It goes without saying that if this car were never built, you wouldn’t be reading this feature. What’s perhaps less obvious is that if this car were never built, you probably wouldn’t have read any feature I’ve ever written. I know that might sound daft, but if you’ll bear with me everything will start to make sense. The following is an unconventional feature story about an unconventional enthusiast. A story about friendship, mistakes, dreams and shared experiences.
I first met Jorge, the owner of this Civic, seven or maybe eight years ago through our mutual friend I’ll call Jay (95% chance his name is actually Jay). At the time I had my first digital camera and I was really stoked on getting better at photography and was always down to practice on other people’s cars. I had called Jay to see if he wanted to meet up for a photo shoot since he had an impressive car of his own, and said he would bring his friend Jorge who had a pretty dope EG. Little did I know at the time that I would end up shooting this golden hatchback more times than I can count, even more than my own cars.
When I first laid eyes on this car my heart skipped a beat, there’s something about it that demands your attention when you see it in person. Our introduction was short and Jorge isn’t the type to run his mouth, which is rare for someone driving around in a modified Honda. At the time, I thought I was pretty hot shit myself since I had an EG of my own with a Type-R swap, five lug conversion, top-shelf bolt-ons and JDM this, that and the other. On paper my car destroyed Jorge’s in terms of modifications and power, but there was just something about his car that, although I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, I was absurdly jealous of.
If parked next to each other at a car show my car would have been walked right past while onlookers wiped drool from their faces after getting a peek at the gold car. The funniest thing about it is that Jorge couldn’t care less what you or anyone else thinks about his car; he built it for himself. And I’m not saying he goes around saying that like a catchphrase, I really mean it. I’ve never seen another enthusiast that enjoys their car in such a pure way. That’s not to say Jorge doesn’t appreciate the comments and interest his car generates, but he’s just as content to drive to a local meet in a McDonalds parking lot as he is winning “best of meet” honors at the annual Eibach Honda meet (a feat he did in fact accomplish in 2008).
As our friendship grew, so did my photo skills and it wasn’t long before an Internet sensation was born. Ironically I never had any intentions of ever becoming a magazine editor, and I think had I never met Jorge I probably wouldn’t be one today, but the allure of his car unintentionally introduced people to my work. It wasn’t long before magazine editors caught wind of the car and the photographer who shot it and I began receiving inquiries to shoot the car for magazines and websites. In fact, the first feature I ever sold was of this very car, some five years ago. Being the unselfish person he is, it almost seemed as though Jorge was more excited that I would have my images published than he was about having his car in a magazine. He always believed in me, even before I did.
Possibly the funniest thing about this story is that this very nearly didn’t happen at all, as Jorge actually sold this car shortly after we first met. As a father he was simply doing what he thought was financially responsible, but he knew from the moment the car pulled away that he had made a huge mistake. Fortunately, he sold the car to the younger brother of another mutual friend and was able to buy the car back, mostly un-molested, a few months later. With the car back in his possession Jorge vowed to never make that mistake again and the car has been well cared after ever since.
It was around this time that Matt Ye, owner of ICB Motorsport, would move his shop to Arizona and a friendship would blossom between the two. Although Jorge has always had good taste that leans towards clean and simple, his connection with Matt is what took his car to the next level. Over the course of the next few years Jorge would slowly refine the car in a way you almost don’t see in our community that revolves mostly around “shitting” on people and overnight cover-car builds intended to be sold to the highest bidder. Piece by piece, this Civic has gone from great to even better and a stockpile of parts have been acquired to offer several different “looks” for the car. The latest being the ultimate version in my mind.
To understand Jorge’s approach you have to realize that the most important aspect of his car is the ability to drive it. I’ve never before met someone that liked cruising in a car as much as Mr. Hernandez. This guy drives out from Phoenix to California several times a year for meets and shows just because he can. He regularly takes the car out for a spin on the weekends driving aimlessly just for the smile it puts on his face. He’s enjoying car life in a way that seems to be a lost art form these days. He could go a whole year and change nothing on the car except for an oil cap and be perfectly content, because he’s not trying to impress anyone. Yet you can park his car at a major event anywhere in the world, at any time, and it will stop people in their tracks. I’ve seen it.
Since those early days a lot has changed, but strangely stayed the same. I’ve had the aforementioned EG stolen, moved to California and become Associate Editor at “the Best Tuner Mag Ever”. Jorge has sold the car, bought it back, his kids have grown into young adults and his car has been featured in almost every tuning magazine in the US. But one thing has remained constant, our friendship. Although I don’t see him aside from a few shows throughout the course of the year, we still keep in touch. In fact when I met up with him for this photo shoot it was almost as if we picked up right where we left off.
This shoot reminded me why I fell in love with the car community to begin with, because of real people. It’s all too common that I have to work with stuck up car owners with huge egos that bitch and moan about shoots, locations and schedules. To top it off they have to trailer their cars everywhere. Jorge, on the other hand, woke up at 5:00AM then drove his car over 300 miles for this photo shoot, then drove 300 miles back home when we were finished and had no complaints. I literally could have completely scrapped this article altogether and he couldn’t have cared less, since he got a whole day to enjoy his car and share it with his son David, he’s just that kinda’ guy.
There’s a reason this car has been featured so many times and it’s the same reason we’re featuring it now. It’s *$&%ing amazing. And if I had to make up a list of genuine enthusiasts who truly deserve recognition, Jorge would be at the top. Even to this day the car continues to baffle me with its intangible greatness, there’s just something about that gold. A quick read through the spec sheet shows nothing out of the ordinary by today’s standards (except for the NR10Rs), yet I don’t think there’s a Honda enthusiast out there that doesn’t have at least one photo of this car saved on their hard drive. What the world needs now are more people like Jorge Hernandez.
1993 Honda Civic CX
Owner Jorge Hernandez
Hometown Gilbert, AZ
Occupation Residential Drafting And Design
Engine 1.8L B18C1; CTR intake cam; ARC intake; Mugen formula head cover, radiator cap, oil cap, reservoir cover; Spoon cam gears; Vision header; Fujitsubo Power Getter exhaust; Koyorad aluminum radiator; Samco hoses; Skunk2 intake manifold, battery tie-down; Hasport engine mounts; BDL fuel rail
Drivetrain Exedy stage 1 clutch; Aasco flywheel
Engine Management Locash tuned P28
Footwork & Chassis Tein Basic coilovers; Mugen front strut tower bar; Next Miracle X bar; Skunk2 rear LCAs; ASR rear subframe brace; ITR 22mm rear sway bar
Brakes Spoon calipers; Brembo slotted/dimpled rotors; stainless lines
Wheels & Tires 15X6.5" +45 Mugen NR10R wheels; 195/50R15 Yokohama S.Drive tires
Exterior Gold paint by MOB; JDM EG6 headlights, taillights, side markers, yellow foglights, window visors; BYS carbon Kevlar front lip and rear spoiler; Vision smoked corner lights and carbon MC mirrors
Interior Mugen FG-360 steering wheel w/pad, gold shift knob; Vision IMUS carbon Kevlar seats; Takata harnesses; Sparco harness bar; USDM ITR rear seats, Civic Si gauge cluster, optional 2-DIN audio console, arm rest, Integra Type-RX pedals, JDM pocketice Alpine head unit; Infinity speakers
Thanks You Thank the Lord first because nothing is possible without his love and blessings. My wife Gaby, my kids Eric, David and Sara and all of my brothers and sisters at Touch of Love Minstries. My sponsor ICB Motorsport, thanks for your friendship Matt!
WWW icbmotorsport.com; mugen-power.com; projectonethirty.com; vimeo.com/30112038