Honda Civic

Kei Miura’s wide-arched bodyk­its di­vide opin­ion. Not ours. We love his work…

Fast Car - - Contents -

What does Kei Miura, the founder of Rocket Bunny and Pan­dem, drive? This…

Has Kei Miura’s as­sault on the tun­ing world ended? Has his trade­mark over­fender con­ver­sion reached an end? There’s no doubt­ing the fact that for ev­ery car he pens a kit for, he’s sub­jected to as much love as he is hate. A wise man once said, ‘You can please some peo­ple some of the time, but you can’t please all the peo­ple all of the time’.

Yes, ladies and gen­tle­man, the opin­ion­ated car pub­lic needs to stop get­ting up­set at any­thing that re­motely tack­les their as­sumed tastes and just go with the flow. What could pos­si­bly be wrong with tak­ing an age­ing car, clean­ing it up and pump­ing its ap­pear­ance into some­thing like this, Miura’s own EG Civic.

His Civic kit has been around for over a year now. We aren’t con­cerned on the fresh­ness of it all, but rather on what the man be­hind Rocket Bunny – now Pan­dem – plans for the car. Back at Tokyo Auto Sa­lon this past Jan­uary, the idea was to build up the en­gine into some­thing pretty crazy and take the car to Ger­many to com­pete in a hill climb race. The car is a fu­sion, an evo­lu­tion of the lit­tle EF Civic that wore the TRA Ky­oto colours two decades back, Miura’s Kanjo racer that for years he used to ter­rorise Osaka’s in­ner mo­tor­way loop with. The EG builds on that idea, but brings it into a mod­ern day take. It doesn’t for­feit the spirit be­hind it, but presents it in a more rel­e­vant in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Hence the pumped body. The con­ver­sion is one that doesn’t dis­rupt the base car’s flow. This is some­thing Miura is very good at. He takes the un­der­ly­ing lines, curves and creases and ex­tends, blis­ters and en­hances them to cre­ate some­thing that al­ways seems to be pleas­ing to the eye. There’s plenty of ag­gres­sion and with bolted-on kits with ex­posed screws or riv­ets that will al­ways be the case. But the way the re­designed front bumper seam­lessly merges into the boxy front over­fend­ers seems to cre­ate a bal­ance that just works. It’s then all ex­tended to the rear. The treat­ment to the rear guards even more of an el­e­ment that stands out, as it just sprouts up from noth­ing into a big, an­gu­lar ad­di­tion. It’s as if the lit­tle Civic has spent the last year at the gym, fu­elled by noth­ing but a con­cen­trated diet of steroids.

Skirt over­lays, again fixed to the body by ex­posed screws cre­ate the front to rear bal­ance that just seems to con­nect it all to­gether. Lit­tle rear bumper spats give the stop bumper that lit­tle touch it needed to match to the rest of the car.

And then of course, we have the roof spoiler. Was it just the cen­tre FRP part, we’d just de­scribe it as some­thing vis­ually mas­sive, pos­si­bly in­spired from Kaido Rac­ers. With the ad­di­tional side ca­nards that graft them­selves onto the side of the car, it’s plain bonkers, tes­ta­ment that Miura is in­deed tak­ing this hill climb thing se­ri­ously.

The con­trast­ing FRP ca­nards match what has also been added around the front bumper and the wheels, a set of white 16-inch TE37Vs, the per­fect ad­di­tion for a per­for­mance-ori­ented build. The Toyo Tires R888R semis are the prover­bial cherry on the top, es­pe­cially with the yel­low let­ter­ing along the sidewall.

Swing open the driv­ers’ side door and it in­stantly be­comes ob­vi­ous this build has been thor­oughly thought-through. The en­tire cabin has been stripped to the bare metal and only a sin­gle Pan­dem bucket sits in the ex­panse of white that meets the eye. A roll cage has been thrown in to boost both tor­sional rigid­ity and safety, while we do like the ex­tended shift leaver set up and the Pan­dem door pulls. A soft suede Nardi steer­ing wheel fin­ishes the treat­ment, while a quick glance at what was once the boot space re­veals the air set-up, there to in­flate and de­flate the air cups mounted on the ad­justable Pan­dem coilovers. This might be a per­for­mance-ori­ented build, but be­ing a Miura cre­ation it’s gotta have the abil­ity to look its best when sit­ting there static! Air­ing out the cups cer­tainly aided in get­ting some sick static shots of the car.

So what’s this car hid­ing in the en­gine depart­ment? The big GReddy front mount in­ter­cooler might hint at some­thing pretty hearty, but the truth is the stock B16A is still there, in its nat­u­rally

as­pi­rated form. There’s a Pan­dem ex­haust sys­tem to aid in the sound side of things, while a big ra­di­a­tor helps it stay cool in any driv­ing con­di­tion. Miura hasn’t got­ten to this part quite yet. The plan is to dump the 1.6L set-up and swap in a 2-litre unit along with a tur­bocharger and shoot for up­wards of 400bhp. This isn’t a dream. It will hap­pen. And Miura has even thought about the trans­mis­sion he’d like to use, a Quaife six-speed se­quen­tial, just to make sure all that per­for­mance is ac­cessed as ef­fort­lessly as pos­si­ble.

The ques­tion is, when will he have time to get it done? The sheer num­ber of projects the man brings to fruition each year is mind­bog­gling, so his pet projects of­ten need to be put on the back­burner. But he’s a man of his word...

We’ll make sure we head out to the Kanjo on one of his maiden voy­ages once it’s all done!

Stock B16A un­der the bon­net

The idea was to take the car to Ger­many to com­pete in a hill climb The boot houses the air-ride compressor and tank“It’s as if the Civic has spent the last year at the gym, fu­elled by steroids”

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