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 |   |  2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe - ¡Viva Las Chivas!
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2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe - ¡Viva Las Chivas!

This orange coupe brings more sin and heat than the city it hails from.

Joey Lee
Feb 3, 2012

We all go through our fair share of trials in life. That’s just how the universe seems to work. Struggles and inevitable loss along the way help to shape who we are, and in turn, allow us to appreciate what we have in our lives. The art of modifying a car somewhat resembles that theory in that the unforeseen events help to shape our future selves. One of the most enjoyable things about starting a project is the journey that comes along with it. If the ride weren’t an interesting one, everyone would simply pay someone else to do all their work for them.

Although this does happen on occasion, what you need to understand is that for every great experience on that journey, there comes an almost equal amount of challenges and difficult moments that can actually encourage one to appreciate and value their project that much more. Once a bond develops between car and owner, a relationship is forged and no hardship is too great to overcome.

2019 Honda Civic
$21,450 Base Model (MSRP) MPG Fuel Economy

Chivas Sotelo’s voyage with his ’00 Civic Si has been a noteworthy one. The Las Vegas native has experienced so many negative events that it has become a testament to his character. The only reason he has this Si is because his first Civic was taken away from him. “I didn’t really intend to buy another Civic,” Chivas admits. “After my first one was stolen, I started looking at S2000s, but they were just too expensive at that time. This Civic wasn’t exactly cheap either, but it was cheaper than an S2K and was in better shape than the other cars I found. The original owner was moving away from Las Vegas and just didn’t have room for it anymore. I paid $10K for it and it was basically stock with the exception of some custom leather seats. Well, I mean, I thought it was stock at the time.”

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Perhaps the custom leather seats were a red flag, because Sotelo’s coupe was no virgin. On a random trip to California one day, Chivas blew his “stock” B16A and later found that the previous owner had supercharged the motor and did his fair share of “spirited driving.” The rings on the engine were completely shot, and the motor barely had any compression. His first hurdle would be to find another motor for his EM1. “I really didn’t know much about cars back then. Everything I did later on I learned on my own. My whole plan was to eventually go the turbo route, so I wanted to get a good, legit engine. I traveled out to California and picked up a JDM GS-R long block from HMO. In hindsight, I actually regret buying the engine because I realized I should have bought an ITR motor instead, but I moved forward with the build anyway.”

The whole engine dilemma was just a first in many other incidents he would encounter. Once he got his car on the road again, he decided to purchase his first set of wheels, which were replicas of the very-popular Volk Racing CE28 wheel. His coupe was running smoothly and everything appeared to be fine, until he hydroplaned into a center median one day. The wheel that made contact with the wall practically disintegrated, and the spokes broke right off the wheel. The damage, other than the wheel of course, was minimal, so he fixed it and moved on. Two months later, he ran into his next predicament. “I was walking back to my Civic after finishing up some shopping at the mall and noticed yellow emergency tape wrapped around it. I thought it was a joke at first, but then my friend saw that the whole front end of the car had been side-swiped. Whoever hit my coupe was nice enough to leave a note and they said their trailer couldn’t get around my car. The wheels of the trailer actually ran over the front of my car, but they left their insurance information so I could file a claim. I had it towed home and then I took it apart. The damage wasn’t as bad as I thought; a front fender had to be replaced as well as the front bumper, crash beam, and one of the headlights. Their insurance company gave me more than I needed to repair the damage, so I took the extra money and bought an authentic set of 16-inch Volk TE37s.”

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After that series of unfortunate events, things looked to get better for Chivas. The only issues he had to deal with were minor compared to having a blown motor, crashing into a center median, and having his car run over by a trailer. The years of wear and tear from being out in the desert sun were starting to show on the OEM Electron Blue Pearl paint. He decided to repaint the chassis and began his search for the perfect color. “I wanted something bright, but nothing too over the top,” Sotelo explains. “I figured since I was going to repaint the entire car, I might as well go all out. I found myself looking at House of Kolor pearls and fell in love with their Sunset Pearl color. I also wanted to go with a two-tone theme and do the engine bay a different color. I discovered this color that shifted with different angles of light, as if it had a chameleon-like effect. I hadn’t really seen anyone else do this to an engine bay, so I went for it.”

