Throwback Thursdays… Showoff Classic 2003 Coverage…

2003 was a very different time in the import community. I don’t really know the exact word for it, but I would venture to say that the scene was a little more “fresh” back then. It seems like ages ago now and I’m sure it makes all of us older guys feel that much older when we think back at how this event has happened almost a decade ago. Around ’03 was when drifting started to really take the forefront of the industry while Hondas and other makes that were more popular a couple years before that took a backseat. In the Honda community, the bodykit era was on its very last legs and enthusiasts were starting to gear their builds more towards the three letters “J-D-M”. Japanese-spec Honda builds were becoming all the rage and whatever wild conversions or crazy bodykits you saw on Hondas were on their way out the door. You’ll notice that many of the more “wild” Hondas pictured below had for sale signs on them. Even those guys were realizing that their time had passed and it was time to move onto another project. I say things were more “fresh” back then because there were still a lot of unknowns back then when it came to extensive modification. There were probably a handful of K-swapped Hondas back then and tucking of engine bays and custom brake lines and all that were few and far between. Even the better engine bays you’ll see in these photos still retained their stock fuel set-ups. A lot of the things you see in today’s community probably started around that time or were starting to become known amongst fellow car heads…

The car show scene in general was very different back then also. There were only two major car events to look forward to back in the day; Hot Import Nights and the Import Showoff series. You hear the words “Showoff” now and only think of Nisei Showoff but back nearly a decade ago, Ken Myoshi and Import Showoff were busy running the industry. They would do series of car shows yearly which started out with Chinatown Showoff, Shoreline Showoff  and Nisei during the summer, and they would close out the year with Showoff Classic. All were important, but you would typically debut your new project at Chinatown, additional mods at Nisei, and then close out the year with a bang at Classic. Showoff Classic was a big deal because it was the end all, be all show annually. The best of the best came out then and attempted to win one more Showoff trophy before it was time to tear down and rebuild the following year. Classic is probably one of the events I miss the most about the scene back then. It had a sense of prestige about it and everybody got excited for it…

Today we are going to be taking a look at some photos from the 2003 Showoff Classic event which took place at the Pomona Fairplex. Back then, Pomona still cared about import car shows so you would find yourself there often because they were a major spot in the show circuit. You’ll notice that these photos are pretty good quality and sized like the photos you see regularly on The Chronicles. That’s because these photos came unedited straight from a CD that was provided to me by Gene Tjin. You probably recognize the Tjin name because Tjin Edition is everywhere today and Gene and his brother are building all kinds of cars for major manufacturers. I think Gene and Neil had just moved out to the west coast around that time and were just getting acquainted with everyone out here. Gene was one of the few guys that actually had a good camera back then too, at least by early 2000s standards. He was shooting with a Canon EOS 10D dSLR and that probably is the equivalent to a EOS 5DMKII or III today. The 10D had just been released earlier on that year and of course Gene was baller enough to have it. I gotta give a huge shout-out to Gene because he came through and actually sent me a bunch of CDs that had photos from all the events he went to. We didn’t know each other then but I’m happy that I know the guy now…. One funny thing that I have to mention is that the 10D was probably one of the best camera bodies out back in ’03 and it was a whopping 6.3 megapixels. The cell phones we have in our hands these days are better than that but 6 megapixels was the shit in that time…

In 2003 I was a young and dumb 21 year old guy who just spent all his time partying and drinking. I had already started on my Accord project but it was just sitting in the garage at that point with the H22 in it. I was too busy bullshitting and doing dumb shit so I didn’t even get the car finished until late 2004/early 2005. I did go to every event possible though and I do remember being at this show. I had so much free time back then that I was actually even more involved in the community than I am now, which is pretty crazy considering how I think I have a pretty good grasp of what is going on these days. I tried my best to remember everybody’s name in the photos below. I had some help filling in the blanks but there are some guys that I just didn’t know back then. If you knew the owners of some of these cars, feel free to comment and correct me if I am wrong or if the name escapes me. I hope you guys enjoy the photos and take note of the Hondas in the photos below. Try to think about how they would compare to the builds today and whether or not they would hold their relevancy if they were still around. Just remember to remind yourself that this event is almost 10 years old. Oh how time flys…Happy Throwback Thursday…

