THE ARCHIVES: Buddy Club All Carbon-Bodied FD2 CTR From A Feature That Never Happened…

Let me begin by saying that this was, is, and will probably always be on my top three of least favorites shoots which I’ve ever done. I can honestly admit now that I never liked these photos and I’m kinda happy that they never ended up in print. I’m showing them to you now because I think that the car is legitimately interesting and something that you may not have ever seen before prior to this day. Before we get to the photos though, let me give you some back story on how this print feature never came to be…

In 2011, things were very different. I was shooting for magazines every now and then but I did it sparingly. Super Street seemed to be fully staffed with good photographers and they would only ask me to shoot a car if I had already known the owner and was familiar with the car. Shooting for Honda Tuning was rare because in Socal, Rodrez was the one that did a majority of the shooting for the magazine even though he was already the head editor. He shot the cars because he was a photographer at first and just genuinely enjoyed shooting. I got into the business as a writer and just picked up photography over time because it was easier for me to get work if I did everything. In ’11, I was still just learning the basics and was even shooting with an entry-level Canon Rebel T2i. The camera body was good, but it was nothing compared to the full-frame dSLRs that Canon had to offer. I couldn’t afford anything that nice then so I just worked with what I had. I basically was using it just to shoot events for my own site but then I started getting gigs to shoot cars for magazines and I just ran with it. It is pretty crazy to think back on how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. I still don’t like to consider myself a true “photographer” but I think I’ve gotten the hang of how to use a camera. I’ve even upgraded since then and I have better equipment to work with. Hindsight being 20/20, I think I did the right thing by starting out with a low budget camera because it taught me what I needed to know and I didn’t have to rely on great equipment to make up for the downfalls of my shooting abilities….

Rodrez was busy during this period and so he asked me to shoot a Civic race car over at the Buddy Club facilities. I don’t even remember where it is now but I just remember it being a far drive. I didn’t care of course because it was work so I agreed to do it. It was surprising to hear him ask me shoot a car, especially locally in Socal, so I was excited to do it. I don’t even think I had shot a car for Honda Tuning prior to this assignment so it was going to be my first real photoshoot for HT. There were some interesting circumstances going into this shoot; the car couldn’t really be driven anywhere since it was an import from another country so I would have to shoot the car at Buddy Club. That would have been fine had the the space allotted for the car to be able to moved around freely but the facility was so packed with merchandise, as well as other cars, that it made it nearly impossible to move the car around at all. Another thing worth noting is that there seemed to be a language barrier that existed between myself and the staff at Buddy Club. I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but Buddy Club USA (this is a common misconception) is NOT a Japanese company. It hasn’t been a true Japanese company in over a decade now in fact, and the Buddy Club brand is actually owned by the Taiwanese. People never ask so they never have to tell anyone, but there is really nothing at all “Japanese” about Buddy Club, other than the fact that they produce parts for Japanese vehicles. Hopefully this isn’t a shocker for any of you guys but I’m sure the newer generation of guys had no idea that this was the case. For a similar comparison, it would be much like the general public believing that Mishimoto is a Japanese company because of its name…

Anyways, the guys at Buddy Club were nice guys, but they didn’t really seem to have any idea what was needed for me to shoot this car in full detail. I don’t even think they started the car at all that day and we just pushed it around back and forth within the small confines of the Buddy Club building. I didn’t want the day to go to waste so I just worked with the space that was available to me. Because of the restrictions that were placed in front of me and the car needing to be pushed back and forth, it took quite some time to shoot this car. To this very day, I still don’t think I’ve ever spent this much time shooting any car. If memory serves correct, I think I was there for almost 6-7 hours. That wasn’t even the worst part either. After I wrapped up the shoot, I wasn’t ever able to complete the story for it because we had absolutely zero information on the car itself. See, the guys at Buddy Club weren’t very proficient in English and the entire shoot was set-up through a third party marketing firm that was doing all their advertising duties for them. To get anything from Buddy Club, you’d have to speak to an “agent” so to speak and would have to rely information through a third party, which was a total pain in the ass. I sent numerous emails trying to get a spec sheet or whatever information I could on the car to no avail. Rodrez then went back and forth with the marketing firm in which they responded by saying that they would produce a spec sheet for us, and it just never came. No information about a car that we had only heard of very sparingly means we had just wasted our time shooting it. If that wasn’t enough to seal this feature’s fate, I should also add that the car went back to Asia just days later. Notice how I didn’t say “Japan”? The whole reason why I had gone over there to shoot the car was because the car had to leave the country so we really didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to do a feature on it. Had we known that there was no information on the car, we probably wouldn’t have bothered…

