Level Up: Arif’s Honda Civic – The Final Form?

Ah yes, another photoshoot in the bag – and a rather special one at that. This one is of Arif’s Civic and it’s been quite a long time since we’ve gotten together to shoot. Lots has changed since the last time we shot it and there always seems to be a period of several years between our shoots and while it feels like it’s only been a year or two – this time it’s been 4, and prior to that, it was 5 years. Here’s the link to the Fall shoot we did some time ago if you’re interested:


This time was special – no, not because we had a candlelit dinner with Jina-spec entrees or anything like that. Don’t get any wrong ideas. It was because this time when Arif asked me for a shoot – he was able to get access to CH Toyota all to himself on a Sunday and one other person. Luckily, that other person was me. You don’t really think about shooting inside a dealership until you’re asked to shoot inside a dealership. I’m not going to say it’s a rare opportunity because I’m sure many others have the same ability to do so, but it doesn’t come around all too often.

It’s an eerie place when it’s empty and there aren’t salesmen walking around, or phones ringing, or machines running and tools banging. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. There’s no pressure to say “no thanks, I’m just looking” or “umm, I’ve got an appointment at 3?”. You could stand and stare at that 4Runner TRD Pro all day if you wanted without the pressure of someone asking you questions. Speaking of 4Runner’s… Before we get on with this pic-heavy post, there was one gem sitting in the showroom that I was able to snap pics of with nobody around to bother me…

This 1,000,000 km 4Runner. Yup, one million…

The interior – despite the mileage – was in fantastic shape. The seats looked better than most used cars you’d find that have 100k on the odometer. Although the steering wheel has taken quite a beating, it hasn’t stopped the car from running.

A shot of the back seats and carpet – still quite immaculate.

And just look at the condition of the body and paint. This could pass as an old, low km car if you judged a book by its cover.

Some of the suspension components have been replaced as expected, but the rest of the car still looks great.

The original wheels – although scathed and starting to age beyond repair still holding strong.

And finally – a shot of that odometer just to prove it. Man… Glad I got to see this.

And so now as we move on and Arif gets the car ready, I took a couple shots of the inside of CH Toyota – when the lights are off and everything is at peace.

The M3 kind of out of place… But adds to the picture as decoration…

So we begin… Arif’s car in the flesh. Very different than 4 years ago when we shot it and very much evolved into something better.

A lot of the shots I took were with the lights off. I felt it gave a very unique feel with a slight blue colorgrade added to it. Almost like it was in the pits getting ready to do some hot laps…

One of the most notable changes are his yellow CE28’s which demand a lot of attention to the car.

Arif said that he had the car all cleaned and ready to go on Friday when he was confirming if we were still good to shoot on Friday. My mistake was believing him. I took this pic and for a split second, I second-guessed what I saw through the viewfinder only to have my doubts confirmed when I reviewed the picture again after taking it.

“Arif – I think you need to clean your wheels again” I said. Arif gave a hesitant “what?” trying to sound like he didn’t know what I was talking about even though he knew damn well. “Your wheels are still dirty here…” I replied again. “You know what, I’m just going to leave it so that you can take a picture and call me out cause I know you will” he says. Deep down – I know that he thought his wheels were as clean as could be. Why else would he have left his car in the dealership overnight and not drive it there on the day of the photoshoot? Because he didn’t want it to get dirty. This is the problem with multi spoke wheels, man. You clean the top half of the spokes because you’re looking down on them but you always miss the underside. As Arif reads this, I know going forward he’s going to start cleaning the underside of the spokes. Mistakes happen.

One of my favourite additions to Arif’s car is the newly retrofitted headlights done by Aldrich. Rich has done many retrofits for our friends cars and they’ve always come out impeccable. It’s a much appreciated update for older cars with halogen reflector headlights and if done nicely, it can look very OEM. No unnecessary LED bars or strobing/changing colours all over the place – just a nicely placed projector and housing.

