We often find ourselves spending countless hours on the Internet browsing through our favorite automotive forums looking for something that reminds us of our definition of "hard" or "clean". The two terms are used so often that they've basically lost their true meaning in the tuning world.
Deeming a car "hard" conjures up images of a vehicle with an extremely aggressive stance and an equally stout motor setup. When someone says that a car is "clean" you automatically think of a streamline body, minus the overly gaudy body kit of course, with enough intricate details and rare goodies to set it apart from the rest of the crowd. As much as we hate to admit it to ourselves, the scene has become a lot more watered-down the last couple years mainly due to the introduction of replicated parts, JDM-style modifications and painted stock wheels.
At one point or another, you've probably caught yourself telling someone that their ride was "clean" because you have 100 other terrible things you wanted to say about the car but decided to spare some hurt feelings. Once upon a time we could find a plethora of feature-worthy rides on the net at a glance. Nowadays, it's like looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or any other kind of cheesy clich you can think of. Finding that special car happens almost by pure chance. It's almost like finding that special someone in your life; some say it kind of just "happens." The moment we saw Cesar Ruiz's project while sifting through the few pictures that exist of it on the web, we said that this car embodied the very definition of a "clean" ride. And once we saw what was under the hood, well...damn...we knew that we had to have it.
Cesar Ruiz knew early on that he wanted to make an impact with his build. He had a specific game plan. As a previous owner of two other Hondas, one of which was a real '00 Civic Type-R from his stint in Japan, it was apparent that this Hollister, Calif., native knew exactly what he wanted out of his next project. His EJ8 coupe started its life in 1996 as a Canadian model Honda Civic Si. How it ended up in California we'll never know, but it ended up in Cesar's possession as a used car in April of '05.
A trip from Canada to the West Coast notwithstanding, Cesar knew right away that the stock motor was coming out in favor of a bigger, stronger K20A motor. Redzone Performance in Fremont, Calif., was contacted to source the K20 front clip as well as performing the actual swap and wire tuck. Before the motor was installed, Cesar and the guys over at Redzone decided to add a number of items that would give the potent K-motor even more power. Headwork would come in the form of Toda Racing N2 Spec camshafts, valve springs and Supertech titanium retainers. Once the head was opened up and allowed to breathe freely, the stock intake manifold was ditched in favor of TWM 2000 Series individual throttle bodies. The motor then found its way onto the EJ coupe thanks to newly acquired Hasport mounts. No swap is complete without the proper exhaust components so Cesar decided on an R Crew header to route the exhaust gases to the custom Redzone exhaust piping and an A'PEXi 2.5-inch muffler. Redzone was also able to do a lot of other little things that one might not notice at a glance, including the relocation of the battery, fuse box and DRL unit, as well as the complete removal of the ABS, power steering and air conditioning.
After the engine conversion was completed, the Civic actually rolled around quite unsuspectingly with stock exterior and stock blackout wheels until Cesar was able to source all the parts to completely redo the outside. Before that could be done, it was decided that the suspension needed as much attention as the rest of the car had received. After all, the stance of any Honda speaks volumes for the overall finished product. A set of Zeal B2 fully adjustable coilovers keeps the Civic and the K20A oil pan mere inches off the ground. If you ever have the opportunity to see this car in person, you'll realize that one of its most recognizable features is that it's practically pancaked to the floor. Most would think that it wasn't possible or even remotely intelligent to drive it at that height but Cesar doesn't give it a second thought. Spoon front and rear tower and lower tie bars find their way onto the car for added support of the chassis. To complete the look of the suspension, Cesar decided to mount a mint set of 16x7 Spoon SW388 wheels. The flat black wheels give the car a sense of subtle seriousness and also allow the Spoon Twin-Block brake calipers to stand out even more.
