We always enjoy sharing the passion that goes into our customer builds. A typical product of that passion? Countless hours of wrenching. But the lesser-celebrated outpouring of skill, perserverance and resourcefulness? That comes in the form of the hunt for parts. In the case of Travis Weaver of the Pacific Northwest, a hunt for 20-year-old OEM and Mugen parts took him around the USA, then internationally. He became so good at it, he even made a living at it for a time.
Travis recently shared a pic of his Mugen EF exhaust - which he said took him nine years to find. Nine years! That got our attention, and we contacted him for his story.
My older brother first got me into Honda's back in the late 1990's when he purchased a teal colored 1992 Civic VX. He ended up swapping in a JDM B16A engine with a GSR tranny back around late ‘98. We had a lot of fun at the local street races in our early teenage years. I eventually bought my first Civic as well in 1999. It was a 1990 Civic STD 4 speed. Back in the earlier days they were largely frowned upon due to their square, boxy look.
I eventually sold my first car and purchased a 1990 Civic Si in 2002. I fell in love with that car. From when I first purchased the car, I wanted to do a complete JDM EF9 conversion on it after seeing pictures of one in California. In the earlier days if you wanted to find parts you were limited to your local importer (which typically only sold engines), eBay, or do what I did and contact a wrecker overseas and import parts yourself. I found a company in Malaysia back in 2003 with a complete EF9 front clip. With a very risky bet, I sealed the deal and five long months later had my first JDM clip complete with B16A and EF9 conversion. I ended up painting the entire car Milano Red and was the first local person to do a JDM EF back in 2003.
I eventually landed a job working for the largest indoor Honda/Acura Auto wrecker/JDM engine importer in 2005. Soon after I became their Inventory Manager and JDM parts specialist -- which was a great experience but after a few years I got tired of killing Hondas and became more focused on preserving and restoring them.
A few years later -- feeling the pressure of the economy and the unsure feeling of my own personal future -- I decided to sell my 1990 Si. It ended up going to a good home to a guy in East Coast Canada. I must say it was the biggest mistake that I made. I ended up driving a Mitsubishi 3000GT for a few months to focus on school but I got the itch again. I had so many regrets and so many things that I dreamed about doing to my old Si that I decided to start from scratch and do a full 1989 Civic Si USDM restoration. That way I can do things right the first time and go in a slightly different direction so it would not be like history repeating itself. Now I specifically chose the 1989 Civic Si because in the USA it was a one-year-only car, much like the 1997 Integra Type-R. I began to put out ads looking specifically for an ‘89 only.
Eventually I found a good clean shell with perfect seats, straight body and in overall great shape. The only problem is the engine was bad. I rented a trailer and made the three hour drive in the snow to buy the car. Upon arriving the owner informed me it still ran but made a horrible noise from the timing belt area. I towed it back and had my mechanic Thomas Strom diagnose the problem. Turned out to be a bad water pump. With a new factory pump and timing belt, mixed with a valve adjustment, I gave this 1989 Civic Si a new chance at life with 187k miles on her. I sold my 3000GT and with further inspiration from Thomas I decided to make a goal, take my time and stick to it.
My goal was to do a complete factory restoration on the car. We began tracking down rare USA accessories along with new old stock (NOS) parts from Honda. Almost all of the parts were either discontinued or no longer available. I then started contacting specific dealers to see if they had old inventory that was never reentered into the system when Honda changed its part numbers from HondaCode to what we have today. After I exhausted all of my resources here in the States, I then turned to Google Translators. I began contacting dealers all over the world. I managed to source new rare parts from Malaysia, Germany, UK, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, and even Canada – despite the challenge of different part numbers and inventory systems with many of them.
