The utilitarian Accord has never been a first choice for tuners, but like many Honda platforms it’s grown a following over the intervening years since each model was introduced. Such is the case with the fourth generation Accord (1990 to 1993), informally known by its chassis code, CB7; when it came out, few believed the grocery-getter could ever be modified into anything cool. But then people started dropping in H22 engines and lowering them, and the next thing you know it’s become quite the Honda hot rod.
Daniel Hill of Yorba Linda, Calif. got his CB7 in 2004, a hand-me-down from his grandmother, Louise, who received the car new in late 1989. “It was brown on the outside and a brown/beige combo on the inside,” Hill recalls. “Combine that with its automatic transmission and you've got a granny-mobile. I hated it. But at least it's an EX coupe model.”
Since the coupe has been in the family for its entire life, and Hill’s grandma’s for some 14 years, it possesses a lot of sentimental value. Hill fondly remembers being picked up from elementary school in the Accord, and his grandmother basically running her manicurist business out of the car.
“She had a few high-end clients and would drive all the way to Hollywood or the [Pacific] Palisades to do their nails in their homes,” Hill explains. “At the time she had a license plate that read ‘NALSXLU’ (Nails By Louise). Lucille Ball was one of her clients, as well as the Hilton family. She used to complain to my brother and I about these two rude, bratty little girls at the Hilton home, one blonde, one brunette. It wasn't until years later I realized the little girls she spoke of were Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.”
After Hill got his hands on the car, he took everything he learned from the first two Fast & Furious movies and threw some ideas into the car with the little money he had. Eventually he found CB7Tuner.com and slowly learned the correct ways of modifying a fourth-gen. Accord.
“It took some time to truly find a style I wanted for the car, and even now I'm still exploring new ideas. The challenge is there are very few cosmetic products available for the CB chassis I actually like, so I turned to retrofitting products made for the CD Accord chassis and building my own custom aero pieces, such as the rear diffuser and chassis-mounted front splitter, which was originally intended to serve as protection by shielding the delicate Greddy front lip from destruction while being able to stay strong and rigid.
“I wanted to be sure I could add aggressive flavor to the car without going overboard with mismatched and garage-build parts. The aggressive +16 offset RAYS Gram Lights 57 Maximum Pro wheels and meaty BFGoodrich G-Force KDW2 tires add a little bit of ‘track car’ feel, which I love. The tall front lip and sides bring it lower to the ground without having to max out the Function & Form Type Two coilovers, stretched tires on nine-inch wide wheels, and negative eight degrees of camber to prevent rubbing. The car is as reliable and comfortable to drive as my bone stock Lexus IS300, which is VERY important to me. If I can't get in my car and drive it on a whim with no worries, then it isn't worthwhile.”
The 11-year journey (so far) hasn’t been without adversity. The coupe has been totaled and salvaged multiple times and stolen once, Hill describing the first wreck as by far the worst.
“Back in 2005, toward the end of my senior year of high school, I thought it was a good idea to learn how to ‘drift’ (don't judge me) with a few friends in an empty parking lot. I slid the car into the concrete base of a light pole, making the passenger side quarter just behind the door into the shape of a cereal bowl; also making the right rear of the car into a three-wheel-steer version of the Accord. It was totaled. But six grand later from my dad’s bank account and my car was back on the road with a fresh Maaco midnight blue paint job, cheap eBay Z3 style fenders, and about 10 pounds of body filler!
“The most recent incident was a true turning point for the Accord. In 2011, the car was rear-ended. The impact was hard enough to wrinkle the whole rear passenger side quarter panel up to the rear window. I had already decided its next color when I saw a Bali Blue Range Rover for the first time. Through my job at the time, I had connections with a very talented auto body guy. I decided if I was going to have the car repaired again, I should have it done right.