Another notable change is the BYS bumper. Another welcome addition to bring the package together nicely.

Interior wise – not much has changed. Good ol’ Tigger still hanging from the cage as you can see by his tail…

Lots of big changes as I go through these pictures – another is the Project Mu big brake kit you see behind the yellow CE’s. Surprisingly a very fitting colour combo.

This photo in the washbay had a sort of neckbreaking angle but I liked it. Also, Arif was holding the hose that you see over to the right of the picture there. Just thought I’d give credit where credit is due…

Getting set up to move around

In my opinion, Arif’s car has really “grown up” in the sense that it’s evolved from a “boy-racer” look to a more sophisticated and rounded out look. The much tamer Seeker wing, the BYS bumper, the clean retrofitted headlights and the J’s hood.

Another addition are the Tracklife Composites fenders. A much more aggressive look up front.

The TiBurnt valve stem caps with Project Mu and Volk.

The panda theme that Arif had going on for a long time is more or less gone. Everything is paint matched now – the hood, the roof. The only “black” you see now is the naked carbon accents on the lip and the side mirrors.

Close up of the BYS badge on the front lip…

Another shot of the retrofitted headlights

The bolts holding the hood latch are a gold titanium. A nice touch to match the wheels IMO…

Under the hood now sits a K20 that replaced the F20B which was the heart of Arif’s Civic since I’ve known him.

One of my favourite pieces under the hood was this titanium hood rod.

Mugen bolts…

The rear of Arif’s civic also sports new LED tail lights with a slight smoked finish as well.

Inside, the iconic STACK cluster

Quick intermission – the owner of CH Toyota’s Ferrari sitting in the corner collecting dust… I mean, my house is free to let it “collect dust” too, ‘namsayin…

Getting ready to move to the final area…

I think a lot of my favourite shots were done here in the tire storage area. We’re lucky that he was able to squeeze in nicely. That’s what she said.

I dubbed this “Speedhunter” style… It was unintended but I guess I achieved it nicely lol.

Getting some higher angle shots shows the awesome lines of the J’s Racing hood…

Another shot. Menacing.

OK last one I promise… Once again, good job Rich!

A shot of the cut off – the most important part. Check that blue/purple.

The teaser shot I posted earlier this week… My favourite shot of the bunch still.

And just a few random shots before we ended it for the morning…

Time to hit the track…

Hope you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed shooting it! It’s nice not having the pressures of people and other cars around – although not huge pressure – it’s still distraction and things you need to work with. An empty dealership and all the time you need provides ample opportunity to get a multitude of shots. Adios!

Rolling Shots: Team Silver

Last night I was editing some pictures of Errol’s S2000 to post up and that’s when Brad reminded me (complained) that I hadn’t posted the other rollers yet. I know I said I was going to, but I honestly forgot… Even after editing Errol’s pic because the rolling shots were in the same folder lol.

Anyways – I *THINK* that I subconsciously neglected to edit these mainly because I’m not 100% happy with them. The main reason being that the backdrop is really not that special and there’s random buildings and stuff that just suck. This would have been awesome if it was on the highway with mountains or something because the lighting was fairly good and it gives it a good night time feel, but maybe I’m just being picky… Perhaps we’ll do another shoot this year with some better planning. In any case, some may look familiar with a slightly different angle, but there are a few other ones that I left till now.

In case you haven’t seen it… Here are the two parts to their shoots:

Brad’s K20 EM1

Errol’s Amuse S2000

These shots were done a little earlier in the evening and you can see the sun setting in the back

I liked all of this shot except for the traffic up front. The rain clouds mixed with the sunset made for a great background.