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The 11-year-old chassis had its typical share of wear and infamous door dings, but the engine bay required more effort. One thing Chivas knew from the get-go, even before he really knew anything about cars, was that he wanted to ride really low. Years of driving with the car hammered did a number on his front shock towers. The car was so low that the upper control arms constantly made contact with the tower, and eventually tore a hole into it, exposing the upper control arm in the engine bay. With the bay being repainted, this had to be repaired, but he didn’t want to do it at the expense of his ride height. Sotelo then elected to have the body shop create a custom oval plate on each tower, extending the overall clearance of the suspension by two inches. The plates were molded and painted over and it hasn’t given him any problems since. He also moved onto a better suspension setup in the form of Ground Control coilover sleeves and Koni Yellow shocks.

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Other than the House of Kolor paint, the exterior remains completely untouched. This was done to highlight the striking, almost glowing hue, and because Sotelo’s affection with being slammed prevented him from running any type of aftermarket aero components. His love for being low can only be matched by his fascination of wheels, which he has had multiple sets of. That is, until he finally landed on a set of incredibly mint 16-inch Sprint Hart CP-Rs that seem to complement the paintwork perfectly.

If there’s anything to be said about Chivas Sotelo, it’s that he has learned to be a very patient enthusiast. There’ve been more than enough obstacles to deter him from following through with his build, but he saw it through and the final product speaks for itself.

Htup 1203 06+2000 honda civic si coupe+interior Photo 5/5   |   2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe - ¡Viva Las Chivas!

House of Kolor
Chivas Sotelo’s paint looks absolutely amazing because it comes from one of the most world-renowned paint companies in the entire automotive industry. House of Kolor was founded by Jon Kosmoski in 1956. Kosmoski was actually building a 1940 Chevy Coupe and took his coupe to what was known as “the best shop in town” at that time for a complete paintjob. He got the car back from paint with less than spectacular results, knowing that it could have been done better—so he learned to do it himself. He quickly become well known for his skills as a custom painter, but the one thing that made him unhappy was the problems with paint during that era, which was prone to sun-fade and cracking in extreme temperatures. He teamed up with a doctor in polymer chemistry and set out to create custom paints that would not tarnish, crack, or fade from the sunlight, even in severe climates or radical temperature changes. Jon Kosmoski’s skills as a painter and innovative products won him awards and garnered him worldwide recognition for being one of the very best of all time. Now a little over half a century later, House of Kolor is still considered one of the best in the business.

Bolts & Washers

Innovative polyurethane engine mounts
JDM B16B camshafts
JDM B16B valves
JDM B16B valvesprings
JDM B16B retainers
Skunk2 Pro-Series intake manifold
RPM Service 68mm throttle body
AEM short-ram intake system
Highend Tri-Y exhaust manifold
Mugen Twin-Loop exhaust
Skunk2 test pipe
Walbro 255lph fuel pump
AEM fuel rail
Steel-braided fuel lines
Earl’s inline fuel filter
Godspeed radiator
Samco Sport hoses
Y21 transmission
Competition Clutch Stage IV clutch
Competition Clutch lightweight flywheel
Skunk2 short shifter
Ground Control coilovers
Koni Yellow shocks
ASR subframe brace
Beaks lower tie-bar
Function7 lower control arms
JDM CTR 5-lug conversion
JDM CTR disc brakes
JDM CTR brake calipers
Goodridge steel-braided brake lines
Wheels and Tires
16x7 Sprint Hart CP-R +18 front
16x8 Sprint Hart CP-R +20 rear
195/40-16 Yokohama S-Drive
House of Kolor Sunset Pearl paint, exterior
Purple Chromaflair paint, engine bay
Recaro Speed seats
Mugen FG-360 steering wheel
Mugen shift knob
Circuit Hero shift extender
Custom red door panel inserts
Custom leather rear seats
Sony head unit
My parents and sister for their support, Speedlab, Harvey’s Auto, LDL Speed Shop, Spring Mountain Auto, Honda Motors Online (HMO), Dennis at Dwired, Wek’Sos Industries, BCE Designs, Mikey at, Mike Marchetti, Miguel Zaragoza, Aron Martinez, Gerald Reyes, Christine Reyes, Keith at It’sJDMYo!!!, Sean De Leon, Neek Lurkn, Celso Nimo, Brendan Taft, David Vu, Jeff Payuan, Minh Nguyen, Neel Nana, Shavi Wijegunaratne, Royal Origin, Lowballers, John Tran, Dru at SOHI, Ray De Leon, Randy_Phat Photo, It’

Owner Specs
Daily Grind
Favorite Site
Screen Name
Building Hondas
10 years
Dream Car
Acura NSX
Inspiration For This Build
Royal Origin/ Lowballers
Features Build
Currently working on an Acura TL


Skunk2 Racing
Norco, CA 92860
Competition Clutch
Conyers, GA 30012
Wek'sos Industries
San Jose, CA 95131
By Joey Lee
243 Articles



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