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Old School Hondas - Street Level

How Canada Preserves Honda's Past

Jonathan Thompson
Mar 1, 2009
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
Htup_0903_01_z+old_school_hondas+group_photo Photo 1/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Canada's winters tend to encourage motorists to purchase relatively cheap cars for use on its salt-infested snowy roads five months out of the year. Beaters they may be, but these winter sleds have got to be reliable. Nobody likes being stuck on the side of the road in near subzero temperatures, but nobody's interested in dropping $40,000 on a car to have it infected with cancerous rust. Hondas naturally fill this void and a group of five Canadians and a lone American know this. The group, headed by the first-gen Civic-savvy Justin March, decided to transform its own Canadian winter wrecks into personal homages to Hondas of yore. Their friendship and shared love of all things Honda soon catapulted the brand's early era into the 21st century.

Htup_0903_02_z+old_school_hondas+1979_wagon Photo 2/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The '79 Wagon
Justin March's '79 Civic Wagon

2017 Honda Civic
$21,500 Base Model (MSRP) 31/40 MPG Fuel Economy

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
D16A6 engine
JDM Y1 LSD transmission
ZEX nitrous kit
SB1 Motorsports mounts
SB1 Motorsports hoses
SB1 Motorsports intake
SB1 Motorsports 4-1 header
SB1 Motorsports 2.25-inch exhaust
Triple-core radiator
Ford Motorsports fuel pump
STR fuel rail
SB1 Motorsports lines and fittings
Fel-Pro inline fuel filter
MSD spark plug wires
ACT six-puck clutch
ACT aluminum flywheel
SB1 Motorsports axles

Stance:
Ground Control coilovers
KYB shocks
ADDCO antiroll bars
Whiteline bushings
Custom engine brace

Resistance:
SB1 Motorsports 12.1-inch front rotors
ITR rear rotors
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
NSX calipers
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines
Legend master cylinder

Rims And Rubber:
4x100 conversion
15x6.5 '00 Civic Si (+45 offset)
195/45-15 Nexen N3000

Outside:
Lincoln Navigator Laser Red paint
Shaved panels
JDM front turn signals
'77 Civic chrome bumpers
'77 Civic taillights
'77 Civic fenders
'77 Civic hood
'77 Civic grille
Chrome roof rack

Inside:
Porsche Boxster seats
Re-wrapped matching rear seats
Trim Up Auto carpet kit
JDM wood steering wheel
JDM overhead console
JDM quartz clock
JDM map lights
JDM rear roof-mounted speakers
ITR shift knob
'79 Canada Civic Special instrumentation
SB1 Motorsports short shifter
Alpine 1203 custom display
Accelevision DVD9530
Icon DVD screens
Realm-Audio components

Props:
My wife Twyla
Carline Brake and Muffler
Trim Up Auto

Htup_0903_03_z+old_school_hondas+wagon_interior Photo 3/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The Honda gods strike in unlikely ways, like the time Justin March was minding his own business and suddenly T-boned into a car whose driver made an illegal left turn. The accident opened the floodgates to a series of mods to March's '79 wagon. "After the accident, I decided I wanted to fix the car up," he says $20K later. Justin, or the "Swap Master" as he's widely known, fell in love with Hondas in the early '90s. Among one of the classifieds for the twenty-some cars Justin's owned was one for a car that he initially assumed was a hatchback. But when he arrived to purchase it he discovered that indeed it was a wagon. Hatchback or not, $400 later Justin drove it home. The wagon remained untouched for nearly two years until the accident. Soon after, a D16A6 engine and a ZEX nitrous kit were added as were Porsche Boxster leather seats. The body also received attention in the form of multiple coats of Lincoln Navigator Laser Red paint simply because it caught Justin's eye while cruising through a mall parking lot. Don't let Justin's innate ability to mix the old with the new throw you off though-he's still a purist. Unique cars such as Justin's typically fall into the trailer queen category, but that's not his style. Justin's wagon fulfills daycare taxi duties for his daughter on a regular basis. "Go for it. If you can dream it, you can build it," says the Swap Master.

