The Caged Beast: Phil Robles’ Wide Civic

As a FWD Honda owner and enthusiast, I really hope you guys out there are enjoying our FF mini-theme like I have. For the rest of you, at least it’s almost over! In America I’d argue that the Honda Civic is probably one of, if not the, most-tuned Japanese vehicle around; and as such, often gets a very bad reputation. I hope to help change the bad taste left in many enthusiast’s mouths over these cars during the coming weeks, months and years as I showcase some of my favorites along the way; and I’d like to kick things off with Phil Robles’ amazing EG.

Phil isn’t your average Civic owner and the car he’s spent the last five years creating isn’t your average Civic. He enjoys both form and function but he doesn’t let either completely rule his vision. This car lives a very hard life out on the circuits of Arizona and Southern California, but when it’s put in the trailer and taken back home again it’s pampered and looked after like the finest show cars.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about the combination of this Civic and its owner is the fact that Phil isn’t your Internet-age-hip-acronym-texting-youngster typically associated with Honda’s boy racer hot hatches. In fact, he’s a happily married family man with grown children that are all older than I am. He might not be on the web forums tooting his own horn, but that doesn’t mean his car hasn’t made its rounds through the message boards.

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why the car is popular. It is able to appeal both to general petrol heads as well as the most fickle of Honda fanatics. In fact, we even spotlighted the car back in 2010 thanks to a guest contributor, but a lot has changed since then. The car has been down for just over two years and I’ve been bugging Phil for ages to let me know when I could come by and shoot it… recently, the call finally came.

Bearing in mind that I’m incredibly biased to the EG chassis, I can’t help but find this car drop-dead gorgeous. In fact, I’d probably put the EG’s silhouette in my top-five all time shapes alongside iconic machines like the 911. There’s just something about the proportions and simplicity of the design that I can’t ever get enough of, which probably explains why I drive one every day.

To this day I’ve owned three of these things and shot countless dozens more. With all that practice comes the experience of knowing exactly where to stand and what lens to use to draw out my favorite lines in the body. However, you’ll surely agree that there are a few additions to Phil’s car which break up the classic bubble shape that cannot be ignored, like the J’s Racing 3D GT wing…

Not to mention the bulbous overfenders. I’ve seen a lot of things in my day, particularly in the world of Hondas, but I do believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen overfenders fitted to the rear of a Civic! Ironically, the J’s Racing flares which are now bolted to the back of the car were originally intended to go on the front, until Phil picked up the already-widened Chargespeed fenders. Rather than letting a perfectly set of flares to to waste, Phil decided to go ahead and square the car up which allows for swapping of the 15×9″ wheels on all corners to get the most from a set of 275 Hoosiers.

Keen Honda nuts will have already spotted that quite a few other miscellaneous bits and pieces from J’s Racing have also been equipped to the car’s exterior. Take the front bumper for example that adorns a pair of carbon fiber canards as well as an induction scoop from J’s.

Of course the vented hood is also from none-other than the Osaka Honda specialists…

As are the tell-tale orange tow hooks fore and aft as well as the mega-baller 50RS Titanium muffler with a burnt turn-down tip.

But the crown jewel for most Civic gurus would have to be the legendary adjustable 3D GT wing. I’ve been longing for one of these for my EK for some time, perhaps one of these days I’ll finally pull the trigger and cough up the coin to get one. Maybe.

While Phil might have an affinity towards J’s, that doesn’t mean that his car can’t play well with others. A few Spoon items can be spotted even from a distance, like the carbon fiber front lip and mono block calipers – another must-have for many serious Civic guys.

The largest transformation since the last time I saw the car has to be in the interior, where everything has been delicately stripped down and reassembled with only the bare minimum required components. While the car was down, Phil had his bolt-in cage replaced by a proper six-point weld-in unit by the guys at Precision Chassis Works.

Phil and I seem to have staggeringly similar taste when it comes to building a Civic, so it’s hard for me not to like his choice in seats – a Recaro SPG, as seen in Leroy. Sadly, that’s where the similarities between the two cars end, because Phil has built something way above and beyond what my current time and budget are capable of. For now, it’s certainly something I can aspire to!

From this view you can start to get an idea of just how gutted the dashboard is, there’s virtually nothing underneath the skin at all. In fact, Phil joked that it takes longer to remove the cluster than it does the entire rest of the dash! A suede Mugen Racing-III steering wheel and a Buddy Club shift knob provide something for the hands to do while driving…

But the tactile experience for the feet is just as nice. Fiends among the readership will quickly peg the pedal assembly being replaced with ultra-rare items off an Integra Type RX model. The PCI heel-up plate is a very nice addition which gives a smooth plane from which the feet can accurately operate the pedals.

