The Chronicles Top Ten Hondas of 2013… 5-2…

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Hopefully you guys have all enjoyed the first half of the 2013 Top Ten Hondas list. It was definitely an impressive group of builds but they just continue to get better and better as we move higher-up. From the overall responses so far that I’ve seen, it seems that everyone is happy with the grouping thus far and the general consensus is that these are the right Honda builds to represent the community in 2013. I apologize in advance as I have to keep it a bit short. I mean, I’m going to write a shit ton anyways because I am a writer after all but I am in a bit of a rush. I have to head to the airport in a couple of hours to board my flight to Tokyo, Japan so I am taking whatever time I have left tonight and investing it in completing this list for you guys to see. There has been so much going on lately leading up to my trip that I just haven’t had any time to really focus on one thing but I’m trying to maximize the time I have now to finish this up. Hopefully I have the opportunity to, haha. If for whatever reason this list just abruptly ends, that means I was taken away on a plane and sent to another part of the world. In any case, sit back and enjoy selections 5-2 of the 2013 Top Ten Hondas presented exclusively to you by The Chronicles. Once this list is completed, I will try to put together a list of honorable mentions. This list will feature the cars that narrowly missed the final cut and I will do my best to elaborate on them as to why they didn’t make the final ten. Thanks for looking and we kick off the second half of this list with yet another tie. The competition was so close that it really came down to the final hour for me to really make the final decision as to where everyone would go…

If you missed selections 10-6, please click the link below to read all about them….

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

5. FERD NATIVIDAD | SAN FRANCISCO, CA (TIE)

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By all accounts, Ferd’s DC2 aka “ATS Kranky” should be a top three build, if not THE #1 build of 2013…it just falls lower on the list because it just isn’t quite there yet. While the exterior and interior have all been completed, the mechanical side of the build was yet to be completed until the end of the calendar year. While I would not typically put cars that are not complete on a list of this caliber, I feel that this ATS Garage build is deserving of a spot on this list just based purely on public anticipation and the critical reception that it received when it finally debuted in 2013. For those that don’t know, this Integra has long been in the possession of Natividad for over ten years now. It hasn’t always looked like this but the final result is the culmination of years and years of hard work. The car had issues and was a bit temperamental at times which garnered its nickname “Kranky”.

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I remember seeing this build in the garage of Ferd’s home in Northern California and it was just a bare shell that had been painted this blue hue. At that point he wasn’t even sure he would ever finish the car and considered destroying it because he didn’t want anyone else to finish the car for him if he ever had the itch to sell it. Ferd is an interesting character and that only adds to the persona of his Integra build. He has built multiple Hondas that have been featured in magazines and have earned numerous awards and this is his latest and best work to date…

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As enthusiasts all know by now, anyone can simply fork out money and buy expensive, high-end parts, and throw them on a Honda…often times, it doesn’t work. Execution is key and this Integra is perhaps the finest example of high to put a Honda together with precision and detail. It is one of those cars that you really have to see in person to appreciate because there are so many little touches to the build that you just have to witness while going over the car with your undivided attention.

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The color really helps the car to stand-out and the engine bay is nothing short of outstanding. As I said, the only thing that really kept it from being a top three build is that it just didn’t have enough time in 2013 to really be completed and running at its optimal state. When it debuted at Wekfest San Jose in 2013, it was obviously the most talked-about build of the show and captured the collective attention of everyone in the building, whether they were into Hondas or not. It is an ATS Garage build so your standards are usually already pretty high, as they have often set the bar for what many would consider to be some of the best well-rounded Honda builds the world over. When the positive response exceeds the high expectations of meticulous Honda enthusiasts, you have yourself a Top Ten Honda build…

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Another important detail worth mentioning with this build is that it represents an ideal that many car crews seem to have forgotten…”team work”. Many of the original ATS Garage members spent many nights helping Ferd put this Integra together in the small confines of his garage. It is highly-refined as a complete package but it still holds true to the “red cups and cigarette butts while wrenching away in the garage” mentality that originally helped mold ATS Garage into what it is today….

Instead of putting up a collage of his entire build, please check out Ferd’s personal Instagram page to really see the timeline of his build HERE….

5. MICHAEL BLANCKE | PHOENIX, AZ (TIE)

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Blancke’s Civic build is a build that really snuck onto the list at the eleventh hour. It took quite a bit of time for me to finally get him on this list but I don’t feel I made a mistake by including him. Many of you may be expecting to see a tie between Ferd Natividad and Jay Calderon’s red K-swapped Mugen DC2, since both debuted at the same time and both are very similar, but I believe wholeheartedly that Jay’s Integra will be a force in 2014. He just wasn’t quite there yet and from what I’ve seen so far with the new additions they are making to that Integra, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that it’ll be one of the big hits of 2014 as long as the car is complete. I have Ferd and Michael’s builds tied because both are important, well-done builds but are polar opposites in many ways…

