Raul Ramirez's '94 Civic VTI
In the vast online community of Honda owners, Raul Ramirez (better known under his screen name: b16rex_02) has developed quite the reputation for his ability to acquire and build Hondas. Not only is he known for having many different projects, he's also been able to build each of them rather quickly. He's not exactly the most outspoken individual online and he doesn't have to be. His cars speak for themselves. Raul has owned more Hondas in the last eight years than many of us will own in our lifetime. He doesn't collect them or anything; he's just been very smart about owning, selling, and finding new projects to work on. Right-hand drive, left-hand drive, whatever drive, it doesn't matter-Raul has owned it. You might even be driving one of his old cars around town and not know it.
You may have even bought some parts from him. Ramirez has dabbled in full Spoon-themed builds, messed around with a real JDM DC5 Type R, and built a couple of K-swapped hatchbacks. If he had kept all his cars and parts throughout the years, he could have put together a sizable car crew of one.
When we found out about his latest project, we knew we had to make a trip NorCal to pay him a visit. We'd caught glimpses of it online as well as at the 2010 Eibach Honda Meet, and we knew right away that it belonged on the pages of Honda Tuning. Normally we don't just pick up and drive to Northern California on a whim, but knowing Raul's history, there was a possibility that he would have sold the car if we didn't act quickly. He was also willing to drive over three hours from the Lake Tahoe area to meet us, so the decision to head north was an easy one. Let it be known that Raul isn't one of those fly-by-night guys that builds a car simply to get fame and then quickly move on. He is just never satisfied and is constantly looking for something to improve upon. It could also be that he has yet to find a Honda that is rare enough to convince him to hold on to it-until now.
"This is a legitimate Civic VTi from Japan," Raul explains. "I had heard about this car from one of the guys at G-Speed and it only had 70,000 kilometers (just under 44,000 miles) on the odometer. They had originally planned on keeping it but they needed to make room in their shop and the car had been sitting there for over two years. I wanted this car so bad that I actually flew out to Southern California and then drove it home. I had planned on leaving it stock because I felt that it was a true gem; the paint was stock and there was probably one imperfection on the whole car. Other than that, there were just very minor scratches on it. That's stupid-rare for an older car like this."
It's difficult enough to find an unmolested Civic in the U.S. in this condition, let alone a real-deal VTi from Japan. What made it an even easier decision for Raul to pick up this hatchback was the fact that he lived outside of California, which meant that he had no worries about the strict emissions laws that Californians deal with. In his hometown of Minden, Nevada, residents could care less what he drove and had they any worries; they really wouldn't know what they were looking at anyway. Minden is a small town where people are more concerned with snow and the overabundance of lifted "bro" trucks than li'l old Hondas.
"It snows a lot where I live. I didn't want to risk the chance of sliding around in the snow so I just put the Civic away for the winter. I got bored while it was sitting there so I decided to pull the motor out and started shaving the bay. I had funds coming in because I had just sold my DC5 Type R so I started to build it. I always wanted to build a Civic that had a crazy cage in it but was still simple enough to drive on the street. With that plan in mind, I started to gather parts and the rest was all downhill from there."
With the car sitting comfortably in the garage, Raul wire-tucked the bay, painted the bay and interior a jet gray with the help of his friend Roberto, and dropped in the K20A Type R motor. Being that he had so many parts lying around, it's not really a surprise to know that he just happened to have a K20A motor already in his possession. Once the Civic was back in running condition, Ramirez left the interior completely stripped and drove down to Tahoe Motor Sports where Ansel White started on the cage. As soon as the welds cooled, Ramirez was quick to add color-matched Chargespeed fenders, an R Crew front splitter, and 15x8 949 Racing wheels. Though the exterior is relatively simple, as Raul had planned, all parts installed externally are fully functional for track duty.
It's hard to say if Raul Ramirez will decide to keep this Civic for the long run, but as of now, it looks promising. This Civic VTi took all of three months to assemble and with such an immaculate body, there's really no reason to get rid of it. You just never know with Ramirez as he's already shown glimpses of boredom. "I drove it all summer and now the car just sits in the garage again with no engine. I need more power so I'm working on something bigger."
Bolts & Washers
Hasport engine mounts w/88A race bushings
R Crew Racing intake manifold gasket
R Crew plug-and-play engine harness
Modified AEM intake
R Crew exhaust header
R Crew 3-inch test pipe
R Crew 3-inch exhaust
R Crew fuel rail
Earl's fuel lines and fittings
Earl's fuel filter
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Koyo EP3 Civic radiator
T1R radiator cap
Spoon Sports cooling hoses
Checkerd Sports ignition coil cover
R Crew oil cap
JDM K20A transmission
Karcepts shifter plate
Buddy Club shifter box
S2000 clutch master cylinder w/Checkerd Sports spacer
RSX Type S OEM axles
TODA Racing Fightex 20K front coilovers
TODA Racing Fightex 18K rear coilovers
Blox rear spherical bearing
Function7 lower control arms
Buddy Club front and rear alignment kit
NEXT Miracle X bar
R Crew tie bar
Integra GS-R knuckles
ARP extended studs
Re-drilled Brembo Prelude VTEC rotors
Project Mu brake pads
Spoon Sports front calipers
Earl's steel braided brake lines
NSX brake master cylinder
Chargespeed 20mm front fenders
R Crew rear diffuser (1 of a kind)
R Crew V.1 splitter
Spoon Sports rear spoiler
Modified 6-point AutoPower rollcage
FIA cage padding
Status Racing Ring seats
Status Racing 5-point safety harness
OEM black interior swap
Spoon Sports steering wheel
Checkerd Sports ECU holder
Checkerd Sports S2000 pushbutton start
R Crew Racing
Ansel White from Tahoe Motor Sports
My girlfriend April who doesn't mind driving to Eibach for 8 hours in a bucket seat with no A/C
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Within the last couple years, you may have noticed the influx of a particular wheel from 949 Racing hitting the Honda community. They're starting to make their way onto many popular Honda show cars but for the most part, they are predominantly used by track vehicles. That's because they come in a wider size than most 15-inch, 4-lug wheels, and enthusiasts that hit the track are given the ability to run a wider tire. The name 949 Racing isn't familiar to you because it shouldn't be. 949 Racing is based out of Lake Forest, California, and is a small race equipment shop. The owner noticed the lack of a 15x8, 4x100 wheel in the sport compact market, particularly in the Mazda Miata community, and decided to create his own. The face design of the wheel doesn't resemble any other wheel because it isn't a copy of any of the more popular wheel manufacturers' designs. The look is inspired by a center-lock race wheel originally meant for the Radical SR8 race car. The design is also specifically for 4x100 applications and intended to be beat on at the track while also plenty strong for the street. The spoke design is big brake friendly and the width and offset make it a perfect marriage for Civics with 20mm Chargespeed over-fenders like Raul's.