It’s funny how the best things in life come along when you least expect them, from the most unexpected people.
When I first met Tomoya-san at photoshoot for Euro Habit in Tokushima on Shikoku Island, he was introduced to me as the guy driving the Hiace that I’d be getting my rolling shots from. It wasn’t until after the shoot, when the time came to move some cars around the parking area, that I guessed he might be more than just some random yard hand.
After the shoot, Tomoya-san offered to take me to his favorite ramen place. Along the way we naturally talked about the mint ‘N1/race base’ EK9 Honda Civic Type R we were cruising in (see spec at the end of this story), and Tomoya-san told me it was his second EK. His first one is the EK4 Civic SiR I’m about to show you.
He told me about the SiR’s engine spec, time attack aero and custom paint, and alarm bells started ringing. When I suggested it might be a good story for Speedhunters, he was genuinely surprised that I thought it was interesting. I couldn’t help laugh and love his humble and gentle innocence.
As we neared the restaurant, our conversation naturally veered towards which ramen is best. You’ll likely have your favourite, but after a long day out in the freezing cold, our tonkotsu ramen really hit the spot. Tomoya-san paid the bill after refusing my money (he really is a generous, thoughtful and lovely guy, but more on that later…) and we set off to pick up his other EK.
This car lives at Tomoya-san’s family house out in the country, quite likely because the noise it makes even at idle is loud. By the time the engine was warmed and we got back into town it was well past 10:00pm. This isn’t an unusual hour for Tomoya-san to take the Civic out for some spirited driving, although even these times are actually few and far between. The EK4 is never driven on the street during the day, mostly because of the unwanted attention it attracts from the law.
The fact that Tomoya-san agreed to bring it into town and park it on the street is a huge honour, so I got my shots quickly and discretely so we could move on to our next location.
Tomoya-san has owned this Civic for 17 years, and it’s mostly been built by a time attack legend with a national ranking. Known only as Mr. A, the list of modifications made at his garage in the south of the island is as long as Shikoku itself, so I’ve listed the entire spec below.
But without a doubt, the most noteworthy piece of engineering in the aptly named ‘F**kin’ Crazy’ Civic is the heart of the beast. It’s a K-Tech B18C (Integra Type R) Spirits-Ⅰ Type2 engine using the very last K-Tech original forged piston and connecting rod set.
For anyone that doesn’t know (myself included until I met Tomoya-san), K-Tech is the engine-building company headed by Makoto Kawashima, who is the son of the second president of the Honda Motor Co. after Soichiro Honda. Also involved in the build was Itahashi-san of K1 Laboratory, who previously was a chief engineer at J’s Racing. That’s as close to Honda royalty as you’ll get.
Other upgrades include a dry carbon fiber roof, Try-Box full cross transmission with EG6 Group A ratios, RAYS Volk Racing staggered wheels – 17-inch TE37V front and 15-inch TE37 rear – custom wide front fenders, and Recaro SPG seats – the list goes on…
By the time we returned the monster back to its cave it was well past midnight, and both Tomoya-san and I were pretty knackered to say the least. We’d become closer through the evening and had opened up about each other’s friends and family. I told Tomoya-san I was single, and this is where his thoughtfulness and generosity really peaked. He quickly told me his mother was single and ready to mingle. I politely told him I lived too far away and long-distance relationships never work, but persistently he joked “she can move anywhere!” We both burst into laughter (and tears) when he realized that this fantasy romance would in fact render me his father.
It was a fun way to wrap up another incredible day of unexpected Speedhunting in Japan.
More stories from Japan on Speedhunters
Honda Civic SiR (EK4)
Engine: Honda/K-Tech B18C-R Spirits-Ⅰ Type2, K-Tech original forged pistons & connecting rods, Toda Racing High Power camshafts, 70mm throttle body, SARD Racing fuel pump, Nismo adjustable fuel pressure regulator, Cusco engine mounts, ARC intake, A’PEXi air filter, Toda Racing B18C-R Ver.2 exhaust manifold, Kent Works titanium exhaust system, Koyo Type-Z radiator, Setrab oil cooler, K1 Laboratory ECU (dyno mapped)
Driveline: EK4 5-speed manual gearbox, Try-Box full cross gear set with WPC processing, OS Giken SuperLock LSD, ATS carbon single clutch
Suspension/Brakes: A’PEXi N1 Evolution dampers (K1 Laboratory spec), Hyperco springs (26.8kgf/mm front, 25kgf/mm rate), Mugen front sway bar, Cusco rear sway bar, JUN adjustable front upper arms, Cool Nuts adjustable front upper arms, Mugen bushes, Spoon rigid collars, Okuyama front/rear strut bars, Jspeed side inner braces, Techno PRO Spirit rear pillar bar, rear lower arm performance rod, Alcon CRB356 forged monoblock calipers, Garand 315mm 2-piece rotors, IDI GT-Spec GT1 brake pads, Dixcel FS rear rotors, Advics Circuit Spec rear pads, Kinokuni stainless braided brake lines, Cusco Brake Cylinder Stopper
Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37V wheels (front), 15-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37 wheels (rear), 255/40R17 tyres (front), 195/55R15 tyres (rear)
Exterior: Honda front bumper with one-off air intake duct (for engine & brakes) & side extension cover, Honda rear bumper with air bleeding duct, custom wide FRP front fenders with ducts, Voltex canards, Garage Kagotani BNR34 GT-R front under-panel, Varis rear diffuser, Cusco GT wing with Gurney flap, custom wing mounts, Car Planner Enterprise dry carbon fiber roof, Eleven Nines wet carbon bonnet, Craft Square dry carbon fiber mirrors
Interior: 16-point welded roll cage, Recaro SP-G seats, Willans Silverstone 3-inch harness belts, Momo Mod.69 350mm steering wheel, OMP quick release hub, K-Tuned B/D Shifter Circuit X, Spoon hollow titanium shift knob, EK9 brake pedal, Pivot gauges, Orange TP Checker, A/C delete
Honda Civic Type R (EK9) Race Base/N1
Engine: Honda B16B, Mugen engine mounts, ARC intake, Integra Type R 98spec exhaust manifold, Mugen exhaust system, Tabata radiator
Driveline: EK9 5-speed manual gearbox, ATS carbon single clutch, OS Giken SuperLock LSD
Suspension/Brakes: Öhlins Type HAL with DFV coilovers, Swift sway bars front/rear, Mugen bushes, Spoon rigid collars, DC2 Integra front strut bar, Monster Sport rear strut bar, Jspeed side inner brace, Techno PRO Spirit rear pillar bar, Do-Luck floor crossbar, Super Private rear lower arm performance rod, Dixcel FS brake rotors, Advics Circuit Spec brake pads, Kinokuni braided stainless steel brake lines, Cusco Brake Cylinder Stopper
Wheels/Tyres: 15-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37 wheels, 195/55R15 tyres
Exterior: C-West front bumper, original EK9 head lights, side skirts & rear wing
Interior: Recaro SP-G driver’s seat, 350mm Momo Veloce steering wheel, Pioneer FH-9400DVS head unit, Kicker QSS674 front speakers, Hertz MPX 690.3 rear speakers, Hertz EBX F25.5 subwoofer, Pioneer GM-D8400 & GM-D8100 amplifiers