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1999 Honda Civic Si - Adventure Capitalism

Adventure Capitalism - A 14-year plan for a return on investment

May 12, 2017
Photographer: Ryan Belville

Sometimes you don't need a set goal in life in order to make the most of things. Certain individuals do their best work when they fly by the seat of their pants and just make shit up as they go along. It may sound like complete malarkey to some, but this easy-peasy approach to getting a project completed really works for numerous folks, and there certainly is something to be said for spontaneity.

1999 honda civic si oem rear lip Photo 2/15   |   1999 Honda Civic Si Oem Rear Lip

Jonathan Palafox's prolonged assembly of an EM1 Civic Si pulls from both schools of thought, with an extremely timeless end product being the result. What began with being inspired by builds seen in Super Street way back in the early 2000s turned into a constantly revolving door of bolt-ons, component swaps, and teardowns. Both man and machine have stuck to strict build lists and strayed into spontaneous fits of inspired reimagining, with almost a decade and a half of time spent serving up sumptuous amounts of sleek Si sex appeal.

What began as father-and-son bonding time as they cleaned the old Jetta GLI quickly turned into garage time. Being this was an '84 model, it constantly was in need of some sort of fix. Then when it finally came time to get his permit, a 1990 CB7 Accord emerged in all of its indestructible glory, thus piquing the youth's interest in automotive alterations. On went the trusty intake/exhaust combo, along with a thumping stereo system and loads of "tuner attitude - something most of us did as well in our youth, but rarely admit to.

After interest in the bulletproof CB7 began to wane, Jonathan snagged a naturally aspirated '95 Eagle Talon and proceeded to learn firsthand what not to do when building a car. Rocking ugly alloys, a body that came slammed on lowering springs, a raspy intake and exhaust, enough lights to safely direct aircraft traffic, and a white spray painted interior - it was an abomination on all fours, and he knew it.

Despite having all of the most desired mods from the early 2000's, every time Jonathan drove his DSM jalopy he knew deep down it wasn't what he wanted at all. Most of the cool kids his age were driving Hondas, and all that Jonathan pined for was a Civic of his own. It was a thought that became permanently affixed after a quick trip to the 1999 Chicago Auto Show.

1999 honda civic si Carbing strut tower brace Photo 6/15   |   1999 Honda Civic Si Carbing Strut Tower Brace

While in attendance, an "Electron Blue Pearl" EM1 Si parked next to an unassuming black Civic EX pulled the young man in and refused to let go. Completely unaware of the fact that Honda made an Si model, Jonathan was intrigued as to why the blue one looked so much better than the black one. Later, upon discovering what an Si badge fully entailed, the fledgling enthusiast became obsessed with the augmented alternate, a fixation that unfortunately was hampered by high school wages. Four lifetimes — errr — years later, and the exact Si Jonathan had first seen at CAS was his for the taking, and the man's enthusiasm refused to be contained.

After a few months of ownership, Super Street features focusing on Jonathan Wong's Civic, the FF Squad, and all of Jay Smith's builds from the early 2000s had left Jonathan hooked on the notion of a JDM-inspired build. After combing over the same issues countless times and memorizing what mods each car rocked, it was time to turn to the forums for endless hours of research.

Over the following few years the car went through a multitude of stages, and in retrospect Jonathan admits that he could have probably bought another car with the amount of money that had been wasted swapping out parts. Hell, even now the Si is receiving additional interior, wheel, and brake upgrades, so rest assured the tuner bug continues to bite.

It's now been 14 years since Jonathan first took possession of his Si, and since then he's purchased numerous cars in order to keep the coupe as minty as possible. There was a 2010 Civic Si sedan, a 2014 STI hatch, and a 2015 WRX STI, all of which were modified, but only mildly, in order to justify all the cash getting dumped into his blue Si.

1999 honda civic si bride exas seat Photo 10/15   |   1999 Honda Civic Si Bride Exas Seat

Nowadays the car only comes out of slumber for car shows or well planned cruise to stretch its legs, thus making it a dedicated garage queen. Future modifications only entail subtle changes, such as different wheels and tires, and some minor engine and transmission updates. When asked about the future and what else he has in mind now that his precious Si is pretty much complete, Jonathan smiles and says that an Integra Type R is his next dream machine, and that he can't wait to start the build process all over again in order to reap the rewards.

Our take? We love that Jonathan went for timeless over tacky, and we can foresee another 14 years from now this Civic is still going to look like a million bucks.

1999 honda civic si js racing valve cover Photo 11/15   |   1999 Honda Civic Si Js Racing Valve Cover
1999 honda civic si volk TE37 Photo 15/15   |   1999 Honda Civic Si Volk TE37
Micah Wright
80 Articles
1999 Honda Civic Si - Adventure Capitalism
Tuning Menu
Owner: Jay Palafox
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Currently a student, previously an Acura technician
Engine: JDM ITR B18C, 3-inch intake tube with HKS filter, J's Racing valve cover, Samco hoses, Koyo radiator, Innovative engine mounts, Energy Suspension mount inserts, Cusco catch can, 2.5-inch test pipe, Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust
Drivetrain: JDM Integra Type R transmission with LSD, Skunk2 short shifter, Prothane shifter bushings
Engine Management: Kenji Type R P28 ECU, Apex'i VAFC gen. 1, Boomslang jumper harness
Footwork & Chassis: Function/Form type 2 coilovers, Carbing front strut tower brace, Function/Form rear lower control arms, ASR 24mm rear anti-sway bar with reinforcement kit, Beaks lower tie brace
Brakes: Hawk HPS brake pads front and rear, Goodridge stainless brake lines (since the shoot, Spoon front calipers, Integra Type R brake pads)
Wheels & Tires: Volk TE37 in magnesium blue (16x7 +42) with Falken Azenis 615 (205/40r16), Regamaster EVO in white (16x7 +45) with Bridgestone Potenza RE01R (205/45r16), and Sprint Hart CP-F in white (15x6.5 +45) with Falken 502 tires (195/50r15) Volk lug nuts and locks
Exterior: Seibon carbon fiber front lip, J's Racing canards for DC2, JDM EK9 Type R headlights, Raybrig bulbs, OEM rear lip, JDM EK9 side marker lights, Spoon mirrors, Honda Access window visors, JDM Type R Honda emblem
Interior: Bride Exas driver seat, Buddy Club seat rail, Recaro Speed passenger seat, Wedge Engineering seat bracket, Takata harnesses, JDM EK9 steering wheel and shift boot, Greddy shift knob, Benen Industries clear ECU cover, Pioneer head unit and Pioneer speakers, MTX subwoofer and amplifier
Thank Yous: My family, mom, dad, and sister for supporting my obsession with this car; my girlfriend, and my friends, aka The Wolf Pack; Mark at One6 Motorsports; Armando at ill Garage; Ryan Belville



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