It’s amazing how many haters are among us. Facebook and forums bring out the worst. Post a shot of a stanced-out ride, and you’ll hear about it from the self-proclaimed “racer” community (many of whom don’t, mind you). Post one of a track-prepped EVO and hoards of anonymous fanboys will promise that their Supra or Mustang (or their buddy’s, if they’re more honest) will walk all over it. Post a picture of a modified Civic—any modified Civic—outside a Honda forum, and you’re sure to draw 10 times the ricial slurs. But Jimmy Uy, the owner of this Civic, doesn’t care. Yes, everyone likes to shrug off public disapproval by claiming they don’t care, but Jimmy really doesn’t give a f*ck. His car sits exactly how he hoped it would when he started its build over four years ago, and he’s overcome far bigger obstacles along the way to consider anyone’s disapproval. But let’s hear it from him:
"I purchased the car in 2007 just to use as a commuter. At the time, I thought I was over cars because I had a lot of failed projects in the past, and never really wanted to modify another car. Then one day I saw a set of Sportmax wheels on a slammed CL. The car was otherwise stock from what I could tell, but the flush-fitting stance really transformed it—in a great way. I thought about my Civic, and figured, ‘Why not? It would just be a set of wheels and a suspension. Nothing major . . ."
I bought a set of Sportmax XXR 501s, rolled the fenders, slammed it, and really liked the way it looked, so I started doing other little things here and there. Then one day I met the guys from Vision Performance, who helped me do a little more. They introduced me to Memoryfab, where I met Dave and Daniel, who had a set of 15x8.5 +7mm Chevlon wheels for sale—legit, Japanese wheels with unique designs in the size I was looking for. I bought them on the spot. As soon as I was able to get the wheels to fit the way I wanted and still drive every day on San Francisco roads, everything started feeling ‘right’ again. My car was transforming for the better. I decided to build it, only this time to have it exactly the way I wanted, regardless of who liked it or not. Dave invited me to bring my car to Wekfest 2009, where I got my first experience with a big show. I was hooked all over again.
But then things started to go downhill. I was driving home one night, dozed off at the wheel, and swiped a center divider, damaging two of my wheels. Every wheel repair shop I contacted said it would be impossible to repair them, except my friend and forum buddy Michael “Heymikeyyy” Cristi, who brought them back from the dead after a few weeks. But once I got the wheels back and mounted on the car, I messed up one of its fenders the first time on the road. I guess I hit the divider hard enough to knock the alignment out. Searching for a shop to correct the suspension and handle the bodywork led me to Franklin Auto Body, and Sunny and Albert, who helped in that department.
Then things straight fell apart. On a random Friday night in 2009, a Hummer H2, driven by a relative of mine who I’d never met in my entire life (long story) hit my car. It was declared a total loss. Up until this point I’d met a lot of good shops and cool people. We all became friends and while cars were our common ground, our friendship became about more than just cars. We chilled together, shared other non-car interests, hung out at the same places, etc. I started feeling like I didn’t need the car. I was about to give up on it altogether. But then I sat down with Sunny and Albert and hatched a plan for a complete makeover.
While they worked their magic to the car, I rounded up some new parts. Dave at Memoryfab set me up with new, even more aggressive Chevlons—16x9s and 16x10s—which The Shop San Bruno somehow stretched 215/40 rubber around without even a scratch. Rywire kicked in a complete harness, and the guys at Vision Performance and I handled the engine work, replacing all engine and transmission bearings, seals, gaskets, and belts; rebuilding the head; and replacing synchros.
When Sunny and Albert were finished with the car, all the damage was fixed, the front strut towers had been extended, the engine bay welded/shaved, the fenders rolled and pulled, and the entire shell painted Apex Blue Pearl—a genuine Honda color I decided on after my girlfriend suggested I paint it like the Japanese anime character Doraemon.
