Exceed Japan’s EK9 Type R Build…


Whenever Wekfest Japan comes around, I usually like to head overseas a couple days earlier just to see what my friends are working on in preparation for the event. I’ve been going since Wekfest first hit Japan and it has quickly become one of their most anticipated shows annually. Enthusiasts and tuning shops throughout Japan are starting to build cars specifically for the event and it is really cool to see how much anticipation there is now for new debuting builds. This year, I flew straight to Osaka to hang out with Yasu and to see his crew from Exceed Japan wrap-up a year-long project for a customer…

The customer, Mori Hirai, is an enthusiast who is in his early 20’s but has already fully devoted himself to his love of Hondas. Not only does he own the EK9 Civic Type R that was being built by Exceed, but he also purchased Phaze2 Mikey’s Integra from Yasu about a year ago. Yasu had been running out of space at the shop and didn’t really have time to maintain the USDM-imported Integra anymore so Mori decided to take ownership of it. The car has remained virtually unchanged since Yasu first brought it over to Japan and Mori has been driving it quite often. He seems to really appreciate the car for what it is and its significance to the Honda community worldwide. I was quite surprised to hear that he drove it so often because the car has spent years just sitting in one shop or another, stored away only for special events. It’s driven pretty far distances these days and Mori has taken quite good care of it…

Before he purchased the Integra, he had this Championship White EK9 that has seen quite the transformation over the past 365 days. It started out as just a very simple Civic Type R that was purchased used from Zero Fighter, another local tuning shop in the region. He kept the car mildly set-up with just a set of coilovers and Enkei RPF1 wheels. Being a fan of USDM Honda-styling and the way we do things on this side of the pond, he decided to bring his EK9 to Yasu Shimomukai since he was very familiar with this particular way of building. There were some specific parts that he chose for the car but he essentially gave Yasu full reign over the build and allowed him to do any and everything to really recreate the EK9 in his vision. What Yasu wanted to do was put together a Honda that mimicked the Integra that Mori had purchased from him which was quite a hit here in North America. He knew he wanted the car to be Milano Red, a classic Honda color, and the car would encompass all the characteristics Yasu had come to understand during his many trips here to California. K-series swaps are now all the rage in Japan, almost becoming a standard for any fully-built Honda, but Yasu went a different route and stuck with the factory B16B EK9 engine. What he would do was put a big turbo on it, using mostly products from the USDM market, and redo the engine bay to make it as clean as possible. All the plumbing and hardware would also use products popular in the U.S. Inside the cockpit would host a custom-fabricated roll cage which would be shaved and smoothed-out to give it a very seamless look before the entire interior would be stripped and resprayed in a matching Milano Red…

On my adventures to Japan in the past year or so, I’d quietly been keeping up with the build. I hadn’t met Mori Hirai yet but Yasu always keeps me current with what he’s working on so I knew that Mori’s EK9 would be a huge project for Yasu. He’s built a couple of cars already at the shop but this one was probably his biggest since he opened-up his business a couple years ago. Whenever I would visit, I’d see the CTR inside his shop and I’d see the updates he would do on it. Around January, progress had on the build had really picked-up. The goal was to bring it to Wekfest Japan but Yasu had also been busy helping complete some other builds for the Osaka Auto Messe event. I honestly didn’t know whether it would be done or not but we’re used to tight deadlines so I knew I’d be able to catch the final phases of the build when I returned a week before Wekfest…

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On the first morning after I arrived in Osaka, I got to see where the EK9 was at in relation to the schedule we had on the days counting down to Wekfest Japan. The shop looked like a blizzard had run through it but the car itself was very much in order and nearing completion…

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The engine bay was still missing some stuff but the B16B was in place already, along with the Sheepey turbo manifold and Precision turbocharger. For this build, Yasu mixed in some older USDM products to contrast with the newer parts, like an chromed Edelbrock Victor-X intake manifold along with an AEM fuel rail and regulator. Interesting also was his choice to go with the classic blue/red -AN fittings and steel braided lines. I asked why he didn’t go with black fittings and black lines and he said he really wanted those particular pieces to stand-out because there weren’t many crazy turbo set-ups like this in Japan, especially with the hood dumps through the hood…

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On the second half of his shop, which is a fully-functioning body shop, were the body panels for the EK9, all painted and ready to be installed…

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I thought it would be a stressful time with just a few days left before the show, but Yasu and his crew were all smiles and having a good time putting the Civic together…

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As you can see here, the shop was pretty cluttered-up but with the days winding down, there was little time to worry about organization. You can even see the No Good Racing EJ1 Civic Coupe in the background here. It most recently appeared at the Osaka Auto Messe event in February…

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While they were putting the car together and installing all the parts, they saw some minor tweaking to the front core support of the EK9 and decided to install another one. It wasn’t a significant amount of damage but it was present enough where they wanted to install another and strengthen it with a custom T-bar being that it would also be an area responsible for holding-up the massive Sheepey intercooler and CSF radiator…

