The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2013… 10-6…

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I swear, this list gets harder and harder to do every year. I’m not 100% sure exactly why either. It can be a number of things…the cars are either getting progressively better every year and the builds just become more competitive, or there just aren’t as many stand-out builds like in year’s past and the playing field is being leveled out…*sigh* I just don’t know. I see the community going in the right direction in that many people are doing full-on restoration/resto-mod builds, which is always a good thing. In the past few years, we’ve seen a number of very highly intricate builds that are started from the ground-up. No longer are guys just throwing on parts and calling it a day. These days, people seem to really want to start literally from scratch and build from a bare chassis. This is both a good and bad thing. While doing full restorations provide a better platform to build from, I also see it hindering creativity and overall development of styles. The guys who are doing restorations are usually just keen on keeping the car in immaculate, almost factory condition, and just adding on simple parts or doing swaps with nice engine bays. Rarely do these guys really take a chance on their builds and take the creativity level to new heights. Believe me when I tell you, I absolutely love the resto-mod builds. I think it is the “correct” way to build a car, if you will. Not saying there should be a “correct” way at all because everyone does things differently but if you plan on building a completely new platform, you want a blank canvas that is as clean and “new” as possible. The trouble with that is that many of the people are spending so much money making these cars look off the showroom floor that they almost don’t want to cut things up and do anything out of what is considered the “norm”. I think the Top Ten Hondas list is getting more difficult because so many of the builds are so pure and simple that it becomes hard to differentiate between every build. Even still, you know the guys on this list are on here because they go above and beyond to really set their builds apart from the rest by infusing a level of quality that is unrivaled when building their cars from bare shells…

I’d like to add that I’ve taken somewhat of a different approach this year when putting cars into consideration for the list. In the past, I really put a heavy emphasis on the builds being out for the world to see for an entire year’s time. Meaning that you really have to have a complete car from the beginning of the year until the end of the calendar year to really be considered for the list. While this makes sense, I feel that this puts some builds at a disadvantage because many regions and parts of the world just don’t have as many events as the West Coast does. Without events, you’re relegated to only seeing the cars on the web and that is also an unfair way of judging the quality of a build because photos really alter reality at times. Instead of putting so much emphasis on the cars being complete and out for a whole year, I’ve been more liberal with the rule and have considered some cars that may not have been ready from the start of the year, and instead have taken other factors into consideration, like their impact on the community, and how much response they get from the build-up of their cars. It just doesn’t make sense to compare a build from, say, the West Coast, and somewhere like the Pacific Northwest or something because they never have events and their weather is so unpredictable that you are unlikely to see many of their builds throughout the season….

Other than that, the same rules applies as always, I take EVERYTHING into consideration. That means, build quality, overall execution of style, overall execution of the build and how it relates to what the owner is trying to present to the rest of the community. Trends are not that important because I feel that if you really have a car that is legitimately considered one of the ten best in the world, it should really transcend the limits of popular trends and should have somewhat of a timeless appeal to it. Many, if not all, of the cars that you will see on this list in the next few days should be a contender for the list every year, whether it be from the past or in the yet-to-be-determined future. An important factor that I really like to look at with these builds is the type of impact is has on other enthusiasts within the community. Inspiration is a huge motivating factor when building a great car and these builds are all inspirational in their own ways. The list gets harder to put together every year because there are a lot of amazing cars getting put together every year so I really have to look at how the cars impact everyone else and possibly how they would change the way another person would put their car together. There are quite a bit of other things that I really look at, especially when it comes down to it being such a close race. I could talk your head off about it but I think the cars will speak for themselves. If you have been following this Top Ten List the last couple of years, you should have a good understanding of how the list works. At the end of the day, if you don’t agree with my selections, that is perfectly fine. I will not lose any sleep on it. This is The Chronicles’ list, meaning, it is MY list and MY list alone. If you don’t like what I have to say or the cars that I choose, you can go ahead and start your own list. I am not here to satisfy you or quench your thirst in any way. If you feel your car should have been on the list, that is okay too. I probably have your car on my radar but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. Keep building your car and doing your thing. Don’t let the list change your perspective on how you build your own car. As much as I would love to make everyone happy and give everyone credit for their builds, it just doesn’t work that way. This is the “Top Ten” list, not the “hey everyone, you did a great job list”. If you for whatever reason get butthurt about not being on The Chronicles’ Top Ten list, I think that says more about you and your character than how you build your car. You should be happy and congratulatory to others instead of worrying about why you aren’t one of them…