Although a lot of time and attention has been put into the cockpit, the Hondata K-Pro ECU foreshadows the other newly finished modifications waiting on the opposite side of the firewall.

For a very long time, Phil was quite satisfied with the B18C1 Integra GS-R engine that previously powered the Civic. However, as time went on and Phil got faster and faster, the day finally came where he craved more power. He now jokes that he’ll probably be a lot slower than he was before while he gets used to learning how to rein in the beast. I can’t say he’s going to be wrong.

The engine compartment is yet another place where function and form can intersect peacefully. While the J’S Racing valve cover may be purely cosmetic, other bits like the billet Hasport mounts and ASC shock tower bar and coil pack covers are all a blend of beauty and performance.

The engine is a 2.4L setup from an Acura TSX which has been torn down and reassembled to ensure reliability on the track. One of the great things about the K-series engines for track guys is the ability to have gobs of torque and power (compared to B-series) while retaining factory reliability and idle. With just a few potent bolt-on modifications like the RBC intake manifold and R-Crew header paired with the K-pro ECU you’re looking at easily putting down 230+ hp.

It was really good to catch up with Phil and see his car back in one piece again. At the time of the shoot there were still a few very minor odds and ends to sort out, but I’d suspect by the time you read this the car will be ready for the shake down. I can’t wait to see what Phil is capable of doing with the new setup and I’ll be patiently awaiting the arrival of some epic in-car footage. Until then, hang loose!

ENGINE

2.4L Naturally aspirated K24A2; Non Stop Tuning Crank and Alternator Pulleys; Hasport Gunmetal ICB exclusive engine mounts; Circuit Hero cold air intake, coil pack cover; Euro R throttle body, RBC intake manifold, RDX injectors, K20 aluminum oil pan w/ Hytech baffle kit; Walbro 255 lph fuel pump; AEM fuel pressure regulator; Hybrid Racing fuel rail, steel braided fuel line, radiator hoses; Griffin full size radiator; R-Crew header;  Custom Precision Chassis Works exhaust B-Pip; J’s Racing valve cover, axle-back muffler, radiator cap; Odyssey 680 battery; Redline Water Wetter; Rywire Mil-Spec engine and Chassis harness

ENGINE MANAGEMENT / ELECTRONICS

RSX Type S ECU with Hondata K-Pro; JDM EG6 cluster; AMB Transponder with Blind Apex in-car lap time display; Go Pro Hero HD on custom Ultra Performance roll cage mount

DRIVELINE

EP3 Civic Type R transmission; J’s racing 1.5 Way LSD; Hasport Race Prepared axles; Competition Clutch clutch kit; ASSCO Light flywheel; Hybrid Racing shifter kit; Redline MTF with friction modifier

SUSPENSION / CHASSIS

Tein RE coilover suspension (14k f/ 10k r) w/ pillow ball upper mounts; Buddy Club camber links; PCI Spherical trailing arm bushings; OEM JDM Type R front swaybar; Cusco 26mm rear swaybar; Circuit Hero front shock tower bar; Custom Precision Chassis Works 6-point rollcage with harness Bar

BRAKES

Spoon Twin block calipers w/ Fastbrakes 2-piece floating rotors (f); OEM Integra rear disc conversion w/ Fastbrakes rotors; Carbotech XP10 pads (f) AX6 pads (r); Fastbrakes steel braided lines; OEM Civic Type R proportioning valve, 15/16″ Integra master cylinder;  ATE Super Blue brake fluid

WHEELS / TIRES

15X9″ black 949 Racing 6UL wheels; Hoosier R6 275/35/15 tires; Longchamp pass through lug nuts; ARP extended wheel studs

CABIN

Recaro SPG bucket seat; Buddy Club Super Low seat rail, shift knob; 5-point Takata 341 harness; Precision Chassis Works harness bar; Mugen Racing-III suede steering wheel; Checkerd Sports steering boss; Integra Type RX pedals

BODY

Spoon sports front lip; R Crew front splitter (not pictured); J’s Racing carbon fiber hood, canards, 3D GT rear wing, rear over fenders, tow hooks; Chargespeed front fenders; OEM Phantom Grey Metallic paint; JDM EG6 headlights; Vision amber corner lights;

THANKS

Big thanks to my Family! Especially my son Jesse for all the help! Matt Ye @ ICB for sourcing all the parts, Projectonethirty, Tim @ Hybrid Racing, Precision Chassis Works, Hasport, Hondata, Circuit Hero, Rywire, Checkerd Sports, UMS Tuning, NASA AZ, Simon, Paul, CJ and Carlos and Sean Klingelhoefer for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this!