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Yasu measuring out a sheet of aluminum and shaping the custom T-bar…

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Yanagi cleaning-up the alternator before installing it onto the B18B. If that bumper looks familiar to you in the background, that is actually the original bumper from the Phaze2 Integra with a molded-on SI-VTEC lip. It has since been removed for a 98-01 front with a Exceed x Mode Parfume front lip. All I remember every time I see that front bumper now is how much it cost back then to acquire that front lip and how difficult it was to find. Now it just sits outside on an Integra shell…

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Keeping with the USDM theme, Yasu opted to run 3-piece Arcane Streetwalker wheels in 16×8 sizing for the EK9…

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He worked closely with Alex from Arcane to get the optimal face and pad clearance to house Spoon Sports front brakes tightly behind the spokes…

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The new core support welded in place with the custom T-bar completed…

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After the core support was in place, the moved the Civic over to the paint booth to get the front end matched in Milano Red…

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Once the front section was painted, they could finally put the rest of the body panels back on…

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Here’s a better look at the roll cage and how the sections were smoothed and reshaped to flow with the chassis…

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Pretty cool to see a cage essentially ‘molded’ to the car. Something you don’t see very often done anywhere…

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The red really helps the cage pop and brings attention to all the custom fabrication within…

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Adjusting the rear suspension and getting the rear cleaned-up before the bumper goes back on…

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The guys taking a step back to see the car finally on the ground with the new Arcane wheels on it. Prior to this day, they had only seen the car pushed around on OEM EK9 wheels…

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Parts polishing and reassembly of the starter after the casing was repainted…

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Pacing was particularly good when it came to everyone working together. At one point I almost thought we might get done earlier than scheduled. And by that I mean that we might have a chance to get some sleep….

I was wrong, I later found out….

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Yasu is a huge supporter of Downstar Inc. so he always uses their hardware on his builds…

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Core support painted and cleared, getting some heat treatment here…

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After the paint was baked, Yasu and Masa got back to work on re-installing the manifold and turbo components…

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Though it was an EK9 Type R, you won’t see the factory panels here as Yasu went ahead and added custom two-toned suede door cards onto Mori’s Civic…

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The massive Precision turbo being installed back onto the Sheepey manifold…

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The rear bumper and CTR rear lip installed…

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The painter at Exceed touching up some areas after the front bumper and Exceed x Mode Parfume lip was mounted…

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A look at the intake-side of the B16B, including the blue hardware that was used to mount the Edelbrock manifold. The choice to use the blue was to match the blue of the Injector Dynamics fuel injectors…

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A day before we had to leave to Nagoya for Wekfest, Mori Hirai made the drive down to help-out and watch the finishing touches be applied to his CTR. As you can see, the Integra has remained unchanged and still looks as good as it has since it left California…

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Yanagi cleaning-up the Bride seat rails before mounting the seats inside the car…

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Yasu working on the other door panel while Mori and Yanagi clean-up the car…

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All hands on deck as the deadline neared…

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I didn’t get anymore shots of Kohara’s S2000 but the Mode Parfume widebody now rests atop a new set of Desmond Regamaster EVO wheels…

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With the interior cleaned-up, it was time to get the Bride seats into the car…

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Yasu finishing-up the custom suede panel…

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The panel also matches the custom suede-wrapped dashboard…

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The factory cluster would be eliminated and in its place would be a AIM Strada digital unit mounted to a carbon sheet…

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Yanagi is meticulous in his approach being that he is a construction worker by trade so he was assigned the job of measuring and cutting out the panel for the AIM Strada…

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Measure twice, cut once with precision…

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Mounted and ready for installation….

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Installed into the suede-wrapped dash and protective clear layer removed…

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Yasu polishing the Milano Red paint before loading the Civic up onto a trailer for the trek to Nagoya for Wekfest Japan…

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And with the Civic put together, it leads us directly into the Wekfest Japan 2019 Coverage, coming right up as I continue to go through photos. This was actually our first time seeing the car outside and completed, and it’s quite the sight to be seen…

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I’ll have more photos and video coming up to show you guys all that happened at this year’s Japan Wekfest event. Stay tuned!!…

Categories: Civics, CoverageTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 comments

  1. dank as usual

  2. Something I’ve consistently noticed from your Japan visits over the years… why is it that the Japanese seem to prefer working on the floor?

    • its because were small asians….i work on the floor too with small bamboo chairs. lol

    • I think this is a really cool concept. Don’t get me wrong, work benches are great. If the floor is your work bench then you can basically build anything anywhere. Seems kind of freeing in a way. Or am I just crazy?

  3. Holy fuck. Beautiful perfection (to me). As i’m building my ek4 with ek9 parts this is a huge inspiration for me.

  4. Word Joey! Dope coverage, man. Mad appreciative of what you do and what it takes for you to do it.

  5. The thing is he really did Mikeyyy’s old Integra justice building this as a sibling to it. So sick to see how far that car has come (yes, pun intended lol). Dude to have a duo like this in your garage…😮💥

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