Live the USDM life with a JDM Civic Coupe

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, right? Or maybe that should be the other side of the Pacific.

Some of you living in the United States probably feel a strong longing for a slice of authentic Japanese culture, but Yuya Kishi – “Park” to his friends – has taken a slice of American culture the size of New York, and not just with his cars.


Park lives in a house that looks like it was shipped straight from the set The Truman Show. That’s not far from the truth, as it was built by the same company that built Universal Studios Japan.

The house has an American-sized garage, which is undoubtedly a good reason to live there, but even more convenient for Park, who owns two Honda Civic Coupes – a rare model sold exclusively in the Japanese domestic market, but in the US is assembled. .


Why is Park so enamored with Americana? It all started in his teenage years, during which time he was influenced by peers who drove USDM cars and took him to lowrider shows in Osaka.

This particular JDM Civic Coupe was owned by a friend for over 15 years before Park got his hands on it. It had been a long-term show build that had evolved into more of a road car, but new responsibilities in life eventually took the fun out of it. Park soon picked up the Honda as an unfinished project.


Stock, the JDM EJ7 was just like any other mid-range EK Civic, with a D16A engine and CVT transmission as standard equipment. However, the body of the two-door coupe gave the model – in contrast to the design of the three-door hatchback and the four-door sedan – a different appearance. The same can be said of the earlier EG Civic Coupe.

While the 1996+ Civic Coupe was sold in a few levels (denoted by different EJ chassis codes) in the North American target market, only one model was exported new to Japan in a right-hand drive configuration.


Park’s example is more focused on fast roads than his other daily-drive EJ7 – a left-hand drive USDM EX Coupe (complete with Ferrari 360 Modena seats) that once called Florida home.


During the time Park owned his JDM EJ7, the car was stripped to reduce weight. Inside, there are Bride seats, TAKATA Racing harnesses and a large digital tablet, although the Civic does retain some factory creature comforts in the form of door cards, carpet and even the original Honda of America floor mats.


While the Civic is aimed at fast street use, the painted engine bay remains a reminder of the car’s history. The current B20B engine is the third Park has experienced in three years. It has a lofty target of 186mph for the Honda, so there are bound to be a few mechanical casualties along the way.


Third time lucky, the current block is built with Wiseco forged pistons and an Eagle crankshaft. The TODA cam equipped cylinder head is ported to accept additional airflow from the Skunk intake plenum. Engine management tasks fall to a Link G4X.


Right now, Park says the engine makes almost 250 horsepower, with another 50 horsepower available at the touch of a button and a switch. Yes, of course it has NOS!

In his quest for 200mph glory, Park has fitted a longer ratio 5th gear into the Civic’s gearbox, but a K-Tuned shifter makes it a pleasure to shift through all the gears forward when taking the car to the street. goes up. Cusco coilovers soak up all the bumps at high speed.


One of the car’s coolest features are its wheels: a rare set of 15×7-inch center-locking Hayashi Racing Super Streets wrapped in Toyo Proxes R1R rubber.


This Civic Coupe build feels Kanjo racer in spirit but executed in an OEM+ manner. It’s a fun little car that surprised me when Park pressed the accelerator, the torquey B20B engine immediately coming to life, without the hesitation that comes with turbocharging.


A true hero of Japanese performance cars, the Civic platform is legendary in its own right. Ironically, one of the coolest JDM models wasn’t built in Japan.

Toby Thayer
Instagram _tobinsta_

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