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 |   |  OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades
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OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades

Patience, perseverance, and a touch of obsessive compulsiveness culminate in an ageless EJ8 Civic coupe

Rodrez
Feb 21, 2020
Editor: Grant Cox

High-level OEM+ Honda Builds
1994 Honda Civic Si - Stuck in the Past
2000 Integra Type R - Quality Over Quantity

If you're getting the feel that this 1996 Honda Civic EX is somewhat familiar to you, you're not alone. That is, if you're a regular Super Street visitor and caught the story on the owner's other project, a 2000 GS-R sedan. Beyond the similarity of a pair of white Hondas atop choice white wheels, the minute details and careful execution really tie the two cars together. Admittedly a serial builder that takes ample time to stalk his prey before making his move, owner Todd Grant has essentially built this coupe twice - once as a "piece here, piece there" affair, and a second time in an effort to apply the things he'd learned over the years to perfect it.

Read through his Integra build story and you realize that much of that sedan predicated on circumstance, while this EJ coupe, though intended to serve strictly as a daily driver while Todd chipped away at a '94 Civic hatchback, transitioned into another project on his to-do list. Between the three cars (four, if you count the original GS-R sedan donor vehicle), this Civic was the unsung hero, serving as a reliable daily for years and racking up over 220,000 miles on the clock. Of course, having multiple projects in the works means even the everyday transportation had to get at least a little love. "I believe the first purchase outside of the required height adjustment via coil-overs and stereo upgrades, was the 1996-spec 4x114.3 ITR suspension conversion with wheels," Todd recalls.

After finding some hidden rust in the hatchback, it was pushed aside for the time being and the coupe became part of the whirlwind of searching, purchasing and installing parts that swept through Todd's garage regularly. The search for an EM1 dash was fruitful, as was the hunt for additional accents like the Canadian SiR bits. Mix the new, much darker dash with bright red Recaro SRD seats and a cry for help level of cleanliness and this coupe's cabin is the epitome of the OEM+ mentality.

1996 Honda Civic Coupe B16A Swap Photo 40/40   |   OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades

It's not going to break the sound barrier but for Todd's purposes, the classic B16A swap is more than enough to keep him entertained. Other than the shiny aluminum radiator and low-profile valvecover fasteners, the engine bay looks like a Honda sales brochure. All OEM brackets and hardware were replaced or refurbished and only the trained eye would spot the ITR heatshield that hides a '98-spec header and, if you've been around for a while, you might recognize the Skunk2 intake manifold. Before the brand began applying their logo in a raised, rectangular style on newer units, it looked just like a factory ITR unit. Beneath the surface you'll find a set of B16B CTR cams and inside the factory airbox is a high-flow air filter.

Think of the interior and engine bay as the Civic Type R coupe that should have been produced in the late '90s. A long list of audio upgrades are all but non-existent in most other feature cars that come through our doors but in Todd's case, it's absolutely required - his DB8 story will back that claim up.

Patience is a major part of this and any of Todd's other builds. Take for instance, the OEM optional front and rear bumper lips intended for the '99 to '00 model. Tough to source, they finally danced across his screen after a few years of digging around. When he finally got them, he dressed them up with a "colormatch in a can" since budget constraints wouldn't allow any outsourcing. The dollars saved allowed him to grab a set of Gab Sports wheels (later used on the Integra in his other feature) and for the most part, the EX was a wrap.

A little while after completing his Integra sedan restomods, Todd felt the coupe needed the same sort of attention, so in the garage it went and everything was removed in preparation for a deep dive into the restoration realm. He adds, "I began the grueling and expensive task of tracking down all new Honda nuts, bolts, brackets, clips, seals, etc. I painted the engine bay myself, tore apart the engine, cleaning up every inch, painting some parts." In addition, while he had everything out, it was the perfect opportunity to clean up some of the wiring he'd done in spurts during the car's first life. Adjustable beam Valeo headlights, EK9 column light, stereo and alarm, and everything else wiring-related was redone, including revamping his required audio set up.

