Like a lot of the automotive obsessed, when Bobby Coulter landed his dream ride, ideas began crashing within his skull as if driven by some sort of schizophrenic particle accelerator. In rapid order, as quick as his synapses could fire, he visualized his Honda in various states of tune, like a wild slide show before his mind's eye. These vivid dreamworks would eventually lead Coulter to re-imagine his visions and ultimate success.
"I always wanted a '99 Si," begins the Fresno, Calif., resident. "When the chance came to build one, I jumped on it. At first, I just wanted a car I would be happy with without having to mod it too much. But as time progressed, I wanted more.
"Originally, I was satisfied with the motor, so I started on the outside with the carbon-fiber lip, hood and trunk, then headlights and Catz HIDs. Then I did the whole suspension setup. This kept me happy, but I am a gearhead at heart and can never leave anything alone.
"I took the Si to Method Motor Works to get a simple turbo setup done, but then decided to pull the motor and swap out the block for a B18C1. While the motor was out, I decided to have it sleeved by Darton and bored out to 2 liters and be fully built by Henant Cheema at Method Motor Works."
While the motor was on the operating table, the head was sent to Portflow for a multi-angle valve job, bronze valve guides, resurfacing, and matching. Instead of simply staring at the empty engine compartment, Coulter decided to shave the entire bay himself. During this phase, Coulter remote-mounted his clutch reservoir in the cowl to make the bay even cleaner looking. He also elected to make an entire engine harness from scratch. Since no one had done this locally, he was blazing trails on his own. He credits the help from distant wire tuck experts, such as JDM_JON (RIP) and Brian Cain, for being his safety net.
When a great deal on some TWM ITBs materialized, his cerebral cortex seemed to suffer a cascade failure because he jumped off the turbo system idea and became keen to try a nice all-natural setup. Before any more cascading, the completed head was back in the fold and the Method Motor Works crew was dropping the B18 into the Si using trick billet mounts from Camp1320. Then RevSpeed tuned the engine.
"I picked up a set of 17-inch Volk TE-37s and had them custom powdercoated to match the car," describes Coulter. "I made custom stickers that say '808 Edition' so they wouldn't be mistaken as someone else's. I also picked up a nice Memory Fab seat and a Bride Ergo seat and some Takata harnesses. Then Alex G Customs put together the rest of the I.C.E. While audio work was going down I painted a custom valve cover so the B18 would really stand out.
"There isn't one part of my car that I haven't touched with my own hands in some way or another. The Civic has parts that range from the rarest and most expensive, all the way down to the cheapest and readily available, and a lot of homemade ones, too. I'm down for whatever it takes to make this car into a representation of my artistic vision," Coulter says.
When it comes to the highpoints of his Honda, Coulter is quick to point to the wheels. "My black and blue TE-37s are big standouts. The '808' theme on this car is special. It's an old-school pager code I have used since I was in 8th grade that just stuck."
Curiously, Coulter also gave a call-out to the Si's shifter. "Yeah my Razo shift knob [is notable] because it was the first aftermarket part I ever bought. I got it way back in 1994 and I have put it on every Honda I have owned. It's deeply sentimental."
Next on his list of favorites is something under the hood. "My valve covers...all six of them! They truly show the artistic side of my car while allowing me to change the look of my bay quickly and efficiently."
When Coulter is not altering the engine bay aura, he rolls the Civic hard and proud. "Every time I get in my Civic and start up, it reminds me that hard work does pay off, and no matter how little money you make you can build your dream ride without compromise if you are willing to hustle for every last part. I love the sound of the engine, stereo - everything. I love the feel of the seats, steering wheel and shifter. It's like I built a car out of blood, sweat, and tears, and it feels, smells, and sounds great!"
Like many build-ups we encounter, there is no finish line for Coulter's. "My plans often change, but my goal stays the same: to build a car that represents me inside and out. I plan to get the car fine tuned (suspension, engine, etc) and turn it into a reliable weekend warrior that I will not only drive to autocross events but tear up some cars while we're there!"
There is little doubt in Coulter's enthusiasm and personal drive to attain lofty goals. We respect that his Civic is still a functional piece of machinery. In fact, while many cars see less and less road time as they evolve and age, the goal of Coulter's Si is to become more active as it moves from the street to the road circuit. For us, that's a story with a happy ending.
Bolts & WashersBobby Coulter's 1999 Civic Si
PropulsionCoulter swapped out the Si's B16 in favor of a B18C1 that was bored and stroked to 2.0 liters with Darton MID sleeves, Arias pistons, and Eagle rods. The project was initially aimed at turbocharging, but redirected to naturally-aspirated in time to use high-compression 11.8:1 pistons. TWM 50mm individual throttle bodies with trick carbon-fiber velocity stacks handle induction. A Profab header leads to a custom Method Motor Works 2.5-inch exhaust system that features a 5Zigen Fireball canister. The cylinder head was machined by Portflow and fitted with its dual valve springs, titanium retainers, and Ferrea valves.
StanceThe Civic rides on Tein Basic coilovers and relies on a Suspension Techniques Speed Tech rear reinforcement kit, ST front sway bar, and ST urethane bushings all around to enhance rigidity.
ResistanceThe major mod here is the re-positioning of the master cylinder assembly into the cowl, which is a big part of Coulter's firewall smoothing effort. Beyond the firewall mod, 808 Customs stainless lines and Hawk performance pads were introduced to the mix.
Rims & RubberRolling stock consists of 17x7.5 Volk Racing TE-37s and 205/40/17 tires. The Volks were custom powdercoated and fitted with custom 808 badges.
FashionOutside:Arthur's Auto Body handled the application of Electron Blue Pearl paint to the body and a custom carbon-fiber lip spoiler. Coulter also added AC Schnitzer style side mirrors, a VIS carbon-fiber trunk, a Civic Type R rear lip, and OEM-style carbon hood.
Inside:Coulter pilots the Si from a Memory Fab S58 carbon-fiber bucket seat while the co-pilot rests in a Bride Ergo bucket. Takata harnesses are on-call for weekend warrior duties. Of course the sentimental Razo shift knob is at the ready-Coulter has installed the knob on all four of his previous Hondas.
I.c.e.A Pyle M800 head unit runs the show; the signal juiced by Kenwood Excelon and Phoenix Gold Octane series amplifiers. The amps drive Pioneer Premier 6.5-inch component speakers mounted in the door panels and rear deck. An 8-inch Resonant Engineering subwoofer provides bass, housed in a custom wheel-well enclosure built by Superior Sound. On the visual side of the equation, a XO Vision 7-inch LCD monitor has been custom-fitted in the center console. The system also features PS2 and Xbox consoles. I.C.E extras consist of a 1-Farad Lightning Audio capacitor, Stinger HPM wires and connections, and an Odyssey dry-cell battery housed in a Method Motor Works battery relocation kit.
LoveHenant at Method Motor Works, Santos, FFN, and BYB. "Most of all, I want to thank my family; not many parents would park their brand new car outside while their son took up the garage 'tearing apart a perfectly good car.' I also want to thank my lovely wife, who not only put up with my obsession, but at the drop of a hat would drive to L.A. to pick up a seat for 'a car that doesn't even have an engine!' "