Phil Robles is not your average Honda enthusiast. His EG is not your average tuned Honda. Phil isn't interested in being "hellaflush" and the only gold-dipped parts he owns are trophies. In Phil's world, performance is everything. The car is the embodiment of its owner, a fifty-six year old Apache helicopter mechanic turned race enthusiast.
I know what you're thinking, parts like Spoon, Mugen and J's Racing aren't commonly associated with people over the age of thirty. Then again, neither are Civics in general, but there's really nothing common about this car or its owner. With impeccable taste in parts and amazing driving skill, Phil and his EG have quickly risen to the front of the pack in NASA TT events and caught a lot of attention in the process. I've known him for a while and I knew his story would be the perfect fit for the Honda Issue.
Phil got his first taste for Hondas when he was given his final military assignment to Okinawa Japan in 1993. The tour was only scheduled for three years but Phil and his family fell in love with Japan and he extended his stay to six years. While in Japan, Phil picked up a 1983 Honda City for his daily driver. At the time he also owned a 1988 Mini Mayfair, which was his pride and joy. Slowly but surely Phil realized that Honda knew how to make a sporty front wheel drive better than any other make on the planet.
Fast forward a few years and his son Jesse had become heavily involved with Hondas. Phil and his son would go on to build a turbocharged VG30 Datsun 510 together but Jesse quickly went back to Hondas after its completion. It was around 2006 that Jesse purchased the gunmetal hatch from a friend Chris aka CBA Racing, who now works at Hasport. The car was almost entirely stock at the time except for an LS engine and a GS-R transmission.
At the same time Phil was daily driving a nearly-stock EK hatchback and gained a lot of interest in his son's EG. "I told him if he ever decided to sell it to make sure and let me know." It just so happened that Jesse felt that the A/C system wasn't up to par with his needs - with 120-degree summer temperatures, a solid A/C system is a must. Phil's EK on the other hand had ice-cold A/C and they ended up trading cars plus a little cash on Phil's end.
Phil admits that his son continued to influence him when it came to all things Honda. The only thing they differ on, according to Phil, are comforts. "Jesse was always more into having a nice comfortable car, whereas I'm the kind of guy who just wants to tear everything out!" The car was originally going to be built as a streetcar, but that all changed when he was introduced to some of his son's friends - Jeff and Dan Sturla "aka the Loose Boys."
Jeff and Dan are also long-time friends of mine and some of the nicest, most helpful and down-to-earth people I've ever met. They are also both NASA driving instructors. The twins suggested that since Phil was already a motorsports enthusiast he should at least come out and watch a few events. After attending several events Phil finally decided to bite the bullet and get on track. "Getting past the ego was the hardest part. I couldn't help but think 'I'm gonna' go out there and look like an ass!' But once I got past that there was no turning back," Phil admits.
And so it began in May of 2007 - Phil has been a track addict ever since. The car rarely sees any street time these days as it has slowly transformed into a track beast. In 2009, the car piloted by Robles, finished first in NASA TT-B class and was the overall winner of the UMS Time Attack series - "a testament that you can still get it done with a reliable B-Series engine." Phil has no plans to call it quits anytime soon.
For the 2010 season, Robles is hoping to make every NASA and Pro Autosports event in Arizona as well as attending a few events in New Mexico and Southern California - including our Super Lap Battle finals in November. The car should remain much the same but Phil knows he's going to need more power to keep up with the big boys and plans on either using the help of a Jackson Racing supercharger or a K-Series engine swap.
Unfortunately, engines nor superchargers, grow on trees and Phil is on a budget. Ironically, the collection of rare JDM parts he does have earned him the nickname "Robles Money" among other AZ track enthusiasts. But deep down, the car is still just a budget racer and Phil admits "I can't go totally buck-wild like I would like to."
Regardless the car is already fast and will only get faster with time. We wish Phil the best of luck in the 2010 season, even if he does look like a rolling contradiction.
1992 Honda Civic CX
Owner Phil Robles
Hometown tempe, az
Occupation Boeing Mechanic- Apache AH-64
Power 165 hp @ 7600 RPM 124 lb-ft @ 6000 RPM
Engine 1.8L naturally-aspirated B18C GS-R; Hasport mounts; Mugen baffled oil pan; Top Fuel intake; Vision 4-1 header; CTR b-pipe; Spoon N1 muffler, spark plug wires, spark plug cover; Koyo radiator; Samco hoses
Footwork & Chassis TEIN RE coilovers (14kg/mm front/10kg/mm rear); JDM ITR sway bars (25mm front/23mm rear); BEAKs rear sway bar kit; Skunk2 Pro front UCAs; Vision rear camber arms; Spoon front strut bar; Next Miracle X bar; Autopower 6-point rollcage
Brakes Spoon front calipers; Fastbrakes 2-piece front rotors, solid rear rotor; Carbotech XP-10 pads; Goodridge stainless brake lines; Integra 1'' master cylinder and booster; Cusco master cylinder brace
Wheels & Tires
15X9 (front)/15X8 (rear) 949 Racing wheels; 225/45R15 Nitto NT-01 tires or 225/45/15 Hoosier R6 tires
Exterior J's Racing front lip, canards, intake duct and 3D GT wing; Charge Speed front fenders; Vision MC mirrors; JDM EG6 rear wing (base)
Interior Recaro SPG seats; BuddyClub seat rails, shift knob; Takata Harnesses; Mugen Racing III steering wheel; Works Bell rapfix quick-release; Circuit Hero shifter extender; Broadway wide rearview mirror
Thanks You Matt Ye from ICB Motorsport, Simon Pavlick, Geri Amani- Redlign Autosports, Eric from Garage 77 for keeping paint on the car, UMS Tuning, all my track friends, the local Honda community and most of all my family: Helen, Rachel and Jesse for all their support and inspiration
www icbmotorsport.com; proautosports.com; superlapbattle.com; nasaproracing.com; umstuning.com; kingmotorsports.com (Mugen); spoonsports.us; j-sracingusa.com