Arnel Ortiz's 1995 Honda Civic CX The world thrives off of controversy. Every time you turn on the television, hop on the internet, or open a periodical, it's in your face. If it doesn't spark the least amount of controversy, people will undoubtedly move on. When it comes to building Hondas, controversy can work for, or against you. Every little detail can and will be scrutinized, and building something outside of the box will often unveil the nastiest of intentions from onlookers. Though most people are generally calm and unassuming as they float through their daily lives, once they log onto the internet, a switch is thrown, and all of a sudden they become a critic. Guys who don't even own a car are suddenly dubbed master car builders in their own minds. Famous sayings like "it needs to be lower" or "it needs a lip and mirrors" are just two examples of the thousands of repetitive criticisms expressed on internet automotive forums. Often times it feels as if forums have become more of a source for ridicule rather than their original intent of providing knowledge to the masses. There's an unspoken standard that's been set and if people step outside of that, or attempt something out of the norm, they're immediately ostracized by their community.
Low offset wheels on Hondas started out as quite a controversial topic when certain individuals began to toy with the idea. Today of course, everyone has seemingly changed their tune on the concept. It's become so popular that wheel companies are making a fortune selling wheels with "dish" to anybody that wants to fill their wheel wells. Phaze2 of Southern Calif. is probably one of the best known car crews to popularize low offset wheels on Hondas, and they continue to push the limits everyday. Sure, they weren't the originators of the idea but they definitely made it "cool" to run aggressive wheel fitment on Hondas. Phaze2 member Arnel Ortiz was the first to truly push the limits on a Honda Civic with a set of 15x8 +10 offset Work Equip 03 wheels. A couple of years ago, it was rare to see a Honda run anything with offsets in the mid-20s. It was a look that blew a lot of minds. If you asked Arnel why the offset craze blew up, he wouldn't even be able to tell you. "My buddy, HeyMikeyyyy had a set of Equip 03 wheels for his Scion and it looked perfect in that sizing. We decided to test them on my Civic and eventually made it fit." Arnel says. Apparently someone else liked the look even more. One fateful February morning in 2008, thieves decided to steal the wheels-along with the rest of the car. The Civic was later found down the street, vandalized and raped of all parts, sitting wheel-less on some rocks. Most would take such an event as a terrible loss and move on. Ortiz opted for a more positive outlook. "It could have been worse," Arnel recalls. "I think I got really lucky that I got the car back in one-piece."
Remarkably, it took only three months to get the car back to its original state. If you didn't know any better, you'd never know that the bad guys had their hands all over the bright red Civic. With a hard lesson learned, Arnel decided that the time had come to store the car instead of commuting it daily. One can only be so lucky and the odds the Civic would be recovered again after another theft were low. This decision also granted Arnel the opportunity to fully transform the hatch to its current state.
Blame it on the thieves or maybe Arnel finally allowing his creative juices to flow, but the Civic took on a dramatic change. The first far-fetched idea that the Glendale, Calif. native came up with was a rusted-out hood, which is now long gone. Once photos with the rusted-hood surfaced on the internet, critics and haters went on a feeding frenzy. They jumped on the idea as if it were Honda sacrilege. If a simple corroded-hood can stir such controversy, imagine the reaction when the haters saw the multi-colored bay that lurked underneath! The uproar caused by the four-toned engine bay surpassed the Honda borders and automotive websites of all makes and models had an opinion to post. What does Arnel have to say about it? "What?" Arnel asks. "I don't understand what the big deal is. I built the car for myself. I just took what I liked, and I did it. Simple."
