With the departure of a print magazine at the beginning of 2020, I've definitely felt a void in my role as Super Street's editor-in-chief. Putting together a cover was not just my favorite part of the process, but one of the most important (if not the most important) parts of my job. With each magazine cover, I had to nail it every time, from coordinating the cover shoot, selecting the best photo, making the right image edits, headline choice, word placement, color scheme, the list goes on and on... A cover needs to intrigue someone enough for him or her to pick it up off the newsstand and fork out the $9 or so it costs to take home. It was an exciting part of the job in the print industry, which is what got me thinking... Why not bring magazine covers back in the digital format (at least as an experiment), and see if readers and feature car owners will still appreciate them as much as we all did in the past?
Perhaps down the line, we can make framed printouts or posters, but in the meantime, why not offer a high-resolution cover available for free to download? So, I got together with art director Ryan Lugo to design this month's cover using the recent feature of actor Daniel Wu's restomod S800. It's a gorgeous work of art with stunning photos taken by Larry Chen in the heart of San Francisco. If the print mag were around today, it would've potentially been on the cover. But enough about me crying over spilled milk, my hope is you'll still be able to appreciate this cover in digital format. And, since we're on the topic of Hondas, I've gone back and dug up high-res JPG files from the most recent Honda cover cars dating back to 2015 . Enjoy, and stay tuned for next month's digital cover!
1. April 2020 | Daniel Wu's Restomod S800 with custom Pandem body kit
At the annual SEMA tradeshow in Las Vegas, there's literally over a thousand vehicles on display. In order to standout, you have to bring it, or you'll just get lost in the madness. Last year, actor and producer Daniel Wu kept his S800 a secret until the big show. When it was unveiled front and center in the Honda booth, it took everyone by surprise. You had to stop and admire the car whether you were a Honda fan or not. Its build quality was bar none, a 10/10. I remember examining every inch of its rejuvenated body and bright red interior. Flawless. It wasn't your typical restoration project, either, sporting some cool, modern factors like the custom Pandem flares designed by Kei Miura, rebarrelled/widened OEM steelie wheels, GReddy/Remark center-exit exhaust and a duckbill spoiler. Daniel decided to refresh the OEM 791cc motor; however, the kid inside me would've liked to have seen an engine swap with a 'lil more cojones. Regardless, it was one of my favorite rides of SEMA last year and Daniel's S800 will go down as arguably one of the coolest Honda builds of the decade, hence why I decided to honor it as Super Street's first post-print era cover car.
2. January 2020 | Nick Higgins' Award-Winning & Track-Ready EF Civic
The cover featuring Nick Higgins' EF Civic was the second-to-last print cover to be published, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite ones that I've ever put together. I already had great photos to use, taken at our in-house studio by the talented Viet "V" Nguyen. With my creative juices flowing, I really wanted to make the cover pop a bit more than usual. At the end of the day, it was still a white car in a white studio. I suggested the idea of implementing neon lighting for the main blurb, and art director Ryan Lugo made this concept a reality by throwing in the blue and rear lights as well as faking a brick wall in the background. It came out better than I could've expected, and it was even more of a pleasure to have Nick's Civic as the star. Nick is special to all of us because he was able to overcome the adversity of losing his parents to persevere and finish his incredible build. It's one of the most well-executed fourth-gen Civics to date with a K24 swap, Rywire harness, custom eight-point rollcage and Porsche brakes. The finished product was so good, we even awarded Nick one of the top three cars from our very own 2019 Super Street SEMA Ultimate Award with Meguiar's.
3. June 2019 | Evasive Motorsports Voltex Widebody S2000
The photoshoot of the Evasive Motorsports S2000 also took place in our studio; however, this time photographer Darren Martin decided to keep the entire shoot quite moody and dark. The result was really captivating and I opted to use this high rear angle to illustrate the ridiculous design and width of the insane Voltex Racing Circuit 2 widebody conversion. The car has only seen the light at SEMA 2018, but we're hoping it makes its road course debut soon (as a matter of fact, looks like Evasive is working on it now). To fully take advantage of the aero, the S2000 needs to be pushing around 800-900hp, so my guess is Evasive is still finalizing engine and forced induction upgrades before its first shakedown.
4. June 2018 | Schmuck Built Twin-Turbo J-swapped S2000
This is one of those shoots that I really wish I could've seen in person. Schmuck Built is based out in Mechanicsburg, PA (80 miles north of Baltimore), and our seasoned East Coast photographer Arlen Liverman paid him a visit in the middle of February when the conditions were below freezing and there was plenty of snow still on the ground. On the final shot, Jason Schmuck lit up the rear tires to his J32 V6-powered S2000 with ginormous symmetrical Garrett twin turbos. This photo resulted in an awesome cover that shows both the S2000's violent behavior and very unique engine and forced induction setup.