From JC’s car… I was contemplating cloning out that Saturn but I didn’t feel the need to last night. Now I regret it. lol

Tim Lee’s Supercharged Honda Civic

Sorry for the delay in posts lately… It’s another burst of busy for me lately and I haven’t had much time to sit down and do much blogging. Not to mention it’s also officially super shitty outside with the snow outside now. We got our first dump this weekend and it’s sticking around now for a while. The number one thing I hate hearing on the radio or the news is “There is a snowfall warning in effect” because it makes it so much more worse than it actually is. Sure, we’re getting 15cm or snow throughout the weekend but if they would just say exactly that – “We are expecting approximately 15cm of snow from Saturday through to Sunday”, then people wouldn’t be all scared and butthurt drivers. It sounds exponentially better than “There is a snowfall warning for this Saturday and Sunday and we are looking at getting 15 cm of snow”. Warnings in general make people freak out. It seems like for the past few years, they like to put out warnings every week… If it was 50cm of snow, then I’d be cool with it.

Anyways – the end is also coming to all of the photoshoots that I was in such a hurry to do a month or so ago. They’ve gone so quick and it’s not even December yet lol! I say it for every one that I post up but this is also one of my favourite shoots from the year – that’s not to say the other ones I’ve shot weren’t good, but it’s hard to separate great builds from other great builds, if you know what I mean. For example, if we put the last few Honda’s that I’ve shot against each other in terms of the best build – it wouldn’t be an easy choice. In fact, I’d probably spend days upon days thinking about it and when I finally do reach a decision, I’d probably end up changing it again anyways. That’s how awesome these cars are IMO and it’s a shame that they haven’t gotten much recognition. Maybe they don’t want it, but I’m happy that I can share a bit of it with everyone.

The last Honda photoshoot of 2013 for me was Tim lee’s S/C K20 Honda Civic. This, like all the other ones I’ve shot is quite a rare sight to see. Of all of them, I think I’ve seen this a total of once in my life, and that was at the illmotion Sunday School Show & Shine. Before that, I had never seen it and I have never heard of it… That’s how often Tim takes it out. It’s one of those cars that are just built so perfectly and put together so meticulously that you want to drive it so much that you just don’t – if that makes any sense.

As you scroll through the pics you’ll just see how immaculate the car is. The paint still looks like it was just painted yesterday, the pieces are all in perfect condition and it’s just really refreshing to look at and take it all in. It’s a work of art, really. Some people build cars because they want to drive it for what it was built for. Others do it to create masterpieces that might be best left alone – maybe drive it around the block once or twice. Whatever the case may be, Tim’s car is the perfect example of that type of art.

Inside the cockpit is a Spoon steering wheel but what part of the car even looks like it’s been used? Tim’s car is one that will age by the year, but will remain aesthetically pristine. Every other part on the interior are all replaced with JDM eg6 parts.

Nothing but wet paint on the outside. All put together perfectly – almost like Honda would have built it. The Spoon wing out back, wings west front lip and type R sides and rear lips are perfect to finish the exterior off.

Behind the Spoon SW388’s are Spoon twin blocks. The word “Spoon” will probably be used a hundred times in this post.

I actually really loved his license plate. Translation from Chinese to English is literally “No Money” – which is what this lifestyle will mean if you are involved in it. This is probably one of my favourite vanity plates of the ones I’ve seen because it’s so true and funny haha… And to top it off, he’s got Mugen bolts holding that plate on.

Can’t forget about the Spoon seats. What would this build be without Spoon seats?

Oh and Asimo too. Honda boys need Asimo.

It doesn’t stop on the outside. Under the hood is a Comptech supercharged K20. Tim’s car was originally owned by Terry – owner of the turbocharged K20 ITR I shot not too long ago. When Terry owned it, he was the one that did the K20 swap. Once Tim took ownership, he finished it off by adding the supercharger and finally adding all the Spoon goodies on it.

Not too far from the shoot location, there was a brand new warehouse. We initially found it when we shot Hoang’s car but we were hesitant to go in because we were afraid there was some alarm system guarding the place even though it was unlocked. This time, we decided we’ll just give it a shot – if anybody came by and asked us what we were doing, we would just say we were taking some pics, the door was unlocked, and so we decided to go in quick. Take a peek at how prime this spot is.