I used to have a Mugen addiction with my original 1990 Civic Si but finding parts for an EF were very hard and very expensive. I was able to source a real EF9 Mugen header along with some Mugen RNR's and a set of MR5 Final Versions. The one item I could not find was a Mugen EF exhaust. I managed to find two different ones that popped up for sale between 2006-2008 but was outbid both times on Yahoo Auctions. With my current restoration I told myself that I have to be true to both the year and the USDM theme that I am going for. It becomes a slippery slope once you diverge from your intended goal. All was fine until my good friend Moe from EFparts presented me with a USDM brochure from 1988 which showed the Mugen CF-48's as a factory option for the fourth gen. I knew that the pre 87's were offered with some Mugen goodies but this little piece of Honda literature gave me a valid excuse to go MUGEN WHORE again while still maintaining the factory look.
I managed to secure a set of crusty 14" CF-48's with aero discs and preceded to restore them. I have been keeping in touch with a few owners of the Mugen EF exhausts over the years in the event that they may want to part ways with it. Eventually I got a taker and finally brought home my current exhaust. Soon after I decided to give Scott Zellner a call at King Motorsports to discuss the Mugen spring rates offered with the sports suspension. After chatting with him for almost an hour he informed me he had two new sets of the old Mugen suspension still in stock. I could not believe that after all these years they were still around. I quickly purchased both new sets.
I could not be happier with how everything turned out for this build. I now have a true time machine that to me represents what Honda of North America was all about.
You can also follow the car's progress on Facebook. I created a page specifically for it here:
Here are pictures Travis shared with us from his build! Thanks Travis, we can't wait to see what you do with it next!
For many of us who drive an EP3, we are proud to say that it's the King Motorsports example that inspired us to own and build one up in the first place. Debuted at SEMA 2003, this is the EP3 that more than a decade later still inspires EP3 builds all over the world. This 7th gen Civic was built by King Motorsports for American Honda.
The Nighthawk Black Pearl EP3 was based on the US-spec model and fitted with top shelf performance and body parts that showed what was possible to create from the relatively egg-shaped, minivan outline of the stock 02-05 Civic Si. In order to fit the Mugen front lip, the USDM bumper cover and rebar were replaced with JDM spec versions, which create more of a snub-nose effect in the front. The bumper was finished off with a carbon fiber radiator duct. The stock grille was replaced with a Mugen grille with JDM red badge and driver-side flared opening to allow for additional cooling to reach the Mugen air box. The iconic Mugen hood includes functioning engine bay ventilation.
The rear USDM bumper was also replaced with a shortened JDM version that allowed for the fitment of the Type-R rear lower valence. Type-R side skirts complete the lower body parts. An Mugen adjustable wing was modified for the USDM hatch and pulls out the body line in just the right places.
The changes on the pure performance side were even more significant. A DC5R motor, 6-speed transmission, Mugen ECU, the legendary Mugen twin loop exhaust... the build list goes on and on and is just incredible. It's no wonder the car has appeared in the pages of Car & Driver, Road & Track, Boost and was featured on Speed TV.
Here is the "press release" for the car:
Using Honda performance specialist Mugen's vast array of aftermarket high-performance parts, King Motorsports (the sole authorized North American distributor for Mugen Co., Ltd) has created the ultimate street performance Civic Si that maximizes the potential throughout every corner of the vehicle. Making its world debut at SEMA, the King Motorsports/Mugen Civic Si has a K20 DC5R engine and 6-speed transmission with a limited slip differential. The modified engine produces 240-horsepower.
Japan Domestic Market (JDM) K20A DC5R engine
JDM DC5R six-speed close ratio transmission with limited slip
Mugen cold airbox
JDM DC5R exhaust manifold and down pipe
Mugen stainless steel twin-loop cat-back exhaust
Mugen low temp thermostat
Mugen hi-pressure radiator cap
Mugen reserve tank covers
Mugen N-1 coil-over adjustable suspension
Mugen 25mm rear stabilizer bar
JDM Civic Type-R front stabilizer bar
5 lug conversion with RSX Type-S brakes front and rear
Mugen Micro Mesh brake line set
Mugen MF-10 forged wheels 17x8 +45 bronze
Bridgestone S0-3 225/45 ZR 17 Tires
Rear adjustable upper control arms
JDM Civic Type-R front and rear bumpers
JDM Civic Type-R side skirt kit
JDM Civic Type-R rear bumper valance
Mugen carbon fiber aero hood
Mugen front spoiler
Mugen sport grill kit
Mugen carbon fiber radiator duct kit
Mugen adjustable rear wing
Prototype Mugen digital guage cluster mounted in carbon fiber inset
Mugen S-1 bucket seat with Mugen seat rail kits
Mugen Sports Pedal Set
Mugen Race II steering wheel with Mugen hub adapter
If you are ever in Wisconsin, stop by the King Motorsports facility to see the EP3 in the showroom! Here are a few pics I took of it in summer 2010-- the EP3 is getting a quick detail and wax the day before Dyno Day 2010.