5. December 2017 | 1st Rocket Bunny Widebody NSX
It's not every day I get thrown the keys to a 2017 NSX... At the time, the hybrid-powered, twin-turbo NSX was brand new and I couldn't go from one stoplight to the next without someone rolling down their window and asking me what car it was. Before giving the car back to Acura, I decided to invite my good friend and first-gen NSX owner Robert Chew to check out the car while we cruised the streets of LA and went on a spirited drive up Angeles Crest Highway. Luckily, I had my camera with me as one of the outtakes ending up being used for the cover, showcasing Robert's supercharged Rocket Bunny widebody in the front with the second-gen NSX behind it.
6. September 2017 | Supercharged, JDM-Inspired, Custom NSX
A few months earlier, I put another NSX on the cover that was also shot at Angeles Crest Highway in Leon Casino's 1993 model with facelift headlights. Through the lens of Viet "V" Nguyen, he pulled off this stunning rear roller that truly highlights the JGTC-style rear and Sorcery front fenders, low-hanging carbon fiber rear diffuser and big APR rear wing. Also, the gold color from the car's vinyl accents, WedSport wheels and rear wing endplates match harmoniously with the sun and earthy tones of the hill in the background. It made for a sexy cover photo and sweet cover car - both of which are "timeless".
7 & 8. July 2017 | SEMA Showstoppers: Rywire Integra Type R & Big Mike Prelude
"Are these two of the greatest Honda builds of all time?" Three years later and the answer is a resounding, yes! Rywire's K24 Turbo Integra Type R with sequential tranny and Porsche GT3 RS style paint and Big Mike's F20 Turbo Prelude were both at the top of not just the Honda game, but the Japanese car scene in general. Both projects were stripped to bare bones and reconstructed from the bottom up without any miniscule detail overlooked, which is why they were revered at SEMA 2015 and SEMA 2016. For this studio cover shoot, I worked with photographer Lisa Linke to ensure both cars shared the spotlight with their meticulous engine bays easily viewable.
9. July 2016 | Most Beautiful & Admired Civic Si EM1
Every car show I attended or heard about, Mike Schietroma from Arizona was cleaning up Best Honda and Best of Show awards with his gorgeous 450hp, K24, turbo 1999 Civic Si. Retaining the factory Electron Blue, the whole engine and interior were stripped, smoothed and painted while there was no shortage of chrome plating or attention to detail, down to every nut, bolt and washer. Mike trailered his car to LA for our shoot, and I had this crazy idea of trying out a cover concept that would mostly highlight his engine bay. With photographer Alex Bernstein, we decided to head down to the iconic Lower Grand in downtown Los Angeles where we shot Mike's Si from the above street level while the car was below in the underground tunnel area. I remember it was a bit of a pain to coordinate positioning the car while also moving around the strobes to perfectly bracket and light the shot. In the end, we somehow got it done! I have to admit that in hindsight, Mike's car would've probably shined better in natural sunlight with more of its intricate details and modifications shown, but it still made for one of the most unique cover concepts I've ever put together.
10. October 2015 | Mugen-Themed & Turbocharged DC5 RSX
I'm originally from the Pacific Northwest so when I get an opportunity to highlight a car from my own hometown, it always gives me a warm tingly feeling inside. Joey Lee had originally shot and wrote the feature of Huy Hoang's turbocharged Mugen 2003 RSX, however, my art director and I didn't quite feel we had the perfect cover shot yet. So, I actually flew home to Seattle to give it a go and attempted to capture a photo that would really show this car means business. We found some very quiet roads next to an active train track by the Port of Everett and I commenced to taking hundreds of car-to-car rollers until night had fallen and I had a sharp enough outtake with enough motion blur in the background. I'm an old school shooter and not as privy on Photoshop so getting the best possible photo straight from the camera was key for me. The end result was a striking red RSX on the cover of our October 2015 issue, and it just so happens to be one of the very few DC5s ever to make it on the cover of Super Street.
Bonus! July 2010 | Throwback: The Great B vs. K Series Debate
Taking it back old school to the 2010 Honda Issue! This issue was done before my time, but I remember it vividly as I've always been a fan of the split/head-on cars on the cover look (when executed right). On the left, you see Anh Truong's K20-swapped Integra Type R with JDM front-end conversion while the right is Ryan Der's B18C EJ Civic hatch with C-West aero. Both builds were a couple of the dopest Hondas at the time and they could easily hold their own today, ten years later. The cover feature was shot by former editor Sean Klingelhoefer who is now a professional commercial photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.
Disclaimer: This article isn't a list of the best Honda builds of all-time, but simply a look back at the most recent Honda/Acura cover cars that were published in Super Street print. High resolution links will expire June 26, 2020.