10th Nov2015

A Tale of Two Civics Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It takes a lot to grab my attention at the track.  There are some ridiculous cars out there, as you’ve seen here many times, but then I laid eyes on KC Russell’s EF Civic.  He was pulling off track after an HPDE session, and I saw the full glory of the livery on his hatchback.

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Naturally, I followed him back to the day garage he was sharing with Zack Serna.  Zack drives a Civic hatchback himself, one similar to KC’s but rather different at the same time.  I chatted them up, and they agreed to let me shoot both of their cars.  Since I saw his first, let’s talk about KC’s.

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Firstly, let’s talk about the livery.  The graphics package from stickymy.com are 103% JDM.  Go look at some of the Kanjo Civics and tell me that this thing wouldn’t fit right in.  The VIS carbon fiber hood has seen better days, but it being beat up adds to the feel of the car.  So does the replica J’s Racing front lip.  Rounding out the styling mods are a set of side skirts for an EK.

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For a while, every track day Civic was on a set of 949 Racing wheels.  Thankfully those days have passed (I dig the 949s, don’t get me wrong.  Just got sick of seeing them on every Miata and Civic), and KC threw on some 15×7 Kosei K1 TS’s.  Because it’s a track day hatch, he threw on a set of 205/50 Falken Azenis.

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Front brake calipers and rotors donated from an Integra ,along with a master cylinder from a Civic EX and a set of Hawk DTC60 pads help reel in the rather light Civic.  Helping with the lateral transitions and keeping the rubber on the tarmac are a set of KYB AGX struts and Ground Control coilover sleeves, a truly OG combination, and an Innovative traction bar.

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Keeping the dreadlocked driver, or whoever is behind the wheel, and a passenger secured are a pair of Crobeau seats.  Steering inputs are entered via the sweet, old school MOMO steering wheel.  Just look at that thing!

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KC picked up the car in May for $1500, with one big mod already done: the single cam motor was ditched in favor of the venerable B16A.  1.6 liters, twin cam and electronically controlled variable valve timing (hella mad vtaks yo), the B16A powered some of Honda’s best FWD, including the JDM EF chassis Si.  Basically KC bought himself one of those.  While a bone stock B16 swap is good, one with some mods is even better.  He cracked open the ECU and installed a Mugen chip, and threw a Toda replica header on the cylinder head. That exits into a Greddy exhaust.  Hiding under the gold foil wrap is a K&N Intake.

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A lot of aftermarket radiators for Civics are half size.  Think of a big cereal box, that’s about the size of one of those radiators.  They do a fine job, but a full size radiator is… well it’s bigger.  And this one says Racing Series on it, so that’s something.  The radiator is big, but the battery is diminutive.  The Odyssey battery provides plenty of juice for a day at the track, and weighs a lot less than your average battery.  All of this adds up to a very potent track day car.  It has plenty of power, but there are far more powerful swaps one can shove under the hood of a Civic.

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We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

BONUS IMAGES

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 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Jan2015

Old Man Yellow

by Michael Chandler

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In this era of instant gratification, where some measure their worth in the amounts of likes, shares, favorites and retweets, taking time and doing things right is lost.  A lot of people’s “builds” are nothing more than installing coilovers or airbags, and new wheels.  It seems that people have forgotten that the more time you put into something the better it can be.  This 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 two door post sedan received a frame off restoration, something that takes year to accomplish in its own right.  Daniel Chillinski, the owner, has taken ten years to bring the car to this point.  It was worth the time.

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Daniel bought this car when he was 18, from the original owner.  A little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays, and to the store once a week.  Or something like that, because the math says the Chevelle did less than 5000 miles per year in its forty-seven year life span.  The car was still packing the 230 cubic inch straight six engine, and three speed transmission with a column shifter.  Most of the original things have changed about this car, except the color.  According to Daniel “the color was going to be much more radical burnt orange, and gunmetal grey but after so many years I couldn’t part with the original Butternut yellow.”  That Butternut yellow was dubbed “Old Man Yellow” by a friend of his who was in town, on leave from the Navy, was refreshed by Nocturnal Performance.  They also threw the color on the custom hood that’s sporting an L88 style hood scoop.  All the emblems were taken to Unknown Coatings to be powdercoated in black chrome.

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In his decade of ownership, Daniel has made quite a few changes to this retiree.  The Johnson-era suspension is long gone, replaced by more modern equipment.  Up front he installed a set of Hotchkis tubular upper control arms and lowering springs.  To settle the motion of the front end there’s a set of QA-1 twelve way adjustable shocks, and to help keep it planted there’s a PST sway bar.  All the old suspension bushings have replaced with pieces sourced from PST as well.  Hauling this Nimitz-class carrier to a halt are BAER two piston calipers clamping onto 13.5″ rotors.

