The Honda community as a whole has grown by leaps and bounds within the last decade or so. It’s wild to even think about how much has changed during that stretch of time. Here in America, the early 2000s saw a dramatic shift from the wildly popular body kit era to the much more understated “JDM” phase. Everybody wanted OEM Japanese Honda parts on their cars and other American Honda enthusiasts chose to go after the Japanese circuit racing-inspired look. That didn’t mean that you necessarily had to race your car, you just had to achieve the look of a Japanese Honda racer. That theme is still popular today, but the American Honda community has become infatuated now with custom fabrication and extensive engine bay modifications. The terms JDM are often overused and have basically lost all original meaning. Now, people who want to be "JDM" just throw random things like towhooks, stickers, and replica Japanese wheels on their car to get that "JDM" look.
While things seem to be changing year to year here in the States, the Japanese Honda crowd has also made some changes of its own. Many have now adopted the "USDM" way of modifying their Hondas and are now theming their builds with intentions to replicate American Hondas. It is a little strange to hear but it all comes down to people inspiring other people, regardless of their country of origin. The USDM scene, if you will, is growing every year, and the surge in popularity doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Even still, the USDM style of tuning is far from reaching mainstream success in Japan, and the core group of Japanese Honda heads are still very much into the motorsports.
Atuki Tsubouchi has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to automobile modification. He spends a bulk of his day doing custom stereo installs on high-end exotics at his shop, Tactical Art, and has also recently discovered a fascination with American Honda style. Atuki has become so fond of it that he has even attempted his own interpretation of a USDM Honda build. He took a legit Japanese DC5 Integra Type R and converted it to U.S. Acura RSX Type S specifications and installed a lip kit from Extreme Dimensions, which is a Stateside fiberglass body parts supplier. His DC5R even sits on American-made CCW LM5 three-piece wheels. That seems pretty commonplace over here, but it is otherwise unheard of in Japan. His interest in this particular style of tuning has expanded over to his business, where he recently started to bring in U.S. aftermarket products to sell to other USDM fans. Though it may seem like he has his hands full with the audio installs and his Integra Type R, he has managed to make time for his true love: this ’92 Honda Civic hatchback. After normal business hours at Tactical Art conclude, Atuki shuts the front doors and turns into a race car builder. He not only assembles Honda engines in-house, he is also quite skilled with the welder and has the ability to fabricate anything from an exhaust to a complete rollcage. Atuki’s Civic was built entirely within the confines of Tactical Art and serves as his weekend track vehicle.
The first and most eye-glaring detail about this Civic is the beefy front fascia. A couple of you may be scoffing at the idea of a Civic having that much front aero, but you better believe that this Civic is built with pure function in mind. Time-attack and closed-circuit racing has always been quite popular in Japan, and it is what first intrigued Atuki as an enthusiast. In the seven years that this Civic has been in his possession, it has seen a significant amount of time on local racetracks. In fact, at no point in time is this EG6 ever driven on a public road these days—it is strictly a track toy. Even if he did decide to take it out for a leisurely cruise on the street, he would be a headlight short, seeing as how the driver-side headlight has been cut and converted into a makeshift intake duct. Deleting one headlight doesn’t mean much in terms of weight savings but it does add to the overall theme of this build, which is a steady shedding of unnecessary pounds. The heavy OEM hood has been replaced with a carbon-fiber unit, and the interior has been completely gutted. A fiberglass mold of the original Civic dashboard supersedes the OEM piece, and the passenger seat is nowhere to be found. A lightweight Bride bucket seat sits where the driver seat once sat, and a Takata safety harness keep Atuki planted in the cockpit when he is ripping through the track. Aerodynamic enhancements come in the form of a custom-mounted Origin rear wing, front carbon lip/diffuser combo, and a half-cut rear bumper.
Weight reduction is always a good idea for race cars, but another issue that Atuki ran into was what wheel and tire to run. He felt that the smaller wheel sizes that are usually found on Civics were preventing him from running good lap times. So to get more tire and a wider wheel onto the front of the Civic, Atuki modified his front OEM fenders by spacing them outward. With the additional room, he was able to squeeze in some fairly aggressive 16x9 SSR SP3R wheels. Being that this is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, maximum contact patch for the 225/45-16 Advan A050 is key. In the rear, you will find some slightly narrower 16x8 Volk Racing TE37s.
No legit track vehicle would be complete without a formidable engine setup, and the Tactical Art EG6 is no slouch. Atuki spent countless late nights at his shop assembling this 1.8L Honda engine. He utilized a ported B16A cylinder head with TODA Racing Spec-B cams, and mated it to a B18C block, which features a knife-edged crankshaft. Cold air is driven into the motor via a J’s Racing air intake and exhaust gases run through a Mugen 4-1 header and out into the atmosphere through a completely custom exhaust system, fabricated by Atuki.
Atuki may dabble with different projects often and take chances with different styles of modifications, but this Civic is most certainly his crown jewel. The guy is a fabricator, engine builder, custom stereo install specialist, and also a good driver. He does everything well, and it comes as no surprise that he has built himself a balanced, competitive, circuit racer. If you have a chance, make sure to check out some in-car footage of him on the Nakayama Circuit on YouTube—this little EG6 absolutely rips it on the track.
Behind the Build
Representative Director at Tactical Art
Building race cars
“To have a fast, lightweight Honda for circuit racing.”
1992 Honda Civic
Engine 1.8L Honda B18C engine block, B16A cylinder head; TODA Racing Spec-B camshafts, cam gears, high-power timing belt; Tactical Art pistons, piston rings, valvesprings, custom-fabricated exhaust system; custom knife-edged crank; ported and polished cylinder head; OEM B16A valves; Mazda FD3S RX-7 fuel pump; J’s Racing Tsuchinoko air intake; 70mm throttle body; Mugen 4-1 exhaust header; Nagai Denshi MDI simultaneous ignition system, Blue Point Power spark plug wires; NGK spark plugs; custom baffled oil pan, oil pump; Koyo radiator
Drivetrain Exedy Hyper single clutch; ATS Silent Metal mechanical limited-slip differential, Third, Fourth, and Fifth cross gearset; 4.929 final drive
Suspension Crux Aluminum High-Capacity Damper B coilovers; Swift springs; Safety front/rear antiroll bars; customized steering knuckle arm; Vision bushings
Brakes Endless CCRG front brake pads, CCR rear brake pads; Goodridge brake lines
Wheels/Tires 16x9 +13 SSR SP3R (front); 225/45-16 Yokohama Advan A050 (rear): 16x8 +42 Volk Racing TE37; 215/45-16 Yokohama Advan A050
Exterior Origin 1340mm rear wing; custom Tactical Art front diffuser and end plate, half-cut rear bumper; Tactical Art Blue paint; Spoon Sports side mirrors; cutout driver-side headlight; carbon-fiber hood
Interior Bride Zeta II seat; custom fiberglass dashboard; no-name steering wheel; Omori analog gauges; Tactical Art rollcage; Takata safety harness
Electronics A’pexi Power FC
Gratitude Tactical Art crew; Team Madame