The Darwin Project aka The Odyssey Build…

“As a passionate Honda enthusiast, there just isn’t any better feeling than being in a ’90s Honda chassis again…”

Let me begin by saying that I never really intended on buying an Odyssey. I’ve always been a fan of the first generation chassis, don’t get me wrong, but it just was never in my scope of cars that I wanted to purchase early on. There was only one car I wanted when it came time to purchasing a new daily driver. My 4Runner that I’ve been driving all over California for the last couple of years had peaked at 297K miles on the odometer and just wasn’t very much fun to drive anymore. It was leaking oil in every place it could, the chassis was kinda beat-up, and most of all, the gas mileage was terrible. It just got old. Admittedly, I could have taken better care of it over the years but it was a Toyota and could endure it all. It was still running and pretty reliable, but it was just time for a change. Being a photographer and a guy that often has a booth with merchandise at cars shows all over California, I needed a car with space. I wanted a car that had a bit more room but didn’t want to get a little too crazy with a full-size van. My ideal car would be a wagon but there just weren’t too many wagons out there that I really liked. I saw a Legacy Turbo wagon that was in great condition and at a good price but I did some research and found out that they tended to have issues with their head gaskets and I just can’t deal with cooling issues and overheating if I drive all over the place. Growing up, one of the cars that I really wanted as I was nearing the end of my high school years was a first generation Lexus IS300. To this day it is still one of my favorite cars but they weren’t very big cars so it didn’t have the space I needed. The IS300 Sport Cross, which was the wagon equivalent of the IS, was perfect… It was the car I wanted all along but had the adequate space I needed. The only problem is that they are pretty rare and when you did find one, they just weren’t very affordable…

I did a lot of searching over the course of a couple months. The only IS Sport Cross I could find was in Huntington Beach and the owner wanted 13K for it. One of my requirements was that I wanted it to be a low mileage car, like 90-110K. That made it even harder to find but I really needed a low mileage car because it had to be reliable and because well, I’d be the one to put a ton of miles on it. It’s not that I could afford 13K, I just didn’t want to pay that much because I also wanted to do some light modding to it, and blowing all my money on actually buying the car itself would hinder me from doing anything to it. It slowly started looking like an impossibility to find a clean IS wagon that was more affordable so I started looking for alternative vehicles. I really didn’t want to drive the 4Runner anymore so I didn’t give myself a whole lot of time to buy a car. That and I had planned on going on vacation to Japan and that wasn’t going to be cheap either. I was randomly looking around and started finding Honda Odysseys for fairly cheap. The first gen. models are up there in age now but the car intrigued me. I used to have an Accord and the Odyssey was based off of an Accord chassis, so it drove essentially the same as one. I’m pretty familiar with it since I built the shit out of my other one so I knew that I would be able to fix anything I needed to. That and the best feature of the RA-chassis Odysseys was that they didn’t have the bulky sliding door that the 2nd gen and beyong had here in the U.S. It was just like an Accord with 4 regular doors but with an optional third row of seats. Being so, it was basically a larger Accord Wagon. Along with the Accord motor and all, it wouldn’t be too bad on gas either so that really made me interested…

On the week when I was packing and getting ready to fly out to Tokyo, Japan in January, I found the Odyssey that I was looking for. It met all my requirements; it was a 1998 model, which was the final year that they made the first gens, and so it had the best options and the best motor (F23A). The interior was also better than the RA1 chassis. What I was looking for was a low mileage one and this one was perfect, as it only had 92K on the odometer. I don’t know if you guys are aware, but any car that is 15 years old that has less than 130K miles on it is a fucking steal. The interior of this particular RA3 was in great shape. It needed some cleaning but I could do all that. The exterior was pretty beat up, as it was originally a car from the Pacific Northwest, where there was tons of rain and moisture. An older woman had owned it before and I don’t think she was very keen on keeping the thing clean. It was just what I was looking for…the only problem was….I had already saved up my money for Japan and I knew for sure that it would probably be gone by the time I got back home. I mentioned it to some of my friends in passing, not really being serious about it, but I told myself that if the Odyssey was still available by the time I got back home a week later, I’d buy it. During my stay in Japan, I was so excited about being there that I completely forgot about the Odyssey…