More car features on Speedhunters

More Honda Civic stories on Speedhunters

More stories by Sean Klingelhoefer on Speedhunters

-Sean


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70 comments
JeremyHerzberg
JeremyHerzberg

What kind of specs and regs does this roll cage comply with? Cause if I cage mine I don't want some cheap little jegster cage that doesn't meet any circuit racing specs...

JeremyHerzberg
JeremyHerzberg

I'm really confused by all the different rules pertaining to rollcages and stitch welding within the various sanctioning bodies. What kind of races does he run in and is there a "rule book for dummies" kinda answer to this question? I've got a '95 civic coupe that I would love to replicate this build with. I love the wide stance and that it was built for track duty instead of "hard parking". Any tips or info would be helpful. Thanks

rbliberty08
rbliberty08

Thank God:

 

- The fastest production car is not a honda or FWD.

 

- The best handling car in the world is not a honda or FWD.

 

- The best Drift car is not a honda of FWD

 

In closing,  this honda spoon fwd is a fad cult

fabulous71
fabulous71

That is one mean civic. Love the wheel/tire set up. The meaty tires are like the anti-hellaflush look =

ELxTORO
ELxTORO

one of the very few that i actually like!

teruo88
teruo88

kinda of topic but sean, what is your preferred ride height for you EK leory ? track and or daily driving ? Do you go around town avoiding patrol cars like the plague ?   

weasel
weasel

agree with that whole silhouette statement. might not be as attractive as a 911, but its as recognizable.

who didnt like driving their EG though? i dont know anyone.

MattAtDoyle
MattAtDoyle

Great job on the FF coverage, Sean. You guys do top notch work.

xracer6
xracer6

I love the EG chassis civics. They hold a special place in my heart too! This is a proper track weapon. Love it!

paulp130
paulp130

Amazing car, it was truly an honor to work on it with all these guys! I cant wait for this cars track debut... gonna break hearts.

Phil Robles
Phil Robles

Thanks for all of your kind words...Anyone that has prepared a track car understands the effort, planning and budget that goes in to building one. I have had many friends and family help me with this home built FF Honda!  We are still making changes to the car so if you are ever out in Arizona for one of our track days stop in and hang out with us! Thank you Sean Klingelhoefer and Speedhunters for the awesome feature!

 

Tune 'em if you got 'em!

 

Philip Robles on Facebook

philiprrobles on Instagram

 

guReMcO
guReMcO

That's one badass Civic, I love it! And thanks for all the desktops.

koko san
koko san

and thanks for all the sweet desktops!  :D

koko san
koko san

Awesome machine, now that's a roll cage.

I am an EG owner.... 47 years old, a friend of mine also EG owner he is 62...but we still drive like teenagers.

TroyGuo
TroyGuo

I knew I've seen this ride on SH before...but the link doesn't work @sean klingelhoefer  =P Lovin' the FF theme, and of course EG's and FD's are my fave Civic! =D

Hotcakes
Hotcakes

Huge, huge fan of EGs. This is just baller. Very nice to see a few completely functional (yet still attractive) Civics. You guys should check out Yonas' Australian JDM Yard K24 EG again. There was a feature in 2011, but it's evolved A LOT since then.

ErikOckwell
ErikOckwell

What makes that pedal assembly so rare?

 

And I agree that it's so refreshing to see a decent roll cage for a change. Unbelievable how much of a joke the JDM "cages" are.

iamnotemonster
iamnotemonster

Love it. I'm going to be so bummed when the FF mini theme is over. While I normally tend to cars that are still street legal, the thoroughness of his build is simply impressive. Well done. Also, I love the 6ULs.

bradjh
bradjh

I love the picture looking through the back hatch.

HLB
HLB

Wicked. When you said the car had been down for a while I was wondering if there would be a K24 under that hood. 

designlife
designlife

@rbliberty08  no easiest has to be a old 911 there fast and reliable and by looking at this spec sheet cheaper. but nothing beats a miata 1.6 cheap and fun 

rbliberty08
rbliberty08

 @rbliberty08 Lol.... weasel you are apptly name! 

The cheapest cars are not always the best. you get what you pay for.

 

you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig. turn a fwd honda into a race car, it is still a fwd honda

 

I rather push my Jeep 4wd uphill than drive a honda. you want to go slow, keep racing you cheap honda fwd,  

weasel
weasel

 @rbliberty08 The cheapest cars to own and maintain are FWD Hondas.

The easiest cars to make into race cars, are FWD Hondas.

Drifting is a huge fad cult.

 

This "Honda spoon" hardly has any Spoon parts on it (comparitive to some other civics) and it probably kicks the ass of anything youve ever driven.

 

have a good day, and keep drinking that haterade.