** Visit the King Motorsports online store for performance and aero parts for the 02-05 Civic Si (EP3) **
We just love the way Brian McGurk described King Motorsports in his Honda Tuning feature on our Prelude Race Car -- we just had to repost it here:
Birth of the King
Body kits, engine swaps, JDM trends, stance, and other assorted fads may come and go, but one company was alive and kicking well before most of it ever entered the picture: King Motorsports. Started in 1981 as the race team of a local Honda dealer, the team piloted their 1200cc '74 Civic to their first victory in 1984. Current CEO Scott Zellner started with the team around that time and recalls, "We ran every race we could with our little Civic, at the same time we started designing parts for them too." Throughout the '80s, the team stacked wins while garnering attention from Honda of Japan. "We got to work hand in hand with Honda Special Projects. They did all the cool stuff; it was a very exciting time." Toward the end of the '80s, King received exclusive rights as the sole Mugen distributor in the U.S., a feat not bestowed on just anyone. After that, gears changed rather quickly. "It was weird; we went from a race team to a parts distributor." Even today King Motorsports is synonymous with Mugen on U.S. shores and Scott, still at the helm, see's no end in sight. "We've been racing and winning for 35 years and we're still here and relevant. I'm very proud of it."
No two ways about it, they're the Kings and that's not changing anytime soon.
Read more: http://www.hondatuningmagazine.com/features/1309_1992_honda_prelude/
We are stoked to see the King Motorsports-built 1992 Honda Prelude (aka "San Pedro") featured in Honda Tuning!
Here is the very cool write up:
Check out more pictures of the build on our blog, starting with this post:
In the shop this week! A fun project: 8th Gen Civic Si Kraftwerks SC installation, then tune on the dyno. All the parts are laid out, inspected and ready for installation.
Engine stripped and freon evacuated from the AC system. Ready to start bolting on the fun stuff......
8th Gen Civic Kraftwerks SC install almost complete. A session on the dyno tuning with a Hondata Flashpro up next. More to come....
8th. Gen Civic Kraftwerks SC kit installation complete! Slide in the new fuel pump and then onto the dyno to make some noise. :)
Let the tuning begin! 2010 Civic Si with Kraftwerks SC kit- stock exhaust manifold and exhaust system. Care to guess what the final numbers will be?
The final results are.......320 whp with stock exhaust manifold, cat and exhaust running 91 octane. Nice stealthy & quiet super sedan! Perhaps our customer Mitch can gives us his driving impressions after a few days!
8th Gen Kraftwerks Supercharger:
Dyno Tuning at King Motorsports:
Dyno Tuning rates:
A few months ago we installed and tuned one of the very first production Kraftwerks SC kits for the 06-11 Civic Si. At that time using the stock exhaust manifold and exhaust this car made 327whp and 214ft/lb torque. Now it's back, updated with a Full Race 3" exhaust and Skunk 2 Alpha header -the results 352whp and 225ft/lb torque- nice gain!!!
Watch a video from the dyno tuning sessions:
Our next engine development project is brought to you by the letter J!
J35 teardown continues-underneath all that "stuff" there is actually an engine! Complete build pictures and info will be posted as the build progresses. We would like to thank out friends YAWSPORT for this exciting build opportunity!
Cylinder head port work begins our J series engine development program for our friends at YAWSPORT.
