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2004 Honda Civic EX - Seventh Heaven

Legitimizing the Civic you've been told to hate.

Aaron Bonk
Jun 28, 2017
Photographer: Jimmy Nguyen

For years you've been conditioned to not like Honda's seventh-generation Civic. You've never driven one, but you're certain things like MacPherson struts are the devil and that the D17A1 isn't any good. And then you go ahead and see one like Huy Huynh's that's in all likelihood faster than your car and, well, you pretty much feel like a big ol' douche.

2004 honda civic ex hfp front lip Photo 2/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex Hfp Front Lip

Huy isn't mad at you, though, because he, too, knows that left alone the '01-'05 Civic just doesn't quite measure up to other Civics of past. Lucky for Huy, his has hardly been left alone.

2017 Honda Civic
$21,500 Base Model (MSRP) 31/40 MPG Fuel Economy

And by hardly left alone, we're talking about the TSX's K24A2 engine and six-speed transmission that've been nestled into place that, make no mistake, will change your opinion of the seventh-gen in a hurry. But Huy didn't need any convincing to get the '04 EX in the first place. It's exactly what he wanted. "I love how the EM2 looks from the bottom to the top," he says. "When I was in high school, I always wanted [one] with a K24."

You didn't want one in high school, however, and so you need to know that Huy's is good for 220 hp to fully appreciate it. And despite that MacPherson-strut suspension you've been told won't work, Huy tracks his car often. And guess what? It's pretty damn fast.

Look at things like the HFP kit and the beautified hardware and you might think that this EM2 is a just another car show queen. You'd be only mostly wrong. For Huy, this seventh-gen's a track car first, a sometimes-commuter second, and a part-time show car in a distant third. So distant, in fact, that almost every single mod plays at least some part in making this Civic turn faster and go quicker.

2004 honda civic ex k24 swap Photo 6/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex K24 Swap

For Huy, getting that swap into place and fitting the car with things like its Rotora brakes and Buddy Club coilovers were the easy part; he just dropped it off at places like his buddy Son Nguyen's or R Crew where they helped sort the car out for track use. The hard part was getting the money to do it all. "I've been working six days a week and 12-plus-hour days just to [have] this car," he says. Which isn't so bad when you realize that Huy hasn't even owned the coupe for a year yet.

"I've always wanted an EM2 and to turn it into a track car," Huy says about the seventh-gen Civic that's just begging for you to give it a chance. Perhaps before you go wagging your finger at it again, bustin' its balls about those MacPherson struts, you'll do yourself a service and try one out. Or just pull that car of yours to the right as Huy and that EM2 allow you to admire its rear end.

2004 honda civic ex hfp rear lip Photo 10/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex Hfp Rear Lip
2004 honda civic ex k24a2 swap Photo 14/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex K24a2 Swap
2004 honda civic ex hfp bodykit Photo 15/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex Hfp Bodykit
2004 honda civic ex k tuned shifter box Photo 16/19   |   2004 Honda Civic Ex K Tuned Shifter Box
By Aaron Bonk
385 Articles
2004 Honda Civic EX - Seventh Heaven
Tuning Menu
Owner: Huy Huynh
Hometown: Vietnam / San Francisco, CA
Occupation: Alamo National service agent
Engine: K24A2 engine swap; Hasport engine mounts; STR 70mm throttle body; K-Tuned thermal gasket/adaptor plate; All In Fab intake manifold; Skunk2 header; Hybrid Racing fuel rail; RC Engineering 550cc/min. fuel injectors; C&R radiator; Downstar hardware; TSX transmission; AEM engine management system
Footwork & Chassis: Buddy Club N+ coilovers; Progress rear anti-sway bar; NRG Innovations harness bar; RSX Type-S 5-lug conversion
Wheels & Tires: 17x9 +35 offset Volk Racing CE28N wheels; 225/45-17 (front) and 215/45-17 (rear) Toyo Proxes R888 tires; Volk Racing Formula lug nuts
Brakes: Rotora big-brake kit, cross-drilled/slotted rotors, steel-braided lines; Wilwood proportioning valve
Exterior: HFP body kit; Top1Motors front splitter; APR rear wing and side mirrors; J's Racing front emblem
Interior: JDM Integra Type R Recaro seats and floor mats; Takata harnesses; Personal steering wheel; K-Tuned shifter box; NSX-R shift knob
Thank You: Jimmy Nguyen; Dan Phan from R Crew-racing; Aaron Bonk; my family; my mom and dad for always believing in me; thanks to all for your support and help

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