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Team Techna isn’t around these days but they were one of the premier car crews for the better part of the late 90s to early/mid 2000s. By the end they had a variety of different cars but back in ’03, most of them were building Hondas…

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One of the builds that really made me fall in love with Hondas then was Kevin Mayuga’s Civic aka “RastaEK9”. Advan RGs were my favorite wheels and the freshly painted gold by MOB works really made this car stand out. This Civic continued to evolve throughout the years and eventually had a Chargespeed aero kit on as well as a K20-swap. Unfortunately, it was stolen and parted a couple years back… I still remember seeing it cruising around when I first moved up to the Orange County area around 2007-08. I smiled every time I saw it on the road because I was happy to see it still intact. Sucks that it had to meet an untimely end like that. If this car were around in 2012, I think it would still be a very relevant build….

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You may not recognize this Civic at all but this was actually J.P. Cao’s from DPK. He was a member of Techna back then and his Civic was still in its early stages of development. He would later repaint the car candy root beer and do all kinds of crazy shit to it. You should know who I am referring to but if not, click here to see how his Civic looked as of late 2011…

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This Prelude belonged to Jason who was also a member of Techna in 2003. It was one of the more recognizable BB6 builds because of the colored Enkei Racing S wheels. I think at one point the wheels were also purple…

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Not sure who owned this 4-door DB Integra. I definitely remember it from that time, just can’t think of the name…

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This widebody BB6 Prelude with S14 headlights was also from Techna and I think I remember his name was Chong… The orange Civic with MR2 taillights in the background is the same orange coupe that I posted up in the other throwback post featuring cars from 99-2001… Click here to check it out if you somehow missed it…

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Elton Lo from Raceline USA’s EG Civic with Mugen NR10Rs and Mugen S1 buckets…

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I may be wrong, but I think this JZA70 Supra belonged to Mike Urbano. He was one of the most well-known Supra enthusiasts then but passed tragically in an accident two years later. His brother Brian still brings the Supra out occasionally to shows today… I remember I was mutual friends with a couple of guys that were close to him and also remember the first time his brother brought his Supra out after he passed at the Nisei Showoff of 2005… *EDIT* I found out from a viewer that this wasn’t Mike’s Supra. It actually belonged to Daniel M. Great Supra either way….

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I have also been asking around to see if anyone knew who owned this S2000 but have had no luck… Pretty baller to not only build an S2000 back in 2003, but also to own a Mugen intake, hood, hard top, and Mugen SS front bumper. You have to remember that S2000s were still brand new cars then. Advan Sierra Gen. II wheels were never one of the more mainstream wheels used but they were very nice for their time….

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Erica Lam’s Accord with R34 Skyline conversion was still winning trophies but by ’03, she had it up for sale and was ready to move on…

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Duke Tubtim’s Acura NSX from Team Options. This was before Options folded and merged with Garage Life. Duke’s NSX was one of the main attractions in the early 2000s but he was probably more known for being one of the main guys behind 2by2.net, which was this huge pyramid scheme that ended up costing people a lot of money. I remember one of the biggest jokes back then was that everybody contributed and funded Duke’s NSX because they were busy trying to buy into 2by2.net…haha…

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Oscar Ramos’ Top Secret-themed IS300 on bronze Volk CE28s…

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This IS was most known for having this BEAM’s 3S-GE motor, which was built by Top Secret Japan and shipped over to the states… Not sure if he ever got it running correctly but having something like this was almost unheard of then. Oscar later went on to build a very nice JZa80 Supra with a very rare Powerhouse Amuse turbo kit…

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Always remembered stopping by to take a look at this Subaru Impreza WRX with Advan RGs and complete C-West aero…

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Chad Moon’s award-winning Volkswagen Beetle from Garage Life…

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Richard Tang’s 240SX with strawberry-faced S15 conversion and Bomex front bumper…another great build from Garage Life…

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If you guys are familiar with the Original JDMEGO blog and JDMEGO merchandise then you probably know that this was JDMEGO Jay’s Subaru WRX wagon… This thing was way ahead of its time and had some parts on it that many had no idea were even available. Jay has always been ahead of the game and though he rarely makes a public appearance anymore, he’s always messing with cars. He recently purchased a Scion FR-S and still owns a Mitsubishi Evo IX. If you guys want to know some juicy stories from back then, you gotta talk to Jay. This guy has seen it all, haha…

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Bill Shook’s VW GTi from Garage Life… Love the carbon kevlar boser hood on the green…

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Evo with Gialla aero from RB Motoring…back when Dazz Motorsports was the place to get your Racing Hart wheels….

