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1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

A Pair Of Honda Chefs Cook Up A Spicy Blend Of Style And Performance

Jonathan Thompson
Mar 18, 2011
Photographer: Henry Z. De Kuyper

Most Honda enthusiasts think living close to Southern California, the epicenter of all-things-Honda this side of Japan, makes it easier to build dope cars. Well, maybe. However, personal determination can carry a project a lot further than you might think. Danville Dingel and Nathan Kowalski, both from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, are prime examples of this concept. They didn't let the fact that severe weather conditions only allow for normal driving six months out of the year, or the fact that during the those tolerable months the roads are littered with potholes. They didn't let shipping costs or hard-to-source parts get in the way either. Instead, they chose to pursue their desires, let their imaginations run wild, and build two incredible Hondas that hold their own not only in Canada, but anywhere in the world.

Htup_1104_01_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+passenger_side_front Photo 2/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Danville Dingel's '96 Honda Civic CX
Danville owns the faster Honda between the two comrades. His Midori Green K-swapped Civic puts down a healthy 265 wheel horsepower according to Dynojet figures. The K-series is outfitted with a slew of goodies including JE pistons, Import Builders rods, and a fully built head that's been ported and pimped out with Brian Crower products. And Danville loves every bit of it. "It's an amazing feeling to get that much power out of a naturally aspirated engine," he exudes.

Htup_1104_02_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+passenger_side Photo 3/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Despite his love affair with the K20A2 engine, if Danville could have done one thing differently with the build, he would have kept the Spoon Sports-built B18C engine he use to own-the reason being: money. He had to spend extra cash for the new powerplant and even more dough on transforming it into a burly beast. Now, if money didn't matter. "I would keep the K-series. B-series rev faster but K-series are more torquey," he explains. Danville views the project through a financial lens due to the fact that he's tossed 50 g-notes at the EJ6 through various looks and engines. Funds for the expensive project were obtained through hard work and saving.

The Civic was able to become such an amazing Honda thanks in large part to G106, a makeshift shop run out of his friend and co-feature car owner, Nathan Kowalski's home garage. One particular week, the two were working on the Hatch nonstop in preparation for an event. Danville was extremely exhausted but refused to give up and began installing his Recaro seats. Right after both seats were in, Danville accidentally slipped off into dreamland. "I was so tired that I just passed out in my car for about 16 hours until my friend woke me up," he chuckles. Luckily, Danville and his green beast made it to the event on time.

Htup_1104_06_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+volk_racing_wheels Photo 7/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Though Danville would like to have finished the build sooner, it took a year and a half. Perfection, dedication to awesomeness, parts availability, and everyday life stretched the project's timetable, but there's no question that he's satisfied with the results. "There are no other Civics that I know of in Canada that look like mine," he says proudly.

The Civic is garaged six months out of the year due to the extreme winter season. He usually cruises in the EJ6 two to three times a week when the weather permits. He also likes to display his handiwork at car shows. The most memorable moment Danville has had thus far with the green monster was winning the Best Civic class at a local show.

Htup_1104_07_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+mugen_fuel_celll_cover Photo 8/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Some question the color choice, as Midori Green is one of the less-favorable color options, but Danville stands behind his choice. "Yeah, it was my dream to build a Midori Green Civic," he laughs. Further bucking trends, Danville plans to keep the Civic forever. "I'll never get rid of it. I love my Honda," he asserts. He also loves his son very much and plans to hand over the keys when the time comes. Now that my friends, is what you call a true Honda enthusiast.

Owner Specs

Htup_1104_14_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+coolant_reservoir Photo 12/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Favorite Website
www.nwp4life.com

Screen Name Or Nickname
b16civic

Building Hondas For How Long
10 years

Your Dream Car
Lamborghini

Htup_1104_15_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+fuel_pressure_regulator Photo 13/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Build Inspiration
EK Squad, Honda Tech, NWP4Life

What's Playing In Your IPOD/CD/MP3 Player Right Now
2 Pac

Greatest Movie Of All Time
Blow

Bolts & Washers

Htup_1104_16_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+radiator Photo 14/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Propulsion
K20A2 engine
12.5:1 compression ratio
Hasport engine mounts
Ported head
Brian Crower Stage 3 camshafts
Brian Crower valves
Brian Crower valvesprings
Brian Crower retainers
Brian Crower keepers
Brian Crower rocker arms
JE pistons
JE piston rings
Import Builders connecting rods
K&N Performance air filter
Garage Biitz custom air-intake system
Spoons Sports throttle body
RBC ported intake manifold
RCrew exhaust manifold
5Zigen N+ 80mm muffler
Garage Biitz custom exhaust system
Walbro 255-lph fuel pump
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
Golden Eagle fuel rail
RC Engineering 550cc fuel injectors
Earl's Performance fuel filter
Earl's Performance lines and fittings
K20AR transmission
K20AR limited-slip differential
CR-V 5.01 final drive
Exedy Hyper single clutch
Exedy flywheel
Driveshaft Shop axles
Koyo radiator
Billion radiator horses
NGK iridium spark plugs
RyWire mil-spec engine harness
Hondata K-Pro ECU
Custom valve cover

