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