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While Ferd’s DC2 made its first debut in 2014 after years hidden inside a garage, Blancke’s Civic is the only Honda on this list that has made the list twice in separate years. For the few that are not in the know, Mike’s Civic once belonged to RC from RC Garage. When RC had it, he too was a selection for the Top Ten Hondas list. Blancke purchased the shell from RC and recreated the entire car in his own vision. To be honest, I feel that Ferd’s is the better executed build overall but it made very few appearances as it was on the brink of completion. Blancke participated in basically every major event on the West Coast in 2013. Not only was he active throughout, we also got to see the evolution of his build from event to event. The car first appeared at the 2013 Eibach Honda Meet and continued to grow show after show. By the end of the year, it was almost unrecognizable when compared side by side with its first look…

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I made my final decision after talking to RC from RC Garage for his input. He was the original owner of the car so it was interesting to see how he felt about both the car and about Mike. What he told me was what sealed the deal for his position on the Top Ten Hondas list…

“In my opinion, it’s a completely different car from when I owned it. Yeah it is still super simple but the car comes together as an entirely new package with all the First Molding products, interior, wheels, and the K-swap. It’s a tough decision for you to make but I honestly feel that it is a better than before. It also happens to be his daily driver as well so it is interesting to see the car’s growth while he still drives it everywhere and back and forth from Arizona to Cali. If you want to talk about impact on the community, I don’t think you’ll meet a better guy than Mike. He’s a great dude. He’s always willing to help and makes sure that everyone else’s cars are ready before he even thinks about touching his own. He has even taken parts off of his own car so that others can get their’s running. Mike is a throwback to how enthusiasts used to be, always willing to help and answer questions. The community could use more people like him….” – RC

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Great build and an even better owner. What more could you ask for?…Sure Mike’s build is a bit more tame compared to some of the others found on the ’13 Top Ten but the package deal exceeds the importance of just having a nice car…

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4. DANIEL HERNANDEZ | SAN JOSE, CA

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If there were a car and owner that deserved The Chronicles’ 2013 “Lifetime Achievement” award (which doesn’t exist), it would go to Danny Hernandez and his K-swapped Civic sedan. His 12-year body of work is what earns him the #4 spot here on the ’13 Top Ten Hondas list. He was cruising around in a K-swapped Honda long before many of you reading this list had even had any notions of building a Honda for yourselves and then he re-invented the car again years later and continued to remain a relevant figure in the ever-expanding Honda community…

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The car is not just a stripped bare shell but it is a build that we won’t soon forget…

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Many will remember his Civic in the mid-2000s when it featured a Laguna Seca Blue SiR motif with a K-swap. Back then, the K-swap wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today and Danny’s was one of the first few Hondas around to have it. He was a member of the legendary AMSEVEN car club at one point and then eventually left to pursue his own endeavors. He continued to mod his car, eventually transforming it into a weekend track car while doubling as one of the premier Honda show cars in the country. Instead of selling the car after he received his second magazine feature, he decided to reintroduce his Honda in 2012 with an entirely new look…

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Featured in May 2005…

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Again in January 2007…

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…and its final magazine feature last year in 2013…

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It has done it all, awards, magazine features, you name it, it has probably accomplished or attempted it. The second changeover was a bit unexpected for many, just because of how recognized it was in its previous state, but 2013 was a big year for Hernandez and his Civic. It was unknowingly on its retirement tour and I don’t think a majority of the Honda community really had a chance to appreciate its subtle nuances after the change. There was so much cool stuff about the car that just screamed Danny’s personal style…

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For me, this Civic will always be a staple of the Honda community in the 2000s. It was innovative, built as well as any top tier Honda, and was a multi-faceted build that functioned as well as it looked. Here is an ode to one of the great ones and a reason why it is the number 4 build of 2013…

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3. RYAN BASSERI | ORANGE COUNTY, CA

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Innovation is the key reason why Ryan Basseri’s EA-T Civic nailed the number 3 position on the Top Ten list. Simply put, there is just nothing else like it in the entire world. It is the perfect amalgamation of technological innovation and classic Honda style. Sprinkle that with attention to detail and skillful execution and you have one of the best Honda builds of 2013…

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The moment it made its first public appearance at the Eibach Honda Meet, we all kind of knew that we were really onto something. The community really embraced this build and it was deserving of all the worldwide acclaim. People really liked how clean the exterior was when meshed with rare Japanese EA-T parts and Mugen wheels, but it was the engine bay that truly made this thing spectacular. You’d often find people staring at the car, wondering if it ran at all because of how naked the engine bay was with the individual throttle bodies. Not only did it have ITBs, the kicker was that these four throttles were being controlled by an electronic servo motor. The lack of any sort of throttle cable only helped to make the engine bay that much more of a mystery…

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The servo unit controlled the throttles electronically, eliminating the need for a cable-drive system. This drive-by-wire system was unheard of in an older Honda chassis and really helped to get Ryan’s personal project a ton of attention…