Stance
Spoon Sports N1 coilovers
Swift Springs antiroll bars
Miracle X crossbar
Miracle X option bars
Skunk2 Pro Series Plus upper control arms
SSR rear lower control arms
Mugen bushings

Htup_1104_17_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+k20a2_engine Photo 15/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Resistance
AP Racing brake kit
AP Racing custom 11.5-inch rear disc brakes
Motul racing brake fluid
Earl's Performance brake lines and fittings
DC5 brake booster
DC5 brake reservoir

Htup_1104_18_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+driver_side_front Photo 16/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Wheels & Tires
16x7 Volk Racing Honda Time Attack Edition (+42 offset)
Front: 215/40-16 Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial
Rear: 205/40-16 Yokohama Parada Spec-2

Exterior
EK4 front bumper
EK4 rear bumper
Jun Auto front bumper grille
Jun Auto front bumper spoiler
Jun Auto headlight eyelids
Voltex canards
CTR side markers
Visions DC mirrors
J's Racing fender flares
VIS carbon-fiber hood
First Molding carbon-fiber rear spoiler
VIS carbon-fiber trunk lid
Spoon Sports AP1 carbon-fiber rear diffuser
FAL rear glass
FAL side glass

Htup_1104_19_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+voltex_canards Photo 17/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Interior
Recaro SPG seats
Vision low-max seat rails
Takata 4-point seat harnesses
AIM display
Vertex steering wheel
ARC shift knob
Mugen gauges
CTR climate control
CTR carpet
EK9 Mugen dry-carbon fuel cell cover
Mugen 10mm bolts
Kenwood audio equipment

Htup_1104_20_o+1996_honda_civic_dx+recaro_seats Photo 18/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Props
Jamielyn
Darren (Son)
AS1 Fam
G106 Crew

Nathan Kowalski's '98 Acura 1.6 El
Nathan has the more unique Honda of this pair. He chose to build a '98 Acura 1.6 EL which is primarily a more luxurious Civic. Most manufacturers utilize economies of scale to lower their cost structure. The end result is usually a slightly altered vehicle, re-styled, re-accessorized, re-badged, and usually re-price-tagged. Nathan is very familiar with the 1.6 EL, which he took the liberty of swapping the Acura badges for a set of Honda emblems. "The Acura 1.6 EL was sold only in Canada and was based off of a four-door Civic, with a few refinements such as leather interior, sunroof, and a face-lift up front," he explains. The 1.6 EL was sold as a Honda Domani in Japan, and Honda never produced a version stateside.

Htup_1104_21_o+1998_acura_el+passenger_side Photo 22/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

The build lasted six years and consumed a cool $60,000, Canadian. Nathan and his friends have tinkered away many a night at G106-Nathan's home garage. Just like for Danville, Mother Nature only allows Nathan to drive his car roughly six months a year. "My car is a purpose-built, two-seat, four-door sedan to turn some heads when driven hard on the streets and look pretty as a garage queen," he tells. Yes, you read that correct; a two-seat, four-door sedan. It doesn't have to make sense when the car is this amazing.

Htup_1104_22_o+1998_acura_el+greddy_muffler Photo 23/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

The Acura began a new life in 2005 when Nathan installed a B18C engine, and tuned it to 225 wheel horsepower. A year later, Nathan decided he wanted a K-series engine, and the EL was torn apart. A new Civic subframe was installed to add more clearance. Nathan meticulously poured over every bolt, bushing, and clip. "About 10 g's worth of suspension and brakes were quickly installed giving it the feel of a brand-new car again," he says.

A K24A2 engine paired with an '08 Civic Si six-speed limited-slip differential-equipped transmission eventually took residence in the engine bay. "This thing will rev to 7,800 rpm every day for the next 100,000 miles. It's a Honda," he proudly states. This setup produces 213 wheel horsepower according to Dynojet. The horsepower increases with the push of a button thanks to the ZEX 75-shot direct port nitrous oxide kit. However, Nathan has yet to use it because he wants to properly tune the Hondata K-Pro ECU to handle the nitrous shot.

Htup_1104_26_o+1998_acura_el+spring_hart_cpr_wheels Photo 27/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Nathan has owned and worked on Hondas since he was 16. Nine years on, he's still an avid Honda enthusiast. He's owned more Hondas than he can remember-literally. His list of previously owned Hondas looks better in an Excel spreadsheet. He helped create G106, which eventually became a business, and currently manages a used-Honda dealership. "My latest Honda is an S2000 that is 50 percent complete. I'm sure this will end up being another upside-down, inside-out build for $50,000 that will end up stashed away and see the streets only five months a year," he laughs. Regardless, Nathan will continue to show how Hondas are done-Canadian style of course.