Two nights after I got back from Japan, I began looking for cars again and sure enough, the RA3 that I had found was still there! I immediately contacted the owner and arranged to check out the car in person. The next day, I drove over to the part of L.A. where the car was located and looked at it up close. The body was much more beat-up than I expected, but it wasn’t anything that made me like the car less. The low miles were a selling point for me and the interior was nice, I was sold on it. Then the owner brought out a whole folder of receipts that documented everything the car had been there since it was purchased back in 1998. The icing on the cake was that the car was completely serviced inside and out by a Honda dealership the week before the owner had posted it for sale. Timing belt, tires, fluids, and brakes were all done so there was nothing to worry about. I made an offer to the owner and told him I’d come back the next day to get it once I got a ride from someone. Boom, SOLD…

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These are the first photos I took of it a couple days after the purchase. You can see how the body was pretty worn down and beat up. I mean, it showed its age. Nothing that made the car an eyesore or anything, but it wasn’t in the best shape. The rear bumper probably had the most damage as the trunk garnish piece on top was completely missing and there was a huge hole in driver’s side of the rear. It looked as if the previous owners had played bumper cars with the Odyssey or something…

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This post is titled “The Darwin Project” because “Darwin” was my original nickname for the car. For some odd reason, both front doors had the “Ichthys” symbol carved into the paint. I don’t know why…Maybe the previous owner was not a God-fearing man or maybe they were zealots, I’m not sure, but the symbols were very visible on the doors, which made the car really goofy-looking. It’s hard to see in the photos but I used Photoshop to bring out the area where the symbols were. I called it “Darwin” because the Darwin Fish variation of the symbol is a parody of the Ichthys symbol, which you often see posted on people’s trunks and bumpers. I’m not gonna get into a debate about religion but I called it “Darwin” because you’d probably recognize it more as the parodied symbol than the original logo. I joked around with my buddy Ryan Der and so we started calling the van “Darwin”…

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Here was a note that was written on the top corner of the Owner’s Manual. It was purchased on 8-28-98 in Corrallis, Oregon as a birthday gift for the amount of $23,878…

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The original window sticker was also still intact. I love being able to have all the history behind a car that I bought 15 years later. Even though the body was banged-up, I knew that everything else was maintained and taken care of. Dealer-serviced 15 years later even…

Now that I had the Odyssey, the immediate question that everyone wanted to ask me was: “Are you gonna modify it?” Ehhhh…well, I am a car guy after all so of course I wanted to do some stuff to it. Just little things here and there like suspension and wheels and what not. You guys know how it is. The body was beat as you all know so that really hindered me from really wanting to do anything to it. I’m pretty anal about how things look appearance-wise on a modded Honda so if there was anything less than what I expect, it’s going to bother me forever. So at the start, I really didn’t want to touch the car. There were little things here and there that were either messed up or missing completely so I wanted to sort all that first and just try to make this thing look nice again. It certainly wouldn’t be a full-on restoration project but it would be nice to have the exterior look as good as the car run, you know what I mean?…

It just wasn’t supposed to be anything special or any sort of elaborate build because I honestly just needed a daily driver that was reliable. If I wanted to build a Honda again and go all-out, I don’t think it would be this chassis. Honestly, if I cared what people thought about what I did to a car, you think I would have bought an Odyssey?? It sort of just helped me feed an itch but still keep me completely off the radar because this wouldn’t be a “build” so to speak. There were some OEM components that I wanted to replace so I did my research and decided to go with JDM OEM pieces. If I’m gonna replace it, I might as well do what I want right? Haha…