What people fail to understand is that Arnel Ortiz truly doesn't care what people think. There are guys out there who try to front like they don't and then cry themselves to sleep every night after reading negative posts about their project cars. If Arnel is crying in bed, it's definitely for different reasons because he's not sweating the hate. All this internet hoopla surrounding his Civic and Arnel barely has an internet connection to keep up with it all. At one point there were even a couple guys from across the country that fashioned an internet "call-out" in an attempt to one-up the Phaze2 Civic in wheel fitment. Little did they know that Ortiz and the Phaze2 crew were already attempting to achieve what was once thought to be impossible. What came next would serve as coup de grâce for the hater platter. See, Arnel was busy building a custom set of BBS RS wheels which were completely chrome dipped inside and out, with 24-karat gold bolts, and sized 9/9.5 inches wide front and rear, respectively. "I always wanted a set of BBS wheels. I figured if I was going to build a set, I might as well go all out and come correct," Arnel declares. When word got out that the Phaze2 hatchback managed to house -6 offset wheels, internet critics began foaming at the mouth. Questions of functionality arose and how the car would be useless on the track. So what's Arnel's response to the keyboard warriors? "I just wanted it to not rub. The set-up is pretty aggressive so I wanted to be sure that there were no issues with clearance or anything. I'm not even concerned with the track. There's enough to worry about on the road." Ortiz is truly in his own little world, he doesn't mind the haters because his build does all the talking for him. "I don't know anything about anyone calling me out, but if they want to top this fitment, they can try, I don't really care."
Bolts & Washers
Hasport engine mounts
AEM Hybrid cold-air intake
JDM 5Zigen exhaust manifold
Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust system
Spoon radiator cap
Samco Sport radiator hoses
JDM Y80 transmission
NGK sparkplug wires
Ground Control coilovers
Ground Control extended top hats
Koni adjustable shocks
Rims & Rubber
15x9 BBS RS (0 offset) front
15x9.5 BBS RS (-6 offset) rear
195/45-15 Toyo T1R
PPG Milano Red
JDM corner lights
JDM window visors
Vision Type DC side mirrors
Spoon rear wing
Memoryfab bucket seat
Momo woodgrain steering wheel
NEXT Miracle X bar
JDM center console
Mom and Family
Phaze2 Sid and Joanne
Hung Tu aka RED
Joey @ Stickydiljoe.Com
e-JAM Smoke Citi
Beyond Auto Body (Temple City, CA & El Monte, CA)
Steve @ www.Hmotorsonline.com (Burbank, CA)
Everyone @ Fast Auto Works (Arcadia, CA)
Rocky&Chuck @ Show Stoppers Usa (Monrovia, CA)
Anthoney @ Infinitwheels.Com (San Fernando, CA)
Sherman/Kevin/Albert @ N1 Concepts
Screen Name Or Nickname:
Building Hondas For How Long:
Everyone In the Honda Community and all the HATERS!!
What's Playing In Your iPod/CD/MP3 Player Right Now:
Anything 80s or oldies
So, How Do They Fit?
Okay, so it doesn't take a genius to realize that 9.5-inch-wide wheels don't easily fit inside the wheel wells of a Honda Civic. If you think it's easy, please stop right now before you go out and buy some 10-inch wide wheels and expect them to just fit and roll correctly. It takes a fair amount of work to get wheels that wide and with that sort of offset to fit. First you have to consider suspension set-up and how you want the car to sit. If you don't want it to be flush at all, just strap those bad boys on at stock height and roll lowrider-style. For the perfect stance however, suspension adjustments are key. You have to modify the camber and ride height according to how you want your wheels to sit. With something as wide and as low as Arnel's BBS set-up, fender modifications will have to be made and not by just a simple roll either. The quarter-panel and fenders will most likely have to be pulled and shaped to make it seem as if those wheel wells were meant to house those bad boys from the factory. Another important aspect to consider is tire sizing. Even with the fender mods, one cannot just expect to throw a regular meaty track tire on there. This will definitely destroy your fenders. With the extremely low ride height and aggressive wheel fitment like Arnel's, you're definitely going to have to run a stretched tire. Is it safe? Well, the safety of running a narrower tire on a wider wheel is always debatable. If you do plan on running a tire with a bit of stretch, just try not to fly over potholes and drive through gravel without expecting to see some damage done to your precious wheels. Common sense is the best safety tool for any automotive enthusiast and the best part about it is that it's free! Wheel fitment is essential in any build but please do so wisely.