J Series cylinder head porting completed for our friends YAWSPORT. Up next, reworking the bottom end.
And on the dyno this week- the new SOS Turbo kit for S2000 with GT3576 turbo....
SOS S2000 AP2 Turbo kit dyno run. Twin Scroll GTX3576R 14.5 lbs. of boost = 393 whp. 10 lbs. of boost = 371 whp
Watch a dyno pull.
Here's a dyno sheet from that session:
Updated Dyno sheet (below): SOS S2000 AP2 turbo kit w/ GTX3576R twin scroll turbo vs. SOS supercharger kit tuned with Hondata K-Pro on the same S2000. Higher peak number with the SC kit, however much better midrange with the turbo. In the real world the turbo would make for a much more fun car to drive with much more USEABLE power.
More pics from around the shop!
K-Tuned Shifter- Incredible precision and beautifully crafted!
Just installed Drag Cartel 003.2 cams with our King Motorsports 40 degree VTC cam gear and Toda tensioner in this 12.0/1 K20A road race engine. Next up, some tuning on the dyno!
Update: On dyno this week with Ian G's K20A powered DC2. 12/1 compression with Drag Cartel Industries 003.2 cams with our 40 degree VTC cam gear, Hytech header and DC5R intake manifold.
Watch the video from Ian's dyno tuning!
Ian G's K20A powered DC2 race car results 242 whp with a super nice power band and flat torque curve- impressive!
K20A with 12.1 compression
Drag Cartel 003.2 cams
King Motorsports 40 degree VTC cam gear
DC5R Intake manifold and throttle body
Intercooler pipe fabrication for our latest turbo project in the shop.
Update: Intercooler pipe fabrication complete, just about ready to head onto the dyno....
Initial engine break in on the dyno begins today for this Turbo B18C1. Once completely heat cycled 2 times we will begin final tuning.
Enthusiasts drive out from near and far for our annual Dyno Day in Wisconsin. We love meeting Honda owners and talking about their cars and the attention they've put into them. At Dyno Day 2012 we met Chris and Alyssa, who drove over 400 miles from Cleveland in their color-coordinated & tuned 8th Gen Civics. They joined us again in 2013-- so eager for Dyno Day that they actually arrived a day early and visited our facilities to say hello!
Here are Chris and Alyssa with Mugen rep Onuma-San at Dyno Day 2013 -- betcha you've never seen a pink Mugen t-shirt before!:
We caught up with them recently to talk about their builds...
Q: How did you meet?
Alyssa: Chris and I met in the summer of 2008. I actually initiated it after I spotted his car parked behind a store as I was driving by. It was the first Mugen Si I had seen in person and was a very active member on 8thcivic.com at the time. I turned around and placed an 8thCivic business card on his car with my username on it. A few days later he contacted me and we chatted for a while through Private Message and such and decided to meet to get to know each other and go for a drive. In doing so it evolved a friendship and later a relationship.
Alyssa drives: 2007 Civic Si Coupe - All motor build (using as many OEM parts from other Hondas as possible)
Chris drives: 2008 Civic Si Mugen - Comptech Stage 2 Supercharged
Both cars get stored in the winter but are pretty much daily driven in the few summer months we have here in Ohio.
Q: I like what you said about using as many OEM parts as possible -- the OEM+ approach is popular. Do you guys have other shared functional or cosmetic philosophies?
Alyssa: I think we are both into very similar things when it comes to cosmetic and functional ideas. We both feel a good car is all in the details, especially when modding a Honda since it is usually a very common platform. You have to do things that set yours apart from the rest whether it is a rare JDM build or something made for big power, it isn't really our style to go with what everyone else is doing. I am a pretty big wheel guru and am always taking notice of what set up everyone is going with and how a nice set of wheels and tires can really set the car off.
Q: How about things that you both agree you would NEVER do to your cars?
Alyssa: The top of that list would be anything knockoff. We both say that a certain pride is taken in owning the real thing no matter the product.
Chris: Stickers! They never make your car faster.