Htup_0903_04_z+old_school_hondas+wagon_engine_bay Photo 4/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Richmond, B.C.

Daily Grind:
Tech guru

Favorite Website:
www.1stgencivic.com

Building Cars How Long:
20 years

Favorite Kicks:
Nike Air Force 1s by Kaw

Dream Car:
S800 convertible with F22 swap

Build Inspiration:
Chip Foose

Can't Miss TV:
Car shows

Htup_0903_05_z+old_school_hondas+1976_civic Photo 5/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The '76 Civic
Twyla March's '76 Civic
After losing a Civic to auto cancer, Twyla March set out to find another that she and husband Justin could convert into the convertible of their dreams. But before anything was scrapped, she made sure to save the nifty custom-fabricated trailer made from the old '78 Civic. "When we go on road trips or camping trips it gets stuffed to the brim...you name it, we've stuffed it into that trailer," she says.

Finding parts for a '76 Civic is like trying to find a beer at a straight-edge party, difficult, but possible. Beginning in 2001, the build lasted seven months starting with an engine that was sourced from New Zealand. Many custom parts and a banging sound system found their way into the car after the shell received a custom paintjob in a friend's garage. Twyla thanks MasterCard for her $10K project. Despite gender stereotypes in the automotive realm, Twyla got down and dirty like the best of them. "I wear nail polish to hide the grease and dirt that's under my fingernails," she says. Paint and a new engine are on order for the classic Civic before husband and wife take their planned trip to California in 2010. "Do it because you love it," she says.

Htup_0903_06_z+old_school_hondas+civic_interior Photo 6/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Richmond, B.C.

Daily Grind:
Shipping and receiving clerk

Favorite Website:
www.1stgencivic.com

Building Cars How Long:
18 years

Favorite Kicks:
New Balance

Dream Car:
My car

Build Inspiration:
Justin

Can't Miss TV:
Reality shows

Htup_0903_07_z+old_school_hondas+civic_engine_bay Photo 7/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
JDM City Turbo II ER engine
SB1 Motorsports mounts
SB1 Motorsports radiator
B1 Motorsports hoses
SB1 Motorsports air filter
IHI RHB51 turbocharger
Custom 2.25-inch intercooler piping
Custom 3-inch intercooler
HKS SS blow-off valve
Enlarged wastegate
Custom 2.75-inch downpipe
Custom 2.25-inch exhaust piping
SB1 Motorsports muffler
Ford Motorsports fuel pump
NGK spark plugs
NGK spark plug wires
ACT dual friction clutch
OEM lightened flywheel

Stance:
SB1 Motorsports sleeves and springs
KYB shocks
ADDCO antiroll bars
Energy Suspension bushings

Resistance:
First-gen Civic Wagon rotors
First-gen Civic Wagon calipers
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines

Rims And Rubber:
13x6 Panasport (+42 offset)
195/60-13 Nexen N3000

Outside:
Isuzu Copper Orange paint
Custom-built convertible
Custom subframe
Custom '78 Civic trailer

Inside:
Civic SiR seats
Trim Up Auto carpet kit
SB1 Motorsports short shifter
Ractive chrome shift knob
Ractive indigo gauges
Personal steering wheel
Snks Race It rollcage
HKS turbo timer
Alpine 1656 SP controller
Realm-Audio components

Props:
Justin March
Trim Up Auto
Carline Brake and Muffler
Steve
Wil
Vic

Htup_0903_08_z+old_school_hondas+1979_civic Photo 8/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The '79 Civic
Wilson Ho's '79 Civic
Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
D16A6 block/D16Z6 head
'89 Civic DX transmission
SB1 Motorsports mounts
Garrett K03 turbocharger
SB1 Motorsports intercooler piping
Ractive air filter
Water/methanol cooling mixture
Turbo XS Type H blow-off valve
Honda Civic HF manifold
SB1 Motorsports 2.25-inch downpipe
Custom 2.25-inch exhaust piping
Ractive 3-inch muffler
Ford Motorsports fuel pump
DSM fuel injectors
SB1 Motorsports lines and fittings
Fel-Pro fuel filter
BBK Motorsports fuel pressure regulator
Bosch platinum spark plugs
Bosch spark plug wires
MSD 6A ignition
MSD Blaster SS coil
SB1 Motorsports hoses
Dual-core radiator
Unorthodox Racing underdrive pulley
Centerforce dual-friction clutch
SB1 Motorsports flywheel
SB1 Motorsports axles
SB1 Motorsports ECU

