1996 Honda Civic – The Legend Continues


During our recent excursion to the Pacific Northwest, we made sure to stop by to visit some local legends of the Honda community. As you witnessed a couple months ago in your annual Honda Issue, we already had some cars lined up being shot. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see some of these Hondas that everyone have been raving so positively about over the years. The Northwest has always been known to be the sleeper of the American Honda community, providing a home for some of the better Honda builds that we just never saw in person. If we were finally given the chance, we certainly were not disappointed.

We are completely aware that Steve Kwan’s Civic has seen print before-we just don’t care because this build is that good, to be honest. He manages to pass through so many different setups that it winds up looking like a new build every few years anyway. Sure, bring on the “it’s just another Civic” comments. Anyone in the know should ultimately recognize Steve’s Civic as one of the all-time “greats.” Its look has inspired several other car builders to travel the same way in building their projects at the same time, however.

1996 honda civic mugen controlsso great. Well, quality is the name of the game here. Parts selection and execution-all in the name of quality-is the key. Steve includes a good comprehension of that, and credits his friends along with other enthusiasts for guiding him towards your path. His ability to seek, acquire and collect incredibly rare Japanese market parts is yet another skill which also helps to add to the legacy of his build. Just to give you an illustration of this what he’s had within his collection during the last couple of years: Mugen cluster, SS front lip and EK wing, MF10s, multiple groups of Volk Racing wheels, numerous sets of Bride seats, two different sets of Vision Technica side mirrors, both Seeker 1 and two spoilers, an incredibly rare Neo-chrome NEXT! Miracle X bar-and as a reminder, yes, that is simply a sample of the items he’s had the last few years. It’s safe to say that he’s never been one to not try something new.

This current rendition of his Civic is undoubtedly his personal favorite. We will say that it must be his “best” but it’s difficult to make that claim as a consequence of his other setups. If you ask Steve, this might be as close as it’s getting to what he would claim as his best, it genuinely depends on what theme you want more, and. When we met up with him in Seattle to shoot his car, he was really a bit hesitant because the centerpiece of his new look, a rare First Molding carbon hood, had not may be found in yet. The hood was purchased with intentions to match the very first Molding front lip or “Flugel Plate”. Another important accessory for the exterior of this hatchback can be a rare Sergeant rear diffuser that’s mounted to a JDM OEM Civic Type R rear bumper; the front side and bumper skirts are also original CTR pieces. He, at the same time had the CTR rear wing to suit but he ditched that and two other Japanese Seeker wings for your Zeal Type 1 spoiler he has now. Giving the Desert Sage Metallic hue some contrast are flat black Desmond-produced Spoon SW388 wheels. The ashy finish of the 16-inch wheels is mundane in comparison to the rest of the build but it helps toone could expect the interior to be every bit as spectacular as being the outside and it also does not disappoint. The center sections of his Bride Zeta III seats have been substituted with red Hyper Gradation padding, yielding a look similar to Mugen S1R bucket seats; the red also matches the JDM CTR carpet and door panel inserts. A baller Mugen FG360 steering wheel is mounted to a Splash hub and rare Mr Alex quick-release unit. Once stood is actually a STACK ST-8130 digital display mounted on the dashboard when a Mugen instrument cluster. The skeletal structure inside the cabin is a Cusco 8-point roll cage that Steve had re-coated within a Glacier White finish to suit his Carbing strut engine and bars valve cover.

Style is an integral aspect of his build but that doesn’t imply that Steve hasn’t spent an equal period of time under the hood. Not only has the engine bay been tucked clean and paint-matched, the K20A heart is additionally fully-built. Initially the plan would be to keep the already potent 2.0L engine relatively stock, minus the basic bolt-ons, but a mishap at a weekend track day resulted in a spun bearing, ruining the block. He was able to locate a sleeved K20A block locally and elected to build it with stronger guts. What Type R cylinder head endures in OEM form but a custom cold-air intake mated into a Honda RBC manifold really helps to drive more airflow within. The custom fuel setup on the firewall with quick disconnect fittings offers a glimpse at Steve’s madness in terms of attention to detail-but…you really need to look closer to see the little things, like his consumption of rare discontinued hose clamps, to truly understand his madness. Even the littlest of details like the bolts that hold his CTR headlights in position have been substituted with 12-point ARP beauty and hardware washers.

What Steve Kwan has produced is the archetype of how a clean, very intricate and timeless custom car must be built. Nowadays, some would say his Honda is “cookie-cutter” although the scene has shifted quite a lot over the years. Steve comes from a time when you still was required to do research to locate a part as well as the means to bring it over from Japan. He’s built himself a hell of a Honda and he’s created the mold for countless others to follow.