I’ve learned that it’s always good to have a deadline with a project like this, otherwise the work seems too intimidating and it’s easy to keep putting it off. I made mine the 2010 Wekfest meet. Six days before then, the car still had no suspension, no glass, no interior, no wiring harness, no doors, and the engine and trans were still out of it. It was pretty much a painted shell. This time I couldn’t give up. I was determined to see it through. In six days, with help from the guys at Franklin, Memoryfab, The Shop San Bruno, Vision Performance, and all the homies, we were able to get the car reassembled and running seven hours before roll-in for Wekfest. After everything was said and done, the car turned out exactly how I wanted it.
I’ve changed a few things on the car since then, but the original concept is still the same: a unique car that I could drive and enjoy everyday. Rain or shine. I ran into a ton of legal issues after the car was done; I got a state referee ticket, CHP VIN verification, brake and lamp inspection, had to pass smog, had my registration held up because of it all—pretty much every inch of red tape they could throw at me, they did. But with luck and the help of friends and sponsors, we troubleshot problems as they came up, stayed patient throughout the legal process, and got the car completely road worthy.
I’ve showed the car, tracked the car, and I drive it daily. Some may say it’s too trendy, or might not like the fact that the engine is nearly stock and doesn’t make 1,000 hp, but I can honestly say that I do not care. I enjoy this car and all it’s taught me too much to even think about all that. It’s my only car. I guess you could say I put all my eggs into one blue basket, but with friends like this car has helped me make—who wouldn’t let me quit when things got tough—it proved to be a safe bet.
Behind the Build
San Francisco, CA
Friends and family
“Um . . . I’ll need a separate sheet for this one.”
’95 Honda Civic DX
Engine ’95 B18C1; Skunk2 Pro intake manifold; Avid motor mounts; Fujita cold-air intake; Vortech fuel rail; Mugen 4-to-1 header; MagnaFlow high-flow catalyst; Greddy SP1 cat-back exhaust; NGK plugs, wires; Interstate battery; Mishimoto radiator; Rywire engine harness; custom polishing; Bolt Boys V2 hardware
Drivetrain ’95 S80 transmission, factory LSD, 4.7:1 final drive; Avid mount; Exedy Stage 1 clutch
Suspension Stance GR+ coilovers, 12 kg/mm front springs, 10kg/mm rear springs; KSport camber-adjustable front control arms, rear camber links; Acura Integra GS-R 21mm front sway bar; Carbing three-point front shock tower bar; Miracle X-brace, option bars; Function/Form rear lower control arms; Auto Power four-point rollbar; Prothane bushings; ASR subframe brace; custom raised front shock towers, shaved bay
Wheels/Tires Chevlon Racing Super Mesh wheels (16x9 +13mm offset front, 16x10 +13mm offset rear); Falken Ziex 912 tires (205/40-16 front, 215/40-16 rear); Muteki Racing lug nuts
Brakes Acura Integra GS-R front and rear calipers and rotors; Hawk HP front and rear pads; ATE Super Gold brake fluid
Exterior Seibon carbon-fiber front lip spoiler; APR carbon-fiber side mirrors; Franklin Auto carbon-fiber roof; Spoon duckbill rear spoiler; Honda Apex Blue Pearl paint; custom fender flaring/pulling; JDM headlights, taillights, thin side moldings; Vision Lighting HIDs
Interior Memoryfab color-matched carbon composite R98 seats, low rails; ATC International Rallye Deep steering wheel; NRG quick-release hub; Seiwa shift knob; Civic Si gauge cluster, EX power door panels; custom relocated battery; Sony Pioneer speakers
Gratitude First and foremost: my girlfriend, Alice; my family; Sunny and Albert from Franklin Auto Body; Dave, Wing, Daniel, and Rich from Memoryfab; Crosby, Kevin, and Mike from Vision Performance; Mattel Ma from The Shop San Bruno; Joey Kwan and the langs; JDM Drew; Kenneth from Weksos; Ryan from Rywire; Patrick and Josh for the shots; Fred Tizon, Simon Chu, Mikeyyy, Arnel, Steven, Gaw, Kelvin, Ryan Der, Jay Nugui, Ryan Ogi, Toma, Howard, BLM, Brian Lee, Yentos the Freshmaker, Shane, Brandon Wong, and all the homies.