Stance:
SB1 Motorsports coilovers
ADDCO antiroll bars

Resistance:
SB1 Motorsports 9.2-inch front rotors
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
Civic Si calipers
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines
Legend master cylinder

Rims And Rubber:
4x100 bolt pattern conversion
15x7 Konig Imagine (+40 offset)
195/45-15 Nexen N3000

Outside:
Midnight Black and Orange two-tone paint
Shaved body bits
'77 Civic chrome bumpers
SB1 Motorsports fender flares
SB1 Motorsports grille
Euro-style side mirrors
Custom LED taillights
HID 6000K headlights
Custom LED turn signals
Custom fiberglass quarter-panels

Inside:
Recaro Speed S seats
Re-wrapped matching rear seats
Trim Up Auto carpet kit
SB1 Motorsports short shifter
MOMO shift knob
MOMO Jet steering wheel
Razo pedals
Custom center console
Motorized rear seat
SB1 Motorsports VTEC controller
TurboSmart boost controller
Equus gauges
Compustar CM5000 with turbo timer
Xbox
Icon DVD screens
EFX audio components
Custom fiberglass enclosure

Props:
Justin March
Twyla March
EFX
Carline Brake and Muffler
Trim Up Auto
Victor Ho
My understanding wife

Htup_0903_09_z+old_school_hondas+civic_interior Photo 9/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Wilson Ho always wanted to update his '79 Civic to electronic fuel injection status. And so he ripped apart the car to begin, only to discover rust remnants similar to what you'd find on an old sea barge. Luckily, his friend Justin found him yet another '79 that was headed for the wrecking yard. Wilson wanted to create something different with his new beauty. He'd noticed the abundance of solid-colored cars and opted for a two-tone paintjob consisting of Midnight Black and Tri Coat Custom Orange. "It's not Harley colors...although most of the guys like to bug me about it," he says. Wilson saw an opportunity and also installed Nissan Micra front fenders with a little customization. An Xbox routes all images and sounds.

Justin helped with the majority of the build and Wilson's brother Victor installed the sound system. Wilson says he touched almost every aspect of the build. "I can't forget Twyla for helping out and the wonderful dinners that fueled us through the nights," he says. The project lasted five years and consumed a cool $20K. "I think the best part of owning a Honda is that people of all ages and races seem to find something they can like about it," he says.

Htup_0903_10_z+old_school_hondas+civic_engine_bay Photo 10/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Vancouver, B.C.

Daily Grind:
Sales representative

Favorite Website:
www.craigslist.com

Building Cars How Long:
18 years

Favorite Kicks:
Reebok

Dream Car:
Aston Martin DB9R

Build Inspiration:
Crazy things, family, and friends

Can't Miss TV:
Power Block on Spike TV

Htup_0903_11_z+old_school_hondas+1978_civic Photo 11/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The '78 Civic
Victor Ho's '78 Civic
Victor's '78 Civic build almost never happened. While driving a restored wagon similar to his friend Justin's, a drunk driver ran a red light and hit another car. It flipped through the air and landed on top of Victor's Civic, right behind his head. The accident haunted him for years. However, the Honda gods pushed him back in the right direction. He simply couldn't resist the temptation anymore as he saw his brother and friends having fun restoring their old Civics.

Victor's love of wide-bodied SCCA cars influenced his decision to customize a body kit for his Civic. The car received custom paint as well. Besides the whole drunk driver situation the story is a funny one. Victor didn't have the funds to purchase the paint he wanted, but the painter told him that he'd been collecting leftover paint in a can and he could have it as long as he paid for labor. Victor agreed. "It's dark grey mettalic, but when the sun hits it you'll see a bit of purple flake," he says. Victor lost count of how much he spent during the build but we're guessing it's somewhat on par with the rest of his posse.