1996 Honda Civic Coupe EM1 Side Skirts Photo 40/40   |   OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades

Under the wheel wells, what you can't see are the hours put into pulling suspension components, coating them and the wells in durable implement paint before adding new bushings and ball joints. What you can see are 16x8-inch TE37 and DC5 ITR Brembo calipers. The white-on-white combo is as clean as it gets, and the dark grey interior with bright red Recaros makes for great contrast.

When it came time to paint his Integra, Todd took the task on himself, splitting time between his home garage and a rented paint booth. This time around, a friend offered to take care of the respray and the only labor Todd had to contribute was disassembly duties. Subtle J's Racing fenders grant some extra breathing room for the front wheel and tire package and just like his GS-R build, a Top1 front splitter and side diffusers are bolted in place.

1996 Honda Civic Coupe OEM Optional Rear Under Spoiler Photo 40/40   |   OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades

Todd Grant's GS-R Integra and Civic EX are part of a unique group of builders that have quietly been chipping away at long-term builds that often fly under the radar. They don't boast tire-smoking dyno numbers, excessive camber, huge rear wings or other overtly in-your-face upgrades but instead, focus on painstaking details that most would never catch. The OEM+ style isn't anything new, but it's certainly taking on a new respect in the Honda world.

By Rodrez
824 Articles
OEM+ 1996 Honda Civic EX Coupe Blends The Best Of Honda Factory Performance & Aftermarket Upgrades
Tuning Menu
Owner: Todd Grant
Hometown: Wichita, KS
Instagram: @kansastance
Engine: B16A; Civic Type R cams; '98-spec ITR header and heatshield; Skunk2 intake manifold, thermal guard; Omni Power test pipe; Apex'i WS2 exhaust; Walbro 240lph fuel pump; K&N air filter; Mishimoto radiator
Drivetrain: JDM SiR-G transmission w/LSD; Synchrotech 3-4 gear slider and carbon synchros; ACT AR2-HDSS HD clutch kit, dics, release bearing
Suspension: TEIN Flex Z coilovers; Skunk2 upper control arms front and rear; BWR rear lower control arms; Civic Type R front lower control arms and shock forks; ASR subframe brace; Energy Suspension bushings; corner balancing by Fusionworks
Brakes: FreakypartsUK 300mm S2000 front slotted rotors drilled to 4x114.3; EBC Brakes 94-97 Accord slotted rotors; DC5 ITR Brembo front and rear calipers; Hawk blue pads front; EBC "green stuff" pads rear; ITR master cylinder; EM1 prop valve; all new OEM hard lines
Wheels & Tires: Volk Racing TE37 16x8 +38; Federal RS-R 205/45
Exterior: J's Racing fenders; OEM optional front/rear under spoilers; EM1 sideskirts; Top1 front and side splitters; 99-00 trunk spoiler; 96-98 Raybrig optional fog lights, VTi Valeo electronic beam adjusting headlights; Frost White paint
Interior: EK9 Recaro SRD bucket seats, steering column key ring/floor light, front grill; EM1 rear seats, dash, climate control conversion; completele dark grey interior conversion; EK4 SiRII steering wheel, cup holder; 99-00 Canadian SiR gauge cluster, airbag delete tray, cigarette lighter/ash tray; 99-00 USDM cruise control integrated into 6th gen. rear wiper switch, taillights; OEM thin moldings, window visors, sunroof visor, all new seals
Audio: Alpine CDE-HD149BT; Focal FPS 1500, FPS 4.160; Illusion Audio C10 Carbon Series 10in subwoofer, front components; Hertz MPX690.3 3-way rear coaxial 6x9s; custom fiberglass enclosure
Thanks: Ray up at Fusionworks Racing here in Wichita for all my audio and performance based parts, Steve at Hmotorsonline for most of my JDMs, my dude Orlando at Gerber Auto Collision and Glass for taking over on bodywork and paint, the handful of friends that have been around to make this hobby FUN and kept the build process going with positivity, my dad for not judging my childish prioritization and always being game to come by and split a sixer in the garage while I do the wrenching. ALSO my brother, for stepping up and being the adult of us kids, getting married and making the first grandchild, removing the pressure from ME so I can play with cars.

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