I held onto these photos for a couple more years in hopes that we would eventually get some sort of info on it, but again, it just never came. Who knows where this car is now or if it is even in the same condition. You can’t even find any other photos of it online or even the slightest bit of information, otherwise I would have just made a story up with whatever little I could find. Now that Honda Tuning is no longer in print, I guess I can toss these photos up here seeing as how there would be no point in holding onto them anymore. Again, I am not very happy with these photos but I do think that it is an interesting car. I guess the fact that we have no information on it makes it that much more intriguing because there is an element of mystery behind it. I still cringe when I look back at these photos because they just aren’t that great. They are not an indication of where I am at now with my photography in 2014 and I hope that is understood…

Click the photos if you care to see larger versions of them. I’ll try to post up whatever I know/saw in the captions below….

Oh and this build was originally dubbed the Buddy Club “Type X” Civic which debuted here in the U.S. alongside the Buddy Club GT-R Spec X….

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The Buddy Club FD2-converted Civic “Type X” didn’t really have aggressive aero like you see on the FEEL’s FD2 or other race-prepped vehicles. Hell, it barely had ANY aero at all. If was basically just OEM panels and components that had been redone in lightweight carbon fiber….

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Here you can get a good idea of how much room I had to work with that day. Not only was there shelving throughout and a giant lift in the background (which produced terrible shadows by the way), there were also a couple other cars parked behind it….

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I tried using some metal drums to block the R35 GTR from view but as you can tell, I didn’t really do a good job of it…

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Visible oil cooler mounted behind the carbon FD2 CTR front bumper…

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The entire car, including all four doors, were all carbon fiber, minus the rear quarter panels and frame itself…

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Nothing makes a better shot than a background filled with shipping boxes and a blue liner filled with Styrofoam packing supplies, haha…

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Custom carbon rear spoiler that I’ve only ever seen one of….

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Buddy Club F91 wheels with Brembo big brakes…

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Buddy Club rear brakes…

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Not entirely sure what headlights these were because we had no info on the car, haha….

The coolest part of this build was definitely the interior. You wouldn’t think that the carbon motif would carry over into the cockpit of the car but it definitely did…

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Check out he carbon fiber center console…

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…and carbon steering column cover…

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AIM digital instrument display, which looks like it just belongs in there…

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Carbon fiber door cards with the OEM window switches and door lock mounted directly into the panel. You can see the factory CTR white paint in the door jams in this shot….

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Another interesting modification to the interior of this Civic was the four Buddy Club P1 racing seats….

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Apparently they used this car for press laps too and these two extra seats in the rear allowed for ride-alongs…

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Roll bar and harness bar. Not sure if these was an actual Buddy Club piece, a piece that was outsourced from another company, or a custom piece specifically made for this FD2 conversion….

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Engine bay shot of the “Type X FD2”, also adorned in lightweight carbon…

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Carbon air intake box…

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CF engine cover….

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Remote reservoirs for the Buddy Club Racing Spec EVO dampers/coilovers….

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The rear suspension set-up with the Racing Spec EVO damper and custom Swift springs….

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Buddy Club Spec III titanium exhaust system…

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Brembo Monobloc front brakes and rotors….

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Buddy Club Racing Spec rear brakes and rotors….

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That was pretty much it from that day, back in 2011. I wish I had more info to pass along like motor specs and what not but we just never got anything from anyone about the car. Its a feature that never came to be, now seen exclusively only on The Chronicles. Thanks for looking and have a good one…

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2 thoughts

  1. What a great write up Joey and love the raw pictures. Awesome damn good looking car too with a number of great parts including all the CF stuff.

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