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The first order of business was to replace one of the rear taillights. The driver’s side taillight was busted and had a hole in it so I had to fix it. I randomly get a message shortly after I post up a photo of my new daily on Instagram and somebody hits me up about having some JDM tails for it. It was just a random occurrence that just happened to work out so I bought them off the guy. Aesthetically, there aren’t very many differences between the JDM taillights and the USDM RA3 tails. The only obvious difference is the reflector in the USDM light that isn’t existent in the JDM ones, but again, mine were busted so I replaced it…

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One thing that was important to me to replace right away were the old 15 year-old OEM speakers. The OEM paper speakers were all crusty and torn and rattling really bad so I swapped them out for some speakers that I got off of Amazon. It’s nothing crazy and not high-dollar shit but fuck it, I listen to the radio a lot so I just needed something that sounded good and didn’t rattle…

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I also got a stero install kit so I could put my new headunit in and replace the factory Honda radio…

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I grabbed this head unit from Amazon as well and I really like it. One of the best bang-for-your-buck decks that you can get…

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Here are some OEM Honda pieces that I ordered from Norm Reeves Honda. Chris Pinedo from Norm Reeves is incredibly helpful and always down to look up parts for me. Big props to him for ordering the rear trunk scuff piece, a rear wiper delete plug, and some other random things I needed. I later ordered some new moldings and what not too…

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Of course one of the first things I did was lace my rear window up with decals of some of my favorite things…Just because the car looked stock, it didn’t mean that I couldn’t make it my own…

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My OEM corner lights were slightly scuffed up too due to age so I began looking around to see if the JDM corners were different. While digging around, Matt from M’s JDM Motors contacts me via Instagram to ask if there was anything specific that I was looking for. I noticed that he always brought in a ton of cool stuff, including stuff for Odysseys, so I asked him if he had any JDM corner lights. He said he did along with matching headlights and told me he’d give me a good deal on them. The headlights are also not very different from one another other than the JDM ones having City Lights implemented so I passed on the headlights. He gave me these corner lights for an incredibly good deal and I threw them on. The JDM corners look slightly better because they are more streamlined with the body of the car and also do not have a orange reflector on them….

So far, everything is going pretty easy right? I was just getting the stuff that I NEEDED instead of parts that I WANTED… of course things are about to take a turn right about now and that is when the tuning bug really takes over…

The plan all along was just to get some suspension and wheels for the car so I found myself looking around for some Japanese wheels for the RA3. I told myself I wouldn’t drive a car that was stock ride height so I was also digging around Yahoo! Auctions Japan for suspension. You’ll find out later why. For wheels, I really wanted something that wasn’t too common. Anything that was common in my mind, that I wanted anyway, would be way out of my ballpark of what I wanted to spend. That and it was a daily so I didn’t want to put anything THAT nice on there. You just never know what’s going to happen you know? As far as wheel fitment and sizing, I also had no idea what to do. I was never a big Odyssey guy so I didn’t do a whole lot of research, nor did I really look around on Odyssey forums to see what everyone else was running. The only Odysseys that I saw modded around me weren’t rocking anything that I would want to run anyhow so I kinda had to figure it out on my own…

My buddy Ryan Der over at Rywire had recently purchased a set of Volk Racing TE37s for his E30 BMW M3 coupe. His car was far from ready to be driven but TEs were always what he had planned to put on his BMW. They needed to be refinished so they were just chillin’ at the shop until he was ready to bring them back to Norcal with him. One day we joked around about trying to throw them on the Odyssey to see how he looked so we did…

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The TE37s he had were staggered (17×9/17×9.5) and the offsets were in the +22 to +28 range. I wanted to run a 17 as opposed to an 18-inch wheel because I wanted to run a meaty tire. Again, this was going to be a daily so I wanted to have a bigger tire. The sizing seemed perfect so we put the 17×9.5 on to see how much room we had and surprisingly, it fit really well. It was going to require a pull and some massaging but it wasn’t going to be anything that was going to look ridiculous. We stood back and kind of eyeballed it and decided that whatever wheels I’d end up with would be around that sizing… Unrelated but you can also see how fucked up my front bumper and front driver’s fender were in the photo…

