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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