The story began for Jody Weber of Jacksonville, Florida, in ’03 when he visited a business local to him by the name of Velocity Trends. The owner had an RHD K20-swapped turbo hatchback that really caught Jody’s attention and got the gears in his head turning. He thought about what he would and could do to the unique hatchback if he were to ever take the plunge. He became a frequent visitor to the shop, stopping by from time to time to see what they were working on and to just hang out. Throughout that time, the ideas which had been brewing in Jody’s mind remained alive and kicking but took a back seat to a ’00 Civic Si chassis he’d picked up and was working on. Until one visit in particular that would start him on a new build that would end up putting his will power to the test.
Heading over to the shop one day, Jody noticed the built hatchback was nowhere to be seen, but a different shell was sitting there instead. Jody asked some questions and found out the owner of the hatchback totaled the car and had purchased another chassis to build again. The year was 2008, and Jody looked at that stock Civic shell and could only see potential. It would serve as the perfect platform to make all of the ideas that had been developing in his head over the previous five years a reality. He made it very clear to the car’s owner that if he ever considered selling the shell, Jody wanted to be the first person he dialed. Just a few days later, the owner told Jody to come pick up his “new” car. Perhaps it was heated impulse, or maybe just a little too much thinking aloud, but Jody actually questioned the offer he’d been waiting for. “Here I am, already in to a build on my 2000 Civic Si. I had a decision to make: stay working on the Si, or pick up the hatch.” No surprise, Jody decided to push his current build aside and take on the new build.
Initially, he’d planned to put together something fairly simple. Paint the chassis and drop a B16 in, but a couple of his friends had recently completed K swaps and it didn’t take much to change Jody’s mind on the right powerplant. “After riding in their cars, there was really no looking back.” He set forth on researching the necessary parts to progress with the build, but he was in no hurry. He adds, “I’m not rich, and I knew it was going to take some time. The car sat in the backyard for a year while I collected parts.”
When he was ready, Jody sent the chassis for paint and body work with Dave at Custom. When the paint was stripped, it revealed that the metal was in worse shape than he’d imagined. “Every panel needed work and it even needed a new roof.” Not discouraged, Jody told Dave to proceed regardless. Knowing that the vehicle would be at the body shop for an extended amount of time, he utilized the downtime to contact Memoryfab and have it build his dream wheels. “I’ve always loved Mugen M7s, and from the day I got the car, I knew it would have M7s on it.” When they were done, the newly built wheels yielded an 8-inch diameter with a tastefully selected +25mm offset, providing exactly what Jody envisioned. “I wanted a wide wheel but nothing with a huge lip that would make me have to run too much negative camber. I just wanted it to sit flush.”
In addition to the custom wheels, he gathered parts needed for the K swap with quality goods from the likes of Hybrid Racing and K-Tuned. Although he pushed to collect all of the necessary parts to make the build quick and smooth once the chassis was again brought back home, a few snags ensured that the remainder of the build wasn’t going to be all that quick or smooth.
After a total of two years since first purchasing the chassis, it finally came home to be assembled. Anxious to get the car done, Jody called on people to come and help expedite the process. Driveway Performance came to do the interior and chassis harness, prepping the car for its new K20A2 motor—only to find that it had an incorrect mount. “After waiting for so long, it’s not a good feeling when you’re ready to finally drop that motor in and you have to wait even longer.” He called on Hybrid Racing, and the correct mount was sourced and the motor was finally bolted in. The next issue appeared when addressing the fuel setup, as Jody and crew ended up going through two sets of injectors before getting them to work properly. With the engine bolted in, they moved on to reassembling the interior. Unfortunately, Jody had the wrong set of seat brackets, causing even more of a delay as the correct ones were sourced.
These types of small delays aren’t really a big deal, but they can quickly add up, stealing time and patience. “After going to work, then getting off and working on the car till 4 a.m. and doing it all over again for two weeks, it was an amazing feeling to finish the car and get it running the day of the photo shoot.” Yes, you read that correctly, he finished the car on the actual day of his shoot. All of the long days and sleepless nights got the car finished, but Jody wasn’t able to address one very important thing: the registration! “I had to use a dealer tag from a car lot to make the shoot.” Although we at Honda Tuning Magazine do not condone that particular move, we do appreciate when an enthusiast’s passion and determination are so strong that they won’t allow anything to get in the way of reaching their goals. Kids, don’t try this at home.