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Interview: Chris Mitchell's 1993 Civic Si (EG) - Out of the Blue, Into the Gray




"My race car is greener than your Prius." That's the vinyl message you'd stare at if you happen to be stopped behind Chris Mitchell's purpose-built and daily-driven EG Civic Si. At least that's what you would have seen in 2012, when the car was still a bright blue color, courtesy of the previous owner. Chris just accepted the color, focusing his energy on correcting the mods he inherited. Then he moved on to making his own performance-oriented upgrades. Chris' EG is a home-grown example of function-before-form, and he knows his build is making its own statement in an increasingly noisy modified scene.

Here's Chris' EG at a local Cars & Coffee event in 2012:



Why are Moogs such bullies? :)





I caught up with Chris recently to talk shop.


Q: Tell us about your Civic.

A: I first bought my EG back in 2007 when I was looking for something reliable, fun, and good on gas. At that time I had just sold my 240SX, got out of drifting and was trying to focus on school at Oregon State University. It wasn’t ideal or what I was really looking for, but it was going to keep me out of drifting and met the criteria I set for a new car.

When I picked up the car it wasn’t in bad shape from the outside, minus the color -- and the previous owner decided that a stanced look was what he wanted… I did not haha.

As I mentioned before, what lead me to buying the car was that I needed something that fit my criteria. It didn’t hurt that Honda Civics are super cheap on insurance if you have a clean driving record, which I’m proud to say I still do.


Q: You said the EG had quite a few mods on it already that needed "correction" -- What did you do for a clean slate?

A: The color, the engine wiring, ride height and the “STANCED OUT YO!” look all had to go. It was at a ride height that was not functional for driving long distances, so the first changes were new tires, camber kit and a raised ride height. The engine wiring was janky as hell and had to be re-done in a number of areas. This was my first introduction to what import car life was like.



The car was blue, yes. It was probably the worst paint job I've ever seen, but originally it was buffed and didn't look too bad. After you get a little more involved with a new (to you) car, you start peeling back the onion layers seeing what the car really is. What sucked about it was that the original OEM green color looked great underneath, no blemishes. Original owner FAIL.

So from the photo you can see how Smurf'd out the car was... due to an unfortunate accident involving a young driver not paying attention while doing a u-turn at 2am, the car got re-painted "Graus-schwartz". This happens to be a favorite color for me off the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. I chose it because 1) it's easy to maintain, but 2) it's just a nice, crisp color. You can't over-do it too much because after all....it's just a Honda Civic! haha




Q: Tell us about your build philosophy and goals.

A: My build philosophy is really, “to each their own”. In the Honda community you’ve probably seen or heard every type of modification you can think of, which is fine; every owner sees or wants something different.

When building this car I took a lot of inspiration from Keiichi Tsuchiya, the Drift King and professional driver in Japan. His personal AE86 has to be the most 50/50, neutrally balanced car I could think of over the years, and I thought, "Why not build an EG to mimic that?" I think I’ll always try to build a neutral balanced car that corners as hard as it accelerates and brakes as well as it corners.


Q: Have you had the car dyno'd? What were the numbers?

A: I have had the car dyno’d and with its current configuration, it is sitting just shy of 160whp on a Dynocom Dynomometer.




Q: Future plans for the EG?

A: The future is uncertain for this car. I am in the process of acquiring a new car/ project, so this may turn into a track day/ weekend warrior permanently. If that does happen, there’s no doubt it’ll be compound charged and peak out around the 500whp range. Of course it’ll still have to grip as well as it accelerates so my aerodynamic toys will have to be developed.


Q: Mods you would recommend for other EG owners?

A: I say whatever makes you smile at the end of the day. If you want to have a catalog car and never drive it, so be it. If you love the track and want a ridiculous looking, but fast beast car, do it. The EG itself is a great chassis to build upon and done right, can hang with the best of them. I think suspension, brakes, and tires are the most important components if you’re dealing with a mild build, but want it to be competitive or fun. Everything else just gets out of hand and more complex as you go.


Q: Mods you would tell others to avoid?

A: Avoid spherical bearings for the street, haha. They say don’t do it; Don’t, unless you can afford replacing them frequently. I think another suggestion is that if you build an N/A D16Z6 or any D-series, be careful and do your homework before you get in too deep. It’s a costly engine to build past 120whp or so. It’s a lot of fun being unique and to turn heads, but there’s a lot of other more cost-effective options.


Q: What cars were in your past?