Anyways, no matter what I say, someone is going to have their feelings hurt over it. That’s fine. I’m glad I am generating at least some form of emotion from any of you guys. That means I’m doing my job because you took the time to read through this. I do what I can with the list and I rack my brain over what cars should be here every year. The reason I took so long this year is because it was so difficult to put an entire list together and collect all the assets for it. It’s not easy, believe me. If you ever attempt to put something like this together, I wish you the best of luck. With that said, here are the first half of guys from the 2013 Top Ten Hondas of the Year list, presented by The Chronicles… Enjoy. I liked how the layout of last year’s list was and I think many of you enjoyed it as well so this year’s list follows a very similar format…

To kick off the list, we have a three-way tie for the number 10 position on The Chronicles’ Top Ten list. Because it is so difficult to narrow it down to ten cars every year, I often have more than ten because many of these enthusiasts are equally deserving of a position on the list. If you don’t know, there are never repeat builds that will appear twice on the list on any particular year unless they have been redone completely…

With the tenth selection on the 2013 Top Ten, I present to you…

10. COOPER BOUDIA | OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON (TIE)

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Cooper Boudia is a guy that honestly was very high on my list the year before. He has had this Integra together for the last two years now and has made continued improvements to it. The car is completely home built and assembled from a small personal garage, which is something that we all admire universally within the community. After all, that is how the whole tuning community got started and building a car in the garage of your house is about as grassroots as it gets…

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His build is very simplistic on the outside but it is the small details and the overall package which makes it great. He follows a traditional Spoon Sports theme religiously throughout the car and while I have never been a diehard Spoon guy, I appreciate it, especially on a Milano Red DC2. Red is far from anything that Spoon would ever have but Cooper’s car is his own interpretation on what a Spoon Integra would look like. To be honest, there isn’t anything “crazy” or overly unique about Cooper’s car….

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…it makes the Top Ten list because of his efforts and how the car comes together as a package. It is completely, and utterly timeless. There isn’t anything on this car that would ever be considered “trendy” in any way. This car could be relevant in the 90s, 2000s, and beyond. If you want to build a personal Honda that you can enjoy and a car that you can bring out for a drive, this is how you would want to put it together. He purchased this car from a single owner in stock form and transformed it all on his own. You can tell that he knows what he is doing because he’s even made the drive back and forth from Washington to California multiple times in the past two years and has had zero issues with it mechanically….

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The engine bay is about as clean as it gets without being shaved and overdone and it is a driver’s car, meaning that it is built to be enjoyed and driven, not just pulled out only for car shows and what not. Cooper also happens to have one of the most thorough build threads that I’ve ever seen. He hides nothing and holds no secrets from the rest of his fellow enthusiasts. He is helpful in providing knowledge and experience and you can really see how his car comes together from start to its current state. CLICK HERE to read all about it. Cooper was an easy selection for this list because both he and his Integra are great for the community….

10. KYLE CRAWFORD | PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA (TIE)

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Kyle Crawford and Cooper’s builds both land at the number ten position because they are very similar in many ways. Like Boudia, Kyle’s EF is very simple aesthetically. In fact, Crawford bought the shell pretty much exactly how you see it, minus the addition of the OsakaJDM rear spoiler and the Regamaster EVOs. This EF was previously featured in a magazine as well. Kyle bought the shell and put his own twist on it by tearing the car down and redoing the engine bay and the interior. The exterior was perfect as it was and really needed so real alterations…

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Before you go and say “that’s not fair, he bought the car like that”…you’d be wrong. He bought the shell like this as a shell. Kyle put quite a bit of work into making it his own and really making it a complete car…