There were multiple doors we could go through and we just had to pull the chain to get in. It reminded me of the scene in 2Fast2Furious where all the cars are in the bay and they rush out afterwards…

Nathan and I were parked outside.

Side profile. Love the stance on this.

Lighting was nice in this spot. It was a little harsh against the white drywall but it worked well with his all black car.

The lighting made for awesome detail in his VIS carbon hood.

Overhead shot of Tim’s engine bay. Super clean.

Head on.

Look at how great those SW388’s fit.

View from the back. So immaculate… I love the look of perfect black paint. Now is a good time to note that Tim also got the car repainted in the NSX’s Berlina Black. Perfectttt

On the way out.

Rolling in the sunset to finish Tim’s awesome photoshoot off. This was a gooder.

Thanks to Nathan again for helping set this one up as well and for Tim for coming out! Always a good time.

Hoang’s K20 Honda Civic Coupe

Back to regular broadcasting as we are nearing the end of the week. It’s been quite the busy week for me with more appointments for getting stuff done with the house and the wedding. For those of you that care in the least bit, I’m happy to say that Diana and I have finally sealed the deal on a venue for next year.  That was the most stressful part of the “wedding planning” stage so far because if we didn’t lock in a venue, the wedding wasn’t going to happen. After that, everything usually falls into place with some coordinating here and there. Next up are save the date cards and that should be it until it gets closer to the day.

As for our house – the footing and cement is done and we’re expecting the framing to be up by mid November. At the pace that they’re going, it’s quite possible that our possession date will be sooner rather than later, but we’ll hold tight until then. We’ve got a few more appointments to pick out the last remaining items and then we just wait… You’ll probably end up seeing more posts of the progress on here as the winter months come…

Anyways – enough of my life story for now – the time has come for Hoang’s Civic! I was super pumped to finally shoot it and now I’m super pumped to post the pics. I’ve been wanting to shoot it ever since I met Hoang and his Civic in 2010 during Driven when he entered with illmotion. The most attractive feature of Hoang’s car for me was the J’s Racing GT wing. It was the first EK coupe that I’ve seen with a GT wing and I had, and always will have a soft spot in my heart for J’s Racing parts. His car was on Mugen MF10’s and it was just so mint. Many of the EK coupes that I see are usually done up in a very simplistic way – much like Brad’s Civic and it just works well that way. However, when you turn the tables a full 180 to an aggressive track-inspired look, it looks equally as good and Hoang’s is exactly that.

Here is a shot of his car that I took during that show from 2010. You’ll see that not much has changed besides his wheels. It’s also been 3 years since this shot and the car has not aged one day.

On route to our location.  Looking aggressive from the front.

View from the back. I know what you might be thinking with his license plate – I thought the same. But I’ll explain later…

Hoang’s EK looked perfect rolling in the sunset. The blue was just perfectly match with the sky.

Now you can see why I said it’s track-inspired theme looks so good. There are a bunch of retrofitted parts on Hoang’s Civic that make it unique. If memory serves me right, the carbon canards and lip additions are from an M3 body kit and fitted on.

Another shot with the awesome lighting. It was cold as hell that day though.

Front quarter shot – shows the aggressiveness that the J’s Racing wing adds.

I just want to add her that Hoang’s car is an absolute garage queen – much like a lot of the other cars that will be posted up soon. He doesn’t drive it often, but he does go out into his garage to wipe it down every few days – that dust can be a silent killer… 🙂

Like I mentioned before – I love that these guys are coming out to let me shoot because they really just spend a lot of their lives in the garage so you don’t see them often. Having them come out to play for a bit is even better!

Side profile shot. Also note the addition of the Spoon diffuser as well…

His immaculate engine bay with a lovely K20 sitting in there. Funny now that I think about it – all of the Honda’s that I’ve shot lately are either K20’s, FI K20’s, or just straight up FI.