A: My first car was a 1996 Volvo 850 (I know, Grandma-car status) which I first tinkered with aero and suspension components. It felt like an aircraft carrier, but handled surprisingly well.

I also had a Nissan 240SX (S13) which I drifted for a bit before the engine let go. That was before I knew much about engine building. I’d like to build another S14 with a supercharger setup sometime down the road.


Q: What is your experience with autocross, track, etc? How does the EG handle?

A: I’ve been doing autocross for about five years now, going to different events in Southern Oregon. I’ve also participated in Time Attack and a few road rallies, placing first in class several times. Recently I’ve been crew chief for a local ChumpCar team and next season I’ll be racing in Vintage and NASA series.

The EG handles like it’s on rails. As long as you don’t over-do-it and leave the front end a little softer, it will not understeer and rotates like a RWD car; Honda knew what they were doing when they engineered that suspension system. I hear a lot of people who don’t exactly understand driving dynamics argue that a FWD car can never handle as well as a RWD or AWD, but I assure you, when done right, it’s sublime in the corners.


Q: Do you have a dream car?

A: Do I have a dream car.... hmmm. That's a tough one. I guess if money was no object, I'd love to own either a Ferrari F40 or a Koeneggsigg Agera R due to both cars being basically insane to drive. There might be other cars out there, but I enjoy a car that throws a curve ball at you from time to time. Maybe a little on the dangerous side? I'm a bit of an idiot in that department from what my friends have said. I'd love to drive a Ferrari 599 GTO simply because it's a handful, and the Ferrari test drivers mentioned it was impossible in the wet.....that's my kind of car. Whatever I build I don't want it to be another car you've seen before, there has to be a little extra magic, a dose of danger, and of course provide a thrill for the driver.


Q: I know you're active in the car community -- What roles/groups are you involved in? 

A: I’ve been very fortunate to know a lot of people within the racing and car culture in the Pacific Northwest. Being asked to help out a group or organization is something I love doing and I’ll try to keep doing it as long as I can.

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Chris Mitchell's 1993 Honda Civic Si (EG):

Motor:
D16Z6
Eagle H-beam rods
Supertech High comp pistons 12:5:1
Supertech rings
ACL Race bearings
ARP Head studs
Bored out 75.5mm
P&P, 3 angle valve job, de-shroud, combustion chamber re-shape
Crower Ti springs, retainers, Honda valves
Bisimoto Level 3 Cam
Bisimoto cam gear
Buddy Club Spec II exhaust
Bisimoto V2 header
Custom TB velocity stack - intake
K&N filter
Walbro 255 fuel pump
Edelbrock inline fuel filter
Earls -6AN fuel lines/ fittings
B&M fuel gauge
Chipped P28 ECU running CHROME GOLD
NGK wires/ 7E plugs
Megan Racing radiator
Custom Radiator fan w/ shroud
ES motor mount inserts
Blackworks catch can system - AN fittings

Exterior:
2010 Porsche GT3 RS "Graus-schwarz" paint
Seibon carbon fiber hood
Rear Duckbill style spoiler
Porsche HID projector retrofit
Aerocatch flush hood pins
Mono-Blade wiper system
>TRACK DAY BUMPER:
Front bumper canards
lower air dam
lower splitter

Drivetrain:
ACT Xtreme sprung 6 puck clutch
ACT Xtreme pressure plate
Bisimoto 9lb flywheel
Wilwood 1" MC - Brake booster delete
S2000 CMC w/ custom lines
B&M spherical short shifter kit
Synchrotech Gearbox

Suspension:
Buddy Club N+ Spec coilovers
Skunk2 Pro-Series camber kit
Blox RLCA's - ES poly bushings
Front/ Rear tower brace - C-pillar brace
ASR rear subframe brace - 24mm rear swaybar
Honda 19mm front swaybar - ES poly bushings - ES poly endlinks
Aurora endlinks
Blackworks rear camber arms
Blox Extended balljoints
ES poly trailing arm bushings
BEAKS lower tie bar
Buddy Club upper mounts
Megan Racing 4 point chassis brace

Brakes/Tires:
Brembo Blanks (all 4)
Hawk HP+ pads (all 4)
Goodridge stainless steel lines
Toyo Proxes4 205/50/15 (ST), Toyo R1R 225/50/15 (TR)

Interior:
Sparco Monza steering wheel
NRG 2.0 quick-release
Custom 6" knurled shift knob
Custom carbon fiber switch plate
Gutted

 

** Visit the King Motorsports online store for performance and aero parts for your EG Civic. **

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