There Are Many Reasons To Involve Oneself With A Build. For some, a culmination of years of trial and error eventually unfolds into a masterpiece. For others, it merely seems like the right thing to do. For Michael Rossi of Phoenix, Ariz., well, he wanted a show-stopping, eye-popping, neck-snapping Honda that would "blow people away." It arguably succeeds at this, albeit in an exquisite yet stealthy manner.
Michael's interest in Honda stretches back farther than Fat Joe in his "Lean Back" music video. "I've always liked Honda for some reason," he says. "I remember in seventh grade riding on the freeway with my mom. I saw a '92-'95 hatch dropped on 17s with no fenders, but I saw so much potential." Such is the mindset of a true visionary.
The adventure began with a '94 Honda Civic SiR shell ad posted by a fellow Web forum member. A friend encouraged him to call on it and propose a low-ball offer. It was accepted. He and two friends set off from Phoenix to Santa Maria, Calif., at 3 a.m. and, 24 hours and more than 1,000 miles later, and with a $500 speeding ticket to boot, the SiR skeleton rested in its new home.
The heartless EG6 would undergo massive surgery over the course of the next 12 months. "Every bolt, visible or not, was scrubbed clean to look as new as possible," he says. His attention to detail and quality over quantity attitude is a result of the ber-clean and flawless Laguna Seca Blue hatchback that exists today.
Suspension came first since the car had none. It was fitted with OEM parts followed by KSport coilovers for an adjustable ride height. A Beaks' lower tie-bar, Comptech front shock tower bar, and KSport lower control arms were all installed to keep things solid, noting that "everyone in Arizona throws on some Rotas," Michael opted for WedSport H&K JTM wheels measuring 15x6.5 with a +30 offset. The rims were adorned with sleek Yokohama ES100 190/50-15 tires. Attaching the shoes to the whip are Skunk2 lug nuts. Slowing down the clean machine for closer inspection by would-be viewers are OEM pads and rotors controlled by AGS brake fluid.
The shell was in desperate need of clothes. As such, Michael chose a Back Yard Special carbon-fiber front lip and rear spoiler, a Seibon carbon-fiber hood, and Vision carbon-fiber mirrors to make his EG6 stand out amongst the rest. "I wanted the car to be comparable to a Cali car, or better," he says. Honda Access foglights and smoked amber Vision corner lights ensure a lucid yet refined front end.
The shell still needed interior components. Again, with the aid of a friend, Michael was directed to a www.nwp4life.com ad boasting a full yellow EG6 interior. "Within two minutes I was on the phone ordering it," he says. A Mugen Racing II steering wheel attached to an NRG short hub with quick release keeps the car on the right path while the Mugen shift knob and pedals allow for precise shifting. Further adding to the inside are Honda Access floor mats, a Honda road flare, Honda Access Civic doorsills, and a DC2 yellow stitch shift boot.
Rather than ruining the synergy of a well-balanced vehicle, Michael chose a sensible route in terms of audio equipment. Six Gathers speakers play tunes from a Gathers six-CD changer connected to a Gathers head unit.
Michael originally planned to make the car as stock as possible. Plans for a '00 JDM B16A were ditched as "one thing led to another and it just got out of hand." The bug that often bites latched on for dear life. A '96-spec Type R B18C, purchased through H-Motors, found its way into the shell.
Michael opted for stock internals, never losing sight of the quality over quantity mindset. He also chose to retain the JDM ITR header. Other bits include NGK spark plugs, which ensure proper firing from all four cylinders, and a FLUIDYNE radiator equipped with a FAL slim fan. Mugen oil and radiator caps, and a Vision carbon-fiber spark plug cover add subtle yet key highlights to the engine bay. The red OEM ITR valve cover and red Ultra Power spark plug wires symbolize a heart and veins underhood while a Spoon grounding kit and HAMP battery keep the car alive and ticking. Type R shift linkage and a stock '96-spec Type R transmission ensure efficient transferring of engine power into wheel power. Keeping different segments of the car communicating in harmony is a JDM P30 ECU chipped to ITR specs while the painstaking wire tuck keeps distractions hidden.
Don't be mistaken; Michael is no novice. "Everything on the car was done by me," he says. "I didn't trust anyone else to help me with anything. I'm extremely anal about how things are done."
So the question is posed: How did he pay for it? Bank robbery? A bunch of maxed-out credit cards? A killing from the rising Euro? How'd he do it? "I pretty much starved myself to finish the car," he says. "My friends and I would go out to dinner and I would get the cheapest thing with water, or not even eat."
Unfortunately, Michael suffered a major setback eight months into the build. He and his girlfriend of four years had a falling out. "I turned emo, I lost all interest in my car, and even put it up for sale," he says. Yet another friend aided him through the ordeal and the car would finally make it to a local car show four months later.
With a few notches under his belt he now has some wisdom to share: "When building a car, build it for yourself. A build should represent you and your personality. Just have fun with it and don't worry about what other people might think about your decisions."
He plans to keep the EG6 in show condition. Nothing major is lined up...yet. A few touches here and there are scheduled down the road along with plans for attending more than a few events.
"From the start my goal was to take a 14-year-old car and make it look like it could be sitting in a showroom at Honda," he says. Mission accomplished...perfectly.
BOLTS & WASHERS
B18C ITR engine
ITR shift linkage
Hasport engine mounts
JDM ITR header
FAL slim radiator fan
NGK spark plugs
Ultra Power spark plug wires
Spoon grounding kit
Mugen oil cap
Mugen radiator cap
Vision carbon-fiber spark plug cover
ITR spec JDM P30 ECU
KSport lower control arms
Beaks' lower tie-bar
Comptech front upper shock tower brace
OEM brake pads
AGS brake fluid
Rims & Rubber:
15x6.5 WedSport H&K JTM (+30 offset)
195/50-15 Yokohama ES100
Skunk2 lug nuts
Laguna Seca Blue paint
Back Yard Special carbon-fiber front lip
Back Yard Special carbon-fiber rear spoiler
Seibon carbon-fiber hood
TEIN hood dampers
Vision carbon-fiber mirrors
Vision smoked amber corner lights
Honda Access foglights
OEM thin side moldings
SIR door decals
OEM bronze glass
EG6 yellow interior
Mugen Racing II steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
DC2 yellow stitch shift boot
NRG quick release hub
Honda Access floor mats
Honda Access doorsills
Honda road flare
Gathers six-speaker system
Gathers six-CD changer
Gathers head unit
Family and Friends
Most Played in the iPod:
"Leave Out All the Rest" by Linkin Park
Never bought a DVD, would buy
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Bogus traffic ticket:
Going 65 mph in a 55mph zone hauling the EG6 from California to Arizona, cost $550 all together
Mac or PC:
BMWs, but nothing compares to Honda's reliability
Porn star pick:
Never really thought about it, as long as they have nice boobs