There is Hoang wiping down the bay for the shot above. Nathan and JC hang out. I felt bad because it was clean before the shoot and I had him enter a warehouse near there and it dusted up the whole car. I felt even worse when he was saying he was trying not to brake on the way to this location because he didn’t want brake dust all over his wheels.

The signature J’s Racing teal valve cover.

J’s racing strut bar.

Signature of authenticity 🙂

The J’s Racing wing that made me fall in love with the car the first time I saw it. Funny story behind it – when Speedtech was still open, I was talking to Jackie about his plans with his S2000 and I talked about my plans with my Civic and we eventually stumbled across the topic of GT wings. Jackie’s S2000 was sporting the 1700mm wing he still has today and I was saying how much I loved it and wanted one – not knowing I would have soon traded my TE37’s for his brother, Dal’s J’s Racing wing. Jackie said he had a smaller J’s Racing wing before that and ended up selling to his buddy with an EK. He showed me a pic and unbeknownst to me, it was Hoang’s.

And so, here it is today. Still in pristine condition and one of the only EK coupes that I’ve seen with a GT wing without looking gaudy.

Back to the Spoon diffuser. The age of retrofitting parts made for other cars remains. For those of you that happen to have an EK and happen to have tried or have successfully retrofitted an S2000 Spoon diffuser if you also happened to have one, know that the diffuser is too long for the back end. You ultimately have two choice – man up and cut the diffuser to “make” it fit or sell the diffuser altogether. Hoang, in this case, is a handyman – he went with the first choice of manning up and cutting the diffuser. He also went an extra mile and found an even better way of making it work and look clean cut…

The end that Hoang cut is now covered with another carbon “cup” to hide it up and give it a more polished and finished look. That “cup” is actually also from an M3 carbon lip that he also cut and fitted to the diffuser.  I, too would also rather cut an M3 lip to make a Spoon diffuser look better.

It’s hard to see but if you could touch the seam, it is smooth as butter. It’s almost like it was molded on or was an additional piece that Spoon provided if you wanted to use it or something. Great job to Hoang for that.

Wheel/brake set up upclose. Volk TE37’s paired with twinblock Spoon brakes. Again, if you’re a diehard detail fan – you’ll notice the full titanium T1R lugnuts. You’ll also know they aren’t cheap at all lol.

Paying more attention to detail, he’s got J’s Racing tow hooks up front and out back and if you’re really scrutinizing this pic – you’ll see he used a Mugen bolt to hold the diffuser to the body… Love it.

One of the shots I posted on Facebook from the night I shot his car.

And from the back. I feel like the Spoon diffuser is a perfect addition to the wing now. At Driven, it didn’t have the diffuser and it looked a bit naked, but still awesome.

As for his license plate – I know every one of you is reading it exactly how it sounds and are probably thinking that it’s got something to do with how high something is or how his car shits on yours. Yes his wing is high, and yes it probably shits on yours but it’s not what it means. It’s actually read as “HIS HAT” in conjunction with his wife’s car’s license plate – “HER HAT”. “HAT” is the first letter of his, his wife, and his daughters name. It’s a very personal plate but I couldn’t help but ask what it meant because I was always reading it wrong. I admit that as I write this, I’m still sounding it out in my head wrong. But now you know…

And to end it off, I always like to finish with another roller. I absolutely loved this shoot, not just because of the car but because Hoang is really one down-to-earth dude. Extremely humble and easy-going – it’s hard not to appreciate him and the work he’s done on his car. Thanks to Nathan for helping set this one up as well and once again to JC for being my chauffeur for the last few shoots because I’m lazy as F.

Sad to say that another one is in the bag. I’ve retired for the year from shoots because it’s getting super chilly now and the sun goes down faster than we can shoot. Looks like it’s going to be a long winter, people… Brace yourselves.