Htup_0903_12_z+old_school_hondas+civic_interior Photo 12/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

"Find friends just as crazy as you are," Victor tells us.

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Vancouver, B.C.

Daily Grind:
Network technician

Favorite Website:
www.1stgencivic.com

Building Cars How Long:
19 years

Favorite Kicks:
Skechers

Dream Car:
Austin Martin DB9R

Build Inspiration:
SCCA wide-bodied race cars

Can't Miss TV:
CSI and House

Htup_0903_13_z+old_school_hondas+civic_engine_bay Photo 13/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
EK1 engine
Shadbolt camshaft
Filter King fuel filter
Filter King fuel regulator
K&N air intake
Weber adaptor intake manifold
Webber DGEV carburetor
Custom 2-inch exhaust piping
NGK platinum spark plugs
NGK 8mm spark plug wires
Crane multi-spark ignition system
MSD Blaster coil
Centerforce dual-friction clutch
OEM lightened flywheel

Stance:
Civic Si coilover sleeve kit
KYB shocks
Neuspeed springs
Energy Suspension bushings

Resistance:
SB1 Motorsports 10.1-inch front rotors
SB1 Motorsports 9.1-inch rear rotors
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
'91 Civic Si calipers
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines
Legend master cylinder

Rims And Rubber:
4x100 bolt pattern conversion
15x7 Centra 5 Stars (+25 offset)
205/50-15 Nexen N3000

Outside:
Charcoal Mist metallic paint
Shaved body bits
SB1 Motorsports fender flares
SB1 Motorsports front lip
Custom LED taillights
HID 6000K headlights

Inside:
Civic Si short shifter
Integra front and rear seats
MOMO steering wheel
Dual XDVD710 DVD player
MB Quart speakers and subwoofers

Props:
Wilson Ho
Justin March
SB1 Motorsports
Carline Brake and Muffler
Chipsaway Autobody
My wife Cindy
My baby daughter Katherine

Htup_0903_14_z+old_school_hondas+1978_honda_civic Photo 14/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The other '78 Civic
Peter Pao's '78 Civic
Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
D16Y8 engine
'91 Civic HF transmission
SB1 Motorsports mounts
SB1 Motorsports hoses
VW Rabbit radiator
Ford F-150 fuel pump
NGK spark plugs
NGK spark plug wires
SB1 Motorsports air intake
Mugen 4-1 exhaust manifold
Carline Brake and Muffler 2.25-inch exhaust system
ACT six-puck clutch
OEM lightened flywheel
SB1 Motorsports axles

Stance:
Ground Control coilovers
KYB shocks

Resistance:
'91 Civic Si rotors
'91 Civic Si calipers
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines

Rims And Rubber:
15x7 Panasport (+25 offset)
195/45-15 Nexen N3000

Outside:
'78 Civic Red paint

Inside:
'94 Integra seats
MOMO steering wheel
SB1 Motorsports short shifter
SB1 Motorsports gauges
Pioneer Carrozeria head unit
EFX audio components

Props:
Justin March
Revolution Autoworks
Carline Brake and Muffler

Htup_0903_15_z+old_school_hondas+interior Photo 15/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Although Peter Pao's owned two NSXs, he chose the Civic because it reminded him of a car his parents had during the '70s. He also needed a beater. Justin March built the beast that exists today. "As long as there's blood coursing through Justin's veins, I don't need to worry," Peter says. The car received '91 Civic brakes first and a D16Y8 engine followed. "I have vague memories of burning my arse off on the black vinyl seats in the summer and freezing to death in the winter," he recalls of his Canadian childhood. Peter chose more suitable '94 Integra front seats. The build lasted two years and put a major dent in his credit cards. Peter can't recall the total amount he spent but he does recall it being "financially crippling."

The Civic's OEM red paint begs for attention. "Every comment I get from someone who sees it is: 'Oh! It's soooooo cute!' In my head I think it's not cute, it's an angry little bastard that wants to eat your children," he laughs.

Htup_0903_16_z+old_school_hondas+engine_bay Photo 16/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Victor vents a little about the influences of that widely known Hollywood depiction of import cars and racing. "Hollywood got it wrong," he proclaims.

