The American Dream—coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931—is defined in part as “the dream of a land where life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” America has long been touted as a place where you can be what you want to be, and achieve whatever you want. What we have here is the story of just one tiny facet of that dream and how one man has made it his reality.
It began for William Galan of Santa Ana, El Salvador, when he was just a boy. His father worked on cars, so William was surrounded by automotive-related sights and sounds from such a young age that it was only natural it would directly affect his perspective. “I’ve always had a passion for old-school cars, especially imports.” As a teenager, he bought his first car, a 1980 Honda Accord. His father owned a shop, so William spent the majority of his time there watching and learning what he could. His hands-on approach started right from the beginning, and he learned by tinkering with the vehicle, taking apart the motor, cleaning parts, polishing others, and reassembling it all. It was only a matter of time before that simple process, and the OE parts that he was applying it to, would become insufficient to satiate his growing hunger for knowledge and experience. The search for more power was a natural progression. Unbeknownst to William, that search would take him much further than he imagined.
Some things go according to plan, and some things don’t. I’m sure all of us in retrospect can think of more than a few situations in which it was actually better that our original plan didn’t quite pan out. Well, William wanted to source a larger replacement motor for a ’80 Accord he was slowly working on, and he decided to head from El Salvador to California in order to pick one up. That was the plan, anyway. “As it turns out I still haven’t bought the engine and now I live here! I just purchased my first home.” While in California, William found a good job and decided to stay. How’s that for a little change of plans?
Not only did William find a good job, he found a great car. His old friend Mario happened to have a car just sitting around collecting dust, and William saw right past the dirty exterior and knew he wanted to build the car. “It ran fine and it was clean—that’s what I really liked about it. But it needed customization!” So William purchased the vehicle and quickly went to work on a B16 he’d picked up just one month later. He also sourced all of the parts needed to convert the vehicle to a manual transmission and did the swap and conversion at home. Additionally, he undertook the time-consuming and tedious process of learning to create and install his own “tucked” harness. With newfound power came a newfound need to brake adequately, so Integra GS-R calipers and discs were placed up front and a rear disc conversion sourced from a “DA” Integra was done in the rear. William also picked up a set of KSport coilovers to drop the car, and a set of Skunk2 Pro Series front and rear camber kits to assist in dialing in his perfect suspension settings.
With the motor, brakes, and suspension bases covered, William turned to the exterior of the vehicle and soon found that digging up 20-year-old Japanese body panels would be no easy task. “The hardest part of building my car was finding the JDM front end.” Additionally, he was unable to find a front lip that he thought would look good, so William made his own. He took an ’86 CRX Si front lip and extended it to match the EF2 front bumper.
After finding the front end components he needed and installing them, it was only natural he had thoughts of a fresh paint job to tie everything together. Taking a hands-on approach, he began prepping the car by sanding it down and fixing any and every dent he could find on the chassis. Next was a coat of primer and a careful inspection before he slathered the car with two-stage Nason Phoenix Red hue, and layer after layer of clear coat. The end result is absolutely beautiful.
All that was left to perfect the car was the right set of wheels. William decided to combine old-school design with new-school dimensions to create the perfect set of rollers for his car. Relying on a set of period-correct 15-inch BBS RS, he decided the original 6.5-inch widths just weren’t going to cut it. The choice was made to completely rebuild the wheels, yielding a new 15x9 +0mm offset. Before you throw your hands in the air in anger at the widened wheels, take a closer look at the photos. No ridiculous, tire-shredding camber, no haggard fender edges, just a clean, well-executed wheel choice that compliments the double-decade sedan ever so gracefully.
All of the hard work has definitely paid off for William. You will find him at many local meets and gatherings but you’ll be hard pressed to find photos of his car online as he keeps a very low profile. However, this past August he did decide to enter the prestigious Nisei Showoff event and went home with a shiny trophy for his class. Soft-spoken, you won’t find William bragging about his plastic recognition; he’s too busy thinking about what future mods he’ll be incorporating on this spotless sedan. One thing is for certain: With a coveted trophy, a magazine feature, and that brand-new home he’s just purchased, William is no doubt living the dream.
Paint and body
While William was skilled enough to take on his paintwork with his own two hands, most have no idea about how much work actually goes into a proper paint job. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is certainly true when dealing with paint and bodywork, and if you cheap out on it, you will no doubt regret it. There are so many aspects of the process that make the professionals just that: professionals. You have primer and sealer, paint (base and candy, if applicable), and clear coat. Which brand and why? Blocking, sanding, 300 grit, 2,000 grit, etc. In what order do you use them and why? You have to deal with environmental concerns and legalities, welding the various types of metals, working with urethane, fiberglass, and chemicals—the list goes on and on. When it comes time to make that leap, don’t be so quick to say, “That’s too expensive.” A well-done paintjob can make or break your build, and it’s typically very easy to tell who took shortcuts and who didn’t.
Bolts & Washers
HKS air filter
Injen intake arm
Port and polished head
DC Sports 4-1 header
Custom exhaust piping and muffler
Exedy Stage 1 clutch
Password:JDM hood dampers
Password:JDM fender washers
Password:JDM carbon-fiber spark plug cover
Shaved and powdercoated black intake manifold
Shaved and painted valvecover
Hose Techniques radiator hoses
KSport 36-way adjustable coilovers
Energy Suspension bushing kit
Skunk2 front and rear camber kit
Blox lower control arms
Acura Integra GS-R front calipers and rotors
’90–’93 Integra rear disc conversion
EBC ceramic brake pads
Wheels and Tires
Custom BBS RS 15x9, 0 offset
Toyo T1R 195/45-15
Phoenix Red paint
JDM EF2 front end
’86 CRX Si front lip
CRX Si front seats
MOMO Tuner steering wheels
Mugen shift knob
JDM center console
Pioneer Premier headunit
MB Quart speakers
’90 Civic Si gauge cluster
Special thanks to my girlfriend for all her support, also my parents, and friends from work
Screen name or nickname
Building Hondas for how long
Your dream car
’90 Civic Hatch Si, Subaru WRX
What’s playing in your iPod/CD/MP3 player right now
“Trance” by Anjunabeats
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