A majority of today’s Honda builds on the East Coast lean toward race-oriented modifications. They’re everywhere, from the sunny streets of the west to east of the Appalachian Mountains, speed is often considered the holy grail of vehicle building. However, many of these go-fast builds lose their daily driver status in a somewhat relentless effort to shave milliseconds off their time slips. Steven Brown, of Florida, has landed himself in the fast lane before. Previously the proud owner of a 400hp STI, he knows all about pushing the performance envelope. With that being said, Steven’s focus this time around, in regards to the ’93 CX you see pictured, was that of a well-rounded nature. A far cry from 400 fire-breathing ponies, his Honda is currently pushing somewhere in the neighborhood of 165hp, but the power numbers are only one piece to this well-devised puzzle. His goal was a ride that would earn the respect of those well acquainted with his modifications as well as those who were not so familiar with his upgrade choices.
The build started in 2008, and Steven was happy to be behind the H-badge once again. He’d solely driven Hondas before the stumble in the world of Subarus. The first order of business on this EH2 involved a generous coating of a custom version of Sage Green Metallic, which was mixed and sprayed by Steven himself. He works as a private contractor for the U.S. military, and the Navy was kind enough to lend him their paint booth. Simple bolt-on goods and a new set of wheels landed the Civic in the “clean” category, but it wasn’t long before a B16A was scooped up at a bargain rate. However, the project began to idle. “My whole plan for the car was to go cheap and look nice,” he says. Then he attended Import Face-Off in 2010 and took home first place for the Honda category. “I pretty much just went there to hang out and see some races.” Elated from the surprise victory, Steven plunged headfirst into the build.
A quick glance at the engine bay and it’s obvious that a healthy amount of time and money were invested. The overall process, though quite common by today’s standards, was not as smooth as the shaved engine bay appears. Steven was knowledgeable about the process and liked the look of some of his friends’ builds. He did some research online, but he mainly relied on his friends’ cars as examples, or loose reference guides. He adapted techniques and tricks that he liked and improved upon those that he did not. Three weeks of long hours and hard work got the engine bay to a point of satisfaction. A long list of materials, including DuraGlass fiberglass filler, Rage Xtreme body filler, and Smart premium finishing putty played a part in the finished product, but not before tragedy struck. Steven felt the need to perform a basic rough sand and apply a new clear coat toward the end of the process, after already having sprayed five layers of base paint and three layers of clear coat. A contaminant prevented the last clear coat from laying down evenly. Essentially, Steven was left with no choice but to start over. “This was a long process, and I probably won’t do it again,” he laughs.
The ultra-clean engine bay is matched by a pristine exterior that includes a few mods that you may not notice at first glance. One of which is the custom headlight setup. A local light specialist, well known for creating custom HID combos, took the OEM headlight housings and mated them to Infiniti G35 ballasts and Audi projectors for a clean, crisp view. “Not a lot of people notice them, but they’re just one of those things you have to keep an eye out for.”
The best part about this build is that Steven performed all of the work himself, with the majority of the project being completed in his garage. He painted every single body panel and exterior part on the EH2—some parts painted in the Navy’s paint booth and others sprayed in his driveway. He rebuilt the engine, stopping short of completely tearing down the bottom end. He installed the entire engine and transmission upgrades, and even reupholstered the interior with a slick digital camouflage theme. All of his hard work and dedication needed to be displayed, and Steven knew just the place—Import Face-Off 2011. While some eat scoops of ice cream with cake on their birthday, Steven scoops up first-place trophies. Though he’s modest when discussing his build, it’s rare to find an enthusiast who literally builds a car on their own, including the paint and body duties.
Shortly after the photo shoot, Steven began sourcing a number of Spoon upgrades for his EH, including 16-inch SW388 wheels and four-pot calipers. His only plans are to keep the car clean and keep progressing. Like any Southern gentleman, Steven has a little advice he’d like to dispense to help others along their journey. “Build your car how you like. It’s the unique things people do to their own cars that get attention and respect.”