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Oh I forgot to mention this but shortly after I bought my Odyssey, my buddy Sunny from 5Fifteen Autobody said that he had a Mugen rear spoiler and front grille for me. I guess he had originally planned on building one for himself awhile back but just never got around to it. He said he no longer wanted it and would even paint it for me so shit, I couldn’t say no, haha. Sunny is the homie and always looks out for me. I didn’t even plan on getting this stuff but just out of sheer luck, I’ll take it…

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The turning point really came when I was contacted by Steven Lam of RPM Auto Center/BMD-USA.COM. Steve is the U.S. distributor for Barramundi Design wheels from Japan and he needed a little help with business. He knew that I was one of the main guys that helped get Barramundi wheels noticed here in the U.S. and decided to hit me up. He wanted to bring me on to help push the brand here stateside and also to develop some website content for Barramundi Design. In return, he’d give me a good deal on the BMD “Eleven” wheel that I’d always wanted since the first time I spotted them online. I was looking for wheels anyways and these were perfect. He also already had the set in the sizing that I wanted so it was good timing. He wanted me to bring the Odyssey around to various events to help him let the world know, so to speak, that BMD was in the U.S. now but I was hesitant at first. I loved the wheels but again, the body of my Odyssey was not at its best form so I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to market the wheels on an old beat-up daily…

Much like my Accord build back in 2004ish, a set of wheels would help to alter the fate of my Honda and I soon found myself really wanting to take this thing to another level. Reality struck of course and I just didn’t have the expendable income to just throw at a complete repaint with bodywork…

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I picked up the wheels after having a meeting with Steve and just sat on them for a couple of months. I didn’t even have suspension yet so there was no point in putting the wheels on. Tires were also something that I just didn’t have so the wheels sat in their boxes and took up space in my home. I was super excited to have them, I just wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them…

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Around that time, I also found a BRAND NEW set of rear mudflaps for an RA3 Odyssey that was still sealed in its original packaging! My RA3 never came with them so I swooped them up and threw them on. I don’t know how many of you feel about it, but I’ve always been a fan of having mudflaps on a Honda…

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My Mugen rear spoiler and front grille also came in when Sunny made a trip down to L.A. to visit the shop. I didn’t really want to put them on the van yet since the rest of it looked so bad but Sunny wanted to make sure that everything matched so I was basically peer-pressured into installing them, haha…

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This was the only photo I took of the car at the time because you really didn’t need to see the rest of it…

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The only person that I really talked Odysseys with who actually had an Odyssey like mine was Tom Fitzgibbon from Fast Eddie’s Racing. For those unaware, Fitzgibbon is the owner of the white RA1 Odyssey with the H22-swap that features a reversed cylinder head set-up. He knows his Odysseys so whenever I had an important question, he was there to answer. From chatting with him, I remember him telling me that if I had planned to lower my RA3, I would need to acquire a set of adjustable upper ball joints. The way the suspension is set-up for these cars, they just aren’t meant to be very low. So once you slam these things, the upper ball joint is angled in such an aggressive way that the ball joints just pop out of the control arm. That doesn’t sound like anything that I want to experience so I ordered a set of SPC ball joints before I event had new suspension…

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I decided to get some Dynamat to line my doors too since my new speakers had a slight rattle to them since the doors were so bare….

