One part that I had to get for my throwback to the '90s was a Mugen exhaust. Tough part is, they don't sell these things new anymore and to find a complete or relatively undamaged set is hard to come by. In high school, most of the ballers had the HKS Sport exhaust but the truly spoiled kids had this Mugen exhaust. It looked the best with that Mugen Power badge and sounded downright obnoxious (especially when straight-piped). I recall only one guy in the local area who had one, that along with Mugen wheels and a body kit. Over the years, I've seen them come and go a lot but since I sold my first EF back in 1998, I never gave the exhaust much thought from that point on. Not until I started working on this new car.
Timing is everything I suppose and when I started looking for parts, I just happened to mention that I was looking for an exhaust to a friend of mine and rare parts collector, Ernie Uy; he said he had one that he was about to sell but that his buyer had been lagging on payment and pickup for a few weeks now. I told him I'd be there that afternoon to bring him the cash and a few hours later I was the new owner of the muffler (no piping, boo!) that was still in tip-top shape. I let the thing sit in my office for the next few months until I could do a few more upgrades to the car; I also had to figure out how to make the custom piping to match.
A first experiment at having custom piping made for the Mugen muffler was successful, but using aluminized piping resulted in slight rust formation; that was no bueno. Then I was given the idea to have the piping made from stainless steel, but that would require someone with TIG welding experience, a skill that not everyone has, even most local muffler shops. After a little research and Facebook posts, I learned that Ken Chitwood at Evasive Motorsports was a TIG welder and was the one who fabricates the exhausts for all their race cars, an easy no-brainer for me. So I dropped my Civic off to Ken for a couple days and let him do his magic.
When I got the car back, we put the car up on Evasive's lift so I could see his craftsmanship up close. Now I had perfectly welded pieces that would be less likely to rust out like the aluminized piping. Though it's not the original piping, the 2.25'' matched from the header to the high flow cat and all the way out to the Mugen muffler; it also sounds just as wicked as it did when I heard it back in high school. Granted the parts, skill and labor involved in crafting a stainless exhaust is more than if I were to take the car to a local muffler shop, but any way I can minimize or prevent the piping from eventually rusting out is an investment I'm down for. It may have taken me the better part of 15 years to finally get an exhaust that is a combination of current fabrication technology and old school cool, but now I can cruise around with the sound and performance this EF deserves to have. Ken even did me a favor by doing a cool restore on the paint after he pieced the piping together. Sweet!