In his youth, simply owning a car was a pipe dream for J.P. Cao of Long Beach, Calif. Rolling a tricked-out custom was so abstract it was beyond dreaming. "At a younger age my mother and I didn't have any means of transportation. Our daily 'point A to point B' was provided by the Long Beach Transit system. It was one of our hardships in life not to own a car. Whether it was going to church, going to school or simply buying groceries we always took the hard way. It was a goal of mine to prove to myself that I could someday own my very own car."
In August of 2000 that goal was realized in the form of a 1995 EG6 Civic hatchback and J.P. was free to dream in the abstract-personal modifications. Since then, J.P.'s 'seven-year itch' has included a motor swap, turbo conversion, crazy multi-stage paint scheme and full interior makeover.
Under the hood, the EG's factory original D-series engine was cast aside in favor of a B18B1 bullet out of an Integra LS. The LS has been fortified with Arias slugs and Crower con rods in preparation for pressurization, then topped with a re-worked, high-rpm head. The non-VTEC head has been matched to the intake manifold and exhaust header and internally massaged to provide optimum flow. After precise machining, it was filled with Crower, Buddy Club and Blox hard goods so it would spin big rpm.
J.P. elected not to use a kit and called on Sparks Racing to fabricate a turbo header and all the ancillary intercooler and intake piping. The header is a gem. Created with stainless steel, the manifold features equal-length runners and a stout flange that secures a hybrid Garrett T3/T4 turbocharger. Precision bent 2.5-inch piping runs from the compressor outlet through a TurboXS intercooler, 68mm BDL throttle body and a Blox intake.
After entering the combustion chamber, the charge air is met by fuel and this combination is sacrificed by fire to the performance gods during the power stroke. The goal in making power is to burn more fuel at the proper air/fuel ratio. When the volume of air goes up, so does the demand on the fuel system. A Walbro 255-lph in-tank pump, SARD adjustable fuel pressure regulator, BDL fuel rail and 440cc RC Engineering injectors ensure the ratio is right. Beyond the underhood hardware, J.P. has pulled a few cosmetic tricks that produce an ultra-clean engine bay. "My No. 1, absolute mod would have to be my engine bay setup," says a prideful J.P. "From the countless hours of body work to the turbo setup and engine swap, it's what makes the car. Most people say the engine bay is the heart of the beast and for the past seven years of my build, I would definitely agree."
"My second choice," says J.P., "would have to be the paint job. It's a custom basecoat with a House of Kolor Kandy Root Beer finish. The crazy scheme is what sets the car apart from others. In different angles and light people always mistake it for being different colors."
Checking J.P.'s favorites list, we find the wheels checking in third. "I can truly say that these wheels are among the coolest one of a kinds to ever hit the streets. Beyond being the infamous Sprint Hart CPF-G's, it's the custom touches that make them standouts. Through a good friend of mine, Mike G., I had them custom finished by powdercoating them in a gunmetal color and then having the top layer computer-machined down to give the surface that mirror look. By far, these are my favorite wheels to date."
One of our favorite pieces of the pie is the interior. J.P. has ditched the rear seats and carpet and extended the lavish kandy paint inside the cockpit, including the backs of the sweet Bride Zeta bucket seats. In stark contrast to the stripped down and caged race-like interior, the Civic door panels and center armrest have been adorned with a material that looks like it came from a Louis Vuitton handbag.
J.P. reports that driving in the EG is sometimes very difficult because it's so low, going through bumps and dips can make it almost impossible. So tuning the height of the D2 coilovers is key. "But when I'm on those straightaway streets with the windows rolled down, I have a sense that I own the road. The sound of the turbo spool and the distinctive sound of the blow-off valve always puts a smile on my face and for sure would turn heads all the time."
"It's very difficult accepting criticism from others but the hardest times during my build would have to be pleasing myself. My biggest competition would have to be my inner self, knowing how far I want to go and what goals I have planned. In order to overcome, I strive to push myself so that I can earn that satisfaction and a peace of mind that comes with it."
Judging by the acute attention to detail on display in J.P.'s ride, there is little doubt that he is very much at peace these days...but will it last? "I'm the type of person who likes to keep things low key; in fact, even my close friends know how secretive I am with my build. In other words my car will always speak for itself. But on the other hand, I can guarantee the viewers this: Be sure to stay tuned, this car will undergo a new makeover. My goal is to make it look as if it was a totally different car. The term "flipping the build" will have a new definition before the car gets stored away for good."
As challenging as J.P.'s upbringing has been, it seems like poetic justice that he literally lives on Easy Street today. So if you're cruising in the LBC and see a slammed Civic in a hue you don't know how to describe. Think about root beer floats and if a light bulb goes off beware this EG is a dream on boost and might just blow your doors off.
Bolts & WashersJ.P. Cao's 1995 Civic Hatchback
PropulsionA B18B1 DOHC engine scavenged from an Integra LS motivates J.P.'s Civic. The block has been filled with Arias 9.2:1 compression pistons, Crower rods and balanced stock crankshaft. Boost is generated by a Garrett T3/T4 turbo secured via a Sparks Racing equal-length manifold. Other turbo system items include a GReddy blow-off valve, TiAL Sports 38mm wastegate, Turbo XS 26x12x3 FMIC and a SARD boost controller. A Hondata S200B ECU upgrade tunes the combination. An ACT 6-puck Extreme clutch claws at an 11-pound ACT flywheel, while a Kaaz LSD puts the power down.
StanceThe Civic's fully crouched look is attained by cranking on the D2 coilovers. An Ingalls camber kit ensures proper tire wear at any elevation, while a Rigid three-point front upper strut bar, Do Luck floor brace, Carbing front and rear lower ties, Full EM Racing rear bar setup, Autopower six-point roll cage, ASR subframe brace, JDM ITR rear sway, Suspension Tech front sway, SRR rear lower control arms and Z10 traction bar controls the lateral g's through the twisties.
ResistanceStopping power has been addressed with Brembo cross-drilled and slotted rotors that are clamped by JDM-spec EG6 calipers fitted with Metal Axxis pads and Goodridge stainless steel lines.
Rims & RubberA set of rare Sprint Hart CPF-G wheels adorn the Civic. These JDM gems measure 15x6.5 with a +43 offset. The custom-finished aluminum has been wrapped with 205/50/15 Toyo Proxes T1-Rs.
Fashion outside:The Civic's paint scheme is a Stage 3 House of Kolor Kandy Root Beer sprayed onto a specially prepped body. The body work consists of a shaved antenna, prepped and painted interior and engine bay, a complete shaved engine bay with custom wire tuck and additional aero parts. The body is further enhanced with a Spoon front spoiler, Spoon rear duckbill, Seibon carbon-fiber doors, hood, trunk, JDM fenders with sidemarkers, Spoon mirrors, JDM headlights, JDM taillights, Vision amber corners, JDM rear amber glass and quarter panel glass.
Inside:Bride Zeta bucket seats play a staring roll inside the cockpit. The seat backs have been sprayed in Root Beer Kandy as has all interior surfaces. The car rolls with deleted back seats and carpet so there is a lot of paint to be seen. Other mods include a Rigid shift knob, JDM ITR shift boot, custom LV door panels, speaker panels, and armrest, Apexi turbo timer, JDM cluster, clock, climate control, coin pocket, complete switch assemblies, JDM center console, armrest. An Autopower six-point cage, quick-release Momo steering wheel and full Takata harness system give the interior a competition aura.