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Eventually, I was able to acquire a set of coilovers. The wheels needed to go on so I went around looking for suspension. RC Chacon from RC’s Garage helped me get a deal on KSport coilovers so I leaped at the chance. Now, I know that many of you would question my decision but the things you need to understand about this chassis is that coilovers aren’t the easiest to get. Tanabe had discontinued their coilovers here in the U.S., TEIN coilovers were not dampening-adjustable, and my only other option was to order used dampers from Yahoo! Auctions Japan, which was something that I was totally against doing. You never know what people were doing with these coilovers before you had them and there just weren’t any guarantees that they weren’t blown. It was too risky so the only option was to get these KSport Kontrol Pro coilovers. They are the only dampers in the U.S. that offered 36-way adjust-ability (or any adjust-ability at all for that matter).  It was the only feasible kit to get. My only other option was the Tanabe Air Cobra which was a air cup-kit style suspension that I would need to order from Japan, and that shit alone was about 5 grand….

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Here they are out of the box the day we went to put them in. Since I had all the pieces to get the car lowered and the wheels on, I set a goal to have the car ready for the 2013 Eibach Honda Meet. I had about a week to get it all together but it didn’t seem like a problem until I ran into some issues with the rear coilover springs…

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I don’t know what it was about the rear springs, but it just did not want to bring the rears down, even after I set the ride height all the way to its lowest setting. On the RA chassis, the spring and shock body are completely separate from eachother. the shock mounts where the shock normally mounts but the spring sits in a different section of the rear suspension. I wasn’t sure if the rear springs were correct or not but the only way I could get the car lowered was to take the perches out of the rear and have it completely resting on the collar…

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Fat Kid from Ballade Sports helped me get the SPC ball joint pressed into the upper arms…

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Here is how the Odyssey looked after DPK David and I got the coilovers on. You can kind of picture here how the rear sat at its lowest setting. It was still pretty high and the car just rode really weird with the springs. I don’t know if the springs are designed only to support the added weight of the van with people in it but it definitely didn’t help bring the body down. I could deal with it just sitting on the lower collar but it just did not ride very good at all…

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Since I was messing with the suspension, I mounted one of the BMD wheels to see how it would fit…

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The 2013 Eibach Honda Meet was quickly approaching and I just couldn’t stand how the car drove. It literally rode like I was only on the spring and there was no rebound. In all my years modding cars, I’d never encountered anything like it. I’m pretty mechanically-inclined so I knew it wasn’t an error on my end but I made the decision to take it to Fast Eddie’s Racing for a second opinion. If there was anyone around who knew about the suspension on these vans, it would be them. Above is Fitzgibbon tearing apart my rear suspension. Even he couldn’t understand why KSport used such a thick rear spring for the coilovers. He was busy prototyping new coilovers for the RA chassis for Megan Racing so he ended up taking the custom rear springs off of his Odyssey and gave them to me to use. I was pretty surprised by how generous he was but I really appreciated it. The rear springs that he was using are custom manufactured pieces from Blue Coil. Not only would they bring my Odyssey down to my desired settings, the springs also supported an additional 400lbs of weight in the back. I was super happy with them and still ride on them currently…

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Falken Tire always comes through for me whenever I need tires so getting rubber for my BMD wheels was pretty simple. I have a great working relationship with Falken Tire and I’m glad to be onboard with them. They helped get me Falken Azenis FK453s for my Infiniti Q45 build as well so I was happy to have the FK453s on my Odyssey. I liked the FK452s before but the 453s were just a completely different tire. The overall ride is just better and though they are considered an “Azenis” line tire, they aren’t very noisy at all like some other low-profile tires. The best thing about modding a van is that you can also load the car up with the parts you have. Above was my Odyssey all loaded-up as I set off to RPM Auto Center where Steve was gonna help me with mounting the wheels to the tires along with getting a much needed alignment…

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These were mounted a day and some change the week of the Eibach Honda Meet. I was cutting it pretty close but was hoping that everything would be fine once the wheels were mounted…

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Stock Odyssey wheels off the RA3…

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Steve helping me out with a late night alignment after business hours. This was the first time I had all four wheels and tires installed and it presented some issues. The fronts need to be rolled but I didn’t want to lose the original body lines of the rear quarter panel so I opted to cut them instead of pulling them outward. The rears rubbed on the tires so badly that I didn’t even drive the car home that night with the rear wheels on. I just loaded them back and put stocks on before heading back to Rywire to drop off my car. Eibach was only a day away so we had to figure out how to get the car to roll smoothly without issues…

