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1996 Honda Civic CX - Perseverance

Setting The New Benchmark

Dec 27, 2010

Steve Kwan’s ’96 Civic CX
Most find build inspiration from others by analyzing different projects for their strengths and their weaknesses. Seattle, Washington’s Steve Kwan found his inspiration and set the latest standard for the next-generation Honda enthusiast with his sage metallic, K-stuffed EJ6. Like many before him, Steve was inspired by “OGs” from back in the day.

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Growing up in Seattle in the early ’90s, Steve grew fond of Hondas rolling around on sweet rims pancaked to the ground. Later, he gazed south toward California for ideas by searching numerous Honda forums and developing a taste for all things sporting the H badge. “The OGs led the way for me,” he says.

2018 Honda Civic
$18,940 Base Model (MSRP) 28/40 MPG Fuel Economy

Steve chose the hatchback platform because of its good looks and endless options. “After seeing so many cool hatchbacks, I’ve always wanted to build one,” he says. He traded his ’00 Civic Si for a friend’s ITR-powered CX hatchback in 2006. After a year he decided to toss in CTR pistons and rods coupled with Skunk2 Stage 2 cams. The new setup lasted only six months before oil began burning, followed by a brief stint of depression.

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After working 10-hour shifts, four days a week as a Honda technician, Steve would drive home in his TL, walk past the garage, and go upstairs to his room. His aging Civic sat behind the garage door. He couldn’t muster up the strength to work on a Honda, which was all he did…every day…and the thought of the rebuilt ITR engine that took a dump so quickly wasn’t one he liked thinking about. Ultimately, he sold it off and contemplated abandoning the project altogether. A year and a half passed when the Honda gods had enough of his agony and sent a bolt of lightning in the form of Steve’s close friend, “Toto.”

It was sometime during the summer of 2007 when Toto took Steve for a ride in his K-powered hatchback. That fateful drive would change Steve’s righteous path forever. “The ride felt like instant power with just basic bolt-ons,” he says. Steve found a K20A Type R engine nearby and, after a quick phone call to Toto, they were on their way. “On the way home I thought of all of the parts I needed and talked with Toto about what I would need to make it run,” he says. Steve had the car sprayed Lexus IS Desert Sage Metallic inside and out before installing the engine. After one month, and with the help of friends, he cruised the streets of the Gateway to Alaska in a K-equipped hatchback.

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“It was a sunny Sunday. I test-drove it by myself. I went down the street and came back up because it was open-header and I didn’t want to get in trouble roaming around my house. It felt great because the car hadn’t been driven for a year and a half. I was relieved…it felt like a brand-new car,” he reminisces.

Steve had a great paintjob and an awesome engine, but he didn’t stop there. His newfound motivation took him further than he’d originally imagined. He managed to source the rarest of rare parts mostly because of his close network of friends who happen to source parts from Japan on a regular basis. Among the unique items that prop his EJ6 on a pedestal are CTR manual rear door panels, a Mugen gauge cluster, and a $600 CTR column light. What does a column light do exactly? For six bills, it must do something incredible. Or not. Other than the cash-disappearing magic trick, it lights up the cabin near the ignition—as you’d expect. But these are the features and details that separate Steve’s captivating Civic from the rest.

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The Civic’s come a long way. Steve’s determination and friends acted as the driving force behind the eye-catching, brain-stimulating build. “Ever since Toto and I have known each other, our hobbies have been working on cars. You deal with so many people so often that they just become your friend because you share the same interests and expensive hobby,” he says.

It’s no surprise that Steve’s already changed things up. He’s since added some extra bling to the engine bay in the form of a polished intake and intake manifold. He also switched out the silver powdercoated Mugen MF10s for a fresh set of magnesium blue Volk CE28N rims.

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It’s Steve’s perseverance that makes his green hatch stand out amongst the crowd. “Save up and buy the right parts. Don’t do it the ghetto way,” he says. Duly noted.