“Five thousand dollars and a few months later, the whole rear-passenger quarter panel skin was replaced along with the 10 pounds of body filler from Maaco years prior. Along with that came a full two-stage Bali Blue paint job and aggressive nine-inch wide Work Meisters on 235/40 tires that had to be fitted to the car as the body work was in progress. Or should I say, the car had to be fitted to the wheels. The car has been kept in the garage ever since that transformation. That was when I knew nothing could keep this car down and I truly wanted to make it more unique.”
The CB7 has since evolved into an experimental project and award-winning showpiece for Hill’s business, Werd Werx, a repair and maintenance shop that focuses primarily on Accords. With the help of the Cali Accord Meet and FatFour Customs, they’ve been able to work together to bring the Accord community quality products, service, and events.
As far as the future, Hill claims his CB7 is “almost there – almost.” That said, he’s looking at adding quite a bit to the car: custom J’s racing-style fenders, suspension upgrades, larger tires, a complete interior and stereo system redo, engine bay detail, and total engine rebuild with an eye at integrating forced induction. One thing he isn’t looking at is ever getting rid of the car; there are just too many memories tied up in it, including those of his grandmother. “If she could see the car now, she would probably love it for the color,” Hill muses. “Purple was her favorite color, and although #itsnotpurple, it does have quite a purplish hue in the sunlight. She would say it's beautiful.”
1990 HONDA ACCORD EX COUPE
HOMETOWN Yorba Linda, Calif.
POWER 191.1 whp
Engine bay coated in Protecoat polyurethane bed liner; JDM H22A engine swap; ESP polyurethane motor mounts; Werd Werx custom engine harness, wire tuck, fuse box and battery relocation, Werd Werx Edition H22 red wrinkle valve cover; Nastie Garage street ported and polished head; Blox dual valve springs; B&M fuel pressure gauge; H23/F22 manual tensioner conversion; FFC fender washers and bolts, black anodized radiator brackets; Password: JDM valve cover washers and bolts, carbon fiber spark plug cover, cam cap cover; NGK spark plug wires, iridium spark plugs; BB6 Prelude intake, header; 2.25-inch stainless exhaust, no muffler, custom tips
DRIVETRAIN Automatic to H22 M2F4 5-speed manual transmission swap/conversion
ENGINE MANAGEMENT Chipped P28 ECU, dyno-tuned by Import Auto Pros
FOOTWORK & CHASSIS
Function & Form Type Two coilovers; FFC rear lower control arms, rear toe arms; Ingalls front camber adjustable anchor bolts; Matrix rear lower tie bar; RA1 Odyssey front hub/bearings, front knuckles; BB6 Prelude rear hub/bearings; Buddha Concept Designs modified shock towers
BRAKES Werd Werx Edition Acura RL front calipers; FFC Acura RL caliper brackets; Centric Nissan 350Z 12.8-inch front rotors; BB6 Prelude rear rotors; Prestone DOT3 fluid
WHEELS & TIRES 17x9-inch, +16 RAYS Gram Lights 57 Maximum Pro; BFGoodrich G-Force KDW2 tires, 215/40/17 front, 235/40/17 rear
Range Rover Bali Blue paint by Tim @ Mr. Old Habits; rear fenders pulled, rolled; Werd Werx chassis-mounted front splitter, custom rear diffuser; shaved antenna, trunk emblem, washer fluid nozzles; ’92-’93 JDM Accord one-piece headlights (black housings); ’92-’93 Accord front bumper conversion, rear bumper conversion, side moldings, amber bumper lights, sedan trunk conversion, red/clear sedan tail lights; Greddy CD5 Accord GRacer front lip; VIS CD5 Techno-R side skirts (Mugen replica); G Square replica grille; Depo amber side markers
INTERIOR Mochi custom harness bar; Sparco four-point harnesses; automatic seat belt delete; Werd Werx Edition RSX front seats; black dash swap, black door panels, black rear panels, black carpet, rear seat delete, gray wagon center console, gray A & B pillar panels, gray C pillar panels