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My buddy Takeshi Kobayashi from Japan was able to score me these black lug nuts from FEEL’s Twin Cam. I’ve always wanted these and since the dollar was getting stronger compared to the Japanese Yen, I decided to hit him up to see if he could order them for me. FEEL’s doesn’t sell directly to the U.S. so I didn’t want to go through all the hoopla of going through a U.S. distributor. He had them sent to his own house and then brought them over when he came out to visit us in California for the Eibach event. I’m glad I have good friends that can hand delivery me parts from Japan, haha…

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The rear quarter panels needed to be trimmed to clear the tires so I convinced Ryan, who had the steadiest hand out of the group, to try and cut them. I’d done it once before in my Accord but I honestly have the shakes pretty bad so I’d rather trust someone like Ryan, though he’d never cut anything like it previously. I mean, it didn’t matter in the end because I’d have all the body work fixed later but he did a good job…

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Here is how the FEEL’s lugs look mounted on the Eleven wheel…

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I ended up not even having the car ready until about 1 am that morning of the Eibach Honda Meet. I took it down the street for a late night wash but was honestly very hesitant about taking the car. I was so bummed with the way the whole thing looked. I tried to get the car as low as I could and the front upper control arms were just banging on the shock towers like crazy. It’s a common problem for these cars and there is no real way around it, even after we cut out the top of the shock towers. The way the arm is angled upward, it just constantly hits. For the Civic and Integra guys, they just cut out a small section and it helps to alleviate some of the banging but with the Odyssey, the whole upper arm actually hits and not just the top of the ball joint. I wasn’t happy with it because the few months when I had it completely stock, it drove so great and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Now I tried to mod it and felt like I downgraded the car signficantly. During the course of the night I told everyone I wasn’t going to bring it because I hated how the car looked and it took some convincing from David and the rest of the guys to get me to change my mind…

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The Eibach Honda Meet was just a “meet” so there wasn’t really much to worry about. I would have never taken it to a show looking like this but I was relieved to have it at Eibach. Everyone had done so much to help me get the car to this point that it would have been a mistake not to have the car there. Driving the car 50+ miles to and from with the shock towers banging wasn’t the most fun drive I’d ever experienced but I got through it. I eventually raised the car back up some more so I had a bit more clearance. Above was the Odyssey at Eibach on display at my booth across from the Rywire E-AT Civic…

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After I adjusted the ride height higher over at Rywire’s…

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There were still some tweaks that needed to be done to the suspension so that I could get the car lower again but I enjoyed it for the month or so after Eibach. I just drove it everywhere and was starting to feel better about the car. I didn’t do a whole lot to it after that because I didn’t plan to. I was happy with it. Unless I found some super rare stuff that I could afford, I wouldn’t really do a whole lot to it. That is, until the weekend of the Wekfest LA event…

I brought my Infiniti Q45 to the show to display and that is where I met Edson from Premier Auto Body. My homie Salem introduced me to Edson and mentioned that he was a big supporter of The Chronicles. We had a brief chat since I was running around and he mentioned that he would be down to help me do some work on my Odyssey if I wanted to. I told him that I wanted to possibly repaint the car and he told me to bring the car by the shop one of these days to check it out. I brought it by the following week, we discussed what needed to be done, and I handed him the keys a couple weeks later. Normally I don’t think I’d be that trustworthy but I had seen a lot of his work on other Hondas. The guy does great work so I trusted that he’d take care of my car…

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I was happy with the original color because I had never owned a blue car prior to this. There was a thought in my mind at one point of painting the car a Hypnotic Blue Teal from the Scion brand but I ultimately stayed with the same color. My friend Hiro from Japan helped me make that decision actually, as he had an Odyssey just like mine in Japan. His was in much better shape but it was also a left-hand drive model that was the same color. He wanted to have a twin here in the U.S. so I kept it the same color. Hiro had passed along some good ideas and advice for my Odyssey so I was happy to be his U.S. counterpart….