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The rear has also seen its fair share of upgrades.  It too has BAER brakes, just smaller: single piston calipers on 11.5″ rotors. There are more Hotchkis control arms in the back (upper and lower), but just like the front they’re tubular.  It’s lowered on Hotchkis lowering springs, and stiffened up by a Hotchkis rear sway bar.  The main attraction is the rear end: a Moser twelve bolt piece, with 3.55 gears and Positrac to boot.  Why does this classic need such a beefy rear end?

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Because it has 489 cubic inches of America under the hood!  The 489 (that’s 8 liters to those playing the modern version of the home game) started life as an equally massive 427 cubic inch (7 liter) tall deck big block, but then was bored .030″ over and stroked half an inch to come to the massive displacement it currently sits.  Seeing as how this whole build took ten years, you can be assured he didn’t just drop a big block in the cavernous engine bay and call it a day.  He did things to it.

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Things like put a big Howe Racing aluminum radiator in the nose, which he had covered with cardboard (the radiator, not the nose) because it was so cold on the day we shot.  Sanderson shorty headers mate to a Pypes three inch exhaust, and an MSD 6AL box and plug wires help get the ignition boogying.  Hanging off the front of the motor are some Billet Specialties V-Belt accessories. And then there’s the stuff on top of the massive motor…

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This artsy* photo has the Dart Pro 1 heads and intake manifold in it, along with the Barry Grant Mighty Demon 850 CFM carburetor.  This whole set up provides for a lot of forward propulsion.  Propulsion that the old three on the tree couldn’t handle… Probably.  In place of the three speed is a beefy Tremec TKO 600 five speed gear box, with a floor shifter.

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A Husrt shifter at that!  We’ve seen some cool shift knobs in our history here at CAM, and this one is right up there.  But that’s not the coolest thing about the interior.

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“During the initial build of the car when I started dating my wife I actually told here that the car was more important than her and she ended up sewing the interior for the car.”  She did a killer job.  That is the seat she sewed up in black leatherette with orange inserts, and she did not pull a Marge Simpson and knit some seatbelts.  Daniel grabbed a set of Corbeau four point harnesses.  He also has an Art Morrison four point roll cage in there for that extra little bit of protection.

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The dashboard received the custom touch.  A set of Autometer Cobalt gauges relay important information to Daniel.

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On the day we were shooting he didn’t need to keep cool, but on days he does there’s a Vintage Air air conditioning system to blow conditioned air throughout the cabin.  Below the “I can’t believe that’s not an OEM a/c control panel” sits a Pioneer DEH-800PRS head unit, an upgrade from the old AM radio.  It sends signals and sounds to an MB Quart Q Series amp and mono amp, and 6.5″ component speakers.  There’s also a trio of RE Audio 8″ subwoofers in individual ported boxes.

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This car took ten years.  In those ten years Daniel dated a girl who became his wife, graduated college, and moved a couple of times.  During the restoration, which he did in his two car garage, the car took up more space in their house than they did: doors were in the office, drive shaft was in the guest bedroom, etc.  His wife really got to see his passion for cars, and is seeing it again.  He’s building a four door Integra for the LeMons race at Miller Motorsports Park coming up in October.  But that’s not his only Honda project.

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Daniel used to daily drive an Integra LS, which is a fun little car in its own right.  But then it his 210,000 miles, and that’s a lot of miles.  He needed something different, and up popped this AP1 S2000.  He picked it up in November of 2013 and it’s been pretty mild since, only receiving a K&N FIPK intake and JDP carbon fiber duck tail spoiler.  This level of modification shall not last, as he plans install a set of KW Variant 2 coilovers, and more aggressive wheels and tires.

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It has taken ten years to transform the Old Man Yellow Chevelle from lightly driven, straight six powered cruiser into a 489 powered boulevard bruiser.  Could he have thrown in a 350 and called it a day years ago?  Definitely, but it wouldn’t be as impressive as it is today.  This Chevelle, and the S2000 down the road, rolls as a testament to taking time to get the ultimate build: one that will stand the test of time, and THAT is the ultimate gratification.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

*Not terribly artsy, but it’s still pretty cool

 

 

06th May2013

D-Spare S13: All Dressed Up, and Ready to Go

by Michael Chandler

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Brandon’s car all last year was purple.  He got his license in a purple S13 with a 1JZ.  But then he went to Formula D Long Beach in a matte black 2JZ powered car.  This wasn’t right, and the universe cursed him with engine troubles.  So, taking a page from history, he went back to what worked.  And made it sparkly and far more colorful.

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The sparkly purple paint job, which was shown off at the D-Spare Demo and the most recent iDrift event, has been accentuated with some bright stripes crisscrossing the car and new stickers from his sponsors.

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The “Insanity Is The Motive” sticker has been ditched in favor of one showing his eagerness to fight or two step tandem.

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Thanks goes to GodSpeed Project, Lowered.eu, RaceCo, WheelDude.com, The Racing Edge, Car Crafters, Corbeau, Stick-It Vinyl Graphics, Feal Suspension, Metric Motors, driftmotion.com, Brody, Jose, Joe, the D-Spare guys and everyone else who has helped in getting the car ready for Atlanta.

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

 

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