With the motor in place and the suspension complete, Cesar finally decided to install all the exterior pieces that he had been piecing together meticulously since he first started this project. The Vogue Silver Metallic exterior is highlighted with an ensemble of JDM EK4 parts including, but not limited to, front and rear bumpers, fog lamps, thin side-moldings, JDM EK9 CTR headlights and front grille. The only two things that give anyone any indication of this Civic's original roots are the Canadian-spec SiR badges that adorn the front and rear of the vehicle. The Spoon theme is carried over from the wheels and brakes as the front lip and carbon hood are both original Spoon pieces. Other subtle touches, such as the unpainted door handles and license plate garnish, really set the exterior off and match the moldings of the JDM EK4 pieces.
The interior of this Canadian-bred Civic boasts an extremely rare set of yellow (yes yellow) Integra Type-R Recaro seats. These eye-popping seats and the green Takata harnesses draped over them really give this EJ coupe a unique contrast that somehow makes the entire car flow nicely. Any true car builder knows that you always need a little bit of contrast to get the attention of onlookers. A JDM CL1 Accord Euro-R steering wheel and assorted EK9 CTR pieces add to the ever-growing list of rarities that exist within the cockpit of the Civic.
Once all the aesthetics were taken care of, the Civic returned to Redzone Performance to get dialed in and tuned. Powered by a Hondata K-Pro and Toda valvetrain, the K-powered Civic was able to make 247 whp and 160 lb-ft of torque. Cesar is satisfied with the numbers but will definitely continue to explore new opportunities that will get him more power in the future. "I don't feel I have everything I want for this car, but there is definitely more to come," says Cesar.
Bolts & Washers
Cesar ruiz's 1996 civic si (canadian model)
A K20A motor sits in place of the stock model courtesy of Hasport EKK1 mounts. TWM 2000 Series 52mm individual throttle bodies with carbon-fiber air horns replace the bulky stock manifold and help the head breathe. Valvetrain upgrades include: Toda Racing N2 Spec camshafts, Toda Racing single-coil valve springs and Supertech titanium retainers. Exhaust gases are driven through an R Crew header and exit through an A'PEXi muffler and custom Redzone Performance piping. A Walbro 255lph fuel pump drives fuel to a Canton Mecca fuel filter and Magna Fuel FPR before it reaches the 440cc saturated fuel injectors. A Hondata K-Pro is the brains of this operation.
Stance Cesar's Civic features Zeal B2 adjustable coilovers as well as Function7 Engineering lower control arms and a catalog of Spoon suspension parts, including front and rear strut tower bars and lower tie bars.
ResistanceStopping power comes by way of Spoon Sports Twin-Block front brake calipers, Spoon Sports front rotors and GSR disc-brake swap in the rear.
Rims & RubberThis Civic rolls hard on 16x7 Spoon SW388 wheels on 205/45/16 Yokohama Parada Spec 2 tires on street and 15x6.5 Yokohama Super Advan Racing Version 2 wheels mounted on BFGoodrich g-force T/A Drag Radial 205/50R/15 tires for the track.
FashionExterior:The Vogue Silver Metallic paint is secondary to the complete JDM EK4 parts swap, which includes front and rear bumpers, thin side-moldings, fog lamps and clear lenses. JDM EK9 Type-R headlights and grille sit in place of the originals and Spoon Sports was called for a front lip and carbon-fiber bonnet. Canadian-spec EM1 SiR badges adorn the front and rear of the car as well as a rear Honda Access coupe badge. Vision Type-MC carbon-fiber mirrors make sure that the objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
Interior:The interior is highlighted by a pair of super-rare DC2 Type-R yellow Recaro seats mounted on Vision one-touch seat rails. Driver and passenger are held firmly in place with Takata MPH340R harnesses. The dash and console feature a JDM EK9 CTR carbon-fiber gauge bezel, A/C coin pocket and '99/'00 Spex climate control unit.
I.C.E.The only entertainment in this car is the sound of individual throttles pulling in air. A JVC CD receiver is there, but we doubt Cesar ever uses it.