It's been said before, and will surely be said again: thieves suck-plain and simple. Months, even years of work can be undone in minutes by these crafty beings as they poke and prod undeserving cars with their greasy fingers, taking whatever they can grab-sometimes everything. Thieves can steal possessions, parts, and keepsakes, but the one thing they'll never get near is an owner's drive to keep building, regardless of the damage done.
"Brooklyn-Ass Mike" Rochman of Katy, Texas had it all back in the day. The warm Texas sunshine on his back, all the Whataburger he could eat, and a beautiful, brand new Civic Si with a laundry list of entry-level goodies-raceheader, intake, coilovers, exhaust-not to mention his intense audio setup. His dream at the time was to turn his semi-ordinary Si into an SPL audio competition car that could knock your socks off in one listen. A 10-square-foot, 4-seater rock concert with wheels.
Four months into the audio build to end all audio builds, disaster struck when Mike hydroplaned on the slippery Texas roads, lost control and wrecked his car. Before the insurance company could even appraise the car, thieves struck, jacking his entire audio setup, and taking a little bit of Mike's heart and soul at the same time.
The one scrap of good news came when the insurance company didn't total the car-so Mike was faced with the long, painful process of repairing every exterior panel, the glass, and any other damage caused. Throughout the rebuild process, Mike thought long and hard about what he wanted out of his Si, and realized that it might actually be better off without all of the intense audio.
"The wreck and theft of my audio stuff really clarified that this car had greater potential than audio competition," Mike said. "I think I actually waited a couple months before even putting a new head unit in just so that I wouldn't lose focus of the new goals for the car. I've always been a huge audio guy so it's very hard for me not to want to have a huge powerful setup." So just like that, Mike decided to take his build in a different direction-from booming audio king to beautiful show queen.
To be different, and 'a cut above the rest' in Mike's words, was going to be difficult with so many other FG2s on the road, but he was up to the new challenge. "I always strive to do things a little different," Mike said. "When I saw everybody doing the HFP lip kit on their civics I knew I didn't want that for my car, but having a coupe left me with very few options. I was forced to really dig around for parts that were not so common to really fit the image I was aiming for."
To bring the car up to Mike's high standards, the daunting task of deciding what parts to throw on the car, and how and where to source them, stood before him. A few of his most wanted parts were put in almost immediately after the car was out of the shop, however. The Hondata Reflash, Honda intake manifold gasket, Mugen styled front lip, and JDM fogs and sidemarkers were easy choices for him. And in the meantime, some cheap wheels and tires were temporarily installed until something better could be sourced.
Around this time, Mike got hooked up with fast-growing premiere car club Team Sunworks after learning that a friend of his was, strangely enough, the president of the local chapter. After doing a few small shows with them, he joined up and became a full time member of Team Sunworks, and eventually a team leader. Without his membership, the Si may never have grown to its full potential, and Mike might still be focused on extreme audio mods.
"Sunworks really kept me motivated through the up and downs of my build," Mike said. "They helped me to see my car's potential even when I couldn't, and were a reassuring voice that kept me moving forward with the project." As the Si was finally getting off the ground, Mike started sourcing parts through Velocity Trends and ASAA Racing. From rare wheels (RMC finished Gram Lights to be exact - the last available set in the U.S) to his Skunk2 exhaust, Mike was getting closer and closer to completing his perfect build, so he did what any normal, show obsessed person would do-he entered his car in nearly every competition he could possibly attend.
Hard work building, and long, sleepless nights preparing for shows paid off quite well for Brooklyn-Ass Mike. With big wins in seven Import Faceoff competitions, two in Hot Import Nights, DUB, Mean Streets, and Texas Tuner Showdown, he's won his bragging rights in the Import world, but is never arrogant before a competition. "I'm never confident I have a sure win," Mike said. "I always try my hardest and no matter who is competing. Many times, I'm the first in the gate with my team to get set up and make sure no detail is left untouched."
A daily driver that doubles as a show car is no easy task, and Mike deserves credit for his immense dedication when it comes to keeping his car not only clean, but free of nicks, dings, and scratches. "Daily driving a show car that not only has custom paint and body work, but is also so low to the ground AND driven on Houston's notoriously awful streets is no easy task" Mike said. "I wouldn't be happy if my car just sat in a garage collecting dust. It's driven hard and got its own street stories. I wouldn't have it any other way." Neither would we Mike. Neither would we.
Bolts & Washers
Mugen radiator cap
Mugen reservoir covers
Civic Type R Valve Cover
Skunk2 oil cap
JDM oil dipstick
Steel Braided hoses
Golden Eagle Polished fuel rail
Steel Braided lines with AN fittings
AEM Cold Air Intake
Hondata Intake Manifold Gasket
Custom Aluminum Shield
Denso Iridium spark plugs
Skunk2 megapower R 70mm Cat Back
Polyurethane exhaust hanger bushings
Hondata ECU Reflash
Optima Red Top Battery
Buddy Club power condenser
Buddy Club Coilovers
Skunk2 Gold anodized rear camber arms
Megan H-brace, Megan Front Lower Tie Bar
Megan Rear Lower Tie Bar
Rims & Rubber
Gram Light 57S Pro in RMC finish
BFGoodrich g-force T/A KDW2 215-40-18
Skunk2 Extended wheel studs
Skunk2 lug nuts
OEM Alabaster Silver Metallic/House of Kolor
Blue pearl/Nighthawk Black Pearl
Mugen Style front and rear lip
Custom Mugen style side skirts
FD2 Carbon Fiber Civic Type R spoiler
VIS Carbon Fiber OEM Hood
VIS Carbon Fiber Trunk JDM Yellow fog lights with 3.5K HID Bulbs
JDM Yellow high-beam bulbs
JDM Honda badges
8K HID Low Beam bulbs
Datum 1 Front tow hook
Weathertech Window Visors
Underground graphics vinyl
Red Brix Style Reclinable Racing Seats
Wedge Entertaining Seat Rails
Red Bride Door Inserts, armrest,and rear seat inserts
Pioneer AVIC-D3 Navi/Multimedia head unit
with iPod hookup
Front and rear Focal Component speakers
2 JL Audio 10" W3 subwoofers
TMA 500/1 Monoblock amplifier
Mugen Buckskin Suede steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
Mugen shift boot
Valentine 1 Radar detector
Aldo Mireles, Greg Lilly, Juan Davila, Kimo
All my friends and teammates
Family textile business/JSN enterprises
Teammate Andrew Vo's TSX
Building Cars For How Long: 10 years
Can't Miss TV:
Any NY Giants game
No 'I' In Team
Most car clubs exist to build, show, rinse, repeat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this format, but someone out there (maybe Team Sunworks) thought it might be a good idea if they not only involved one another, but the local community on the side. Sunworks, and others like them, try to be more than just another car club-they try to be a part of the community. They bring people of all types together through BBQs and other events, allowing all to come out see the team's cars and meet the members face to face. The team prides itself on being there for people in times of need, and times of joy. Good idea or bad, it seems to be working for them.