The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2010…#1…

I just want to wish everyone a happy new year. Hope everyone had a good one and closed out 2010 on a high note. 2011 is going to be a great one and it’s a pleasure of mine to announce the #1 Honda of 2010. It’s interesting that there hasn’t been too much debate about the list this year. In the last two, there were a few grumblings here and there but for the most part, people are pretty happy with the list and it’s a good indication of where the community is heading. What’s really cool is that the guys who did make the list are geniunely surprised and very happy with their selection on the list. I was actually very surprised by their reactions and how grateful they were. Any one of the 9 spots on the list are worthy of all the praise in the world but the top spot goes to a guy(s) who came out strong from the get go and just had everything on lock the whole year. Without further adieu, I present to you, the number one Honda(s) of 2010…

1. Ryan Der’s Honda Civic and Big Mike’s Honda Prelude (Tie)…

It took a very long time for me to come to the conclusion that there just wouldn’t be any way possible that one car would hold the top spot this year, considering how much each of these guys have been able to accomplish this year. They’re both very deserving of being number 1 but for very different reasons. I’m going to do my best to explain to you guys exactly how I came to this decision, but I’m sure many of you out there already agree with me on the choices.

Why it’s #1: Ryan makes the list not only because his build is amazing, but because he’s probably the realist “enthusiast” I’ve ever met. The way he goes about building his car, and how he carries himself within our community is how it should be done. He doesn’t build for fame or for celebrity status, he really just builds his car for himself and how he wants it. His build just happens to be one of the most recognized today because he knows what he’s doing and he has good taste. Ryan just isn’t one of those guys who are quick to part their car out after they’ve acheived any measurable amount of success. His car continues to evolve because of that. He has no plans to just sell his car because he knows that he can do so much more to it. Der found himself on the cover of Super Street magazine’s annual Honda issue and not soon after, he hit the track again to get more seat time. For all the notoriety he’s achieved in 2010, he’s taken it all in stride and hasn’t let it get to his head. He’s still up late every night scouring for rare parts that he’s always wanted, wrenching on his own car, and driving his car everywhere, whether it be a show, meet, or track event…

His build is one of those builds that has to be seen in person to truly be appreciated. So many little details about it are just hard to capture on camera. For all that he puts his car through, it’s still in immaculate condition. His car, like Phil Roble’s Civic, is not the fastest, and it doesn’t have to be. He drives his car because he enjoys the shit out of it. While his car parallels many of the other cars on the list, mainly his ATS teammates, he’s #1 on the list because he’s been so involved with the entire industry. Shows, meets, magazine covers, track events, even SEMA, he’s done it all. I really hate to admit it, but I had Ryan Der topping the list very early on. By the end of the summer, he pretty much had it on lock. His willingness to just drive his car and do everything he possibly could really struck a cord with me…

I like the car itself because it holds true to how Hondas “looked” in Japan. For as long as I can remember, enthusiasts like myself have looked to Japan for inspiration. We always longed to have the parts that they had and to have our cars resemble the ones that some of the best tuning shops in Japan could put together. It’s almost traditional to have that “look”. That’s why all this JDM stuff came about and how everyone wanted JDM this and that. While it’s become blown out of proportion throughout the years, guys like Ryan have held true to what guys like us and guys before us have done. Guys built cars with the best Japanese products because it was what they idolized growing up. The scene has taken a dramatic shift these last couple years and today, it’s more about custom fabrication and doing everything different to set yourself apart from the rest. It’s no longer just about having the rarest Japanese products. While that is an amazing thing, it’s good to not forget your roots. Ryan’s build, while having many custom elements to it, still has the traditional style that we all grew up wanting. It’s very Japanese-inspired and that’s why I’m such a huge fan. It’s proof that you can progress in our community while still holding true to the cars that inspired us to do what we do. If you can put those pieces to work for you and transform form into function like Ryan Der, you have a top-notch build and that’s why he’s deserving of the top spot on the list.

Why it’s #1: Plan it, build it, and kill everything. That pretty much explains it all. I’m going to be very honest with you guys, and even to Big Mike. I was almost a little reluctant to put Big Mike at the #1 spot because well, to put it frankly, it would have been the “easy” choice to make.  I’ve worked closely with Big Mike since he began this whole rebuild on his Prelude and I was even the one to exclusively cover the entire build-up. While this is my list and no one elses, I didn’t want the choice to pick Big Mike a “personal” one. If that makes sense. I mean, I’m so closely associated to this build that it would almost seem biased to pick it. I had a lot of time to think about it and while I didn’t want it to “look” like a biased decision, Big Mike has to have the number one spot just because he deserves it. Correction: Big Mike should be number one on the list becaues he fucking deserves it. As I said earlier, I had Ryan at the top very early on and while Big Mike had no idea that I had made such a choice, he continued to just kill everything and win, and win, and win. His success throughout the year places him at the top spot. He earns it. If I had no association with Big Mike, he would still have this spot. While his debut at Nisei of 2009 had its share of hiccups, his 2010 was a year like no other. Besids his multiple “Best of Show” accolades in 2010, he also took home “Best Honda” honors at both Wek’Fest and Nisei Showoff. I can’t recall a time when anyone else has ever done that. To hold top Honda honors at two of the biggest events of the year is huge, especially in a field dominated by other, more popular platforms. He set out to take the Prelude chassis and put it on the map and his build was so out of the box that it pretty much overshadowed the fact that it was a Prelude. People kinda just began seeing it as “Big Mike’s car” and not as a Prelude that few people wanted to build.

