Chris Barraza's 2009 Honda Civic SI
When it comes to Hondas, there's really no doubt that Japan has it made. Hell, even Europe has it better than us. If you break down all of the Type Rs, Euro-Rs, and other specialty Hondas overseas, America is the neglected middle child of the Honda family. Of course the Japanese population gets the cream of the crop because it's the country of origin. Unfortunately for stateside enthusiasts, we're left outside in the cold. In fact, the last time we even encountered the coveted "Type R" moniker was almost a decade ago.
While the rest of the world is having its way with the pinnacle of OEM Honda performance, we're essentially left with two options: import an entire vehicle, or build something that emulates it. Americans have become quite savvy the last 10 years, thanks in part to the internet. The import automotive community has expanded to the point that acquiring parts from other countries has become commonplace. You want an EK9 Type R? It'll be in a container and on your driveway in about two months. JDM Integra Type R front-end? No problem, they're in stock, in just about any factory color you want. What was once a dream is now modern-day reality; so much so that people are swapping R parts like they're any other run-of-the-mill model. Guys and gals are even pulling their B16B and B18C5s in order to upgrade to newer, more advanced K-series engines. The '92-'00 Civic and DC Integra crowds really have it good now-but what about the newer guys?
The seventh generation Civic is certainly not the most popular car to modify. In all honesty, heavily-modded '01-'05 Civic sedans and coupes are few and far between. While the U.S. was stuck with the more economical, cost-effective sedan and coupe, Europe and Asia got three- and five-door hatchbacks. The popularity of these models also ushered in the next generation Type R. The hatchback in the U.S. just never seemed to catch on after the reign of the mid-'90s. Enthusiasts likened the seventh generation hatchback to an awkward mini-van rather than a car they wanted to build.
It wasn't until 2006 that North America finally caught a break. While Europe continued with an all-hatchback line-up, America and Japan moved on to the eighth-generation chassis. The sedan gained momentum and actually earned quite a bit of favorability in Japan. The FD2 Type R started popping up at legendary tuning shops like FEEL's, Spoon Sports, and J's Racing. Clearly we were left without a stateside Type R yet again, and the Mugen edition sedan with its overinflated price tag was nothing to rave about. The fact that parts were interchangeable with its Japanese counterpart gave eighth generation Civic owners a glimmer of hope. The Civic was elevated to cool status once again.
When the first FD2 Type R conversion appeared in the states, it was like the second coming of Carter Jung and the first JDM ITR conversion. Okay, it was definitely not as significant as that, but it definitely changed the community's perception of the eighth generation platform forever. More and more of these CTR swaps are popping up everyday. The Civic that graces these pages is definitely not the first to have the FD2 front-end, nor does it claim to be. However, it's built in such a way that it should turn the casual enthusiast who says; "I'm not a fan of ___________, but I like your's" into "eighth generation Civics are badass, and I can't wait to see more of them!"
For all intents and purposes, this FA5 Civic was meant for nothing more than to become a nice daily driver. That of course, is how a majority of people start out when they get into building cars. There is always that one modification that acts as a catalyst, enabling us to go all out. In Chris Barraza's case, that catalyst, unsurprisingly, was the FD2 CTR conversion.
Unlike your typical ITR conversion, the FD2R swap is much more elaborate. Not only does the front see a complete changeover, but also the rear. To ensure he had all the correct pieces for the swap, Barraza contacted BJ Jaraba from Car Tune in San Diego, CA. Jaraba was able to locate the JDM hood, front bumper, headlights, front fenders, and grille. The rear consisted of switching out the bumper, taillights, and the addition of an OEM CTR rear diffuser. Once all of the front and rear pieces were located, Chris sent them off to Oscar's Autobody and restoration to have everything properly color-matched to the OEM Alabaster Silver Metallic hue.