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Everything minus the custom painted exterior was done by Kyle in his garage. The suspension was added by him as was the motor swap. The interior was gutted-out and resprayed in a contrasting grey tone and the engine bay was cleaned up in anticipation of the ITR motor. Seats, and everything else came over time and when he debuted the car in its completed state, it was an absolute hit with Honda guys the world over…

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What made it such a popular build in 2013 was because of how “Japanese” it looked, if that makes sense to any of you. It carries with it a very Japanese Kanjo racer motif and with Kanjo Racing really catching steam over here in the U.S., it was almost the perfect time for Kyle’s EF to appear. I got to see it for myself at WEKEAST during the late summer and I too became a huge fan of the build. Like Cooper’s DC2, it does have that timeless look to it. The tire chalking is about the only thing that you would really consider anything remotely “trendy” about the build but it works with the overall look of the car because this is how a EF circuit build would look in Japan..

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The EF chassis seemed as popular as it has ever been in the last year and Kyle’s was most certainly one of the best homegrown EF builds in the entire spectrum of the Honda community. If you want to read more about this build, CLICK HERE

10. JIMMY NGUYEN | STOCKTON, CA (TIE)

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Of the three cars that ended-up tied for the tenth position here on the list, Jimmy’s would probably be the surprise selection….

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While you might not have seen or heard of Nguyen’s CR-X before this, it has long been on my radar and is one of my favorite CR-X builds of all-time. Like the other two, it is likewise similar in that it has a very subtle exterior appearance. What makes it unique is the H2B set-up under the carbon hood of Jimmy’s CR-X…

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CR-Xs typically look great as they are with an EF8 SiR front end conversion but this car shines when the hood is off, which is something that many enthusiasts would love for their own builds. The engine bay is executed very well and the fact that it has an H22 set-up with individual throttle bodies just makes you want to keep staring at the engine bay because you’re so not used to seeing this in a CR-X in 2013. You’re more likely to find a K-swap in a CR-X these days but Jimmy took the road less traveled…

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He’ll even take the wheels off occasionally and throw slicks on there for some weekend drag racing. While many of taken the leap into the time attack and road racing world, Jimmy stays true to his Stockton roots and continues to support the import drag racing community…

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I have long been intrigued by Jimmy’s CR-X because I think that it is a great example of another clean, everlasting Honda build. He just happens to have a little twist on it with an uncommon swap. That too just makes his project that much more enduring and unique. Again, there is nothing wild or infinitely unique about it, but it doesn’t need it. What he has created is a CR-X that many could strive to build towards without the car being overly ambitious and unattainable. I’ve have always been the type to enjoy the builds that really push the envelope but on the other end of the spectrum, we will always need builds like this CR-X as well. It is a reminder how how to build a clean Honda and the type of build that we all fell in love with when we first got our start building Hondas.
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It’s a masterpiece from the Bay Area that I feel is under-appreciated. He was very deserving of the cover of Honda Tuning magazine in 2013 and now he lands at number 10 on the 2013 Top Ten Hondas list…

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9. SATORU HASEGAWA | HIROSHIMA, JAPAN (TIE)

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The number 9 spot goes to two individuals from Japan who are instrumental in furthering the globalization of the USDM style/culture in the Land of the Rising Sun. Satoru Hasegawa’s Ferio build is honestly a bit of a mystery. While I remain constantly connected to the tuning community in Japan, Hasegawa’s car was a complete surprise to me when I first saw it in 2012. At that point, I had already considered it for the 2012 list because of how far ahead of its time (in relation to the Japanese Honda community) it was. It just narrowly missed the list because I hadn’t really seen or heard enough about it yet….

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While it is nothing that would be thought of as “shocking” to us here in the U.S., it was an impactful build for the Japanese Honda community because there weren’t really any Hondas modified as thoroughly in this fashion yet in Japan. USDM culture has grown leaps and bounds within the last couple of years but Satoru’s Ferio got it down to a “t” without him ever having set foot in the U.S. to see the Hondas here for himself. The “stance” of the car may be a little overboard by many of our purists’ standards but in terms of carrying over the USDM style to Japan, it works. This type of fitment for Hondas is all the rage in Japan and Hasegawa’s is executed in this fashion because it is his interpretation of U.S. style….

