Back with picks 5-2 of The Chronicles Top Ten of 2010. I’m happy to see that the feedback overall has been very positive and people are excited to see the list. Let’s get it going because I’m sure many of you are anxious to see who occupies spots 5-2. Like every year, I save the number one spot for it’s own individual post and like last year, the final pick will be revealed on New Year’s day of 2011. Let’s go…
5. JDMYard/Yonas Liu’s “EGK24A”…
Why it made the list: I’ve been quietly following this build for most of the year and and I honestly feel like it deserves to be on the list. Various photos of it have popped up on the net this year but what many may not know is that this Austrailian Civic has been around for quite some time. It comes from outside of the U.S. but it’s a build that many guys over here greatly respect. It covers all aspects and is a very well-rounded build. The most current incarnation of this Civic is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing compared to year’s past and the pictures of it have made it a global sensation. Everybody that sees pictures of it instantly wants to know more about it, but have often times been unable to dig up more information on it simply because it’s from Australia.
The picture above is probably the picture you’re most used to seeing when you think of the JDMYard EG. The gray paint is a popular choice among other Civic owners as is the J’s Racing front lip and aggressive 949 wheels. The car just looks great. It’s a well-balanced and nothing is too over the top. It’s race-inspired look is exactly what guys want nowadays. While it’s appearance has garnered it worldwide attention, the best part of this build is that it performs every bit as well as it looks. To put it in more appropriate terms for everyone to understand: This car fucking moves….
In terms of pure functionality, there may be no other car on this list that is equal to what this build is capable of. It’s an all-motor K24-swapped hatchback that runs 11’s and doubles also as a road race vehicle. The JDMYard Civic does it all and looks amazing while doing it…
People often complain about guys being “hardparkers” and all this other bullshit. This Civic is proof that you can make a car look great and still be completely functional. Being that it’s from Australia really helps open our eyes to the fact that amazing Honda builds can come from all over the world. The JDMYard “EGK24A” has made us Americans look seriously into that country and what builds they have to offer. We tend to be a little narrow minded sometimes and only look to Japan for inspiration so it’s good that a build like this comes around to smack us in the face and force us to look outside our normal scope. If I told you that there would be a build on the list this year that’s not from North America, you would almost certainly think that it’s from Japan, with a very small number of you thinking possibly the U.K.
It’s a great eye opener and if there were only one car from outside our little world of Hondas that I would choose to be on the list, it would have to be this one. Like I stated in the previous post, this community, “scene”, or whatever you want to call it is bigger than us. Enthusiasts from all over the world are setting the bar higher every day and this build is living proof of that…West, east, Australia, United States, Japan, Europe, fucking Narnia, it doesn’t matter—this car is the shit.
4. Chris Sakai’s Civic/Angel Ramos’ S2000 (Tie)
If this pairing seems at all odd to you, it really shouldn’t. Let me explain. The picks are seeded this way for a particular reason. If the number 1 pick didn’t exist, then the number 2 pick would obviously be the best choice. If the number 1 & 2 choices didn’t exist, then the 3rd would be the best choice, and so on and so on. The fact that a tie randomly exists in the line-up shouldn’t matter. If this was the top spot, then both Chris Sakai and Angel would hold the crown equally. That’s how lists like this work. It’s definitely not brain surgery and should be easily understood. There’s no confusion right? Can we move on now?…
Why it made the list: Like Black Pie once told me; “It’s the Lamborghini of Civics”. It terms of pure execution, Sakai’s EK takes the cake. He and Fred Chapman developed a very specific look that they wanted for his rebuild and they pulled it off flawlessly. He went with an entirely new look for 2010 and rebuilt his whole car from the inside out. The K-swap, Rando aero, custom paint, and wrinkle black accents are all a product of careful planning to achieve this exact look. Sakai has had this car for 10 years now and completely tearing it down and starting over in its tenth year shows his dedication to his hobby. Like Arn’s Integra, he’s stuck with the same chassis throughout the years and continued it’s evolution. He’s never struggled to stay relevant because other guys are busy trying to catch up to him. This EK is “the Lamborghini of Civics” because it’s the pinacle of how this chassis should be done.
