As old as business itself, the term networking has never been more prominent in American culture than it is today. The current crop of blistering-fast social networking sites combined with countless success stories that have miraculously spawned from nothing more than a chance meeting with the right individual all but force you to hone your people skills. Selling yourself is thought to be the standard by which business skills are measured, however, it can also backfire on you. Aggressive go-getters with false personas and transparent agendas can often go overboard and end up doing more harm than good. Of course, there’s still plenty of room for individuals who do very little selling and, instead, concentrate on listening and learning. People like David Nguyen of Luling, Louisiana.
The gorgeous Champ White Civic you see pictured wasn’t his first choice, nor his second. He adds, “I started out with a ’95 Si, but didn’t really like the body style that much, so I sold it. I was looking around online for a clean sixth gen and came across one in Oklahoma.” Living in Louisiana, the Civic was purchased sight unseen and dropped off locally at his sister-in-law’s home, leaving David to rely solely on the seller’s word and selection of photos in regard to the vehicle’s condition. Something he would later woefully regret.
“We made the trip up to Oklahoma and picked up the car, brought it home and started tearing it down for paint. The seller assured me it had never been in an accident, but we found that the front end didn’t line up very well and underneath the panels there was Bondo everywhere!” Down but not out, David enlisted the help of a local body specialist to correct some of the damage, but after months of waiting, the car came back in a similar state. “I was so aggravated, the bodywork still wasn’t right. At that point, I just gave up and starting parting out the project completely.” The sour taste in his mouth wouldn’t last long, though, as the hunt for an acceptable chassis was once again under way, and this time a close inspection would be performed before any cash and title exchanges were even considered.
With a clean-bodied ’00 hatchback finally in his grasp, David spent the next two years hoarding parts, including a number of OEM Civic Type R pieces to put together the car that he’d always wanted. As he wished for more than just a looker, an H22 swap made its way into an immaculate engine bay with the help of a few friends in David’s garage. Once complete and satisfied with the car’s state, the group eventually made their way to a few Import Face-Off events. “We showed the car and did a few auto-x races, but one day we just said, ‘Screw the show, let’s see how fast the car is on the strip.’ We went out there with no tires, no tune, no nothing—we just spun the tires and basically didn’t even move, lol!” A tough lesson learned, and one that David would not soon forget.