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The engine bay is surprisingly on key with what you would expect to see in a high level show car here in North America and uses mostly products from our country. This Ferio is proof of just how much the Internet has changed our car culture because you would never have thought to see something like this in Japan without it. Now we are able to share experiences and ideas worldwide. Hasegawa’s build is one of the best examples of what many Japanese envision as USDM style…

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Upon its debut, it immediately caught the eye of enthusiasts throughout Japan and was soon featured in two different magazines in just a span of one year, which is remarkable anywhere…

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The interior is well-kept and the exterior has been redone entirely to retain a very OEM appearance, something that is understood to be a popular look on our shores. Satoru’s Ferio made huge strides in the short time it has been around and is executed so well that it would also be very relevant no matter what country it was in. It’s global impact is the key reason why it is on the 2013 Top Ten Hondas list…

9. TERU ITO | JAPAN (TIE)

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Ito-san’s Honda Odyssey build shares a place here on the Top Ten Hondas of ’13 list with Hasegawa because it was equally as important to the growth of the USDM car culture in Japan. While the Ferio was a major player in 2012, Teru’s Odyssey was undoubtedly the most talked about and most respected Honda build to re-emerge in 2013 with USDM car culture fanatics…

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Teru’s Honda has always been around and was a build that was recognized by many Honda enthusiasts worldwide, but it became a game changer in Japan after its rebuild at the start of ’13…

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Those of you who followed the Honda community in Japan may remember Teru’s Odyssey looking more like the photo above back when it was on a variety of different wheels and featured a turbocharged factory Odyssey motor. The Odyssey is very popular in Japan with a lot of aftermarket support so its quite interesting that Teru went for a very USDM-look because we don’t provide nearly as much support for the platform as they do overseas. To make an Odyssey “US-themed” would be to leave it essentially stock-bodied, much like how we would style our other Honda platforms. To the average eye, it would just look like a stock Odyssey, but Teru’s Odyssey has been modified more than you think…

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His Ody is an important build for Japan because it not only showcases a tucked and shaved engine bay, it is also done on an platform where you would not normally see this type of work executed. To coincide with the custom engine bay is an H22A 5-speed swap, which is work in itself because Odysseys do not normally come with a 5-speed transmission so modifications had to be made to convert the car to manual transmission. This wouldn’t seem like it would be too hard on say, a Civic or Integra, but the Odyssey is originally a column-shift vehicle, so the layout is completely different than your typical car. Do accomplish this, the firewall had to be cut and a custom center console had to be created to house the shifter assembly that is mated to the H22 motor. Also interesting to note is the custom made air conditioning lines. Not only did they do a H-swap, they also managed to keep the car with functioning air conditioning and did it in a way where it wouldn’t be an eyesore….

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Being an Odyssey owner myself, I probably appreciate Teru Ito’s Odyssey more than you guys would because I understand how painstaking it was to get his Odyssey to this state. Teru’s suspension is also heavily modified so that the van can ride at this aggressive ride height. Even with modified shock towers, the upper control arms still come incredibly close whenever the car meets any imperfection on the road. They also don’t have damper adjustable coilovers available in Japan as the only coilovers with full adjust-ability at this point are K-Sports, which are not popular over there. From chatting with him, they use a mix of suspension pieces from a DC2 Integra Type R and Odyssey coilovers. If that isn’t enough, Teru also did a minor restoration job to keep his Odyssey looking brand new. Completing the package are a set of aggressive Volk TE37s. The final product is a Honda build, Odyssey or not, that would be globally relevant…

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As mentioned, one of the reasons why his Odyssey makes a surprise appearance here on the Top Ten is because of how much attention and recognition it received after its re-debut in 2013. It landed on the cover of Custom Car magazine and won numerous awards at events throughout the calendar year. He probably had as good of a year as any one on this list and that’s why he makes the list. His Odyssey is a hit and inspiration to all who continue to move forward with their projects based on less-popular Honda platforms…

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8. XAVIER ORTIZ | ORLANDO, FLORIDA

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Xavier’s Civic is an interesting choice for me personally. While I’ve always liked his build, I think his bravado is a little much. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I think that he is his own biggest fan but the different types of personalities that I encounter in our community is what ultimately makes what we do unique….