Q: I've personally seen stickers add +5WHP at the dyno. (Not really.) Would you ever trade cars? :)
Alyssa: We both get to drive each others from time to time and realize how different they really are. I don't think a trade is in the works any time soon but you never know.
Q: What parts or goals are next for each of you in your builds?
Alyssa: I am continuing with the all-motor build and am looking to have a set of TSX cams, TL Brembo brakes, and eventually am planning some ITB's.
Chris: Dyno Tune by King Motorsports!
Q: How did you decide to make the long trek out for Dyno Day? How was the trip?
Alyssa: We decided on a whim in 2012 to get away after I lost my father to cancer, we needed a weekend of something fun and that was it. After having such a great time last year and gaining even more respect for the guys at King, we decided to do it again this year. It was great, we love the small town feel of the organization and how down to earth everyone was. We brought both cars the first year and decided this year to just bring the Mugen, but in 2014, both cars will be back.
Chris: The trip was great and it really paid off because I actually won a Comp Clutch kit with one of the $1 raffle tickets.
Q: While you were at King you picked up a Mugen umbrella. Do you have any other favorite Mugen bits?
Alyssa: My Mugen GP's are my pride and joy and get babied as much as the car does even when they are in storage.
Chris: My Mugen Blanket with the big kanji letters has been in the back seat of the car since 2009. Anything Mugen like the Reservoir covers, key chains, etc...
Q: What about favorite Mugen parts?
Alyssa: Mugen GP's and Quick Shift Kit.
Chris: My Mugen Exhaust and Suspension.
** Build lists **
2007 Civic Si Coupe:
~TODA Ported and Polished RRC Manifold
~Import DPS Intake Heatwrapped
~J35 Throttle Body
~Corsport Shifter Cable Bushings
~Invidia Race Header
~Black FD2 Dipstick
~Hybrid Racing Fuel Rail and Gauge
~Hybrid Racing Hoses
~Custom Battery Tray
~ARC Spark Plug Cover
~Mugen GP gunmetal Powdercoated Valve Cover
~Mugen Reservoir Covers
~Mugen Black Oil Cap
~Mugen Radiator Cap
~Hondata Flash Pro
~BC BR Coilovers
~SPC Camber Kit
~18" Mugen GP's
~Mugen Heptagon Lug Nuts
~215/40/18 Yokohama Parada Spec 2's
~HFP Brake Kit
~CT-Engineering Rear Sway Bar
~HFP Front Lip
~HFP Rear Lip
~GRFXP Taillight Tint
~50%/30% Window Tint
~Mini H1 5000K Retrofit
~OEM fogs w/ 6000K HID's
~08 Si Shift Boot
~Mugen Si Shift Knob
~Strutking Dead Pedal
~Honda Trunk Tray
2008 Mugen Si
~CT-e 560cc Injectors
~Walbro 255 lph Fuel Pump
~CT-e 3.15" Pulley
~Skunk2 Megapower Race Header Heatwrapped
~Custom 3.5 Intake Heatwrapped
~J35 Throttle Body
~Boomba Motor Mounts
~Custom Battery Tray
~NGK Iridium 2 Step Colder Plugs
~Wrinkle Red Valve Cover
~Mugen Reservoir Covers
~Mugen Oil Cap
~Mugen Radiator Cap
~Corsport Cable Bushings
~Corsport Base Bushings
~Excelerate Gauge Pod
~Honda Trunk Tray
~CT-e Lowering Springs
~Mugen Heptagon Lug Nuts
~Seibon Carbon Fiber OEM Style Hood
~30%/50% Window Tint
~6000K HID Kit
Alyssa adds this: We would like to thank Bill Turk @ Rick Case Honda for being there from the beginning and parts hookup whenever we need anything, Rick @ Import DPS for building such great products and involvement in the Honda community and last but not least the all the guys at King for doing everything they do!
Here are a few more pictures of their Civics!
Visit the King Motorsports online store for performance & aero parts for the 8th Gen Civic Si!