THE RE­FRESH

Super Street - - Superstreetgarage.com - WORDS Ro­drez PHO­TOS Al Nor­ris

The shiny new FK8 Civic Type R that dom­i­nated so­cial me­dia and served as the top story of just about ev­ery au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ism out­let—and was pelted by ev­ery Neg­a­tive Nancy on the face of the earth—has fi­nally set­tled it­self within the en­thu­si­ast space. It wasn’t easy, though, as it faced an up­hill bat­tle from the very be­gin­ning. With a long pro­duc­tion lead, a hatch­back that in­cor­po­rated five doors rather than three, and an overtly ag­gres­sive yet seem­ingly nec­es­sary body treat­ment that lends it­self to blis­ter­ing laps around the Nür­bur­gring, the Civic Type R has cer­tainly been the talk of the town for a few years now.

The Type R badge has been a cru­cial part of the pop­u­lar­ity of the Honda com­mu­nity since the ’90s. These days, enough money and a de­cent credit score can have you slid­ing be­hind the wheel of your very own R—war­ranty and all. Still, there’s some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent about the ’90s-era Type R mod­els that sep­a­rates them from the mod­ern ver­sion. Sure, they don’t have nearly the same power or ad­vanced elec­tronic sus­pen­sion, but they do forgo those ad­di­tional pounds and seem to trans­late driver in­put in a more vis­ceral fash­ion. Add to that an iconic shape and a more tra­di­tional three-door plat­form and, well, it’s tough to deny just how good things were a few decades ago. Due to the over­whelm­ing fas­ci­na­tion with Honda’s hottest hatch of yesteryear, a stag­ger­ing num­ber of looka­likes have been built over the years, and more of­ten than not, some­one de­scrib­ing their dream garage will typ­i­cally list at least one of Honda’s R mod­els. Adam El­ghri­any, owner of this ’99 CTR, was lucky enough to make his dream a re­al­ity.

About four years ago, Adam got word that his friend Billy Hoang was open to sell­ing this EK9. He adds, “Even be­fore I got the car, I was al­ways in love with the Civic Type R. When I was pre­sented with the chance to own one, I jumped right at it.” Adam’s im­me­di­ate changes were mild, con­sist­ing of noth­ing more than ba­sic main­te­nance and a set of bronze TE37S. That’s not to say he didn’t spend as much time as pos­si­ble be­hind the wheel to en­joy the rare breed.

With a Civic Type R, some could go on without so much as adding an air fresh­ener and re­main com­pletely con­tent, but Adam had other thoughts. “After about eight months, I de­cided to clean the car up com­pletely. The goal was al­ways to try to keep it as close to orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble. It’s a very spe­cial car, and I didn’t want to take away from its orig­i­nal look.” With that said, Adam has al­ways had a fetish, like most Honda fans, for Spoon Sports' yel­low EK9 and wasn’t shy about tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from that iconic hatch­back and ad­just­ing it to his per­sonal taste.

What started as a sim­ple cleanup quickly tran­si­tioned to a se­ri­ous restora­tion, which got un­der­way after Adam, along with a few friends, pulled the en­gine and be­gan dis­as­sem­bly of the en­tire car. The chas­sis would re­main its orig­i­nal yel­low, but in Adam’s eyes, it really needed a fresh look, so the shell went to his friend Raul of Li­tos Cus­toms in Long Is­land for a re­spray in­side and out. With the EK9 look­ing bet­ter than ever, Adam started to feel the crunch of lo­cat­ing OEM parts for a 20-year-old chas­sis. For­tu­nately, he had some help in his hunt from the pur­vey­ors of OEM goods: Ryan and Collin of Afh-parts, along with Joey of Nemo’s Garage. In ad­di­tion, when it came time to bring in some of those hard-to-find JDM goods, he reached out to Matt of ICB Mo­tor­sport and the lo­cal de­liv­ery man be­gan mak­ing fre­quent stops to drop off more and more OEM and af­ter­mar­ket good­ies. Those vis­its in­cluded a long list of Spoon bolt-on parts, like a header, throt­tle body, Kevlar in­take, ra­di­a­tor, and hoses. The head­light har­nesses were tucked out of sight thanks to a kit from Wire­worx, and to reap the full po­ten­tial of the high-revving B16B, Hon­data’s S300 ECU was added.

The yel­low and black combo that’s be­come syn­ony­mous with Spoon’s EK9 wasn’t lost on Adam’s buildup. Spoon SW388 wheels are joined by an authen­tic car­bon hood, power mir­rors, and rear wing to make sure of that. The lone car­bon sepa­ra­tion from the Spoon cat­a­log took place un­der the front bumper, where a First Mold­ing lip was cho­sen. To get the car down a lit­tle lower without get­ting into re­gret­table ride height ter­ri­tory, KW Vari­ant 3 coilovers were in­stalled and di­aled in along with JUN cam­ber arms, Hardrace bush­ings, and Func­tion 7 con­trol arms to help the al­ready well-sorted CTR han­dle even bet­ter.

Things be­gan to come to­gether when, as the Civic was shap­ing up to make its tri­umphant re­turn at the next ma­jor show, without warn­ing, tragedy struck. “The big­gest set­back I ex­pe­ri­enced through the whole build process hap­pened a few weeks be­fore Wek­fest East,” Adam re­calls. “I was in­volved in a head-on col­li­sion, hit by some­one un­der the in­flu­ence of hero­ine go­ing 100 mph. I lit­er­ally lost all hope for fin­ish­ing the car in time for its Wek­fest de­but.”

This is the part where you re­al­ize just how im­por­tant good peo­ple are and you get a sense of that when you hear Adam’s friends, Sam and Al­bert of Cer­ti­fied Rac­ing, showed up at his house day after day to help wrench on the build, know­ing how im­por­tant it was to Adam to com­plete it and un­der­stand­ing just how much he’d been through re­cently with the ac­ci­dent. “Without them, the car would’ve been sit­ting for an­other year as I re­cov­ered from the ac­ci­dent.” The team ef­fort paid off as the fi­nal touches were ap­plied and the resto­mod EK9 was back on the road again—where it be­longed.

There are a thou­sand dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions you can take with Honda’s sixth-gen­er­a­tion hatch­back, but when some­one like Adam El­ghri­any gets ahold of the most cov­eted ver­sion of the chas­sis, you quickly re­al­ize he’s not go­ing to veer far from Honda’s orig­i­nal in­ten­tions. The modifications are sim­ple, ef­fec­tive, and, if his­tory is any in­di­ca­tion, they’re also time­less. He adds, “I def­i­nitely have plans of trav­el­ing with the car, bring­ing it back out to Cali, and maybe a cou­ple of states in be­tween. I also plan on switch­ing up the look even­tu­ally and maybe go­ing a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive. The big­gest and most im­por­tant thing to me is to stay with Ja­panese parts only. I’ve al­ways been against replica parts, be­cause qual­ity [is greater than] quan­tity.” We ex­pect the fu­ture up­dates will be far less stress­ful, and we’re con­fi­dent the look and feel will be just as age-de­fy­ing as this ver­sion.

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