Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we hit the archives and take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars, this week it’s Aaron Gemmell’s juiced Honda Civic EK from way back in 2014…
Hydraulics belong on lowriders and show cars, right? Try a 200bhp, Integra-powered daily-driven tuned Honda Civic EK instead!
You’ve gotta love the EK Civic. This is a car that’s approaching its 20th birthday and there’s probably more awesome models being built right now than ever before! That’s a pretty bold statement for something that’s been through every style and trend thinkable, but when you cast your eyes over Aaron Gemmell’s British-built masterpiece you’ll understand why.
The thing is, owning a Honda isn’t usually a one-time affair. Most Honda fans start their love story with an insurance-friendly model like the 90bhp EJ9, before working up to the full-fat VTi packing 160bhp and VTEC… Yo! They’re cheap, hugely reliable and easily modded – why wouldn’t you want a Honda in your life?
Aaron’s story is no different. Having owned multiple Hondas in the past (including another EK) he knew that chapter of his life wasn’t ready to be closed! A little over 18-months ago, Aaron took delivery of a facelift EK in Aqua Mint Opal, bone stock and in pretty good nick for a 14-year-old car. The plan was never to build it into something stunning, but like most great builds, that idea soon went out of the window.
At first Aaron focused on cleaning up the exterior and interior, generally giving it a tidy up and making it a bit more unique, without taking it off the road. But this wasn’t good enough for the serial Honda tuner, and before he knew it, the bodywork was being prepped for nearly a full re-spray. Go big or go home…
“I ended up getting the majority of it re-sprayed, and that made me REALLY fall for it!” explains Aaron. “After that things just started escalating. I wanted more power, so the motor was swapped for a B18C6 from an Integra Type-R – with a little help from my Dad. The power was great, but that meant the brakes needed sorting too, and while I was replacing those it seemed rude not to do the anti-roll bars and bushes too. It was kinda lucky that I had a work van to use as the Civic was spending a fair amount of time on the driveway!” he laughs.
One of the biggest and most-defining mods for Aaron was the suspension. Hydraulics aren’t your usual choice on any hatchback – let alone a B18-equipped Civic – but having spent over a year riding hard slammed, Aaron was rapidly getting fed up of smashing his arches, front lip, exhaust and underside. It’s not an easy decision to ditch coilovers on such a well-spec’d motor, but when you’re London-based and want the ultimate lows, you can’t beat a Juiced setup.
“The hydraulics… yeah they were pretty tedious to fit, but if you know what you’re doing it’s not impossible,” Aaron adds. “The ride is stiff and you sort of have to guess your ride height when on the move, but that’s a small price to pay with all the positives hydros give you. In fact, we would’ve got stuck doing this shoot had I still been on coilovers! Sure the Honda community has a mixed view on ‘em, but it’s my car, and the ability to lower or raise it over ten-inches is well worth it,” he says.
With the hydros installed Aaron could now perfectly stance those gorgeous CCW LM16 rims – one of just a few sets in the UK fitted to a Civic giving a proper classy look. If you’ve never heard of CCW, these US-based wheel manufacturers produce some of the best rims money can buy. Sure they’re not cheap, but if you want to create a fresh EK Civic you need to think outside the box.
“I spoke with CCW for around two hours to figure out the best possible fitment on my car,” says Aaron. “I had to sacrifice half-an-inch of dish up front due to the 282mm brakes which sucked, but other than a few degrees of camber they’re a great fit. To be able to drive the car without worrying about smashing the arches or damaging the rims makes all the difference – yeah it’s got the looks but it’s still 100 percent useable!” he confirms.
Even with the Civic now featured, Aaron has zero plans to stop modding it anytime soon, with his next tasks being a smoothed engine bay, full audio install and new seats up front. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m mega happy with how it looks now, but seeing as I’ve accepted it as a proper project, it makes sense to keep going!” laughs Aaron. “Bar the paint and exhaust I’ve done all the work by myself with a little help from my dad. It’s nice to look at the car and think, ‘I’ve built that.’”
With several show trophies already under his belt and big plans in the future, you can guarantee you’ll be seeing a LOT of this quality EK again!
TECH SPEC Honda Civic EK
B18C6 conversion, AEM V2 intake system, Custom Solidfab 4-2-1 manifold, and exhaust with N1 tip, S2000 clutch master cylinder, Bolts-Bolts S2k CMC spacer, fuel filter tuck kit, dress-up washers, bolts and spike nuts & stainless nuts, Fibreworx carbon plug cover, OEM rocker cover powder-coated pink, mapped P30 H-tune ECU, launch control/shift light, H-Tune 0BD2-0BD1 conversion harness, S80 gearbox 4.7FD LSD, Exedy stage 2 clutch and lightened flywheel, poly linkage bushes
Rayvern Hydraulics kit, Buddy club adjustable camber arms (front), Skunk 2 adjustable camber arms (rear), Skunk 2 rear lower control arms (gold), ASR chassis brace (gold)
OEM DC2 ARB with extended droplinks, Password JDM strut bar, CCW LM16 wheels, Integra Type-R 282mm/262mm calipers, MGZR 4×100 grooved discs, Ferodo DS2500 pads, HEL lines
Mugen rep poly front lip, EK9 rear lip, EK9 grille, EK9 rear number plate recess, carbon Spoon, spoiler, deleted rear wiper/badges, smooth front bumper, front fogs lights, JDM rear lights, Bolts-Bolts USDM amber sidelight conversion, all arches rolled and sealed, Bolts-Bolts motorized flip-up plate holder, colour coded OEM Aqua Mint Opal, Team Heko wind deflectors
OEM grey leather seats, EK9 dash, double-DIN facia, 300mm broadway mirror, OEM DC2 duel bend shifter & gear knob, Grip Royal steering wheel with NRG snap-off, OEM floor mats
Pioneer headunit with App radio, 12in Kicker solobaric subwoofer, JBL 1000w amp JBL 800w amp, Hertz component speakers & 6x9s, Rockford Fosgate power capacitor
Words Mark Riccioni Photos Dan Pullen