Kyle Sharp’s 1997 Honda Civic EX
At one point or another, we all need some sort of direction in life. Whether we like to admit it or not, there’s always been someone offering words of wisdom that have shaped our lives in some way. It may not even be obvious to us at the moment. You might catch a word here or there, or may have even overheard something during another conversation. The fact of the matter is that it will always stick in your mind. When it comes to cars, this idea is very apparent. You might be glancing at pictures online and see something that inspires you, or someone at a local meet might pass along some information that changes your whole perspective on the way you build your car. The enthusiast in us needs that motivation. None of us would be here today if we didn’t have the support of others.
Kyle Sharp had no idea that he would end up with the car that graces these pages when his journey began. “I bought my Civic from a Honda dealership back in 1999 with no real intentions to do anything to it,” Sharp recalls. “All I really wanted were some wheels, a head unit, and maybe some nice speakers.” Of course everyone in this community has heard that once, or maybe a few thousand times. Everybody goes into it thinking they’re going to do a little something here and there—then the tuning bug gets them. “Once I got the wheels, I knew I had to lower it like everyone else.” If you’re not familiar with the trends that were popular during the early 2000s, once you had the wheels and a drop, you had to get the body kit. The term “JDM” was seldom uttered during those days out west, and was mostly unheard of in parts of the east, especially in Kyle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA. Fiberglass body kits were the weapon of choice and the bigger they were, the better. Kyle knew he had to come correct after the drop, so he went out and purchased a Tsunami T2000 kit. One would assume that having a kit named after a natural disaster and a robot would be enough for anyone’s build, but a chance meeting with Burke Meyers of Meyer’s Motorsports would change Kyle’s view of modifying Hondas forever.
“Meyers was the one who introduced me to all things JDM when it was still underground on the east coast,” he says. “He showed me what Mugen was, and I’ve been collecting everything Mugen for my ride ever since.” Becoming the owner of a large chunk of the Mugen catalog is no small feat. It actually took Kyle over six years to collect everything for his EJ8. Luckily for him, King Motorsports was around and supplied him with all that he needed to satisfy his appetite for all things Mugen. The first step in his Civic’s transformation was to get rid of the existing Tsunami kit. “The main reason I chose the Mugen aero kit was because it was bred from, and for, racing. From an aerodynamic standpoint, it was the obvious choice for me.” Japanese-market aero just wouldn’t look right on the US-spec bumpers so instead of going back to stock, Kyle opted to acquire JDM Civic Si bumpers and other JDM body parts, including Civic Type R headlights and thin side moldings. To complete the Mugen look, Sharp ditched the generic brand wheels and replaced them with 15x6.5 black and red RnR’s.
Being a true Mugen aficionado meant owning all the interior pieces as well. A Mugen gauge cluster lurks behind the Mugen Racing II steering wheel, and the pedals and shift knob are also of the Mugen variety. The only thing missing from the repertoire are the bucket seats. However, Kyle assures us that those are on their way.
Building a Honda with two additional doors can sometimes lead to a bit of ridicule. To the less inclined, sedans just aren’t supposed to be quick. Having Mugen aero can also mean one of two things; either that 4-door Civic has some balls or the owner spent all the money on the kit and still rocks a single-slammer. Kyle didn’t want to be the latter so he abandoned the D16Y8 and replaced it with the heart from a Civic Type R. Mugen makes its presence known once again and adds some potency to the B16B with its high performance intake, Twin Loop sports silencer, and 4-2-1 Gymkhana-spec exhaust manifold.
Kyle Sharp’s Civic sedan build has gone through quite the journey over the span of eight years. It started out as nothing more than a lowered and kitted Civic, and was transformed into a Mugen lover’s dream come true. Thankfully, Kyle had a friend in Burke Meyers to give him a push in the right direction. Kyle adds “Although it’s remained relatively unchanged for the past two years, my Civic still turns heads. In my hometown, the idea of using JDM parts is still an underground movement so a lot of people still don’t know what they’re looking at. I smile every time I think about it.”
Bolts & Washers
Mugen High Performance Intake System
Mugen Gymkhana spec 4-2-1 exhaust manifold
Mugen Twin-Loop sports silencer
PWR aluminum radiator
Samco Sport hoses
Spoon high-tension spark plug wires
JDM Y80 transmission
ACT Street organic clutch disc
ACT heavy-duty pressure plate
ACT Street-Lite flywheel
J’s Racing engine damper
PIC APEX full coilover system
Mugen front shock tower bar
Mugen rear shock tower bar
Skunk2 lower tie bar
Powerslot 11-inch front brake rotors
Integra GSR brake calipers
Integra GSR rear brake rotors
Integra GSR rear calipers
Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
Mugen aero kit
JDM Civic Type R headlights
JDM Civic Si front bumper
JDM Civic Si rear bumper
JDM thin side-moldings
JDM side mirrors
JDM HOP window visors
Mugen gauge cluster
Mugen Racing II steering wheel
Mugen Sport pedal kit
Mugen shift knob
Civic Type R shift boot
Full Canadian-spec leather interior
JDM road flare
JDM airbag block-off tray
NRG quick release hub
My wife Amanda
Best Friend Steve Nichols (R.I.P.)
My entire family
Clayton from King Motorsports
Building cars for how long:
I don’t build them; I pay to have them built ;)
Anything to do with soccer, wrestling, baseball, snow skiing and water skiing
Burke Meyers 1990 Civic hatch.
Can’t Miss TV
Lost, Heroes, The Office, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer Channel
Mugen Motorsports was founded in 1973 by Hirotoshi Honda, the son of Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda, and Masao Kimura. Despite the father-son relationship, Mugen (which means “unlimited”) is not, and never was, owned by Honda Motor Company. You would think the close ties meant a direct relationship between the two companies, but that’s just not the case. Hirotoshi was even a major shareholder of Honda after his father passed away in 1991. Mugen is heavily involved in Japan’s Super GT Championship race series and also supplied engines for Formula Nippon. We of course know them as the manufacturer of tuning parts for cars like the Civic, Integra, Accord, and NSX. Mugen entered the U.S. market in 1987 and chose King Motorsports Unlimited to be their sole North American distributor. In fact, Mugen even had a CR-X demo car stateside when it was originally trying to establish its presence in the United States. Had they caught on in the mid-80s, can you imagine how different the landscape of building Hondas would be today? Mugen would have possibly been offered as a Honda dealer option long before MC Hammer knew what “Hammer pants” were, and right around the time when the idea of Spoon Sports was barely coming to fruition in Japan.