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @teruo88 I certainly don't believe in over-lowering a car due to the obvious adverse affects on the suspension geometry. Actually I might even raise my car up a little bit very soon when I change out the shock absorbers, but even now I have a gap of around 1-2 fingers between the tire and the fender arch, certainly not "low" by today's standards. I have never been pulled over for my ride height nor do I think I ever will... my exhaust note is another story! 

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @weasel The EG  is such an amazing car, if there is anyone out there that doesn't like FF all they need to do is spend one day at the track with an EG - even a bone stock 72hp CX and it will change their minds. 

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

Perhaps, unfortunately there are way too many good cars and not enough Speedhunters!

thomas456786
thomas456786

 @Phil Robles When I first read about your car in 2010 I had dreamt about it and made a replica of it on Forza 3 because I loved it so much. Seeing the advancements you made really are astonishing and before reading this Coverage about three months ago, I set out to make an EG race project spreadsheet of all the things necessary to complete it, and once I was finished and then read this article the amount of similar parts you chose compared to mine was amazing. I do reside in Tucson and, seeings that if I'm not at home I am at the racetrack (SIR), I couldn't help noticing the location of this shoot being at Firebird, and the love towards ICB, I would love to see this car in person and touch base with you about the entirety of the build the next time you' re out racing!

sean klingelhoefer
sean klingelhoefer moderator

 @ErikOckwell They aren't "super duper OMG rare" but the pedals only came in Type RX models, which were extremely limited higher-end models of the Type R. They came with optional extras like automatic remote door locks and other misc. creature comforts. The only really cool option about the cars though, IMO, was the pedal kit which is very different from the standard rubber-over-stamped-steel assemblies. To the best of my knowledge they were also offered as a factory upgrade option, but regardless you don't come across too many of these. 

Ozz9955
Ozz9955

Lol...You're pretty uneducated it seems. Nice trollin!  

ELxTORO
ELxTORO

 @weasel  @rbliberty08 calling drifting a fad is like saying nascar is a fad, or F1 is a fad. pretty insulting if you ask me. 

teruo88
teruo88

 @sean klingelhoefer I agree with you on the effects of lowering a car too much and also have to take in the wheel geometry. For example i have 14" and im sure you are running  at least 15-16" on leroy .

 

I notice in a pic you swap out the stock EK exhaust for something a little more noticeable! whats the exhaust specs now ?  

greenroadster
greenroadster

 @rbliberty08 you wouldnt know a good car from a bad one even if you would suddenly get bright and stop being a redneck. Because you will still be sad

ELxTORO
ELxTORO

 @weasel no, my original comment was not geared towards you, i forgot to take you off my comment. I respect all cars, from trucks lifted 8 inches, slammed cars an inch off the ground and even this honda. In fact this is one of the best ive ever seen. So i am not calling these hondas a fad, and i never would. But come on, calling drifting a fad is still pretty insulting again. Drifting is still relatively new, its still small like every thing is when its new, so i would not EVER consider drifting a fad.

 

ELxTORO
ELxTORO

 @rbliberty08   first off i dont speak on behalf of this weasel guy, when i hit reply to YOU it tagged both you and him, and pretty mature of you to make a comment like that. Now, 13 years ago i was 4, so no, i was not driving a fwd car nor had i heard about drifting. And when i brought up nascar and F1 i was saying that they were at one point in were very small, just as drifting is now, and i dont understand why you are coming at me assuming i like FWD cars. Because in reality i have a very stern distaste for them, but i do respect them. So next time you reply maybe try to act a little bit more mature.

rbliberty08
rbliberty08

 @ELxTORO  @weasel  are you and weasel lovers? enough about your personal life.

 

elxtoro, 13 years ago, you and weasel never heard about drifting, but I am sure you were driving FWD cars.

Nascar and F1 has been around well before you and weasels were sperm in your father's nut sack.

 

So elxtoro, comparing Nascar and F1 to drifting is weasel like and bullshit..

 

FWD was made For Weird Dummies........  continue driving your fwd honduh.

weasel
weasel

 @ELxTORO  @rbliberty08 and so saying that one of the greatest FWD platforms to ever grace the face of this planet is a fad is also not insulting? What about the MILLIONS of civics on the road? are all those people following a fad? Racing civics has been around LONG before a bunch of crazy people in japan started sliding up hills. Tell me again which one is more along the lines of a fad? the car with 30+ years of history, 20+ of those in racing, or a relatively new motorsport that isnt actually a motorsport at all, more like ice skating with tires and asphalt instead of skates and ice.

Just because it doesnt go along with your point of view doesnt make it insulting, unless youre a woman. Youre not a woman are you?

cause if you are, there are some sandwiches to be made.

 


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