It may have taken a year and a bit, but I’m finally making good on a promise made back in a time when traveling to other countries was taken for granted and Japan hosted hundreds of thousands of automotive enthusiasts for Tokyo Auto Salon.
It was during the ‘Meet Me Underground’ gathering in Shibuya during the week of TAS 2020 that I made a pledge to feature a special FD2 Civic Type R. After hashing out a few possible dates that the Honda’s owner, Yohei, and I could meet up to shoot the car, life took an unexpected turn. I’m not just talking about the global pandemic either.
After enjoying a wet Super GT race at Fuji Speedway, Yohei misjudged the depth of a pothole on his drive home and damaged the front end of his FD2. It took over six months to repair, during which time Covid came along and our meet-up was put on hold.
But as the saying goes – good things come to those who wait.
The meet in Shibuya might have been the first time Yohei and I met face to face, but a little over a year before that I had received a message on Instagram late one morning. It read: “I saw you running the local roads in my hometown last night. The next time you’re in the area please message me and let’s run together!”
At first I thought the person was mistaken, as I’d been in a pretty remote area deep in the mountains very late at night (read: early morning). Still, I replied back and ever since then Yohei and I have kept in contact about night meets and other local gatherings in his area.
I’d been keen to feature his FD2 Civic Type R for a while, but Yohei was in the middle of its final evolution asked me to wait until it was ready. Recently, we got to shoot.
As Yohei has owned his Honda for a little over seven years now, I initially assumed he was a die-hard Honda fan. Truth be told, he found himself the Civic’s owner by chance. “I was looking to buy another R33 Skyline GT-R after I crashed mine in the mountains. I was in a bit of a foul mood and I spotted this purple FD2 Type R for sale. The color spoke to me so I decided to buy it instead,” he told me.
Note: In Japan, the color purple can represent disappointment or depressed feelings, which might be why the color spoke to Yohei’s frustrations.Aggression & Style
What you see here now is three quarters of a decade’s worth of Yohei’s evolving vision, determination and patience. I think you’ll agree that it’s been worth the effort.
A good starting point to break down the transformation would be the M&M Honda Hyper wide-body kit, which adds an extra 70mm of girth bringing the total width to around 1,940mm (for reference, a brand new FK8 Civic Type R is quoted at 1,880mm wide). But I have to begin with the wheels.
As we all know, wheels can make or break a vehicle’s visual impact, but I don’t think Yohei could do any better than the set his Civic wears. You’re looking at RAYS Volk Racing center-lock aluminum motorsport wheels, as previously run on a GT300 Prius.
As you’d expect from Super GT wheels, they’re aggressively sized at 18×12-inch with a +10 offset all round. Given how center-lock wheels work, Yohei had to make his own tool to both remove and torque his wheels up to spec.
Big wheels call for big tires, in this case Hankook Z221 Ventus TD semi-slicks – 295-section in the front and 265 in the rear. The wide-body fenders contain them nicely, although Yohei had to create stoppers to the ensure the fronts don’t foul against the suspension.
Yohei hasn’t skimped on the brakes either, fitting a sizeable 6-pot AP Racing Kai package up front.
Yohei’s Super GT parts don’t stop at the RAYS wheels; the under panel comes from a Corolla and the side skirts are from another GT300 Prius. The latter pair needed a bit of massaging to fit the FD2, and that involved trimming some very expensive dry carbon.
I’ve covered the wide-body, but M&M Honda components also extend to the carbon fiber hood, rear diffuser, 1,500mm carbon fiber GT wing and trunk lid.
Inside the trunk is a surprise that solves a very unique problem. Yohei wanted to fit an exhaust system custom-made by a friend who runs a small shop called Shimura Kougyo. The routing, however, was going to pose a major obstacle and under normal circumstances wouldn’t fit under the Honda unless it was extensively modified. Instead, Yohei decided that the trunk wasn’t really all that necessary for his needs, so he cut most of it out to accomodate the exhaust.
The Type R-spec K20A engine itself is internally stock, and otherwise quite conservatively tuned given the car’s hardcore exterior. But seeing as though Yohei spends most of his time in the car on mountain passes, he doesn’t need huge power. A GruppeM air filter, Toda Racing throttle body and Koyorad aluminum radiator are the most notable upgrades alongside a FEEL’S (aka Honda Twincam) ECU and the aforementioned exhaust system.
Likewise, Yohei hasn’t gone off the deep end when it comes to the interior. Many of creature comforts remain, including the air conditioning and radio, but some of the plastic trim, the headliner and back seat have been stripped, and an M&M Honda trunk gusset plate and Bride seats have been added. The short shifter is an adapted Nismo item from Yohei’s old Skyline.
Being 187cm tall (6’1”), Yohei falls well beyond the 95th percentile in Japan, so for optimal driving position – and to make getting in an out not a gymnastic routine – he runs both a Works Bell quick-release and hub spacer.
It may not have been the car he was originally looking for all those years ago, but Yohei’s FD2 Honda Civic Type R has became the exact car he needed. Now, how does one go about getting their hands on some RAYS Volk Racing magnesium center-lock wheels…