A Nostalgic Moment…L.J. Garcia’s Feel’s Civic…

Hmm…I can’t help but wonder what LJ’s Civic is doing at some county fair sitting on top of a ply wood ramp…but a discussion recently over on the NWP4Life forums lead me to reminisce about L.J.’s hatchback….

Man, it’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 years since it debuted on the cover of the 2nd ever Import Tuner magazine. Back then no one had ever even heard of Francine Dee yet and Feel’s Twin Cam was a relative unknown to the U.S. Seems like such a long time ago. Almost reminds me of how long I’ve been involved with this hobby. Then I was still in high school and wasn’t driving anything Honda-related. I was already into the whole hobby though and loved sifting through Turbo magazine and the like, checking out cool rides and what people were doing to them. I actually remember the day that I picked up this issue. I was at a newly opened Albertson’s in Chula Vista, Cali. picking up some groceries with my mom. I wandered off into the magazine section to see what was new and grabbed an issue of Turbo. I don’t remember who was on the cover, I think it might have been a yellow Eclipse or something, but I do remember seeing Viet Lam’s hatchback in there. Anyway, while I was flipping through it, the Import Tuner issue caught my eye and I grabbed it and the issue of Turbo and purchased them before my mom could bitch at me about wasting my money.

I really didn’t know much about Hondas at the time because I had all my attention on Toyotas but the kit on Garcia’s hatch definitely caught my eye. I had never really seen a widebody kit before then and to see a Feel’s widebody kit blew my mind. Actually, I think Francine Dee was the one that made me blow my mind because I remember looking up her name and was linked to the old school 935draggers website and they had a bunch of nudes of her pre-boob job with the blond hair and all. This was before 935 went all commercial with the “gofast-r” campaign or whatever and before they bombarded their site with all that finestmodels garbage. The 935 site back then was just basically their team site and just had a bunch of random pics of naked asian “import models” and what not. I’m sure if you were around that time you were aware of the Francine Dee blond hair pics. Funny thing was I clearly remember looking at the pics and saying “damn, those are some beef curtains down there!” Right-click save. And I think a couple weeks ago I came across a recent Francine pic and I said: “damn, those are some beef curtains down there!” It was at that exact moment that I realized that my young life in the import community had come full circle and was nearing the 10 year mark. Right-click save….

Back to L.J.’s car….I have to say that I liked the car the most in it’s dark blue stage. That was when it was in it’s purist form and before all the 9, 932 sponsors ended up all over that thing. You can say that it’s ricey now, or maybe even back then. But at that time, the term “JDM” had little to no meaning to a majority of the people within the scene and extravagent bodykits were the way of the world. I’m sure you can remember all the colored vinyl interiors and bulky aero. I will say one thing I miss about that era though. Everybody had real deal wheels. None of that knock-off bullshit. You either had some Harts or Volks, occassionally but rarely Work wheels, and sometimes SSR’s. That or you had some Zennetti’s or O.Z.’s. No one had red GT3’s or Drag wheels or whatever. The aero may not meet today’s standards, but the wheels of that time probably exceed it just because of the sheer quantity of fake shit out there today.

L.J. Garcia was probably the first person to introduce a true widebody kit into the U.S. import show scene. Before this hatch came along, the only time you saw this Feel’s kit was in the japanese catalog. After this kit came out, every motherfucker and their cousin had these fenders on their cars. I mean, not just Honda’s,….everything. Toyota Tercels, Ford Escorts, Nissan Sentra, whatever. Everyone wanted to get in on this widebody trend and everyone was willing to make a copy of it and apply it to another car. I think it was almost as popular as the Buddy Club bumper during that time but it just didn’t match Buddy Club numbers because it was too labor-intensive. I also believe that L.J. was the first guy to rock 20-inch wheels on a Honda. But that happened after all the sponsors started pouring in. When it was in it’s cleanest stage it was still rolling on the Racing Hart C5’s….

It’s almost a little strange to see now how the over fenders fit. Most of the time, people that end up using these fenders will mold them to the bumper or at least extend them out to line up with everything. That’s actually the way it was intended to be by Feel’s Twin Cam….

Here’s the Feel’s kit on their own Civic. I honestly wonder what it was like in that room when they came up with this design…I wonder what motivated the guys to design such an aggressive front bumper…

This thing was a true example of a showcar back then. I can’t say I was a big fan of all the yellow, but that was L.J.’s theme and he stuck to it. After the repaint from when it was blue, I kinda stopped following the car as closely because it was just a little too much for me, even back then….

Damn, check that Spoon cluster…haha…

Say what you will about it now but it is definitely a staple in the history of the tuner era. So much so that it’s actually sitting on display today at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Imagine that, a widebody Civic hatchback on air suspension is apart of automotive history…

15 thoughts

  1. Man this is so classic to read. I can’t believe well over 10 years have passed for me in the import world. Damn I’m old. HAHA!
    “Right click save” Funniest part of the post cause I’m sure every guy out there has those pics on a hard drive somewhere.

  2. That brings back memories….I use to dream I’d own a Civic like that.

    LoL The Spoon cluster, yet he’s got the monster tach in the vent LOL…

    Love these Nostalgic posts, keep it up Joe!

  3. LJ also went on to build a 4-Door Civic that’s all yellow with massive flares/wheels.

    That thing didn’t catch on as much because pretty much every other import was like that after this Civic debuted.

  4. LoL ahh the days when imports blew up……

    That first picture if I recall, his car was taken out of “retirement” and taken to an event in the Cayman Islands…

  5. haha fuck yea i used to check out the old 935 too. throwback forel. i used to jock their 300z. i remember reading an article they posted about them racing a team in san diego called thrust. it was typed up in newspaper font and shit. that was like in ’98

  6. how about doing a post about all the “wizdom” cars. anybody remember lj’s blue eg hatch that got on the cover of sport compact car?

    • I actually saw a pic of the blue eg a week or so ago….I would do all the wizdom cars but it’s so hard to get a hold of any pics of them nowadays. Shit, it’s hard enough to find some cars from Techna and Hybrid from like 3-4 years back, let alone cars from over 10 years ago.

  7. Dude the memories!!!! I was sitting here just thinking of the good days when cars were in magazine(Print Publication say what?!?lol) when to be featured was a dream bro. This car was and always will stick out in my head for many years to come as it always has, I wasn’t even driving back then but my dad always brought home the magazines that he was selling at Advance, thanks for just putting a smile on my face man. In a Scene where individuality is gone, where hard work in being original was the thing to do and was respected. You hit the nail on the head as well with the Authentic wheels being on cars, I used to read these so much because I was too young to go too NOPI, & HIN. You said 10 years and I was blown away(reality check haha), I remember reading this exact car, when import tuner had plain white backgrounds and the finest models(Dying at the Meat Curtains lmfao too weak) and MaxBOOST being the thing I was on the hunt for more than anything haha Long ass comment but bro just thank you, Im so glad I cam across this.

  8. Seems like yesterday I first saw Francine Dee in that issue of Import Tuner. She retired from modeling late in 2013 at 35 years old. End of an era!

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