Let’s try something a little different today. This is going to take your participation and an active imagination to make this work, so as your grade school teachers once told you; go ahead and put your “thinking caps” on. As we all know, our import automotive community has been driven by inspiration from Japan. We’ve always looked to them to learn more about the cars that we build and many of our ideas, as well as a bulk of our parts, have always come from there. Without the people of Japan, it’s a safe bet to say that our community would be nowhere near the point where it is today. We have evolved over the years and have developed a style all our own but again, we owe it to the Japanese for laying the foundation for many of our automotive philosophies. This is going to be tough, but we are going to try to see things from a totally different perspective. Try to imagine an opposite or “bizarro”-world where the terms “JDM” never existed. Instead, try to picture a world where everyone else looked to the American-tuning style for inspiration, one where the Japanese scene never takes off and the “USDM” style is the craze.
This is quite a scary thought actually. Many of us love Hondas largely due to how they’re built by enthusiasts in Japan, in addition to many of the different OEM options that are available to them. It is an interesting proposition to try to picture a world without Japanese-inspired Hondas. There probably wouldn’t be nearly as many Honda fanatics today if this alternate reality came to fruition. It is true that the “USDM” look has become popular worldwide—especially in Japan—over the last couple of years but our style has always retained a Japanese influence. To make this scenario interesting, just play along and try to twist your mind into thinking that there was never a “JDM” takeover, so to speak, and instead the world was bananas for all things “USDM”.
Tomohisa Tanaka’s EG6 Civic exists in our present reality but would also be a very relevant build in the alternate universe we described. Japan is by no means an alternate universe but for guys like Tanaka, his Civic represents what many of the Japanese believe to be the American or USDM-style. His perspective might be a little skewed based on what he sees on the internet, but the reality (this reality) is that Civics like this are what they interpret to be how we Americans build Hondas. Tomohisa and his authentic Japanese EG6 Civic SiR are byproducts of Japan but his intentions from the start were to Americanize his Civic.
“I wanted to build a Honda that Americans would be happy to see,” Tomohisa says. “I have always been a fan of the American-style and I found a good base chassis that was cheap, so I decided to build it.”
The acronym “JDM” means very little to Tanaka because it is very commonplace and nothing more than normal to him. He became a fan of American-built Hondas in the same way we became a fan of their style; it all comes down to just wanting to be different and standing out from the rest of the crowd. His Civic just happens to be a more “extreme” representation of what is deemed the “USDM” form. The overall build itself is quite simplistic in nature, but the sizing and fitment of the wheels definitely puts this Civic over the top. The custom-built BBS RS wheels are so aggressively-sized that extensive modifications had to be made to the suspension just to fit them on the chassis. After converting the original brakes and wheel hubs to ’96-spec Integra Type R 4x114 components, custom-fabricated rear shock mounts were needed to squeeze in the -30 offset, 8.5-inch wide BBS rollers. To get the wheels to roll with proper clearance, the camber angle had to be adjusted to a staggering -12 degrees! That seems way too extreme for many, no matter where the country of origin, but it was a look that was executed by Tomohisa with careful planning.