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 |   |  1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes
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1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes

Sometimes it takes more than one try to get it right

Andy Anderson
May 16, 2011
Photographer: Warren Shim-Quee

To build the perfect car is something we all strive for in the Honda world. We want the most powerful engine, the rarest parts, and the newest mods that will, with any luck, make us stand out from the crowd. Standing out often means different things to different people of course, but a solid paintjob never goes out of style. Just like fine art on canvas, cars can sometimes reflect artistic genius with innovative coats and intricate details, and can turn a beater into a neck-breaker in a matter of hours.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 2/9   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes

Savinski Claude of Coconut Creek, Florida, is one of many out there dead set on the perfect paintjob. When he noticed his neighbor throwing a For Sale sign on his ’96 Accord EX, Savinski couldn’t resistit just had too much potential. When he closed the deal, the Accord moved from one to driveway to the other, hardly prepared for the firestorm build that was about to rain down upon it. In fact, no one knew just how far Savinski would take itand how many changes it would go through to get it right.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 3/9   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes
2019 Honda Accord
$23,720 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

The first order of business was a fresh paintjob, so the car went to a local media blaster to have all the filler, paint, and primer removed in preparation for the bodywork. He replaced the dinged up hood with a carbon-fiber bonnet, and also replaced the haggard front bumper. When the paint finally dried, Savinski realized how good everything lookedand decided to go further with the build.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 4/9   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes

He picked up a new set of coilovers and wheels for starters, then quickly got busy scouring Accord sites for directionwhich clued him to the event that would change everything for himthe Accord Florida Meet. AFM was hyped in every Accord site out there, even YouTube. It was just hard to miss, Savinski explains. It promised to be the biggest Accord meet in the States and it delivered! One hundred and twenty-five Accords, and not a single Acura or Civic!

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 5/9   |   Claude’s sedan is the epitome of simplicity and classy execution.

That year, Savinski threw some requisite JDM goods on the Accord to keep up with the rest of the locals. I wanted to make it stand out and get some unique parts that would flow well with my car, he said. Not go so crazy that it would look like a circus ride, but build it classy. He also made a trip out to AFM for a little inspiration. It was then that he realized in order to gain any recognition for his work, he’d have to go a lot further with his build. Deciding to change the color a second time, he settled on a frost-white paintjob with some complementary black rims. But when he found out that AFM was planning a special category for fifth-generation Accords the following year, it was back to the paint shop for a third visitthis time for a pearl-white coatand a new set of rollers: Work VS.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 6/9   |   An H22 armed with a Skunk2 valvetrain and bumpsticks is the centerpiece under the hood.

Savinski’s respray paid off, earning him the Best 5th Generation Accord title, as well as Best Overall Accord. This was one of the happiest moments of my life, he recalled. Not only did I get to participate in a 100-plus Accord meet, but I also got recognized and took something home.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 7/9   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes

Hooked on AFM, but still not happy with his car, Savinski had big plans for the following year. My engine was still stock, and I didn’t want to be another car that was all show and no go, he explained. After some careful research, he picked up an H22 engine and transmission and swapped it in while performing a full wire tuck, ABS delete, and shaving the engine bay. For parts, he scored an SiR wing; Function Form coilovers; and a new, wider set of Works. When all the parts were on, Savinski took the car in for yet another paintjob. This time I went with teal blue and I fell in love! he recalled. Finally satisfied with his car’s paint, it was back to AFM for another go at the big title, where Savinski took home Best 5th Generation Engine Bay, Sedan, and Overall once again.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 8/9   |   1996 Honda Accord EX - Major Changes

Despite numerous wins in show car categories, he insists that the car isn’t a show car. It doesn’t sleep in a garage, doesn’t get towed to shows, and doesn’t hide until the next meet. No, the car is much more than that, at least to Savinski. My car is my daily driverbut not just my daily driver, he explained. I feel as if it’s a part of my familyif the car had emotions it would probably feel the same way. Part of the family? There’s a first time for everything, just as long as he doesn’t set a place for it at the dinner table. But until that day comes, you can be sure that Savinski will show up at AFM each and every year to help support the Accord communitymost likely with a new coat of paint.

Htup 1106+major changes+1996 honda accord ex.JPG Photo 9/9   |   A Mugen grille and SiR lower lip are subtle, yet effective at giving the Accord a more aggressive stare down.

Bolts & Washers

Hasport mounts
Hondata intake manifold gasket
ARP studs
Samco hoses
Skunk2 Pro Series Stage II cams
Greddy timing belt
Skunk2 Pro Series standard compression valves
Skunk2 titanium retainers
Skunk2 Pro Series cam gears
Walbro fuel pump
K&N air filter
Hytech replica header
A’pexi WP2 exhaust system
MagnaFlow high-flow cat
NGK Iridium spark plugs
MSD 8.5mm plug wires
JDM M2A4 transmission
Clutch Masters Stage II clutch
Fidanza flywheel (8 lb)

Function Form Type 2 coilovers
Suspension Techniques front/rear antisway bar
Energy Suspension bushings
Eibach Pro alignment kit
Cusco front/rear shock tower bars

OEM ’95-’98 Odyssey blank rotors
OEM Legend ceramic pads
OEM Legend calipers
Honda brake fluid
Stainless steel lines

Wheels & Tires
Work VS wheels 17x8 (+30 offset) front, 17x9 (+30 offset) rear
Nitto Neo Gen 215/40-17 front, 215/45-17 rear

RSX seats
S2000 AP1 steering wheel
Dojo carbon-fiber shift knob

VIS carbon-fiber hood
JDM SiR spoiler
JDM SiR front lip
Mugen grille
Work rear lip
Custom paintjob

Felipe Diaz , Gustavo Quesada, Freddy from Auto Tech, Jason Marshall, Giancarlo Kozera , My family My wife and two sons, God

Owner Specs
Favorite Website
Screen Name or Nickname
Building Hondas For How Long
A year and a half
Your Dream Car
Current stable
Lexus IS 250
Build Inspiration
Iakona - owner of the best 5th gen. Accord
What’s Playing In Your iPod/CD/ MP3 Player Right Now
None, just H22 VTEC crossover notes
Greatest Movie Of All Time
The Godfather

Clutch Masters
Function Form

You’re gonna paint that again?
If you’re anything like Savinski Claude, chances are you’ll want to repaint your car over and over and over. When prepping for a paint re-do, there’s two methods: A scrape-to-metal removal and a simple wash-over. Though it’s much cheaper (and less time consuming) to go the latter route, a lack of shine could detract from the look of your ride, and the possibility of bubbles in your coat are hardly worth the risk. Though time consuming, the scrape-to-metal method will ensure that no rust or previous defects show up in your new paint, and will lead to a much happier, healthier coat of paint. You’ll hate the extra effort at the time, but your car will love you in the end, and you’ll have a kick-ass exterior that will last for a long, long timeor at least until you decide to paint over it again.

By Andy Anderson
22 Articles



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