Gabe Fekete's '95 Accord EX
There are two fundamental elements in choosing a specific car to build. If the car is well-liked, you can be sure there will be strong support from the aftermarket; parts will be easier to find and they'll most likely be cheaper. If the car is less accepted, then parts will be scarce, and of course much more difficult to find, not to mention more expensive. That means that it takes more effort to stand out among the masses. A unique car simply needs a little extra attention to pop eyes and break necks. For Gabe Fekete of Lawrenceville, Georgia, the decision was easy as he chose to build the often-ignored fifth-generation Honda Accord.
Gabe scooped up his '95 Accord in 2004 from his sister for $1,200, thanks to the "family discount." The CD5 was stuffed with a stock F22B engine with over 100,000 miles and an automatic transmission t o boot. Backyard-Bondo work oozed from every panel of the car. "It rode like crap, looked like crap...it was the biggest piece of junk on the road!," he explains in a relaxed Southern accent. Gabe redid the Bondo work and had it painted OEM Bordeaux Red Pearl. He slapped on some cheap eBay goodies and called it a day. The car remained that way for nearly three years.
In 2007, Gabe's Accord took a turn for the better. Gabe convinced his boss to let him paint his car. "He's easy to get along with. It's pretty tough to find a boss like him," he says. Owner Ed Philpot of Sprayglo in Duluth, GA, agreed to let Gabe use the facility and all necessary materials if Gabe completed his certifications and attended paint school. Without hesitation, Gabe eagerly accepted the deal. The aging Accord received a fresh dose of Special Effects White paint, with the whole process only taking about three weeks to complete. Gabe estimates he was able to save over $3,500 thanks to his gracious boss.
The aspiring Accord went unscathed for another two years. Then the Honda Gods struck. In early 2009, Ed asked Gabe to attend a local car show to promote their paint shop, and of course Gabe agreed to help his boss. He wanted a complete makeover for his CD5 so he could rep the shop with pride. The only real hurdle was the fact that he only had three months before the show.
Gabe didn't have to do much to the outside. He bolted-on a paint-matched Mugen lip and Stillen side skirts amongst other subtle exterior details. He then focused on the interior amenities. He installed even more Mugen pieces and a set of RSX Type S seats that required some modification to the stock seat rails to ensure a proper fit. After the seats were in, Gabe realized the tan center console clashed with the rest of the interior. He decided to try his hand at fiberglass. The center console was treated to countless hours of cleaning, sanding, and painting in an attempt to get the proper look he was after. Taking a look at his handy work, Gabe noticed his Accord accumulating a grip of Mugen parts. He was completely addicted and has yet to check himself into rehab. "I spend two to three hours a day looking for Mugen parts," he admits. If he finds a Mugen part he doesn't own, he buys it, then installs it moments after arrival. "Buying Mugen parts for a '95 Accord usually requires a lot of money...and praying!" he says. Apparently, Gabe does a lot of praying.
At first, Gabe wanted to simply replace his stock F22B with a fresh version. He phoned Phong and Ding Nguyen from Team Nissan in Marietta, GA. Thankfully, they convinced Gabe to purchase a JDM H22A and convert to a 5-speed. To complicate the three-month build, the brothers were leaving soon for a wedding in Thailand. "The plan was to have the motor pulled in one day, paint the engine bay on the second day, and have the H22 installed on the third day," he says. Gabe should have hoped for world peace as well.
Naturally, the tight deadline made for some scary moments. A few weeks before the show, Ding called Gabe to inform him the Hasport transmission mount would not fit. Reason being, the mounts were made for an Accord outfitted with a 5-speed tranny from the factory, and this Accord was once home to a slush box. Gabe frantically phoned around and came across John of Explicit Speed Performance in Olympia, WA. "He told me it would take two to three weeks, and I was like 'Dude, I don't have that much time.'" John could feel his pain, and miraculously Gabe had a newly built transmission mount the very next morning. John didn't even charge him extra-now that's service.
There was another horror moment when the clutch assembly main bolt loosened. Gabe and his homie Bora tried pushing the Accord up a steep driveway. Two locals stopped and helped out to no avail, until a sheriff helped push the car with his cruiser. "Ever seen a white boy, a Turkish kid, two Hispanic guys, and a local cop pushing a '95 Accord up a hill? Well, I have and it was pretty entertaining," he jokes.
Reflecting back on his build, Gabe is thankful for all of the support he had. He is grateful for his friends: Bora Kayali, Dirty Octopus aka Kashime, Travis, and Football aka Fuadh. Through Gabe's capabilities and his support network, he only spent $10,000 on the CD5. "It took a pretty big chunk of my savings to pull this whole thing together," he admits.
Gabe enjoys his heavily modded Accord daily. "I think the main thing that makes my car special is that I can take four friends to the grocery store and look good doing it," he adds. Gabe hopes to keep the car and drive it as an old man. "Ever seen an old man riding around in a tuned '95 Accord? Neither have I, but it won't hurt to be the first one either," he laughs. Until then, Gabe is going to keep on truckin' and doing his own damn thang.....even if it's not that popular.
Bolts & Washers
Hasport engine mounts
Explicit transmission mount
Injen cold-air intake
Mugen exhaust manifold
Mugen axle-back exhaust
Custom 2.25-inch exhaust piping
NGK spark plugs
OBX radiator hoses
Figi Blue Pearl painted valve cover
Function & Form V1 coilovers
Skunk2 alignment kit
Brembo slotted/drilled rotors
Rims & Rubber:
Front: 17x8 CCW Classics (+19 offset)
Rear: 17x9 CCW Classics (+19 offset)
Front: 205/40-17 Kumho Ecsta AST
Rear: 215/40-17 Kumho Ecsta AST
Ultra White paint
Greddy front lip
Stillen side skirts
Wings West style rear lip
NRG short hub
NRG V2 quick release
NRG hub lock
Mugen Racing II steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
Mugen shift boot
Jensen VM931 head unit
Kenwood 800-watt amplifier
Polk Momo 12-inch subwoofer
Mom, Dad & Sister
Dirty Octopus AKA Kashime
AccordPride AKA Travis
Football AKA Fuadh
Trey and Chris @ Zen Motors
Chip and Dan @ CCW
Vuong @ Voungs Garage
Ed and Shirleen Philpot @ Sprayglo
Phong and Dinh Nguyen @ Team Nissan
Screen Name Or Nickname:
Your Dream Car:
A true enthusiast's appreciation is priceless
Greatest Movie Of All Time:
The World's Fastest Indian
When most people discuss a particular build or car, they rarely mention seats, seat rails, seat harnesses, B-pillar bars, roll cages, or the mundane details, like bolts. They might mention the seat brand, but that's about it. Choosing proper seats and associated hardware is similar to choosing a wheel and tire combination. There are numerous selections in each category: OEM seats, rally seats, bucket seats, four-point harnesses, five-point harnesses, etc. All aspects must be considered to ensure the components function well together. The parameters should be based on the size and height of the user. It's never fun for a six-foot-tall person to drive around town with his head slightly titled to avoid colliding with the headliner. Furthermore, the type of driving or racing preference should also be taken into consideration. It's cumbersome buckling a six-point harness to drive down the block to the 7-11. On the other hand, it's not safe in OEM seatbelts, dragging the quarter-mile in fewer than 10 seconds. Do your research, and choose wisely.