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R34 Skyline from RB Motoring, back when the U.S. government weren’t aware that R34 GT-Rs were floating around in the states…

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I remember when everyone used to get bummed that this Civic would win at every show… I forget his name but I believe his last name was Burns. Gotta give it up to the guy for going fucking apeshits on his Civic though. With all that work, he deserved to win. I think a year or so later there was another Civic just like this that had BMW headlights and they would always go at it to see who would win. If I saw something like this today at a car show I would probably just leave and run far far away but it was practically untouchable back then competition-wise… *EDIT* The owner of this Civic was George Burgs…

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Leon Casino’s Mugen CRX Pro.2 from IV Ace crew…You can see Leon’s head poking out behind his car in this shot. He looks exactly the same today and doesn’t look like he’s aged a bit. His CR-X also looks just about the same as well, ten years later….

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2003 also marked a period of time when VeilSide made a huge push in the U.S… This 350Z from ArtnMotion had the complete VeilSide Ver. III kit along with the VeilSide Andrews Baccarat wheels….

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Acura NSX from ArtnMotion on Volk GT7s…

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Craig Lieberman’s widebody E46 BMW M3 on HRE wheels… Craig was most known for being one of the lead consultants in The Fast and The Furious. He also owned the orange Toyota Supra from the movie and this R34 Skyline…

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Ryan Castro’s turbo BMW 328is widebody on DPE wheels before he left Team Flux…

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Isaac Marin aka Yellowkahuna’s C-West Integra back in his Flux days…

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STi from Pacific Rim/Iloveracing.com… I remember I bought my JDMEGO license plate frames from them years ago and it took fucking forever for it to show up…haha…

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Lisa Uchida’s timeless Toyota Supra… I remember back when I used to do car shows we would regularly park with Ryan and Lisa…

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2003 was a very important time for Bomex because that was when they made their biggest push to be a recognized aero company in the U.S… At Showoff Classic, they had a big line-up of cars that all had their kits on them…Some good like this FD3s RX-7 on Racing Hart C5s…

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…and some incredibly odd like this Bomex Pontiac Sunfire… Cavaliers were being sold in Japan under the Toyota brand due to the worldwide NUMMI agreement and Japanese companies like Bomex attempted to make them relevant tuner cars. Let’s just say that it didn’t really work out as planned…haha…

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“Damn, that Bomex Toyota Celica is fucking sick!!” said no one EVER…. I did like the whole marketing angle with the robot alligator though. Not really sure how Bomex came up with it but it was definitely a memorable graphic…Their Engrish sayings were also incredibly memorable: “PRAY TO GOD OF BOMEX, I HOPE YOUR SPEED OVER THE RIVAL”….

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I’ve been known to jack it quite a few times but normally it’s just a deal between me and whatever I am fapping to online…

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CARisma was one of the first shops back then that made a name for itself by reproducing Japanese aero kits under their own brand… They made everything and got away with it because people didn’t know anything about Japanese manufacturers or how to get parts over to the U.S. so it was almost “okay” to copy and resell them as something else here. That is also how VIS Racing became such a huge company… I think the kit on this RX-8 is actually a Japanese R-Magic kit and not a CARisma “Air Force ONE” kit…

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I attempted to find out who’s ITR this was but then I realized that there were just under 1 million ITRs that looked like this at one point in time… Even ATS Anh’s ITR looked like this at one point…

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Tony Huynh aka ekfour’s Civic on Spoon SW388s back when he used to live in Socal…

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Marcus from Heeltoe Automotive’s 1987 Honda CR-X turbo on Mugen MR-5s…

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Chad’s 4-door EF Civic was definitely one of my favorite Honda builds from back then…

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Darryl Lai’s Civic with Mugen front lip and Volk NRS/GRNs…