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K20A engine
Hasport engine mounts
Custom 3” intake
BLOX air filter
RBC intake manifold
Karcepts intake manifold adapter
Rcrew header
Rcrew exhaust
SX Performance fuel filter
SX Performance fuel pressure regulator
Marshall fuel pressure gauge
Golden Eagle fuel rail
Aeroquip steel-braided lines
Earl’s fittings and lines
Russell quick-release fittings
Exedy Stage 2 clutch
Karcepts shifter
Mugen carbon-fiber coil cover
Mugen oil cap
Samco Sport radiator hoses
C&R radiator
Carbing coolant reservoir tank
Spoon Sports magnetic oil drain bolt
Spoon Sports magnetic transmission drain bolt
ARP bolts
ARP Black Beauty washers
ChaseBays wire-tucked harness
Hybrid Racing PNP wiring harness
Hondata K-Pro ECU

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Stance
TEIN RE coilovers
Function 7 lower control arms
Function 7 antiroll bar links
Comptech rear lower tie bar
Comptech rear antiroll bar
Carbing 3-point front shock tower bar
Carbing rear shock tower bar
K-Tuned traction bar
ITR front antiroll bar

Resistance
Mugen rotors
Endless pads
Endless 4-pot calipers
Endless steel-braided lines
Motul fluid

Rims & Rubber
16x7 Mugen MF10 (+50/+43 front/rear offset)
205/45-16 Yokohama ES100
T1R lug nuts
ARP extended studs
ITR 5-lug conversion

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Outside
Lexus IS Desert Sage Metallic paint
EM1 front end conversion, Mugen rear spoiler
Mugen front lip, CTR rear lip, CTR grille, CTR side skirts, CTR headlights, CTR taillights, CTR power mirrors, CTR thin side moldings

Inside
Bride Zeta III seats, Bride seat rails, Takata four-point harnesses, Takata gel pads, Splash steering wheel hub
Mr. Alex quick-release adapter
Mugen FG360 steering wheel, Mugen pedals, Mugen shift knob, Mugen gauge cluster, Mugen ECU stay
Cusco Safety 21 8-point cage
Odyssey PC680 battery
Odyssey battery holder
CTR shift boot
CTR armrest eliminator
CTR climate control
CTR airbag tray
CTR dual-din stereo cover
CTR column light
CTR manual rear door panelsv
EM1 dash conversion

Props
Nathaly, Ayjay, Josh, Nick, Tai, Darnell, JD, Allan, Dinnis,Tamas, Joel, Denno Raul,Terry, Aaron M., Ed Liu, Nick Parker Jonathan Thompson Rainier (Toto) Yee (Heartless Gangsta) Vu (Vugina) Hung Pham (Mugen King) Compton Sean Jeff at JMI Matt at ICB Albert at N1 Chase at ChaseBays Greg and Mike at JDM Speedworx Trik Speed Powder Coating Incorporated ATS Plusone My parents for their love and support

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Owner Specs

Hometown:
Seattle, WA

Daily Grind:
Lexus technician

Favorite Website:
www.nwp4life.com

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Building Cars For How Long:
Forever

Favorite Kicks:
Jordans

Dream Car:
NSX-R

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Build Inspiration:
ATS, Plusone, FF-Squad

Favorite Show:
Sports Center

Intakes: A Noob’s Perspective
There are many factors to consider when selecting an air intake for a naturally aspirated build. Builds are like people; they have different personalities. Engines’ attitudes change with each part and with each modification. Specific combinations may require a short-ram intake or one that pulls fresh air from outside in. Besides the mechanical side of selecting an intake, the environment that the car is driven in is equally as important. Short-rams are typically better for wetter areas while cold-air intakes are better suited for dryer climates. Sucking up water can result in hydrolock, which can kill an engine faster than you’d expect. It’s no surprise that short-ram intakes typically suck in hotter air while cold-air intakes suck in cooler air though. Cooler air, or condensed air, generally produces horsepower gains. Then again, each engine setup responds uniquely to both types of intakes, so choose wisely. Another important factor to consider is state and local laws. It’s never fun to get popped for using an illegal intake. Check with local authorities to make sure that the intake is up to code before purchasing one. There are many companies with heavily invested research and development in their intakes, so research first. Of course, making one from scratch can also be fun.

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Sources

HASport Performance
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-470-0065
http://www.hasport.com
Hondata
Torrance, CA 90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Golden Eagle Manufacturing
San Dimas, CA 91773
909-592-4311
http://www.goldeneaglemfg.com

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