Every modification made to Juan Selguero’s 1978 Honda Civic has been thoroughly considered. And despite what you might think at first glance, a lot has been done – Juan is a master of detail.
Juan got the classic Honda hatchback from his grandmother when he was 16 years old, but it took almost a decade before he decided to build it up into something special. With an idea in mind, and at age 25 a stable income, he was finally able see the project through.
We’ll start with the bodywork – now finished in a Lexus gray – where perhaps only a trained eye will pick up on the fenders having been widened 1.5 inches in the front and 3 inches at the back. This was all by Juan’s design; he needed more room to run a larger and wider wheel and tire package, but also wanted to keep the body looking as stock as possible. Bolt-on flares just wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Initially Juan had CCW wheels fitted, but earlier this year he swapped those out for a set of refinished Mugen MR5s, which look superb wrapped up Nankang AR-1 semi-slicks.
In ’78, the USDM Civic came with huge safety bumpers complete with appalling plastic extensions at each corner. The ’75 model bumpers that Juan’s running now are far less offensive and fit much closer to the body through some custom modifications.
A moment ago we mentioned the need for bigger wheels and more rubber on the road, and here’s why.
The B18C1 engine came from a ’98 Honda Integra, but has since been upgraded with an Edelbrock Victor X intake manifold and custom short intake pipe among other modifications. According to Juan, a lot of work went into setting up the engine bay for the B-series swap, but the fit and finish is so good you’d be forgiven for thinking it was factory.
With 216whp in a car that weighs not much more than 1,400lb (635kg), the little Civic is quick. Thanks to BC Racing coilovers and a NSX brake swap up front, it handles and stops well, too.
The interior has been completely refreshed, but mostly in factory style to maintain its originality. There are a couple of parts that tell a different story though: the K-Tuned billet shifter and AEM Electronics air/fuel ratio gauge. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition.
Riding with Juan, the Civic scrambles for traction through to third gear, so a firm grip on the steering wheel is required. The acceleration is striking, and it comes as no surprise that Juan has fun dusting Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris on the streets of Los Angeles.
Juan set out to build what in his eyes is the perfect first-gen Civic, and it’s hard to argue with what he’s created. The glint in his eye as we cruised around LA tells us it was all worth it, too.
Additional Words & Edit by Brad Lord
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This little one just looks so right. Well done!
Absolutely beautiful car.
cool car, but the wheels seem big and skinny. would prefer something smaller and wider
I have one of these as well, and while we all love the smaller wheels visually, most people size up to 15" out of necessity; it's EXTREMELY hard to get tires in anything but R-compounds for 13" wheels.
Juan, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this a reality. The stance is dead on and the whole ride gives off such an incredible OEM vibe. This is absolute perfection.
The widened MR5s look great on this.
my favorite detail is definitely the cvcc badge up front. cvccs were extra slow, even back in the 70s. just about the polar opposite of this car in terms of, uh, urgency. the opposite of flexing. THATS what cool is (also the whole rest of this car). love it
This thing definitely has the feel that whomever did the work.... knew what they were doing. Very very clever car.
Beautiful car, especially as we don't see as much old school Hondas covered compared to other makes on SH, a great little car to throw around some twisty roads. Would have been nice to include some detail on how the engine and box we fitted into the engine bay, did they use a subframe out of a later Civic? are the driveshafts shortened? I also love the CVCC badge on the front. Is there a build thread somewhere? This is the sort of dream car I would build if I can find a good base that someone is not asking thousands for and isn't rusted to hell.
Now that's a proper Civic
This is definitely one of the best Hondas I have ever seen
Already became one of my dream builds
Love it! Restrained yet detailed, wild yet useable. Must be a pleasure to drive.
lovely car. This is a dream build.
A proper pocket rocket