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The Rywire E-AT even graced the cover of Honda Tuning magazine and a publication in Japan, USDM Magazine…

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With all the awards it earned, magazine features, and worldwide attention, you’d almost imagine Ryan’s build to be the #1 build of the year. He falls down to the #3 position because of, ironically, three reasons. First off, the car was still not 100% by the end of the year and could benefit from some more tuning. Ryan is busy with Rywire Motorsport Electronics and didn’t have enough time to get the car dialed in the way he ultimately wanted it. Second, while the technological advancements were incredibly impressive and nearly mind-blowing, the credit for putting the exterior aesthetic together belongs to Ryan’s good friend John Nguyen. John helped build this E-AT and was the one who assembled much of the appearance-side of the build. Thirdly, when you put community impact into play, the Rywire E-AT Civic was certainly inspirational but I think that it is a little too far ahead of its time for the more casual Honda guy or gal to really understand and appreciate it. It is great to be an innovator, but sometimes you get a little too far ahead of your time and it takes time and understanding for people to really “get it”.

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While I understand all the advantages of having a drive-by-wire system in an older Honda, especially when it comes from a tuning aspect, it isn’t something that many enthusiasts are looking to do right away at this very moment. He’s set forth a new path for the future but it isn’t a path that everyone is ready to get on just yet. It’s a great option for competition motor sports like drag racing, but universally, so many have yet to know enough about it to take advantage of it. Nonetheless, Rywire’s Civic is incredible and one of the top three builds of 2013….

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2. ATSUKI TSUBOUCHI | OSAKA, JAPAN

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Atsuki’s circuit-prepped Civic from Japan, better known to you guys as the Tactical Art EG, was undeniably one of the most talked about and most popular builds of 2013. It is unfortunate to say, but its untimely demise at the backend of 2013 really peaked people’s interest and only helped to create the legend of this Honda. Originally, I had Atsuki’s EG6 much lower on the Top Ten list. I wasn’t sure where I was going to place it because it is really different from any of the other builds you’d see on this list. It was the surprising public response that helped to motivate this build into the runner-up spot on the Top Ten. People just went absolutely nuts for this car…

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When I first started documenting the rebuild process at the beginning of the year, I had no idea it would be as well-liked as it would eventually become. I took it on as a project for The Chronicles because I myself liked Atsuki’s car. I didn’t really care what people thought of it but as the build continued to progress throughout the year, I started to get the feeling that it was just one of those builds that would be special, no matter what year it was. There really isn’t anything that you would consider to be “trendy” or built specifically to garner any type of “fame”. Atsuki is an incredibly quiet guy that doesn’t ever have a whole lot to say. He just puts in work. He built this Civic on his own and it was just meant to be a weekend track toy. He fabricated a ton of one-off custom stuff for the car just because he could…

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I honestly don’t even know if he understands how popular the car became. Anytime there would be a photo of it posted online, people went crazy. Many more spoke of the build being inspirational to them which is always important when considering what cars to have on the annual Top Ten list. By the end of 2013, one of the top stories that were most viewed by the masses on The Chronicles were the posts that featured Atsuki’s build-up…

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Even when I asked many of you which Hondas you thought were deserving of a spot on the 2013 Top Ten list, the overwhelming response was the Tactical Art EG6. Pretty crazy if you ask me, because when you think back at the start of the year, nobody really knew what was going to happen with this build. It was on the back burner while Tactical Art assembled their other project cars…

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When you really think about it, it makes sense…. Atsuki’s Civic is timeless, executed in a very unique way, is highly functional, and built with purpose. It meets all the requirements that I look for and its level of customization is unmatched when compared to the other builds on this list from top to bottom. Unfortunate that it met its end way too soon but this should only serve as motivation for Atsuki and Tactical Art to create an even better Honda in the near future…

There’s no need to do a collage of this build because you can see it come together in high-quality goodness in the links below…

Exclusive Content: A Look At Atuki’s EG6 Build From Tactical Art…

Exclusive Content: The Latest Developments On Atuki’s EG6 Build From Tactical Art…

Exclusive Content: The Tactical Art EG6 Circuit Build Nears Completion…

Exclusive Content: The Tactical Art EG6 Circuit Build Hits Central Circuit For Testing…

Exclusive Content: The Tactical Art EG6 Circuit At Central Circuit For More Testing…

Exclusive Content: The Final Photos Of The Tactical Art EG6 At Nakayama Circuit…

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So now that we are on the cusp of finding out who built the number one Honda of 2013, let me ask you….who do you think it is?…. Stay tuned as the #1 Honda build is revealed tomorrow!…

5 thoughts

  1. number 5 the dc2 integra is breath tacking extremely well built
    i honestly think it should be # 2 and the tactical art should be #1

  2. I’m just starting to get into Honda’s and what i’ve seen here is really really really cool! I want to build one along side my ae86

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