I had the opportunity to look at this Civic first hand at Wek’Fest earlier this year. It instantly caught my eye because it just has a presence that can’t be ignored. I talked to Chris and he said that there was more stuff that he wanted to finish up on it before the car would be shot for Honda Tuning. The “stuff” that he wanted to finish up on his EK was a custom sound system, something that most guys tend to overlook nowadays. Chris wanted a complete car and he meticulously covered all aspects. In terms of being a show car, he covers every category on the judging sheet and will win every time. If there’s a “Civic Class” at any car show, you might as well stay home because Sakai’s already got that award on lock. The only negative in 2010 for Sakai’s build was when he ran into some motor issues right after the annual Wek’Fest event. It was quickly corrected and he re-emerged by the summer. Fast forward to the end of 2010 and not only has it won awards in multiple events throughout the year, he also landed on the cover of the winter issue of Honda Tuning magazine. Chris has had a great 2010 and that’s why he belongs on this list.
Why it made the list: Because, in my opinion, it’s the best S2000 build of the year. In terms of S2000s making the list, it was down to either Angel or S2KJay’s S2K and I feel that Angels belongs on the list because it is a completely new build, whereas Jay’s was on the list the year before and I don’t think he’s finished yet in it’s current incarnation. So many S2000s look the same now. Everybody else has seemingly fallen in love with ASM aero and many of them look very much alike now because of that. Either that are they go with the Spoon aero and go for the complete catalog car look. It almost seems as if people are afraid to do something different because they think they’ll be looked down upon within that S2000 community. No body is really stepping out of the box like Angel. He’s taken all his favorite parts from many different aftermarket companies, added his own custom touches, and create an S2000 like no other.
Angel’s S2000 has an absolutely menacing appearance. I like the fact that he molded-in the front J’s Racing half bumper and also molded the rear over fenders to the body itself. It’s different and it flows very well. Though he’s pulled different parts from different manufacturers, he’s managed to make everything come together. Whenever it made an appearance at an event in 2010, it captured the attention of everyone there.
I grouped these two together because their year has basically paralleled one another. Whenever you saw Chris Sakai’s EK, you saw Angel’s S2000 so they came hand in hand. Even when we traveled up north to shoot Sakai’s Civic for it’s Honda Tuning feature, Angel’s S2000 sat patiently on the adjoining street. It’s fitting that these two are together because they represent the best in each of their respective classes. ATS Garage has put together some great builds over the years and these two are a excellent example of the quality product that they continue to create. Angel seems to have more planned for his project and from what he’s done so far, it should be something to look forward to. I think a mag feature is in his future as well. He makes the list this year just because it made such a huge presence upon its debut in 2010. 2011 looks to be a journey towards Angel’s continued success within the community.
3. ATS*Anh’s Acura Integra Type R…
Why it made the list: Anh’s ITR was probably one of the biggest debuts of 2010. The ITR itself was nothing new because Anh already had done some work to it previously, but it’s full rebuild and debut caught a lot of people by surprise. The whole build from that point on was kept under wraps and only guys within the crew or who were close to Anh or ATS knew about it. When it debuted at Wek’Fest early in 2010, it surprised a lot of people. I think he even won Best Integra that day. With the type of competition housed inside Wek’Fest, that’s huge and it says a lot about the quality of Anh’s build. I knew about the build personally because Anh randomly emailed me one day to tell me about it. He had said that I took a picture of his Integra at Eibach in 2009 and he wanted to inform me that he was working closely with Fred Chapman and Rywire on a complete rebuild. I didn’t really have any idea who Anh was at the time but I do remember his car and so I looked forward to the build. It’s rare for a build to be a secret of any sort nowadays because everyone wants their own shine so they create build threads, often times to build hype for their own projects. Anh and Fred went a different route and did the car first, and then presented the internet with a reverse build, where they debuted the car at Wek’Fest and then showed the build-up of it after. It was a cool idea actually and something that I most wouldn’t think to do.
The underlying theme of the car is pretty simple; black ITR with a brightly contrasting candy teal scheme. Like Chris Sakai’s build, it is in the execution of the theme that makes this ITR great. Anh also graced the cover of Super Street’s annual Honda issue, which is a great honor. Being that his car was fairly new and Anh was still relatively unknown, the Super Street cover instantly made him a household name within the community. Now he’s already begun work on the next stage of his build, collecting baller ass parts like his new ASM Recaro seats and J’s Racing hood.