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I’ve been a fan of his Civic for a couple of years now, long before I knew of Ortiz and his Wire-Worx brand. It’s always been a car that stood out to be because I like his attention to detail. Internally, the two cars that came into consideration for this spot on the list were Xavier Ortiz and Teddy Timoteo from Southern California. Both are very similar in that they are styled alike and have been around in equal amount of time. What ultimately made me select Ortiz’s Civic was a factor in which I put a heavy emphasis on when I consider all these builds; the engine bay. You can’t really consider any type of Honda to be top tier unless you include how the engine bay is executed and side-by-side, Ortiz’s bay wins out…

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Not only does the bay look great, the motor makes good power as well. His Civic is a combination of good parts selection, better execution, and power…

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The car has been around for over 5 years now and has been a good representative of what Florida has to offer. The Wire-Worx brand has grown exponentially in the last couple of years and it could be due to Ortiz’s personal build which displays his best work. You also have to take his impact on the community into play when you look at his work overall because his brand is quickly becoming a recognized name in our community. I’ve never encountered his products personally but I’ve heard good things about it from trusted individuals…

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It would be higher on the list but what holds the car back is that it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. Florida itself has seemingly taken a backseat to other parts of the country where it was once one of the premier states to look to in terms of great car builds. We need builds like Xavier’s to remind us that the Florida tuning scene is still strong. Otherwise we’d miss out on builds like this which are deserving of recognition…

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7. JARED AGUILA | EAGLE ROCK, CALIFORNIA (TIE)

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The two S2000s that hold the number 7 position are both builds that I feel are the best representatives of the ultimate street S2000 platform. It gets no better than these two in terms of parts selection and overall execution for AP1/2. A tie exists in this instance because they are both unique in their own ways but represent the epitome of what many S2000-lovers would strive to one day build…

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Jared Aguila’s S2K is the ideal combination of timeless looks fused with the latest in engine bay customization. In a community where this particular chassis is getting cheaper every year, new owners have taken to using heavily replicated aero parts to simply achieve “the look”, ignoring quality and rarity of premium Japanese products. Aguila’s S2000 is one of the few out that created “the look” that kids are replicating day after day. The only difference is that you will never find a replica product on his build as he is the premier connoisseur of rare Japanese goods…

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Never one to ever consider “re-barreling” a Mugen wheel, Jared sought out two different, complete, set of NSX-spec Mugen M7s just to have a set of four NSX rears. Everything else from the Powerhouse Amuse front bumper, to the Mugen hardtop, steering wheel, and S1R buckets, you guessed it, are all authentic. It’s one of those things that you would probably only appreciate to the fullest if you were an S2000 owner or understood the importance of authenticity in a community flooded with copycat parts…

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I read something once where someone commented that Jared’s S2000 is the image that should be used when you look-up “S2000” in the dictionary, and well, I’d have to agree. You could also look it up under the terminology of automotive modification terms under “Less is More”. It’s not like he doesn’t have the resources to transform this car into a race-inspired beast like many other S2000 enthusiasts, he just chooses to keep it like this because this is his vision of what an S2 should look like. I also rank this car high on the list because I know of the internal struggle that Jared and his project car went through in the past year that almost ruined his entire build. A supposed friend was involved in doing some modifications to the car including some major work on the motor and ended-up doing nothing but damage to the car and scamming Jared for a lot of money and time. He was able to repair everything and the car didn’t skip a beat in 2013…

7. JOSH ALDERMAN | FLORIDA (TIE)

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Better known to the S2000 community as “MugenAP2” and “Dirk Diggler”, Alderman’s S2000 has long been on my radar as one of the best and most well-rounded S2000s in the entire world…

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Like Xavier, you probably just haven’t heard a whole lot about it because it is a Florida-based build. In the past, it was always just a hair short of making the Top Ten list because it didn’t feel “complete”. The addition of TODA Racing individual throttle bodies mated to a Mugen air intake put the final touches on an incredible build. If Jared is the West Coast’s representative for the “ultimate S2000”, Josh would be the East’s…

