Picture Matt, otherwise known as the Emp, wearing nothing but a green Speedo and socks. Freckles and red hair everywhere. He's bent over the hood of a Prelude, come hither look in his eyes. How does this visual make you feel?
To be honest, we don't want to know. Based on Rich's reaction (he's projectile-vomiting into the trash can right now), we suggest you eliminate your mental image of Matt from your brain permanently. It'll be better for your long-term health.
This month's cover section is the Women of Super Street. Once again, we raise the thorny issue of singling out the women in our sport. Back in the May '98 issue of the mag, we ran a letter from Laura Dvornicky of Baltimore, Maryland. She stated that being a female car enthusiast isn't as big of a deal as we make it out to be, and we aren't doing any favors to women by highlighting them. She also asked why scantily clad women are so prominent in the mag. "The best looking woman is the one behind the wheel of her high-performance machine," she said.
Nine months have passed since Laura's letter. Has anything changed? Flipping through the past few issues, I see we're still running pictures of women with butts and boobs hanging out. Now that FNG Jonathan is working here, maybe even more so. But the fact is, the compact/import industry is male-dominated. Based on our observations at the shows we attend, these males like looking at women. The Petersen Publishing suits hammer on us daily to make more money. Our readers like women? Run lots of pictures of women. Adam Smith would be proud.
Explaining feature cars is much easier. Is the car cool? Does it meet our expectations? Does it run? Does it have a monetary bribe in the glovebox? That's all we need. Whether the owner has interior or exterior plumbing doesn't really matter.
Our cover car this month is a '97 Honda Civic hatchback. It's a pretty solid car. Tina Ngo of Palmdale, California, owns it. Her purpose for this car was to prove a girl could build-up a car just as good and unique as the boys. Her choice was certainly not the easiest to work with, seeing as how just about everybody and their grandma own a Civic.
The unique aspect of Tina's Civic is its visual appearance. Wings West certainly gets credit here with an Aggressor front end and body kit. The Si-R wing adds to the display, as does a very cool custom fiberglass hood that weighs only 11 pounds. The paint is factory silver, but it's helped out by color-matched mirrors and moldings, red Honda emblems, and clear taillights and headlights. The red graphic scheme is from Modern Image. A Toucan neon light kit, Roadboy driving lights, and a Eurolight strobe kit finish the exterior changes.
Matching the silver and red exterior theme is a custom interior performed by Car Craft Custom Interiors in Torrance, California. Car Craft reworked the dash and interior panels with gray and red vinyl. Other mods include Sparco Supersport seats, Schroth four-point harnesses, an Autopower roll bar, a MOMO shift knob, STR pedals, an Auto Meter tach, a Torasport carbon fiber dash kit, and a billet E-brake handle. For musical delight, there's a Pioneer head unit, Alpine amps, and Alpine and JL Audio speakers.
Any self-respecting Civic owner these days is rolling on at least 16-inch wheels. So to raise the bar, Tina has stepped up with 18-inch Axis Touring Cup wheels. They're shod with 215/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes FZ-4s. Mounted behind the wheels are Power Slot rotors, Axxis Metal Master brake pads, and painted calipers. The ride height is adjustable thanks to Ground Control coilover sleeves with Eibach springs. Further ride height reduction is gained from Suspension Techniques Drop Forks in front and Pro Arms in back. Extra chassis-stiffening comes from a LightSpeed front strut brace and Suspension Techniques anti-roll bars.
Under the hood is a selection of minor bolt-ons. An Iceman intake, LightSpeed exhaust, AEM cam gear and pulley, and a Hotshot header help to alter power output of the 1.6L non-VTEC. MSD, Nology, and ViTek names appear on the upgraded ignition components. An ACT clutch and an STR short shifter help to keep the gear changes precise and under control. The engine bay is dressed up with ViTek hose braid, STR billet caps, and stainless steel braided hoses.
So what do you think? Is Tina's car good enough for the cover? Obviously, we think so. As stated, we're an equal-opportunity feature car magazine. Just don't expect us to run pictures of guys in bikinis spread eagle over cars anytime soon.
Owner: Tina Ngo, Palmdale, CA
Ride: '97 Honda Civic
Under The Hood: 1.6L SOHC non-VTEC, Iceman intake, Hotshot header, LightSpeed exhaust, AEM adjustable cam gear and underdrive pulley, MSD 6AL ignition, Nology Profire coil and Powercore, ViTek spark plug wires and colored braid, ACT clutch, STR short shifter, STR billet dress-up
Stiff Stuff: Suspension Techniques DropForks, ProArms, and antiroll bars, LightSpeed front strut brace, Ground Control coilover sleeves with Eibach springs
Rollers: 18x7-inch Axis Touring Cup wheels, 215/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes FZ-4 tires
Stoppers: Power Slot rotors, Axxis brake pads
Inside: Custom interior by Car Craft, Sparco Supersport seats, Schroth four-point harnesses, Autopower rollbar, MOMO shift knob, STR pedals, Auto Meter tach, Torasport carbon fiber dash kit, billet E-brake handle
Outside: Wings West Aggressor body kit and front end, Wings West Si-R wing, custom fiberglass hood, color-matched mirrors and body moldings, Modern Image graphics, Eurolight strobe lights, Roadboy driving lights, Toucan neon kit, clear headlights and taillights
Props: ACT, AEM, Autopower, Axis Sport Tuning, Car Craft, Ground Control Suspension, Hotshot, Knight Engineering, LightSpeed, Modern Image, MSD, Nology, Power Slot, Sparco, STR, Suspension Techniques, Toucan, Toyo Tires, ViTek, Team Sokudo, Ed at Selec, special thanks to Scotty at Wings West