I place him slightly ahead of the other two ATS Garage cars because Anh’s build came out of nowhere, and from the beginning of the year on, it was easily the best Integra of 2010. No other Integra really stood out when in comparison to Anh’s build. Sakai’s Civic was already pretty popular in the Honda community, even before he tore it down and rebuilt it, so people expected great things from him already. Expectations were there for Sakai’s Civic and he easily exceeded them. Both are built with a lot of similarities and if you were to pit the two against one another at a show, it could be a toss up any day of the week as to who would win. Angel’s S2000 came out of nowhere like Anh’s build, but Anh’s was in more of a completed state and when you break it down, his build has many more layers and is more well-rounded. In the end they are all at the top of their class, I just feel that Anh’s was able to have a bigger impact in 2010 while a build like Angel’s has yet to see it’s full potential. Sheepey held the Integra crown in 2009 and this year, it was a landslide for Anh. That’s why it holds the number 3 position on the list.
2. Bisimoto’s Honda Civic Wagon and Honda CR-Z…
Why it made the list: Does this really need to be answered? The question really shouldn’t be why it’s on the list but more to do with why the CR-Z is on the list along with the Wagon. I’ll get into that later but let’s talk about the Civic Wagon first.
Bisi is a super nice guy and too much of a businessman to ever say it, but the Wagon was built as a big “fuck you” to the people that thought he couldn’t build anything but all motor single cams. That’s pretty much the story of how the Wagon came to fruition. Somebody from another well-known tuning company was talking shit one day and Bisi wanted to prove the guy wrong. According to the guy, Bisi only built N/A single cam motors because it was “all he knew”. Instead of doing something on a more popular chassis, he went and decided to build up a wagon because it was the most absurd platform possible to build up his 700+ horsepower boost motor in. As you can see, his gameplan worked out as planned and he quickly quieted his critics. The wagon makes the list and holds the number 2 position because it’s one of the great stories of 2010. Need I remind you that it’s a 700 horsepower Honda Civic Wagon?! You just can’t make up shit like this. Bisi is one of the great minds in our industry and building this wagon proves that he is not only capable of anything, he’s got a sense of humor about it too. For all his professionalism and mechanical knowledge, he’s learned to take things in stride and not take himself too seriously. I’m sure he had a smile on his face the entire time he was busy putting this wagon together.
For all intents and purposes, this wagon is absolutely amazing. There’s simply nothing else like it in our industry. It’s his satirical answer to the biggest question that’s always surrounded him. People have always given him credit for what he’s accomplished but have quickly shoved him into a “niche” so to speak. He’s fast they say, but he’s good at what he does because nobody else wants to do that. Bisi will show you otherwise. The man can build anything, do it all… his wagon and his CR-Z are proof of that. The Bisimoto Civic Wagon has had a great 2010. It’s appeared in Super Street magazine, been all over the web, nominated for Speedhunters “Retro Car of the Year”, and was displayed prominently at the 2010 SEMA show in Las Vegas. The Wagon was everywhere. It may have exceeded even Bisi’s expectations. While many of the cars on the Top Ten list are here because they are at the top of their respective classes, the Bisimoto Civic Wagon is possibly the best Honda build of the year. It is nothing anyone ever expected to be done, and years from now, it’ll still be difficult for people to truly understand and appreciate it. It’s a mind fuck of a Honda build and that’s why it holds such a high position on this list.
The Bisimoto CR-Z is everything I just said about his wagon, multiplied by 13498792. It’s easily one of the greatest things within the Honda community that you will ever see. To put it into perspective, the CR-Z is ahead of your future self’s time. Bisi took a car that was released just this year, that no one had really done anything significant to, and turned it into a 500-horsepower full functional hybrid. It’s on some future shit. In less than a year, he was able to create something that may have taken another man years to develop. When Honda gave him this CR-Z to modify, there was no possible way that they would have forseen this result. They were probably looking at eachother and saying; “He did what with what?….how?” It makes no sense whatsoever. That’s what makes Bisi Ezerioha such a mad scientist. You’re just not going to be able to comprehend how he built this CR-Z in such a short amount of time and produced these types of results.
Some of you may be questioning why it’s on the list, considering the short amount of time it’s been around, but I had to include it because it became a global phenomenon. Since it’s debut at SEMA, it has appeared not only on popular automotive sites, it has also been discussed in the New York Times and been on Attack of the Show on the G4 network. It’s on international websites all over the world and the talk of every automotive forum, no matter what language. Bisimoto has opened the floodgates of possiblities for the CR-Z for years to come and done so in a few months time.
9 down, 1 more to go, and it just so happens that I’ve saved the best for last. Next up, the number one Honda of 2010…