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Before I dropped off the car at Premier Auto Body, I made the trek over to M’s JDM Motors to pick up my JDM RA3 bumpers. Matt had asked me awhile back to let him know if there was anything in particular that I was looking for and I told him I needed the JDM RA3 Aero Spirit bumpers. They are different in that they come with a OEM front and rear lip. They were my favorite bumpers but I had no idea if he could source them. One day he hits me up and tells me that he already had them on the container and I was stoked! They were in incredible shape with no body damage so they were perfect for my car…

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The bumpers were complete with foglights and everything. They were black but it didn’t matter since they were gonna be stripped and repainted anyway. You can see the front Aero Spirit lip here and the ugly license plate bracket that I was going to replace….

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After I left M’s JDM Motors, I headed straight to North Hollywood to drop my car off at Premier Auto Body. They tore the car down and got to work right away on it. I know how body shops work so I didn’t even bother them and just let Edson and crew do their thing. I figured it would just be easier not to be a nuisance. They knew it was my daily driver so I needed the car back in a reasonable amount of time, and not two to three months later like most shops. One of my requests was for him to shave off the emblems on the rear deck lid and also to eliminate the rear wiper. I never used the rear wiper anyway so I thought it was unnecessary to keep. I live in California so it doesn’t rain a whole lot here so the wiper is nothing more than an eyesore to me. I had him get rid of the emblems because, to me, it wouldn’t make sense to put some old ass emblems on fresh paint…

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The rest of these photos from Premier Auto Body weren’t even taken by me. As I said, I just let them do their thing and told them to just hit me up if they needed to ask me anything or to let me know when the car was ready. Edson did a great job of communicating with me and consistently sent me updates on the progress of the car. Here is just a small glimpse of how much work was involved in getting the body straight again. It is hard to see in the photos before but like I’ve said this whole time, the body was BEAT…

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My front fenders were rolled and pulled but they were pretty wavy. Edson took the time and straightened them out while retaining the pull so I could still clear my BMD wheels…

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Smoothing out the rear hatch before primer and paint. They also pulled the glass too, something that some body shops will not do because they want to save time…

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The new front bumper and lip combo smoothed and primed…

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First coat of primer after the bodywork was completed…

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Originally I had mentioned to him that it wasn’t really necessary to paint the roof since it didn’t look that bad to me but he showed me how messed up the moonroof was and we agreed to paint the roof as well…

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First few coats of Honda Mystic Blue Mica applied…

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Loved that the body was finally straight again and I no longer saw the Ichthys fish that was once carved into my doors…

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I eventually had to make my way over to Premier to drop off some new moldings and snapped this photo of my RA3 in the spray booth…

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While my car was in paint, I also received my Personal Neo Eagle wheel in the mail…

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Also got my front license plate bracket from Raul at Checkerdsprts.com

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Not gonna lie, I was pretty excited when I received these photos of the Odyssey fresh out of paint. My old paint was so worn out that I had no idea what the Blue Mica looked like when it was brand new 15 years before. I ended up loving the color that much more after Edson sprayed it…

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Front and rear lips, moonroof piece, and bumpers baking out in the sun….

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At last, no more gaping hole in the corner of my rear bumper…The only bad thing about getting the JDM rear bumper with the Aero Spirit rear lip was that I could no longer make use of my rear mudflaps. I liked the look but I had to ditch them for the rear lip..

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The moonroof was meticulously repaired and straightened-out…

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Fresh JDM RA3 front bumper….

