The 8th-generation Civic family that spanned 2006 to 2011 model years was fortunate enough to be gifted a coveted Type R version, but as usual, the U.S. never got a taste. The Si released in the U.S. was certainly no slouch, powered by one of the best versions of Honda's K-series family ever produced, but the CTR had those additional touches that most Civic fans long for. From the slight bump in power to the cozy Recaros and more aggressive aero pieces, it's long served as the benchmark for 8th-gen. sedan owners ever since its introduction. As if to rub it in our faces a little further, a limited-edition Mugen version of the FD2, the Mugen RR, was made available for the 2007 model year in Japan with just 300 ever produced, and although there was a U.S. Mugen edition counterpart, it didn't carry nearly the same feel or blessed extras.
The Sedan Your Girl Told You Not To Worry About...
While our Mugen Si included a "sport exhaust" to check off the performance part of the upgrades list, the RR received stiffer valvesprings that support a hotter set of cams, new header, larger intake box that's fed right from the front grill and a unique dual exhaust system that follows a high-flow cat. Outside, the RR-specific front bumper makes sure you never confuse it with a standard R model while inside, a high-visibility Mugen cluster and carbon fiber Recaro buckets spice things up further. At over $40K in U.S. dollars, it didn't come cheap, but exclusivity rarely does. You might feel that's too much to pay, but the fact that the RR sold out in just 10min, means there were plenty of eager buyers willing to nab one.
Almost 10 years after its debut, if you look hard enough, you can find a Mugen RR edition CTR for sale in Japan, and that's just what Takeru Tojo did back in 2015. After owning and modifying his first project car, an Element SC that he'd imported from the U.S., Takeru knew it would be another Honda he'd venture into. He adds, "My baby arrived in 2015 and I wanted a sedan for my growing family...but not a standard sedan. I chose the Mugen RR and I was very lucky to find one for sale right away."
The aforementioned upgrades to the RR set it apart from the already potent standard Type R, but it was really no surprise that Takeru would start making changes shortly after taking ownership, especially while serving as head of Japan's L2P (Lowered 2 Perfection) crew. The group, comprised of 23 loyal members, has some incredibly nice builds, includes Masaki Fukuda's SiR II, which we featured a few months ago, and there's an American influence that can be sensed on some of those builds. "Our team believes in family first, and you need both family and cars for life. While some members are taking a break from the car life, they'll be back. Our team really likes American car culture, and, in fact, there are a lot of USDM enthusiasts in Japan."
USDM x JDM Spec
The juxtaposition of stateside enthusiasts spending mountains of money on JDM goods and Japanese tuning fans doing the same in order to purchase U.S. parts isn't lost on the 8th-gen. chassis, and regardless of what end you're on, we all face the same hurdles in car building. With that said, it's universally agreed upon that the overseas version of the sedan front end is superior to the rather mundane look of the U.S. model. Larger headlights, a more pronounced bumper and a much sportier upper grill make a huge difference, and JDM conversions are held in high regard on both continents; converting to a USDM front is very rarely seen.
Mugen or Spoon - Why not Both
To add a little USDM seasoning, Takeru put in the work required to source and import a U.S.-spec trunk and taillights for his RR (not shown in these photos) which he can switch on and off at his leisure, while leaving the more handsome from fascia in place, complete with its original RR-specific, triangle-laden bumper. And when he wants to change the look of the front end, Takeru also owns a Spoon Sports S-Tai FD2 bumper which is slightly modified and easily swapped into place. Some will scoff at the thought of putting non-Mugen parts onto the coveted RR but for Takeru, mixing parts and styles is just fine and the sentiment is shared by the rest of L2P. The group's concept of "total balance" involves various brands along with the melding of USDM, JDM and UKDM parts.
The rest of the body, other than a FEEL's roof spoiler, remains factory Honda/Mugen issue. Of course, like any other Civic owner, having wheel options is never a bad idea and when Takeru grows tired of the original Mugen GP that came with his car, he has bronze Volk Racing ZE40, Mag Blue TE37 SAGA, gunmetal Regamaster Evo and Ings TS06 ready to mount. All four aftermarket wheel sets clear the optional Mugen big brake kit that the previous owner fortunately opted for.
You'll find more of the Spoon and Mugen combo inside the cabin, where the factory carbon fiber bucket seats are sometimes swapped out with Kevlar Spoon seats. The original air-bag steering wheel has been replaced by a King Motorsports edition Mugen wheel and Worksbell quick-release. Like his wheel collection, Takeru has various shift knobs he can bring into play to change the driving feel regularly.
Friends in High Places
During one of Takeru's trips to Type ONE, he had the crew install their complete Rigid Collar system to help stiffen the chassis further. In addition, the original Mugen suspension is updated with HKS Hipermax IV coilovers mated to Cusco pillow ball upper mounts. The suspension changes, applied to a chassis that's long been recognized for its stout overall feel, increases handling further without going too far and this car remains completely street and family friendly.
The Long Haul
Takeru's Mugen RR continues to hold its value and heavier aftermarket changes aren't likely. Everything he's done to the car thus far can be fully reversed if he ever decided it was time to part ways, but that's not likely to happen. He adds, "I will keep this RR forever and I will continue to drive it, even when I become an old man. I want to also build an EG Civic but it's so hard. Maybe my wife will say 'No! Buy and divorce'." Just further proof that regardless of what part of the world you reside, we all face the same hurdles...