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Richmond, B.C.

Daily Grind:
Freight forwarder

Favorite Website:
www.macrossworld.com

Building Cars How Long:
12 years

Favorite Kicks:
Adidas Stan Smiths

Dream Car:
NSX-R

Build Inspiration:
Old family car from the '70s

Can't Miss TV:
Ainori and CSI Miami

Htup_0903_17_z+old_school_hondas+1977_honda_civic Photo 17/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

The '77 Civic
Alan Pace's '77 Civic
Similar to Peter, friend Justin March built a Civic for Alan, who lives in nearby Washington. Alan wanted a "head-turning" daily driver. He purchased the car from a 93-year-old man who was the original owner. It was like finding a virgin after prom night-pretty rare.

As with any project involving a three-decade-old car, he ran into problems sourcing parts. He ordered rubber seals from Australia. "The guys down there had pretty bad customer service. I'd get put on hold for 20 minutes when the call was costing me three to four bucks a minute," he says. Alan carefully selected the 2007 Grabber Orange Mustang paint. It reminded him of his father's bright orange 1976 Porsche 911. He also liked the safety associated with a bright color after being hit several times in the small Civic. The build lasted two years and, eventually, Alan lost track of the money he'd spent. He made a deal with his wife that he would only spend money that he made on the side as coaching and selling artwork. "The project grew and grew. I've got a few more paintings to sell before I can say I paid for the car with side jobs," he says.

"I'd like to keep the car forever, maybe give it to my kids in 16 years," he tells us. That is a family heirloom worth waiting for.

Htup_0903_18_z+old_school_hondas+interior_view Photo 18/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Owner Specs
Hometown:
Selah, Washington

Daily Grind:
High school art teacher

Favorite Website:
www.seatlepi.com

Building Cars How Long:
14 years

Favorite Kicks:
Reef flip flops

Dream Car:
My car

Build Inspiration:
Justin March's previous cars

Can't Miss TV:
The Office and Seahawks football

Htup_0903_19_z+old_school_hondas+engine_bay Photo 19/19   |   Old School Hondas - Street Level

Bolts & Washers
Propulsion:
D17A2 engine
SB1 Motorsports mounts
SB1 Motorsports hoses
Ford Motorsports fuel pump
SB1 Motorsports lines
Russell fittings
B&M regulator
NGK iridium spark plugs
SB1 Motorsports air intake
Megan Racing 4-2-1 exhaust manifold
Carline Brake and Muffler 2.25-inch exhaust system
ACT six-puck clutch
OEM lightened flywheel
SB1 Motorsports axles

Stance:
SB1 Motorsports coilovers
KYB shocks
Custom subframe

Resistance:
SB1 Motorsports rotors
'91 Civic Si calipers
SB1 Motorsports carbon-Kevlar metallic pads
AMSOIL 5000 series fluid
SB1 Motorsports steel-braided lines
RIMS AND RUBBER:
15x7 Spun Supramesh (+45 offset)
195/45-15 Nexen N3000

Outside:
'07 Grabber Orange Mustang paint
Shaved body bits

Inside:
'92 Integra GS-R seats
Re-wrapped matching rear seats
Trim Up Auto carpet kit
MOMO carbon-fiber shift knob
SB1 Motorsports short shifter
'94 Integra GS-R gauge cluster
Custom console
Pioneer head unit
EFX audio components

Props:
Justin March
Twyla March
Brian Cooke
David Pickler
My wife Dawn
God

Sources

Zex
Memphis, TN 38118
888-817-1008
www.zex.com
Neuspeed
Camarill, CA 93012
800-432-3623
http://www.neuspeed.com
NGK
Wixom, MI 48393
248-926-6900
http://www.ngksparkplugs.com
ACT
Lancaster, CA 93535
661-940-7555
http://www.advancedclutch.com
Alpine
Torrance, CA 90501
310-326-8000
http://www.alpine-usa.com
MOMO
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
949-380-7556
http://www.momousa.com
Ground Control
(530) 677-8600
www.ground-control-store.com
By Jonathan Thompson
48 Articles

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