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Both Josh and Jared share an affection for authentic goods. It is their parts selection and how they come together which makes these two shine. Where Jared takes a simpler approach, Josh’s S2000 features a sportier appearance with a plethora of legit Mugen parts like a full Mugen SS kit and hardtop…

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With such a tight race between so many great cars, it is the detail touches that really matter. Stuff like this brake ducting that runs from the Mugen SS front into the J’s Racing big brakes are what make Josh’s S2000 so cool. You wouldn’t even see this normally because it is covered but detail is essential in developing a Top Ten Honda….

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The S2000 community is an ever-growing one and with so much aftermarket support, there are just so many different ways to re-imagine the platform. I think it is important to consider these two as two of the best S2000 builds in the world because they will be the ones to remember long after the whole stance fad dies out and all the replica aero is destroyed. These are the builds that you will see years from now at an event like Cars and Coffee and they will be looked at as the true classic customized vehicles of our generation…

To see more of Josh aka MugenAP2’s build, check out his build thread HERE….

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6. CHEN HUANG | DES MOINES, IOWA

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Chen makes the Top Ten of ’13 list just based on location alone. Who would have ever thought that there would be a K-swapped Mugen Integra Type R from Des Moines, Iowa? I’ll just sit here and wait for you guys to go Google where Iowa is because a majority of you probably don’t even know. It’s okay, I didn’t either…

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Huang aka Chenstur’s ITR started off with humble beginnings and was built completely inside his garage in Iowa…

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Like the other Integra owner on this list, Cooper Boudia, Chen also happens to have one of the most thorough build threads I have ever seen. In it, you really get a great grasp of the amount of work that went into transforming his bone stock Phoenix Yellow ITR into a complete Mugen R. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly the car came together and how he was actually able to source a complete Mugen aero kit. The engine bay was also cleaned-up, re-sprayed in PY, and K-swapped. His build resembled a complete resto-mod project but the ITR didn’t have to be stripped down completely. Various parts on the car were just cleaned-up and refreshed just because Huang felt it was necessary. He actually had a nice EDM-themed build going as well before he ultimately switched over to a JDM front end with full Mugen kit.

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I’ve seen a couple of complete Mugen Integras in my lifetime and this one is definitely worthy of being a part of that rare and illustrious group. Not only was he able to source everything down to the Mugen Active Gate brakes, he also massaged the entire engine compartment and put together a great K-swapped bay. It nearly cracks the top five of ’13 because it possesses everything that I look for when I consider builds each and every year. It even got a fair amount of exposure this year nationwide, which is rare for a build that is from a state that isn’t looked at as a place that possesses many recognized Hondas/Acuras. Chen himself seems to be a good guy who is trying to expand his horizons. He traveled out to California in 2013 to experience the culture out here for himself, which is a great thing. There’s always room for growth and to expand your tuning repertoire. No better way to do that than to go out and see what else different parts of the country/world has to offer…

As far as global impact goes, the world can always use another Phoenix Yellow Mugen ITR. Honda enthusiasts everywhere appreciate this ageless look and the K-swapped custom bay just makes it that much better…. If you would like to go through Chenstur’s build in detail, view his build-up HERE

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Well, I gotta get packing for my trip to Japan tomorrow. Thanks for looking and keep an eye out for the second-half of the list coming right up!…

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7 thoughts

  1. Kyle (#10 EF) isn’t actually using the J’s/Crux suspension; they’ve been for sale since they bought them. There is also no chance they’d go that low on any EF chassis.

    <- Old owner of the aforementioned J's/Crux suspension.

  2. Woot woot! Midwest is representing! Nice work, Chen Huang.

    This is awesome:
    “Jared sought out two different, complete, set of NSX-spec Mugen M7s just to have a set of four NSX rears. ”
    That is dedication to stay true!

  3. Pingback: The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2013… 5-2… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  4. i hate Ties, it makes life so much harder. hahaha, i love cooper’s DC build, a lot of nice cars come out of the PNW, and this is one of the prime examples of that.

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