THE ARCHIVES: Neema Tabrizi’s Honda Civic From HCI Magazine Sept. 2006…

I guess a formal introduction is needed…I’ve decided to create this series that I’ve appropriately dubbed “THE ARCHIVES” after recently been delivered an influx of old raw content from my friend Gene Tjin. A year or so ago, I created a post consisting of old car show photos from the late 90s/early 2000s and detailed the car show scene of that time. If you missed that post, CLICK HERE to see what I’m referring to. After that post generated some traffic and became quite popular, I made a call out to everyone to see if anyone had old photos that they wanted to send me so that I could post them up here on the site. I had a couple of leads here and there on some content but one of the guys that contacted me was Gene Tjin. Gene has been around for a long time now and was once a major contributor along with his brother Neil for HCI Magazine. HCI, aka “Hot Compacts and Imports”, is long gone now but was a rival publication to many of the popular Source Interlink titles (Super Street, Import Tuner, etc.) in the mid-2000s. It wasn’t anywhere as big or well-known as any of the Source books but gained some steam and popularity because of guys like the Tjin brothers. They found the cars, shot them, wrote the stories, and basically put the entire magazine together month-to-month. I was incredibly happy to hear from Gene because I knew that because he had done so much magazine work in the past, there was a strong possibility that he still held onto a lot of the old photos that he shot for the magazine back in those days. This is important not only because he took a ton of photos, but he also shot these photos for print, which means that they would be large format suited for today’s digital standards. All the other photos that people took back then with point-and-shoot cameras or dSLRs were most likely resized to suit displays of that time so the photos would be significantly smaller than what we are used to looking at today. When you compress old photos like that, they lose a ton of detail and you wouldn’t even really want to look at them today because they would be a little too low quality….

I chatted with Gene back and forth and he ended up mailing me some CDs of photos from various events he attended and after going through the photos, I cleaned them up and put them up here on the site. He was shooting with really good equipment back then so the photos are still very much on-par with what we look at today. It was great that he also kept all the original photos so they were full-size and I could go through them and clean them up. Last week, after seeing a post I made on a Hot Import Daze event that he shot back in 2004, he began digging through some more old CDs and found a ton of old content featuring many of the cars that he shot for HCI back when the magazine was still around. He began to send them over to me and now all of you guys will get to enjoy them after I clean them up and resize them for the site. I really wanted to use these photos because I think it will help the newer generation of enthusiasts to see how cars were built and how they looked back in the early/mid-2000s. I want to show that attention to detail and quality stands the true test of time and how some of these cars would still be considered “top tier” builds by today’s standards. Obviously trends have come and gone but I think that these cars are proof that the cars that were built “right” back then don’t simply go out of style. I also liked the idea of creating this series because the older enthusiasts will get a kick out of it and will enjoy seeing the cars from the past that they liked when they were heavily-involved within the community. Some of these guys aren’t into cars anymore or just aren’t that interested in the hobby as much as they used to be. Maybe seeing these photos will help breathe life back into their true passion once again and ignite a fire inside that will get them back into cars. It’s a long shot but hey, you never know. For me personally, I just like the idea of having these photos and being able to access them whenever I want to see some classic builds. You won’t really see these photos anywhere else because they were once only meant for print and there was never a digital version, especially in larger formats. This is truly some of the most “exclusive” content you will ever see here on the site. I’m happy that Gene has been so willing to help out and to send me a lot of his old photos. I know some photographers that may not want to see their old work rehashed because they are very wary of how people perceive their photos, especially considering how they want people to only see their best, and current, work. A huge thanks to him for making this possible. He’s ultimately contributing to a private collection of photos that I will hold onto for a long time…

To introduce this series properly and to really give you guys an idea of what you will be seeing, I’m going to post up photos of Neema Tabrizi’s Honda Civic. Neema’s Civic was one of the Hondas that really helped to usher in the era of the K-swapped Honda back in 2006. Back then there weren’t very many Hondas around with K-motors in them and Neema’s build just exploded onto the scene and really created a lot of buzz in the Honda community. Gene knew that Neema’s build was a big deal and immediately leaped at the opportunity to shoot the car for HCI in June of 2006 and from what Gene tells me, the car was also supposed to be a cover car, and rightfully so. Somehow in the end, someone made the executive decision to not put it on the cover and a lot of people weren’t very happy with that idea. Either way, it ended up in the magazine with a full-spread and you will have the opportunity to see those photos here today. All things considered, this Civic would still be a very relevant build in today’s Honda community. It wouldn’t stand out as much as it did back then but hell, it could pull up to a meet or car show in 2013 and people would speak very highly of it and appreciate the subtle nuances of how it was put together. I don’t know Neema personally but his Civic was one of my favorite Hondas back in 2006 and still remains one of my all-time favorites to this very day. He isn’t really into Hondas anymore but after he parted ways with this Civic, the car went on to a very good home up in the Northwest and was rebuilt from the ground-up. Yee Vang took over the reigns of the Civic and put his own twist on it, and again, it became a very notable build. It looked very different and many people didn’t even know that it was once Neema’s car. Vang even got the car featured in Import Tuner a couple years later. CLICK HERE if you want to see how it looked when it was featured in Import Tuner. This car’s reputation definitely precedes itself but today we get to see where it all started…

If you want to save these photos or view them in a larger format (Max is 1600px), click on the photos and it will take you to another window where you can select what size you want to save it in. Please do not steal these photos or alter them in any way. We are lucky enough to get these photos up on the web again thanks to Gene and I’ve taken the time to clean them up and re-edit them for the site. If you see these photos anywhere else, you know where they came from. Thanks for looking and enjoy!…






Interesting to note about the photo above is that it was actually two photos, one with the hood closed and the other without. I think what Gene had originally meant to do was to combine the photos to do that whole “transparent hood” look that was really popular back then, so I took the liberty of doing just that. Hopefully it was what he wanted, haha….










That’s a wrap for today. Got a ton of stuff still coming in from Gene that I’m really excited to go through so stay tuned!!…

Categories: Exclusive Content, The ArchivesTags: , , , , , , , , ,


  1. What a super clean hatchback! This car would have definitely shat on numerous others in this era. Plus I had no idea that this was the same car that wore the J Blood front bumper that pretty much introduced me to J Blood.

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