Simon Lynn’s camber angles have really been grinding people’s gears. And we would say ‘Come on, it’s just a bit of fun,’ if this hardcore Civic wasn’t so darned serious…
First impressions count for a lot. If you turn up drunk the first time you meet the in-laws, that’s something they’ll remember forever – the real, sensitive you won’t matter, you’ll always just be a disreputable scumbag. And imagine if your first ever McDonald’s burger was a Filet-o-Fish – that’d put you off the franchise for life, and you’d never discover the timeless magic of Big Macs and banana milkshakes.
The point is this: while most of you are a pretty tolerant bunch, there’s bound to be a number who’ll look at this EK Civic’s aggressive camber, think ‘No way, that’s ridiculous’, and flip to another page. And that would be a damn shame, and entirely your loss, as this outrageous creation is one of the most carefully crafted and beautifully finished Hondas we’ve seen in some time.
The story becomes even more intriguing when you realise how canny its owner, Simon Lynn, has been about putting the thing together. Every single part on the car has been sourced either through Facebook or from breakers’ yards, with parts being paid for by selling off the stockpile of parts he’d accumulated for his old EP3 Type R. The purpose of this EK was simply to have a bit of fun without blowing loads of cash, but you’d never know it from the trophy-winning finish.
Simon’s automotive back-story is studded with modded motors, as you’d expect, with the most significant being the mint-green EP3, which he stripped to a bare shell with the intention of building the ultimate road-going Type R… but after the finished product had been on the road for a couple of years, he was itching for another project to dive into. And that’s how this EK came about.
“Everything basically fell into place at the right time,” Simon explains. “I was looking for a project around the same time that this EK was due to be scrapped. It had previously been a show car, and had not long been painted externally, but the guy had sold it on, it’d been stripped for parts, and it was really just the bare shell left. So I chucked in an offer! My good friend Jorge who I share my unit with had an EK Civic as a daily car which had just failed its MOT; the perfect car to take all the necessary parts I needed to get this shell back up and running.”
When you consider the magnitude of the task, this is really quite impressive: Simon’s new ‘car’ (and we have to use the inverted commas, as it really wasn’t a car in any meaningful sense) had no engine, loom, interior, lights, wheels, suspension, it really was just a shell on blocks. The ultimate Meccano set, if you like – expect without any instructions, and he had to find all the bits himself.
“I made a deal with Jorge for all the parts I’d need, then set off to collect the shell,” he says. “I had to take the suspension, hubs and wheels with me simply to build it up enough to get it on the trailer!” Getting it back to the unit and plonking it beside the other EK, the initial plan swiftly evaporated; while Simon had originally intended to simply swap the engine and interior into his car and drop it on some banded steels, he suddenly felt that he might be able to turn it into something better. So that’s exactly what he did.
Just to bamboozle the Honda nerds, the shell is a facelift one and the donor was a pre-facelift; rather than allowing this to complicate matters, Simon simply swapped everything in wholesale, taking the opportunity to tuck and hide as much of the wiring as possible, also relocating the battery out of sight. While the shell had enjoyed a slick exterior respray, its engine bay hadn’t been done, so Simon saw this as yet another opportunity for creative flair; scouring the wares on Graff-City (a graffiti supplies company), he picked out Cyan Gloss and ordered a bunch of rattle cans, which he used to paint the bay along with the whole interior. And it really does look incredible – it proves that quality materials are only half the battle, it’s quality work that pushes you over the top.
“Once the car was built up and rolling, it went on a set of 9- and 10-inch-wide Extreme Offset wheels,” says Simon, “and a few rides into town showed me the engine was definitely going to need to be raised! In the matter of fifteen miles it was pretty battered. The car was starting to come together and looked as though it could become something special, it just needed something different to set it apart from the rest.”
It’s at this point that GizFab enter the scene – a Skegness-based company who carry out custom fabrication work. Simon delivered the Civic to them along with an ambitious wishlist, and returned a week later to find some shiny new bits and lots of cunning mods on the car: shortened front camber arms, a shortened manifold and tucked-up exhaust centre section, the necessary engine raise, a 3” intake with Vibrant filter, turret tops re-welded, and a tie-down box fitted for the new battery location in the passenger footwell.
“At this point, I couldn’t help but think it needed a special set of wheels,” Simon continues. “A good friend of mine had just finished building some BBS for his EK coupé on hydros; he’d seen a new project car he wanted to buy, so after a few phone calls I was on my way to collect them. They barely fit on a car on hydros, let alone a static car! I bolted the wheels on and they were nowhere near fitting; with a lot more cutting and a lot more rolling we were just about there. But with a brief test-drive up the road, the car felt like it was ripping itself apart. After a bit of investigation it turned out that, thanks to the engine raise and extra camber, the driveshafts where binding, so my options were shortened shafts or more camber…and you know the answer to that one!”
With a quick shuffle through the parts store and another visit to GizFab, Simon found himself with the UK’s first Civic to be running double-digit negative camber on the front wheels, which also neatly solved the driveability issues. It’s one of those rare occasions when going more extreme makes the car more usable, and it all happened just in time for the car’s debut show, FittedUK. Sometimes things just work out, don’t they?
“The car is for show use only, and driving to and from and shows,” he admits. “The amount of attention it draws on the road is ridiculous though; I thought it was mad enough in a bright, loud, mint-green Type R, but this is on another level. Pull up in a petrol station and people follow you in to take photos. On one occasion, the pump operator wouldn’t activate the pump so I had to go in, and they asked if the car could even move! Yeah, obviously, I just drove it in here! There have been a few disasters along the way too, like losing my exhaust on the A1, running over splitters and totally folding front wings, but the end result has all been worth it. Yes, I only bought it as a budget build as a bit of fun, but once the modifying bug gets back in you, you can’t help yourself!”
Never a truer word spoken, it’s like having an evil worm in your brain. So it’s all the more impressive that Simon’s been so clever with this car – he always stayed true to the idea of having a bit of fun (despite the inevitable haters), and he never just threw money at it for the sake of it. It was done on a budget, but done right.
First impressions count, there’s no denying that. But with a car that makes this sort of impact, the lasting image is equally important. Simon pulled a shell from the jaws of the crusher and turned it into a show-stopper – love it or hate it, you’ll certainly remember it.
TECH SPEC: HONDA CIVIC EK
Full respray in Nardo Grey, Cyan Gloss interior and bay, smooth tailgate, all-red rear lights, Type R rear lip, USDM headlight kit, tilted Spoon carbon fibre duckbill spoiler
D14A4 1.4-litre SOHC, D16 inlet, custom 3” intake with Vibrant filter, 4-2-1 shortened manifold, billet engine mounts, custom engine raise, full Buddy Club Spec 2 exhaust system, aluminium radiator and slimline fan, Hybrid Racing oil cap, various dress-up bolts, JS Performance hoses
9.5×15” (front) and 10.5×15” (rear) BBS RM wheels, 185/45 (f) and 195/45 (r) tyres, BC coilovers with custom spring rates, extended lower control arms, shortened front spindles, Skunk2 Pro Series front camber arms – modified and shortened, rear camber arms shortened, Skunk2 rear lower control arms, BWR subframe brace
Takata bucket seats, ultra-low seat rails, Takata MPH-341 4-point harnesses, harness bar, rear strut brace, cargo net, fully stripped and painted Cyan Gloss, Momo wooden steering wheel and boss, Hybrid Racing gearknob
“Thanks to my wife Hayley, for putting up with my weird obsession of spending money on something you can barely use! Gizfab for the fab work, and the Ghettowxrkz fam.”
Words Dan Bevis Photos Slim Jules