Owner Specs

Htup_1104_36_o+1998_acura_el+zex_nitrous_oxide_kit Photo 34/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Favorite Website
www.S2ki.Com

Screen Name Or Nickname
C5_El, Honda2000

Building Hondas For How Long
9 Years

Your Dream Car
Nsx Targa

Htup_1104_37_o+1998_acura_el+direct_port_nitrous Photo 35/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Build Inspiration
To Have A Raw, Bone Shaking, Stiff Riding Street Sedan

What's Playing In Your Ipod/CD/Mp3 Player Right Now
Bpm Channel On Xm Radio

Greatest Movie Of All Time
Gone In 60 Seconds

Htup_1104_38_o+1998_acura_el+radiator Photo 36/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Bolts & Washers

Propulsion
K24A2 engine
Hasport engine mounts
K&N Performance air filter
Garage Biitz custom air-intake system
ZEX 75-shot direct port nitrous oxide kit
SSR exhaust manifold
GReddy SP2 muffler
Garage Biitz custom exhaust system
Walbro 255-lph fuel pump
Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator
BDL fuel rail
Earl's Performance lines and fittings
'08 Civic Si transmission
'08 Civic Si limited-slip differential
Karcepts shifter mounting kit
Buddy Club shifter box
Exedy Stage 2 clutch
DC5 axles
Koyo radiator
Samco radiator hoses
Garage Biitz coolant overflow tank
Hondata K-Pro ECU
T1R voltage stabilizer
Odyssey race battery
Odyssey battery bracket
J's Racing valve cover

Stance
PIC Performance coilovers
Suspension Techniques front antiroll bar
NRG front shock tower bar
ASR subframe brace
WeaponR rear shock tower brace
SSR rear antiroll bar
SSR rear tie bar
OMNI front lower control arms
SSR rear lower control arms
Skunk2 front camber kit
T1R rear camber kit
Energy Suspension bushings

Htup_1104_39_o+1998_acura_el+domani_front_bumper Photo 37/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Resistance
Power Slot brake rotors
Spoon Sports four-pot calipers
EBC Green Stuff brake pads
Motul racing brake fluid
JDM ITR brake master cylinder
JDM ITR brake booster
JDM ITR 5-lug conversion
Earl's Performance brake lines and fittings
ABS deletion

Htup_1104_40_o+1998_acura_el+coolant_reservoir Photo 38/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Wheels & Tires
16x8 Spring Hart CP-R
(+35/+25 front/rear offset)
205/40-16 Falken Azenis RT-615

Exterior
Brilliant Black Crystal pearl paint
Backyard Special front bumper
JDM Domani front bumper grille
JDM Domani headlights
Bi-Xenon HID conversion kit
Honda Access window visors
Honda emblems

Interior
Recaro SPG seats
Vision low-max seat rails
CTR steering wheel
JDM ITR shift knob
CTR shift boot
CTR pedals
CTR carpet
JDM Domani floor mats
S2000 instrument gauge cluster
A'PEXi gauges
Alpine audio equipment

Htup_1104_41_o+1998_acura_el+recaro_seats Photo 39/42   |   1996 Honda Civic CX & 1998 Acura 1.6EL - Canadian Bakin'

Props
Boys in Winnipeg
Boys in Toronto
My supportive family

G106
G106, or Garage 106, is the nickname for Nathan's garage. The term also identifies all 10 members in the G106 crew. G106 dates back to when Nathan and Danville first met over 13 years ago. During that time, Nathan and Danville owned the only two fourth-gen Civics in town that had B16A1 engine swaps. The two seemingly destined rivals became life-long friends through their common bond of Honda love. Naturally, the two dudes and crew needed somewhere to tool away into the early morning hours. The solution: G106. The household operation became an official shop four years ago. The duo ran the company similar to how Honda initially operated. Nathan worked on the cars like Soichiro Honda led the engineering side of Honda, and Danville managed all other business relations like Takeo Fujisawa led the business management side of Honda. In The Honda Myth: The Genius and His Wake, author Masaaki Sato commonly referred to Honda and its unique two-leader style as half "Honda Tech" and half "Fujisawa Trading."

Unfortunately, the recent recession forced the pair to close the doors of G106 and return to their humble beginnings, Nathan's garage, where they continue to work on their projects and their friends' whips together.

Sources

Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
951-808-9888
http://www.skunk2.com
EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
702-826-2400
http://www.ebcbrakes.com
Hondata
Torrance, CA 90503
310-782-8278
http://www.hondata.com
Exedy Clutch
Belleville, MI 48111
800-346-6091
http://www.exedyusa.com
By Jonathan Thompson
48 Articles

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