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One of the Civic builds from back in the early 2000s that people still talk about today is Eddie Hahm’s EG. Many remember it more when it had Mugen M7s and was featured in JTuned but for Classic ’03, he rocked these BBR Competitions…

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JDM Jon Tanji’s Integra GS-R from DOHCgarage around the time when he first converted to the JDM ITR front end… As many of you know, Jon passed on two years later in ’05… His Civic is still around today in the exact condition he left it in and is owned by one of his close friends but this Integra might have been sold a couple years ago if I recall…

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The AMSEVEN line-up back in ’03 at Classic… I wish I had clear shots of all the cars but the photos that I got were pretty blurry…Blame Gene Tjin if you want, haha…

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AM7 Pizz aka Paul’s old EK. I actually just saw this car not too long ago at this year’s Eibach event. Noah from AM7 bought it back from a friend of Paul’s after he had sold it and is now in the process of daily driving it… He plans to cage it and repaint the front end but also wants to keep the exterior looking exactly as how Paul had it during this period…

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AM7 Noah’s EG when he had Sprint Hart CP-Fs…

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AM7 Jonah’s engine bay, which was once the only engine bay to get a perfect score at a Showoff event…

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Mike G’s “Tank” back when he was a part of AM7… These were much simpler times for his Civic and a year or two before he boosted it…

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Opi was never in AM7 but his Civic was one of my favorites back then. I loved this stage of the car when he had the Mugen lip, sideskirts, RnRs, and Mugen graphic on the side…I don’t even like the Mugen lip all that much but when it is in context with everything else, it looks great…

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Reggie’s 4-door ITR conversion from Island Motorsports. I believe this car is still around today but it is more of a track car now and never driven on the street…

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Greg Park’s Vortech supercharged S2000 from Spugen… I didn’t know Greg at the time but he’s now my t-shirt guy and responsible for printing all of The Chronicles gear… What a trip, haha..

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DC2 Integra from Team Enigma with SSR EX-C Neos…

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Widebody Toyota Starlet on Work Equip 03s from BRS Auto Design…

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Andy Tai’s Acura CL Type-S from Team Illmatic…

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Neil Tjin’s Nissan 240SX with S15 front end and Bomex front bumper…This was essentially the build that “put them on the map” and helped propel them into one of the more recognized team of car builders today. This was when they first brought it out from the east coast and before the Turtle Wax period when the car was re-sprayed green with a carbon fiber overlayed top… I didn’t know these guys then but I knew they had style because they had Advan AVS Model 5s. The Model 5 to this very day is still one of my favorite wheels ever… I actually really liked this car and loved the R34 Skyline they built after… They also built like 40 other cars after that but I don’t have all fucking day to tell you about it…haha…

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Bryan Householder’s turbo RSX on Volk GT-Ps…

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Leonard Yee aka Lenthrax is remembered more for his candy magenta K-swapped EK hatchback with full Rando kit but this is one of the Hondas that started it all for him…. You can tell from his parts selection that he’s always had a good eye for building Hondas. The shaved moldings and door handles are a little much by today’s standards but it was perfectly acceptable back then…

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Always was a huge fan of Connie Lam’s IS300. I remember when I first saw a Toyota Altezza in the pages of Option magazine and just fell in love with the chassis. There weren’t too many heavily modified back then because they weren’t exactly the cheapest cars. Like the S2000, it was also a brand new car so you had to have some money to build them. Connie’s was one of the first examples and I loved the stage after this when she had the C-West kit and Advan Model 5s…

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Closing out our trip down memory lane with a shot of FF-Sean’s EG back when he was a member of Techna…

Thanks for looking…back to the reality that is 2012…

19 thoughts

  1. The Spa/Indy Yellow S2k belonged to “ASMspec” from s2ki.com. His real name is Chris. He later sold that S2k and got a NSX. I used to be familiar with a few ITR owners back then but the name of the owner of the NBP/FBP ITR escapes me.

  2. Lol! Oh man. That crazy spaceship civic was owned by George Burns. He would win everything. He somehow lost at this show. He freaked the fuck out and smashed his trophy when they gave it to him. I never laughed so hard in my life. Brian Householder and I tanked at this show and were just cracking up through the whole awards presentation. Good days. Thanks for the kind words Joey !