He was a beast in 2010 and he created a blueprint of how to carry yourself in the industry. While Ryan went about his year his own way, Big Mike had a gameplan very early on of how to bring his car out, how to be seen, and how to make all of his sponsors happy. He’s always been a very methodic person and it shows in how he presented himself in 2010. All of the awards he received were probably the only surprise for Big Mike. While it probably shouldn’t have, considering the caliber of his build, Big Mike was geniune in his appreciation for all the recognition that he received. For many of the people around him, myself included, we all kind of expected him to win or be recognized because we knew how much work he put into his car. No one is as deserving of everything that has come to him than Big Mike. There was no possible way that he couldn’t be number one on this list.

If you’ve followed this site closely throughout the past year or two, then you should understand the type of impact that this build has made within our community. People were a little thrown off at first by the color but the reaction was expected. That’s why when we first covered the build here, I took the liberty of cutting out the color after the car got out of paint. Most thought that the color was cut to make it a “surprise” at the unveiling and that was partially true, but another one of the reasons why that was done was so that people would look past the color of the car and look more into the build itself. Paint color choice is objective and people prefer different tones all the time. You can’t really argue whether or not the paint choice was bad simply because it isn’t your car. If you look past it, like many have in the year 2010, then you will appreciate the build even more. There are so many layers to this car that you can literally peel it like an onion and with every layer comes something new that you haven’t seen before. What’s great about a build like this is that every event it goes to, it will attract someone new and they will learn something from seeing it. Like Bisi Ezerioha, our number 2 selection, this build has also transcended national borders and has become recognized all over the world. It has also broken the barriers of the Honda community and enthusiasts who are into all different makes and models have looked towards this build for inspiration. It’s appeared on numerous sites and blogs throughout the world and I can’t even count how many times I’ve been linked to a different site where they have stolen my content and just posted up my coverage of his build. I think both Big Mike and I were a little taken back when we realized how huge it was internationally. Many of the sites we haven’t even been able to see what they were saying because we haven’t been able to translate the language. While it was in Vegas for the SEMA show, Big Mike’s Prelude was even shot by an international photographer for a U.K.-based magazine.

This build is huge and I don’t think casual followers understand that. From the beginning of 2010 on, there hasn’t been anyone that has seen the amount of success and praise that Big Mike has. There have been certain aspects where Big Mike has not touched on, and that’s where Ryan has shined, that’s why they both sit high atop the list of the Top Ten Hondas of 2010. Both very different builds by two individuals who are equally as unique, both also equally deserving of being the number one Honda of 2010.

Congratulations to both and to the others in the Top Ten of 2010. May you see continued success in 2011 and beyond. I applaud your work and appreciate everything that you guys do for our great community.

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  1. excellent choices for top honors. both are very very die hard and deserving. congrats guys.

  2. Excellent choices! I always knew big mike did it big this year!! Never thought #1 though!! When I didn’t see him on the top 10 I got scared!! But top honors to both

  3. I agree on the whole list Joey..good shit!

  4. I called it! As I should have. I know both of these guys really well and everything you said is so true. Congrats to both of my homies for their success in 2010. Lets keep at it in 2011 and see where it finds us!

  5. Great list and great words man.

    Seeing Big Mike’s car at SEMA was a real treat, attention to detail every where, really deserved to share top honors.

  6. Big Mike doing BIG things and our boy ABC having it happen (Honored to share a cover with him)

    CongrATS to ALL!

  7. I was thinking that Ryan’s Civic would be number one, but I didn’t expect a tie. Congratulations to both Ryan and Mike!

  8. Congrats to both Mike and Ryan! Definitely well deserved.

  9. Damn sick. Congrats to everyone

  10. Well deserved for both, both have an awesome attention to detail.

  11. Good list man! Id agree that ou of the show goers these rides def stood out all year…Idk why anyone would be surprised mike’s on top tho. Never seen anyone basically put on non stop seminars about his car at every show there was in 2010, the entire day. I couldn’t be that friendly feilding the same questions all day without getting paid haha

    • Hahaha, I do make an effort to answer any question that is presented to me and never brush anyone off, and sometimes that ends up taking up the majority of the time at an event, lol. Have we had the opportunity to meet and talk at an event?

  12. Excellent choices, they’re both very deserving!

  13. O M G!!! I am truly honored to be on The Chronicles Top Ten of 2010, let alone at the top of the list! Such a great way to end 2010, and begin 2011. The car will continue to progress and move forward..

    • Hey man, as I told you via text yesterday, you deserve it and shouldn’t be all that surprised at making the top of the list. Congratulations Ryan.

  14. Both are deserving winners!! Great jobs guys

  15. I am honored. Thank you to every single person out there that has shown me and this build love, support, and encouragement throughout the past year. I am grateful to all of you and it is nothing but a pleasure to be part of a community and an industry that I have loved since I was a teenager. 2010 was an amazing year, but that was then and this is now. Stay with me and let’s see what we can accomplish in 2011.

  16. congrats to all, well deserved.

  17. i agree on Big Mike at one however Ryan’s Ek is really nice, I guess I will say congrats to both and leave it at that.

    Great list Joey Lee, its linked back to you on our blog, look forward to meeting you at Eibach.

  18. Nice picks! Now, will you have a honorable mentions list?

  19. Big Mike and Ryan deserve to be at the top!! Congratulations guy’s!!

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