If there’s one thing I love about car culture, it’s the many ways there are to skin a cat; I’ve seen likely tens of thousands of stock, modified, track-prepped and race-built cars over the few years I’ve been Speedhunting. And while certain builds appeal to different people, there’s no wrong way to do things.
Well, there is, but that’s beside the point. Because my point in this case is that Hien and Christie’s fourth-gen Civic wagons are cars that I would have never seen myself in until I saw the pair parked next to each other when Sara and I were out in Oahu, Hawaii. Sure, I’ve seen a few pretty wagon cool builds before, but none quite like this.
It’s not like these are the most expensive or intensive builds either, and that’s what’s so special about this hobby to me. The iterations are endless, and sometimes the simplest cars are the best.
The Mooneyes details – Saturn Moon Discs and pin-striping by Hiro ‘Wildman’ Ishii – are what initially drew me in to Hien’s wagon, but there’s a bit going on under the skin, too.
Unsurprisingly, the car is lowered on coilovers that are paired with a number of other suspension components to keep the geometry happy. And when I asked about what was under the hood, Hien replied that it’s “a stock D15 with a Mooneyes oil cap, Y8 exhaust manifold, a GReddy muffler, and sh*tty piping.”
That spirit just seems so perfect to me and I love that this utilitarian wagon exists at all, let alone that it’s still enjoyed to this level on a regular basis by its owner. And don’t miss that oscillating fan from Japan to help fight the humidity in Hawaii — humidity not unlike Japan’s own in the summer.
In the next spot over was Christie’s right-hand drive Shuttle, complete with rad-era decals and 4WD mud flaps. A Southside Auto front lip pairs nicely with the extra driving lights up front, while the roof rack and side window deflectors round things out up top. Of course, the Work Equip 40s are a nice touch, too.
Under the hood everything has been left alone with the single-cam ZC engine. And, as with other wagon at hand, coilovers are paired with a plethora of aftermarket suspension bits to get the car to sit right.
The two builds are simple and straightforward, and I really love the end result in both cases. Neither car is flashy; they haven’t been built up from top to bottom, and neither are likely to win too many races, either.
Instead, these cars remain useful and driveable, both exuding a specific style as they rack up the miles. Not to mention, the entry price for a Civic wagon is not that high. And yet, it’s these sort of honest, outside-the-box cars — that actually get driven — that have become my favorite over the years.
Now, to resist searching up wagons on Craigslist… and, too late.