrument display has been updated to a digital S2000 cluster. Visually, the exterior of the Civic still looks very much the same as it did when his friend Joe owned it. Huy added some new styling cues by installing a carbon-fiber First Molding front lip, Sergeant rear diffuser, and Seeker rear wing. Seated with the Buddy Club dampers are Volk Racing CE28N wheels, which were aggressive enough to require Huy to massage the fenders in order to accommodate the 225-series Falken tires all around.

1996 honda civic sergeant rear diffuser Photo 10/11   |   1996 Honda Civic Sergeant Rear Diffuser

Huy concludes, "I have owned many Hondas in my lifetime and it may seem like I just can't settle down with one, but honestly, I find it very gratifying just to go through the process of any car build. There is so much that goes with it, more than just installing parts. I've learned to be more patient and work through my problems one step at a time. Having great people on this journey has also been helpful during the rough patches because everything just seems to fall in place with their support."

REDRUM1

2003 acura rsx type s mugen bodykit Photo 11/11   |   2003 Acura Rsx Type S Mugen Bodykit

Featured on the cover of Vol. 19, No. 11, Huy's most extravagant build was this '03 Acura RSX Type-S, which made nearly 400 whp and had a Mugen aero, custom widebody, full rollcage, and much more.

By Joey Lee
242 Articles
1996 Honda Civic - Relationship Goals
Tuning Menu
Owner: Huy Hoang
Hometown: Bothell, WA
Occupation: Quality Planning Specialist at Boeing
Engine: '05 2.0L K20A; Hasport EKK2 Revised Swap engine mounts; custom 3" intake pipe with velocity stack air filter; Hybrid Racing 74mm throttle body, fuel rail, fuel pressure gauge, side coolant neck; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator; RC 750cc injectors; Jiffy Tite quick-disconnect fuel fittings; Aeroquip high-temperature braided fuel hose; R-Crew exhaust manifold; Mugen Twin-Loop exhaust, radiator cap, Dress-Up bolts; NGK Iridium spark plugs; Odyssey PC680 battery; Jackson Racing supercharger; MercRacing supercharger inlet, 3" custom pulley; K-Tuned adjustable idler pulley; GReddy oil sandwich plate adapter; Visteon C&R radiator; BMRS custom-braided -16AN radiator hoses and fittings; All-In Fab custom overflow reservoir; Wireworx Stage 4 tucked engine harness, headlight harness; ARC oil cap, titanium spark plug cover
Drivetrain: K20A2 six-speed manual transmission; Mfactory limited-slip differential; Insane Shafts driveshafts; Exedy Hyper Single clutch, flywheel; Hybrid Racing shift lever, shifter pushing; Mtec shifter springs; OEM S2000 clutch master cylinder conversion with All-In Fab adapter plate
Engine Management: Hondata K-Pro; GReddy oil temperature and boost gauge; OEM S2000 instrument cluster; Wireworx custom plug-and-play S2000 cluster conversion harness
Footwork & Chassis: Buddy Club RSD coilovers, front and rear camber control arms, roll center adjusters; OEM Integra Type R front sway bar, front lower control arms, five-lug conversion, steering rack; ASR rear sway bar, end-links; Carbing front strut tower bar; NEXT! Miracle X Bar; Function7 rear lower control arms; Full Race traction bar; Cusco six-point roll bar; BLOX sub frame rigid collars
Brakes: Spoon Sports Monoblock front brakes; StopTech pads, steel-braided lines; OEM S2000 brake master cylinder, Integra Type R brake booster; FEEL'S master cylinder brace
Wheels & Tires: 16x8" +28 Volk Racing CE28N wheels; 225/45R16 Falken Azenis tires; Project KICS R26 lug nuts; APR extended wheel studs
Exterior: First Molding Flugel Plate front lip; Sergeant rear diffuser; Seeker V2 rear spoiler; Spoon Sports carbon-fiber hood, side mirrors; custom green paint mixed and painted by Premier Autobody; OEM Civic Type R headlights, taillights, side marker lights; Vision side mirrors; shaved radio antenna
Interior: Recaro SPG seats; PCI seat rails; OEM Integra Type R rear seats, S2000 instrument cluster, Civic Type R center console, door panels and carpet; Takata safety harnesses; Mugen steering wheel, steering hub; Signal Auto steering quick release
Thanks You: My family; Bill Master; Joe Pax; Thuy Nguyen; Nina Yi; Andy Lee; Larry Friesner; Yoshi Shindo; BJ Potts; Mel Diego; Jeff Miller; Sean Edwards; Trikspeed crew (Toto, Terry, Tai, Darnel, Steve, Tam); Ronald Khamphouvong; Cullen Cheung; Ferdone Projects; William Wang; Xavier at Wireworx; Sheng from JHPUSA; David Cordell at Hybrid Racing; Stefran and Mike at ASP; Derek Chorum at All-Fab; Ray at Garage Auto Hero; Jason Oefelein at PSI; Steve at Hmotorsonline; Scott from King Motorsports; Matt at ICB; Hasport Brian; Brian from Karcepts

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