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Wetsanding and final prep…

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All the trim and accessory pieces after some wetsanding and buffing…

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Edson was so happy with how the car came out that he didn’t even want to send me photos of the car once it was done. He wanted to surprise me and to show it to me in person but was so excited that he couldn’t wait and sent me the photos…

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This is a photo from the evening when I went to Premier to pick up my car. Didn’t really get any more shots of it until I put the BMD wheels back on it…

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Here is the final product after Premier did work on it. I loved how everything came out and it was almost like having a new car all over again. Low mileage, new paint, JDM goodies, it was everything I wanted and more…

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A couple weeks later, I took it to Super Tuning Performance in Van Nuys, CA so that Koko could make me a custom exhaust system. Another downfall of having a lowered Odyssey is having to deal with the way the stock exhaust piping is routed. The muffle sits under the passenger seat and the piping is routed really low from the factory. Once you lower it, the muffler and piping hit everything in sight. Hiro Ueda gave me the idea of routing the piping through the rear subframe for more clearance and Koko was happy to route it however I wanted it. He also threw in a smaller, flat muffler for even more clearance…

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The huge muffler and old crusty piping after it was chopped off… I didn’t get a shot of the exhaust after it was completed but you can see how it was routed in a video I did on my Instagram account HERE….

And that is basically where we stand today. I don’t think I’ll do a whole lot more to the car, being as I’ve already done more than I could have ever imagined in the 7 months that I’ve owned it. I’m really happy with the car and just plan to make some adjustments to the suspension to get the car lower with the proper clearance that I want…

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I recently found a set of rear, discontinued, JDM Ganador Super Mirrors for my Odyssey. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Ganador mirrors and was excited to find out that they made them for this chassis. I was even more excited when I found someone selling a pair on Facebook. They needed some TLC but I immediately scooped them up. You never know when you’ll be able to run into another set of these so I did not hesitate to buy them…

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The seller shipped them out right away and I got them a couple days later. Now they are currently at Premier Auto Body once again where Edson and crew and cleaning them up and prepping them for paint. By the time you read this they should be painted already. I plan to bring the car out to Nisei Showoff in Little Tokyo this weekend so if you want to check out my daily beater, come by and say what’s up…

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I should also add that Albert from Automation LED hooked me up with a bunch of L.E.D. accessory lights for my Odyssey. I didn’t even plan on ever getting this stuff but I opened my mail box one day and they were sitting there waiting for me, haha. Thanks to Automation LED for taking care of me! I think I’m gonna go put that shit on right now actually so we’re gonna stop here. I don’t know if I’ll ever update this build post again but hey, you never know… Most of you guys who follow me on Instagram (@stickydiljoe) already are familiar with everything that’s been going on since most of my updates go there. If you guys care or want updates, follow me on IG!

This seven month journey so far as been amazing. I’m really happy with how the Odyssey came out but I couldn’t have done it without the help of some really great people and great companies:

Noriyaki Miyamoto from Barramundi Design and Steven Lam from BMD-USA

Robert Chew and the great people from Falken Tire

Edson and  everyone over at Premier Auto Body

Matt from M’s JDM Motors

Ryan Basseri, Ryan Der, and DPK David from Rywire.com for always providing space for me to work on my car and to help me with whatever I need

Sunny Wong from 5Fifteen Auto Body for the Mugen stuff

Takeshi Kobayashi for the JDM goods

Hiro Ueda for being my Odyssey brother and giving me a ton of ideas on how to mod this thing

Raul from Checkerd Sports

Albert Yeah from Automation LED

Andrew Wu for helping me with the Personal wheel

Koko from Super Tuning for the custom exhaust

and…

Thanks for looking guys and taking the time to read through all this. Sorry the lack of quality in the photos, I decided to document my build with my cell phone camera instead of my dSLR. It wasn’t ever supposed to be a big deal so I never bothered to pull out the camera, haha…

7 thoughts

  1. Excellent work saving that Odyssey from fading away – it looks brand new again..!

    Screaming out for some window visors, and definitely 5% tint on everything behind those B-pillars!

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