Installation of the added FD2 rear diffuser meant that the original exhaust location was compromised. To solve that problem, Chris took his Civic down to La Mesa, CA, where the guys at RPM Muffler fabricated a custom three-inch exhaust system. The exhaust was carefully fabricated in order to route safely through to the new rear-end without issue. Looking like a CTR and having the new throaty sound of the exhaust motivated Barraza to give his stock K20Z3 some balls. Being an '09 model, Chris had barely put any miles on the engine. Tearing it apart and building it would be somewhat of a waste considering the car was meant to be his daily driver. Down time was also an issue, so Chris decided it would be best to just add basic bolt-ons for the time being. He once again called on Jaraba who was quickly able to source a Buddy Club Racing Spec muffler, header, and Password:JDM kevlar intake system. The yellow and black weave of the kevlar intake made such a dramatic improvement, that he ordered the matching kevlar intake manifold cover, spark plug cover, and radiator cooling plate.
Giving this four-door its aggressive stance are Buddy Club N+ coilovers cranked down significantly. The drop is just enough to clear the reverse, front-staggered 18-inch Volk Racing CE28N Genesis wheels. The Genesis model is a limited run of the popular CE28N wheel. Only 500 sets will ever be produced worldwide and feature a custom burnt silver finish and special "hi-boscal" sticker set. Having the wider, 10.5-inch wheel up front gives Barraza's Civic the correct stagger, being that it is a front-wheel drive vehicle. Resting snuggly behind the limited edition wheels are front and rear Wilwood big brake upgrades. Chris's sedan may not have all the crazy power like that of many heavily-modded FD2s in Japan, but when he's ready, the stout braking will ensure that he's armed with all the stopping power he'll ever need.
While it may be obvious that the eighth generation Civic will never reach the popularity and marketability of its ancestors, the chassis definitely has all the potential in the world. With a sleek look and all the Japanese aftermarket support behind it, there's no reason why people shouldn't be building them. Chris Barraza's Civic is a prime example of how to do this chassis justice. There is so much talk these days about what car will become "the next Civic" to make a lasting mark on the import industry. Why can't the new Civic be "the next Civic"?
Bolts & Washers
Password:JDM carbon kevlar intake
Password:JDM carbon kevlar intake
Password:JDM carbon kevlar spark plug cover
Password:JDM carbon kevlar
radiator cooling plate
Buddy Club Racing Spec exhaust header
Custom 3-inch exhaust system by RPM Muffler
Catalytic converter delete
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
Buddy Club N+ coilovers
SPC camber kit
Beaks lower tie bar
Wilwood 13-inch front brake rotors
Wilwood front four-piston big brake calipers
Wilwood 12-inch rear brake rotors
Wilwood rear two-piston big brake calipers
Wilwood brake pads
Trust brake fluids
Fastbrakes.com brake lines
Wheels & Tires
18x10.5 Volk Racing CE28N
Genesis +18 offset (front)
245/40-18 Falken Ziex 502 (front)
18x9 Volk Racing CE28N
Genesis +35 offset (rear)
225/40-18 Falken Ziex 502 (rear)
Mackin Industries MX lug nuts
JDM CTR front end conversion
JDM CTR sideskirts
JDM CTR rear end conversion
VIS carbon fiber Mugen RR-style hood
Mugen edition rear spoiler
Mugen window visors
OEM JDM emblems
JDM CTR front seats
Takata safety harnesses
Mugen shift knob
Mugen pedal set
Hondata Flash Pro tuned by Erick's Racing
Pioneer double-din navigation head-unit
Car Tune Auto Repair
Oscar's Autobody and Restoration
Building Honda's for how long?
Your dream car
BJ Jaraba's 2007 Honda Fit
Whats playing in your iPod/CD
MP3 player right now?
JayZ Blueprint 3
Greatest movie of all time
We Can All Dream
Just when we American Honda enthusiasts were starting to accept the FD2 Type R into our lives, Mugen and Honda of Japan released the Honda Civic Mugen RR. The RR is essentially the car we will never owns hotter sister. Only 300 Mugen RRs will ever see production and are sold at the equivalent of a very affordable $38,000 USD. What the Japanese get at that price is an overall lightened chassis courtesy of CFRP bumpers an aluminum hood, Mugen-upgraded K20A, feather weight Recaro SP-X seats, and limited-edition Mugen wheels. It's basically a completely built Civic direct from the factory that's so perfect, you might be reluctant to do anything else to it. Oh Japan, why must you taunt us? Don't even get us started on the Mugen Civic Type-RR Experimental Spec concept car. It's just not fair...