  3. The black jza70 isn’t Mike ‘s it’s Daniel M. One of the cleanest mk3 built . Mikey’s famous mk3 was blue, and he later had a RHD JZA70 that is currently owned by his Bro brian.

    • That’s what I thought. You guys have some good memories. Daniel M’s last name is Matoba, correct? I met him along time ago at ES Technical Roadsports back in the day. His JZA70 Supra was uber clean back then. Somehow, I remembered his was blue and Urbano’s was black. Anyways, that’s him in the gray sweater.

  4. That crazy Civic was owned by George Burgs, his feature is still up on Import Tuner site. I remember liking the crazy under carriage work, but the outside was a huge WTF to me, even back then.
    AM7 was THE Honda crew back then, I loved everyone of their cars, especially when Jonah was one of the first to wire tuck his whole bay. I remember people not believing him the car would run.
    When Chad’s EF sedan came out, talking to people how sick it was, people would just react by saying “Really? a 4 door? Who would waste time doing that!”….how time’s have changed, that EF has held up to the test of time so well.

    Thanks for the post Joey, definitely one of the best throwback posts you’ve made!

  5. that white 4-door DB from Techna wasn’t Mike Chang’s. but Mike/Julie’s white 4-door was in Team Hybrid and the car later got stolen and stripped from what I remember.

  6. Great post, Joey!

    My hatch wasn’t done at the time of that event, I think it was still at International Auto Body getting done up when that event happened. International is who painted that guy George’s crazy civic (you can sort of see/read their banner on the top of his windshield) as well as some of the Flux cars at that time. I remember him, we talked briefly here and there and he seemed cool from what I can remember. (Jay, I didn’t stick around for the award ceremony so I did not know that story. Wow…)

    I remember that event clearly, I remember walking around and checking out all of the cars, wishing mine had made it to the event. My hatch ended up debuting at Extreme Autofest in’03, where I met Rodrez and talked to Rodrez and Pizz and others. Great times. I was and still am a fan of a ton of those cars! It’s really cool to be aquainted with people like Jay of JDMego fame and the Tjin brothers and be friends with Leon these days. Crazy how the “scene” brings people together.

    Oh, Joey, yea, Jason’s Enkeis were purple at one point.

    I think this might have been the event that I met JP for the first time too. Or maybe it was the next year… I don’t quite remember. I remember his hatch just like that when he first started showing it, but I believe my first memory of that car was when the roof was black.

    Chad’s car’s were dope, and I liked the color of Darryl’s hatch for a long time. Opi’s hatch was super clean and I was a fan. Eddie’s paint job (and whole hatch, really) was hot fiya back then. I loved it.

    Anyway, I’m rambling because a flood of memories came back. I loved this post, homie. Good times… good times, for sure.

  7. Are the wheels on the Accord what look to be C2’s with a nice lip? Would appreciate it if you could share another picture of it, but if not, it’s understandable..

  8. Joey, You were right about the widebody prelude with the S14 front, it belonged to my buddy Chong Kim from Sacramento, originally from the Deception crew, same as Binh/Erica Lam’s IS300

    • The white skyline looks like a r32 with a r34 front conversion to me. Look at the rear quarter window and the c-pillars. I could be wrong though. 😉

  9. The cars you had back in the days are still so much better looking than the garbage shitmobiles we got in Norway, there is something about those cars that made me think they we’re more “real” than many of the cars you post nowadays. But that’s just my 2 cents. ( Although we use “kroner” up here in the far north :p )

  10. Great reflection back down memory lane Joey. I appreciate the compliments on my old project EF2 as well. Glad to see other enthusiasts recognized (9 years ago) who also helped contribute their vision and style in this industry/hobby/passion. Damn, I wish I had more time for fun.

    Chad Castelo

  11. Can you or anyone please help me find pics of the all white carbon fiber bb6 prelude 5th. Saw it in either import tuner or euro mag back in 98-2001? It had a couple pages and was featured. The entire Lude was white and silver carbonfiber. Some jerks on the Honda prelude group on Facebook say I’m lying about it. Another these guys are saying no ludes or civics had K20 swaps back in early 2000?2003?. Help me please school these young know it alls.

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