This car really isn’t all that exciting to look at. It doesn’t have wheels with 3-inch lips, it isn’t painted a bright color, it doesn’t have a set of canards, it doesn’t have a K-Series swap, it doesn’t have... well, I’m sure you’re getting the point. At a quick glance you’ll just see a black Civic on black wheels that’s lowered. That’s about it. But that was the point; this vehicle is a perfect example that less really is more. This Civic proves that you don’t have to try hard to make a car memorable—the build will speak for itself.
Choosing the chassis to begin a build can be a difficult decision for many enthusiasts, but not for Steve Perez of San Jose, CA. The Civic, in general, has been an incredibly popular chassis to modify throughout the years, though most enthusiasts choose the hatchback version as their builds’ foundation. Steve saw it slightly different. “I liked the body lines of the coupe over the hatch,” he says. “The trunk seems to flow better with the front half of the car.” So Steve chose the sixth-gen Honda two-door right from the beginning. “I really liked the styling of the car,” he says. “In my opinion it is the best looking Civic from the United States to date.” Additionally, Steve says that its “stylish looks and factory DOHC VTEC motor made it an instant classic. I had to have one. My only problem was finding a low mileage Si chassis to start with.”
Once he found the vehicle, Steve began what he thought would be a small, simple undertaking. I’m sure many of us can relate to that. It starts off something like “I’m just going to do an intake, header, and exhaust” or “I just want to get rims and lower it.” Before you know it, you are thousands of hours and dollars past that, and you don’t even know how it happened. That’s pretty much what happened to Steve. “I was just wanting a little more performance and handling out of the car,” he says. “It turned out to be a full-blown build!”
Both Mugen and Spoon have become household names within the Honda community over the years, and droves of enthusiasts build their cars using parts that these companies create. What tends to be the norm, though, is choosing one company’s products and keeping the “theme”, if you will. “Purists” out there will say that you should not mix the two companies’ parts in one car, and Steve used to agree wholeheartedly. “I was a diehard Mugen enthusiast and mixing the two was blasphemy,” he says. But at some point, he had a change of heart and chose to utilize parts from both companies for his build. His reasoning is clear, concise, and logical. “I chose to use Mugen parts because of how closely they work together with Honda. It clearly shows when it comes to their product quality and the fitment of the parts on the car. I was drawn to Spoon because of their long-standing racing heritage. I also like how their parts are subtle yet noticeable.”
If the mixing of Mugen and Spoon parts had the purists squirming in their seats, then the modifying of such coveted items definitely didn’t go over well. For example, Steve had the Mugen Formula valve cover stripped of its recognizable gray finish and painted in black to match the rest of the vehicle. But Steve doesn’t mind those with a negative perspective. “I wanted a build with my own personal touches to it,” he says. “And those personal touches give the car personality.” Although it isn’t painted a bright color or sitting on shiny wheels, it holds its own when placed in a sea of vehicles, and that is a great achievement, especially in this day and age when many enthusiasts try way too hard to stand out with stickers, or bike racks, or retarded wheel sizes. This car is proof that clean and simple builds with proper parts selection and class will remain in the foreground when all the fads and hype of current trends fade away.
If you ask anybody who has built a car if they experienced mishaps, setbacks, and things along those lines during their build, the answer will almost always be a resounding “hell yeah”, which would be immediately followed by some crazy story of what happened. As I’m sure you can imagine, we at Import Tuner have heard all kinds of wild and sometimes incredibly odd stories from enthusiasts, but not this time. Interestingly enough, everything has gone relatively smoothly for Steve over the years. “I’ve never had any major mechanical mishaps,” he says. Having driven down from Northern California to Southern California for the annual Eibach Honda meet and/or Nisei Week Showoff car show ever year, that’s a very good thing. Apparently, the only time the blood pressure may rise a bit for Steve is before a major event. “The nights before a meet or car show can be a bit stressful trying to get the car clean.” Well, if that’s all you’ve had to worry about with this build over the years then we salute your good luck, Steve, and hope that it continues to be smooth sailing for you with this build and whatever projects you may undertake in the future.
Behind the Build
San Jose, CA
Customer Service Representative
Anything to do with cars, ATVing, cycling, weight training
Eight years and counting
I have a strong passion for cars and wanted to build something with my Personal touches to it.
2000 Honda Civic SI
Engine ’98 B18C; Mugen first-gen intake, formula valve cover, radiator cap, Gen1 oil cap, oil filter, reservoir covers; Skunk2 throttle body, intake manifold; Toda Spec B camshafts, cam gears, timing belt; Supertech flat race valves, valvesprings, Ti retainers; Hytech header; VRS test pipe; A’pexi N1 exhaust; Mishimoto radiator; Flex-a-lite radiator fan; Samco radiator hoses; AEM fuel rail, filter; RC Engineering 310cc injectors; Spoon two-layer head gasket, high tension spark plug wires; oil pan, radiator stay; Hasport motor mounts; Carbing cooling plate; ARP head studs; NGK iridium spark plugs; Mobil1 oil; Gator Stage 1 axles; Racebolts hardware; P28 with Crome; Rywire OBD-IIB to OBD-I jumper harness; wire tuck
Drivetrain ACT Xtreme six-puck race clutch; Clutchmasters 9-pound flywheel; AMSOIL transmission fluid
Suspension Ground Control coilovers; KYB AGX shocks; Mugen Gen2 front shock tower bar; Function 7 rear lower control arms; ASR subframe brace; EM Civic Si front sway bar; CTR rear sway bar
Wheels/Tires Spoon SW388 wheels, 16x7 +45mm offset; Nitto Neo Gen 205/45-16 tires; Project Kics R40 lug nuts
Brakes ’96 ITR front calipers; Brembo rotors; Hawk HPS brake pads; Goodridge stainless steel brake lines; Motul RBF600 brake fluid
Exterior Mugen Type SS front lip, license plate bolts; Spoon carbon hood, “KCR” carbon mirrors; CTR headlights, optional clear side markers; EDM Civic Si rear taillights with built-in foglight; OEM Honda foglights (smoked), optional moonroof visor, optional rear lip; Honda Access window visors; EK9 thin side moldings; McCulloch 4300K HID kit
Interior Bride Gias Low Max front seats, rails; Mugen Racer III steering wheel, shift knob, pedals; MOMO hub; JDM EK4 armrest delete; CTR gauge bezel, shift boot; OEM EDM airbag delete tray; optional black floor mats; Alpine head unit, front and rear speakers; Kicker Solobaric L7 subwoofer, amplifier
Gratitude Family and friends, Team Tronics, Adam and James at Weksos, Norman at N1, Matt at ICB, Rigo at RNR, Dave Nguyen at DNR, Tony and Woody at Angkor Collision, Woody at HoodFab, Harvey Flores, Ray Morales, and EM1 Crew